Brittney Cooper teaches Women’s and Gender Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers University.
She is also a contributing writer to Salon, a web site that focuses on news, politics and more.
Her latest piece for the site stirs thought:
Any time right-wing conservatives declare that they are trying to restore or reclaim something, we should all be very afraid. Usually, this means the country or, in this case, the state of Indiana is about to be treated to another round of backward time travel, to the supposedly idyllic environs of the 1950s, wherein women, and gays, and blacks knew their respective places and stayed in them. While the unspoken religious subtext of this law is rooted in conservative anxieties over the legalization of same-sex marriage in Indiana, Black people and women, and all the intersections thereof (for instance Black lesbians) should be very afraid of what this new law portends.
Her focus is on Indiana’s “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” which is similar to other such laws germinating in other states.
Her conclusion? ” As Indiana peddles its “religious freedom” garbage, it’s time to call the religious right’s trash what it really is…”
Cooper is not alone. Many Hoosiers, at least those with a brain, are rabid in their opposition to the law, one rammed through the state legislature by a right-wing that thinks invoking God ratifies racism, bias, discrimination and homophobia.
“The right’s made-up God,” the headline to her piece delares. “How bigots invented a white supremacist Jesus.”
The headline is not an exaggeration. Bigotry, racism and hate spew from pulpits every Sunday in too many churches. Sadly, the battle cry of these haters are “it’s God’s will so it is all OK.”
“As a practicing Christian, I am deeply incensed by these calls for restoration and reclamation in the name of religious freedom,” says Cooper. “This kind of legislation is largely driven by conservative Christian men and women, who hold political views that are antagonistic to every single group of people who are not white, male, Christian, cisgender, straight and middle-class. Jesus, a brown, working-class, Jew, doesn’t even meet all the qualifications.”
As a fellow Christian, I share Cooper’s anger over the misinterpretation of the Word of God and the misuse of religion to promote hate and bias. The misquoted biblical diarrhea covers us like a stench from hell. It is barbaric.
“Nothing about the cultural and moral regime of the religious right in this country signals any kind of freedom,” Cooper writes. “In fact, this kind of legislation is rooted in a politics that gives white people the authority to police and terrorize people of color, queer people and poor women. That means these people don’t represent any kind of Christianity that looks anything like the kind that I practice.”
She says the rabid religious right has created a fictional God that exists primarily to serve their biases.
“This God isn’t the God that I serve. There is nothing holy, loving, righteous, inclusive, liberatory or theologically sound about him. He might be “biblical” but he’s also an asshole,” she writes.
“The Jesus I know, love, talk about and choose to retain was a radical, freedom-loving, justice-seeking, potentially queer (because he was either asexual or a priest married to a prostitute), feminist healer, unimpressed by scripture-quoters and religious law-keepers, seduced neither by power nor evil.”
Amen Ms. Cooper. Spoken like a true Christian. Too bad there aren’t more like you our there.