The condemnation on Twitter has been fast and furious:
Mr. Metaxas represents sensibilities that many Christians find antithetical to a biblical ethic. It would be quite helpful, I think, if more Christian leaders who disagree with him would speak up/speak out, to offer a counternarrative. Because a world is watching. https://t.co/5K24MfqGSj
— Peter Wehner (@Peter_Wehner) May 22, 2020
— Shane Claiborne (@ShaneClaiborne) May 22, 2020
Biden said something offensive in jest, because he got a little too cozy, and he was rightly called on it. But the image @ericmetaxas put forth here is the one white Evangelicals have been proudly putting forth throughout the Trump era as they proudly back a racist president. https://t.co/F07kS7LYhR
— @ijbailey (@ijbailey) May 22, 2020
Bailey’s tweet above is true. But as I argued in Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump, this kind of racism has a long history in American evangelicalism.
I think it is time, once again, to learn more about Blackface. Here is a good article from the National Museum of African American History and Culture. A taste:
Historian Dale Cockrell once noted that poor and working-class whites who felt “squeezed politically, economically, and socially from the top, but also from the bottom, invented minstrelsy” as a way of expressing the oppression that marked being members of the majority, but outside of the white norm. Minstrelsy, comedic performances of “blackness” by whites in exaggerated costumes and make-up, cannot be separated fully from the racial derision and stereotyping at its core. By distorting the features and culture of African Americans—including their looks, language, dance, deportment, and character—white Americans were able to codify whiteness across class and geopolitical lines as its antithesis.
The most striking parts of this definition are the references to “comedic performances” and “language.” In his tweet, Metaxas was trying to be funny and mocked African-American speech patterns. He has also built much of his recent career around playing the victim–a white evangelical man who feels “squeezed.” This is a textbook case.
Metaxas’s tweet and his recent appointment as Senior Fellow at Liberty University’s Falkirk Center speaks volumes about the current state of white evangelical support for Donald Trump.
— Ryan Helfenbein (@RHelfenbein) May 21, 2020
— Jenna Ellis (@JennaEllisEsq) May 21, 2020
EXCITING NEWS:@ericmetaxas joins Falkirk Center! As a Senior Fellow, Eric adds his breadth of intellect & passion for traditional freedoms to combat the surge of progressive worldviews affecting American society.https://t.co/cc75H7BguS…
— Falkirk Center (@falkirk_center) May 21, 2020
Metaxas will take some heat this weekend on social media, try to defend himself on Monday, and then continue with his Salem Radio program as if nothing has happened. There will be no consequences for this racist tweet because it will garner ratings. The Trump base will love it. Actually, it will probably do much to strengthen Metaxas’s brand. This is the current state of Christian radio. As Wehner notes above, it is time for Christian leaders with a platform to step-up. Robert Jeffress, Franklin Graham, Jack Graham, Greg Laurie, Ralph Reed, Paula White, David Barton, and Tony Perkins won’t do it. Neither will Al Mohler or Wayne Grudem. Who will it be?
I think it was GOP operative Rick Wilson who said “everything Trump touches dies.”