Tag Archives: Asian-Pacific

Anti-Asian Racism And The Church: A Few Thoughts

The Purpose Driven Life book cover

The Prejudiced Driven Life

Five years ago for a conference, I engaged Rick Warren‘s The Purpose Driven Life; here was my conclusion to the section on PDL:

“Warren’s silence on the issues of racial and economic justice is indicative of the silence of many European-American churches that choose to remain quiet while instances such as the hanging of nooses in public spaces continues to occur; thus, churches with predominantly minority members are left to shoulder the burden alone in confronting domestic terrorism.”

For the rest, see my paper at Academia.Edu: A Vision From The Almighty

Little did I know that this one little insight into the weakness of Warren’s theology (what I viewed at that time as a Reformed, trimmed down version of the prosperity gospel) would reveal itself over the past five years, and really, the past 6 six weeks.  In September, Rick Warren posted a “humorous” picture on Facebook suggesting that his ministry team worked really hard, just like members from the Chinese Revolutionary Army from almost three decades ago.  Of course, this is only funny for people who’s mothers’ weren’t raped and tortured or villages oppressed.  Warren was called out by a Christian minister Sam Tsang, and Pastor Warren responded in kind by taking down the offending photo as well as offering a non-apology apology. Tuesday, Rick Warren hosted a church-planting conference where anti-Asian racist skits were performed to the sounds of “ORIENTAL” music.

The shame of all of this is that whenever anti-Asian/Pacific racism happens, the only way evangelicals “adjust” their behavior is when they are called out after multiple blog-posts. This is exactly what happened a few years ago with Dr. Soong Rah Chan and the Deadly Viper saga. It’s the cycle of linguistic violence, Sinophobia, and anti-Asian/Pacific racism that leads to curriculum like Rickshaw Rally which reinforce negative Chinese and Asian-Pacific stereotypes.  We are able to detect White Supremacist mythologies by their double standard; if a Hong Kong based pastor had made a joke about 9-11-2001, USian Evangelical Christians would be up in arms. This is a double standard because what humors us is predetermined by the belief that some people’s lives are more valuable than others.

Racism as I have expanded upon on many occasions, is prejudice + power, and we should do well not to forget this. Yes this power is quite fluid, but in this instance, it’s obvious who the victims are (usually it’s as plain as day if you know basic history, but I digress). The purpose of my anti-racist writing, laying out the challenge that white supremacy poses to Christian theology, is for the purpose of worship. That is justice leading to reconciliation. If it is unjust for Asian Americans to be the targets of jokes and Christian curriculum endorsing White Supremacist mythology, then these issues must be addressed so that trust, faithfulness, and proper worship can take place.

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