The following is my critique of the Exvangelicals movement, in which I create an analogy comparing the Exvangelical movement to the Women’s March. If you are unfamiliar with any of the discourse surrounding race and the Women’s March, this analogy may fall flat to you.
You can find the original post on my Facebook account, which I still have listed as public. I have decided to repost it on my blog so that it can be easily referenced as I post follow-ups, given that I had received a lot of engagement over my critique than I had expected receiving. You can read it on FB or you can read it here below, typos and original language included:
I feel weary about the attention that the #Exvangelical movement is getting in the mainstream (re: Mark Ruffalo highlighting the movement). I believe the coverage of this movement is just another way that whiteness is centered.
I wish that POC and “global south” led liberation movements resisting white supremacist, right-wing Christianity would get the recognition that they deserve. There has long been resistance to Christian authoritarianism from non-white Christians and non-Christians a like to white evangelical authoritarianism. #Exvangelicals are late to the party, yet hardly mention or pay their dues to communities who have paved the way for them. I’ve seen Exvangelical types online and off paint global south and POC communities as “more homophobic” than white folks. This is violent, uninformed and perpetuates white saviorism. On top of that, I see online and off a lot of Exvangelical types appropriating the work of women of color (like Audre Lorde or womanist theologians or questionable use of “intersectional”), removing the racial contexts and applying what is relevant to them as mostly white folks.
I am tired of seeing movements conveniently say they are against white supremacy but failing to prioritize anti-racism with action. Saying “white cis men ain’t shit” doesn’t mean you are against white supremacy. It might give you some edge points and retweets if that’s what you are going for.
I would prefer that Exvangelicals just say they are against patriarchal abuse/purity culture in the church and that’s where their attentions lie (even though racism is connected to purity culture, but that’s for another time). It would be more honest, because I don’t see active anti-racism happening or defining Exvangelicals in a concrete and embodied way. But it is dishonest to suggest that Exvangelicalism is a movement against white supremacy, that it is “intersectional” in practice. And that is the part that makes me so angry and so so so discouraged and why I do not want to be “recruited” by them, even though, I, too, am angry about purity culture. To me, to be recruited by Exvangelicals would feel like being in relationship with any white-led progressive movement — it would feel like a one sided relationship — one where I am expected to show up against purity culture and patriarchy, but be left on my own to fight conservative racism, as well as their own “progressive” whiteness (is white anything ever really progress?). For me, the #Exvangelical movement is the Women’s March of Christian progressivism. What kind of world do these individuals and communities dream of? A world where whites have sexual agency and reproductive control but where people of color are still inferior? Forgettable? Disposable? Unnecessary? Used only to create white capital?
I am constantly discouraged by how little our dominant religious culture does not care about POC led movements. White folks desire to maintain their place as the heros of history. #Exvangelicals owe so much to POC, but whiteness will always center whiteness even as they profess to be against “right wing authoritarianism”, which protects/upholds/(is?) white supremacy.
Maybe my anger towards Exvangelicals lacks generosity. Maybe they are creating some meaningful change and I’m just too tired of racism and white people’s cynicism to notice if there is an up side. But deep down, for me, Exvangelicals as a movement does not feel like one that deserves my generosity or my trust or my excitement or that they care about people like me beyond what we can do for white folks mad about patriarchy. But as someone who navigates not just POC spaces, but also white spaces, I am constantly reminded about how much hype this group gets and it makes me tired. I am angry and unimpressed, and as someone who has spent a lot more time around white progressives than I wish I had, I believe that I have a right to be and to continually expect folks to do and be better.