The featured image that I have selected for this post went into circulation sometime in the past four years. I do not know of its source, but its inspiration is evident for those who have paid heed to their moral compasses. This site exists because I am one such person who cannot abide by the American Church’s tolerance of the kind of racism and bigotry that this man and his movement represents.
When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.” And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play ~ Exodus 32:1
MAGA, or “Make America Great Again” is a brilliant yet diabolical signifier. To black people, a return to the past means “separate but equal,” lynching, emancipation betrayed, not being able to testify against whites, particularly concerning rape. We now know that there is a vast number of Americans who either outright find this desirable, or, They (capitalization intended) are willing to stomach that kind of injustice for a false promise, a false god.
When I saw the original calf political cartoon, I permitted myself a snicker and an “Mmmhmm.” I then mentally moved on, as there would be no use investing further energy into it. But then CPAC 2021 happened, where They unironically rolled out a golden statue of the man featured in the warning the political cartoon conveys. Again, I at first tried my best to mind my business, for what wisdom is there to engage partisan pandering? Then not one, but two images emerged, showing men genuflecting themselves in front of this stature.
A statue is not necessary to convey how far They have fallen. Yet, it exists, and so, it does. People do not erect statues of people they do not revere. By virtue of being a graven image, a proxy, it also demands reverence; why else would white supremacists oppose the removal of Confederate monuments?
The inspiration of this blog post, CPAC’s “golden calf,” was made after the likeness of whom headlines have described as a “kingmaker.” In earthly terms, this means that anyone who desires a successful political career with Them will have to kiss the ring. Just as King Nebuchadnezzar demanded that the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces fall down and worship his golden image in Daniel 3, so too does the man whose likeness the statue represents require allegiance. They grant it to him, not because he is a paragon of love, joy, and peace, but rather, because he is an embodiment of the evils that They wish to perpetuate, yet only discuss in coded language and among the like-minded. Others are paralyzed by fear of rejection; a metaphor of being cast down into Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace applies here, where those who dare not risk incriminating themselves are as proportionally few as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego compared to the masses of all the satraps, prefects, governors, etc.
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments” ~ Exodus 20:4-6.
Idolatry of Whiteness
Seemingly a lifetime ago, I participated in a now-defunct Christian FB group where its administrator banned posting any images of Jesus. Back in those days, I disagreed with the rule because I thought that if the world needed anything, it would be more Jesus, especially in a Christian group. Yet this person viewed images of Jesus as idolatry, taking the “any likeness of anything that is in heaven above” legalistically. (Here, how one picks their theological battles is made plain, where images of God are taboo, but a landscape such as van Gogh’s The Starry Night falls under ritual, rather than moral law).
Oh, how I am glad how I have grown spiritually over the past four years! I do believe that FB admin was on the right track, though not because of the legalism, but because the imagery of White Jesus contributes to the idea that whiteness is the default racial identity, rendering all other racial identities as other or, deviant. Since They do consider these things true, They obstruct challenges to the status-quo with disparaging claims of political-correctness to score points in the culture wars, rather than correcting, or better yet, ceasing to circulate images of White Jesus (in “sincerity”; I am much less sensitive to “desecrating” an image of a false god than I was on that FB group).
Their behavior over the past four years suggests that They consider the man something of a Great White Hope. A king. A White Savior. A White Jesus. And that is why They genuflect themselves before a golden statue. That is why people like me have turned away from the American Evangelism in search of those who worship the true Jesus Christ with all their heart, with all their soul, with all their strength, and with all their mind as in Luke 10:27. Meanwhile, I pray that They all come to repentance for the worship of these American Idols.