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California recall: Calling the Christian Left's bluff on racial equity

Lucas Miles
Courtesy of Lucas Miles

As judgment day approaches for Gov. Gavin Newsom in the form of the California recall election, a perfect opportunity emerges for the Christian Left to demonstrate both the sincerity of their faith and their true support for oppressed people groups.

They can do this by giving Newsom, a wealthy white male, a downvote, in favor of the current front runner and African American gubernatorial candidate from South Central Los Angeles, Larry Elder.

Progressive Christians who commonly champion leftist ideology, such as “white guilt,” and a belief in a white patriarchal hegemony, should jump at the chance to send Newsom packing, as they welcome a strong new voice in Elder, even if he is conservative, because after all … it’s the right thing to do.

But are progressive Christians, the same group who piously flexed their support for BLM on their Instagram pages throughout 2020, gleefully floated the idea of reparations and have defended the merits of critical race theory and ‘woke’ ideology, anywhere to be found? So far it seems not.

Wouldn’t "VeggieTales" creator Phil Vischer, who regularly attacks white normativity on his podcast show, The Holy Post, be happy as a talking pickle to stand in support of a so-called oppressed black man Larry Elder, especially if it means putting Newsom’s elitist regime in the rearview mirror? Or how about other progressive Christian figures, like Russell Moore, Ed Stetzer, Pastor David Platt, Beth Moore or author Gregory Thompson, who have all advocated for greater levels of diversity. If they’ve added their voice in support of a diverse candidate like Elder, I sure haven’t heard them.

While Newsom, a multimillionaire, is perhaps the poster child for white privilege, his main competition, Elder, born into a blue-collar family, is an accomplished attorney and radio host who has been studying California politics for decades. Unlike Newsom, Elder has a strong vision to fix urban housing, public safety and environmental concerns throughout the state. So with a diverse candidate like Elder, where are these so-called "Conscious Christians" who boast of being awake to inequality and racial inequity? 

Historically, white progressive Christians support a social gospel, which, much like critical theory, segments people into two categories, oppressed and oppressor, but with an added belief that God favors the oppressed and opposes the oppressor. If their convictions are sincere, the California recall offers liberal Christians, who often stress the importance of stepping aside to offer opportunities for diverse members of the population, then why withhold support?

Why instead is it that white conservative Christians, a segment of the population frequently accused of being racist, are at the frontlines supporting Elder’s campaign, such as former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Pastor Jack Hibbs, who offered his support stating:

"The Christian is told to walk in wisdom and to steward over all the resources that God has given. Sadly and for far too long the church has ignored its calling to influence culture for what is good and right. However - I believe God’s grace has allowed us the opportunity to elect a new governor who believes in religious freedom, the protection of our First Amendment, and the defense of the unborn child.”

For the Christian Left, this is a powerful occasion to demonstrate that black lives truly do matter and that candidates like Elder need to be heard. Ultimately, this will be the test to see whether the Christian Left were ever sincere in their pleas to carve out room for African Americans in white-dominated spaces, or if it was just empty rhetoric by political activists once again using African Americans as pawns to advance their liberal agenda. 

Lucas Miles is the host of The Lucas Miles Show and the author of the new book, The Christian Left: How Liberal Thought Has Hijacked the Church (Broadstreet Publishing, 2021). Follow Lucas on Twitter at @LucasMiles.

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