As an Asian-American activist, I must constantly negotiate what it means to be a woman faith leader – all while challenging misconceptions of the “model minority myth” and the “otherization” of my identity in a dominant culture that often sees anything other than whiteness as foreign, exotic, or suspect. And yet, I know that my experiences do not pale in comparison to the hardships of those experienced within the greater sisterhood.
Now that the election is resolved, both the media and politicians have moved to “normalize” the president-elect, even if his personality and practices are far from normal. Let’s call this the great Washington “suck up” to power which goes far beyond the peaceful transition of power, which is an invaluable American democratic tradition.
But this is not normal. None of this is normal.
I am very grateful this Thanksgiving for the evangelicals who still realize that being truly “evangelical” means to follow the words of Jesus in Luke 4, which clearly describe the gospel he came to proclaim as “good news” to the poor that will “free the captives,” and “let the oppressed go free.” Drawing a circle of protection around the poor and vulnerable will be the first thing to do with this administration and the new Congress, and I am so grateful for all the people of faith who will unite together to do that.
I am also thankful for evangelicals who are less concerned about being persecuted for their beliefs, and more concerned about their brothers and sisters in Christ — immigrants and other people of color — who are now so afraid of persecution because they were targeted by the election campaign of man who is now president, and whose children are already being verbally and physically assaulted at their schools and on their playgrounds by people who claim to be the new president’s supporters.
We know you are fearful. We know you are still feeling the loss — the loss of a hoped for America that valued diversity, or perhaps the loss of your faith community whose white majority voted for an embodiment of our worst natures.
But we also know that you are ready to resist. You are ready to join the millions who will repeat daily that this ugly rhetoric and dangerous policy proposals cannot become normalized. Racism should not continue as normal, misogyny can’t remain normal, and threatening the well being of those God calls us to welcome cannot become normal.
And so we make this commitment to you: We at Sojourners are all in for whatever is required over the next four years and beyond, as a publication, as a resource, as a community, as a network of activists. Here’s how we get started.
All this will be risky and costly. Thus, it will be important that our first call is to go deeper into our faith, to find the courage to act, stand alongside our brothers and sisters under attack, and to confront the “principalities and powers.” Perhaps the most encouraging calls to me since the election results last night have come from young people of all ethnicities — many of whom I know well and have mentored. Several have independently said, “I just wanted you to know that I AM IN for whatever this will require of us.”
Thanks be to God.
So I am writing this to you, the pastors and spiritual leaders of congregations of Christians all across America. I am asking about your pastoral and prophetic responsibilities as we approach this historic election with potential consequences that we have never seen before in our lifetimes.