The social and political divide in America is starkly apparent as we head into another heated presidential race. For theologian and social activist Father Bryan Massingale, his research on race, sexuality, and society could not be timelier as the country grapples with increasing acts of violence against minority groups.
Father Massingale, a Black, openly gay Catholic priest, studies the rise of extremist ideologies within white Christian groups in America.
“White Christian nationalism is a soul sickness,” Fr. Massingale said during a recent Burke Lectureship on Religion and Society. “It is a profound warping of the human spirit.”
He argues that this movement poses a threat not only to vulnerable communities but to democracy itself.
“The greatest threat to peace, social stability and democratic government in our time is the rise of white Christian nationalism,” Massingale asserts.
He challenges institutions, including the Catholic Church, to confront their complicity in perpetuating racial disparities. His plea to the church is to recognize the value of all lives, affirming that everyone is equally redeemed by God and loved by Christ.
“That is counter to this pernicious ideology of white Christian nationalism which would dare to use Christianity to deny the equal, sacred worth of all human beings. That is a blasphemy, an idolatry that the faith community must be unequivocal about rejecting.”