Identity Politics: Christian-style

First there was class then race, then gender, then sexual orientation, then disability, then gender identity…you know the list. Identity politics gave us a structure for (post)modern progressive movement. It also gave us pithy politically-conscious conversation like ‘Speaking as a differently-abled, working-class, lesbian Latina sous chef, I would like to note that paprika is relegated to a mere garnish by the colonialist, imperial Europeans represented by the hard-boiled egg.’

Then in mocking response came Rush Limbaugh and the ‘Contract With America’ and a neo-conservative American political movement that took control of the US Congress and White House. The Left has been wringing its hands in despair ever since.

Does this simple 10 point process for creating a social/political identity sound familiar? The Left is more influential than it thinks.

  1. Wake up and realize we’re oppressed.

    We’re the majority, yet we can’t profess our beliefs in public at any school. Can’t even put the Ten Commandments up on the wall at a Courthouse. Can’t preach the Gospel at our government jobs. A fearful society wants us to live dishonest lives hiding in the closet.

    We need to raise consciousness and show people the nature of their oppression. Even if we have to go door to door to do it.

  2. This explains everything that bothers me about the world

    I’ve got a hammer and you look like a nail.

  3. Create like-minded community

    I just don’t feel safe and welcome to be a Christian just anywhere yet. I need to live amongst those who identify as I do. We need to create our own tables at university and separate communities that support our politics. It’s a Christian thing, you wouldn’t understand.

  4. Re-read culture

    We have to re-read history and create new forms of scholarship. Let’s re-interpret our texts to find the hidden ‘x’s. We can uncover the parts of our identity that have been lost by an oppressive society. Abraham Lincoln was a Christian! We can co-opt their signifiers! Glossy Bibles! Derrida for Christ!

  5. The Personal Is Political

    Your personal life is up for discussion because it is political. This isn’t just a private matter anymore. You must ‘ID’ in public as Christian. You need to own your point of view in public so that people give proper credit to where it’s coming from. Whether you’re teaching school or running a government commission or chatting at the water cooler, you need to represent. It’s not enough to just live a Christian life Harriet Miers, we need you to make it political and shout it from the soapbox.

  6. Where are you going to be when the revolution comes?!

    Who you’re sleeping with is our business. Now that the personal is political, your life is up for our evaluation. We will have to work to tell the difference between the folks who just hang out for the comfy community and belonging and those who are true Christians. We have to hold each other accountable for every detail in our personal lives. Unless it gives the other side ammunition. Did we mention that the political is personal too?

  7. Coalition building

    To accomplish our political goals we have make inclusive, uplifting coalitions, reaching out to Evangelicals, Catholics and Mormon churches, all 1,200 Protestant denominations and many others. Yes, we didn’t always get along. But now that we’re oppressed and politics are so much more important, things have changed! It’s so much more cohesive to focus on what we have in common: Jesus and homosexuals.

  8. Change through culture

    It’s important for young Christians to have role models in public. We will agitate and pray for representation in government and reach out through culture. We will create our own film festivals. We will take pride in Lee Ann Womack and Mel Gibson and all of our famous preachers and politicians.

  9. Eat Your Own

    We will fight against tokenism. We don’t want to just have a symbolic Christian. We will work to make sure we get one who will shout their true identity and identity politics from the rooftops. The personal is political, remember? Harriet Miers understands that now.

  10. Symbols of membership

    We can spread our ideas through cool tee shirts and slogans. This kind of stuff really lets people know we mean business and helps them find other Christians like them. A bracelet, button or even bumper sticker or a painted plate hanging in a wall bracket can help you feel less alone in the world and make political change.

    Of course there are sometimes people who just like to hang out for the cool music and fashion. But that’s a risk we have to take to be true to our identity.

  11. Go to protests and rallies to find dates

    At the end of the identity politics arc: The political is good when it helps me personally.

Identity Politics Then and Now

Communes Megachurches
Leg Hair Close shave
Take Back the Night button WWJD bracelet
Lilith Fair Promise Keeper meetings
coming out coming out
A simple rational idea that better the world A simple faith that can better the world
Live/work lofts Exurbs
Co-ops Self-enclosed community
Berkeley Colorado Springs