Western Chauvinism

I’m about to use the term “big tent” a lot.

I don’t know if that’s a common term that people still use so I’ll explain it, please forgive the over explaining nature of this description. But everything I’m about to write depends on knowing what I mean by that praise.

The idea is that within a social or political movement you have to construct a space for movement.

The metaphor of the tent being that you’ve created a specific space under a tent.

The smaller your tent, the smaller and less diverse the group that fits under it.

A bigger tent just means you’ve created more room for your intended group, making it more diverse and potentially more influential as a result.

I see a lot of people talk about “White Supremacy” and I think we’re making a mistake to think that way.

A great into to the topic is the Proud Boys.

They self described as Western Chauvinists. This is actually a perfect way to understand how they are creating a bigger tent.

The general design of the ideology is nested. It starts with:

(Western Chauvinism)

that then has other ideologies nested within it.

Next we find:

(Western (nationalism) Chauvinism)

Often then we move to:

((Christian) Nationalism)

Then to:

(((Eurocentric) Christian) Nationalism)

In this case the “Euro” is about the specific cultural aspects of European society and history, including religion and colonialism and imperialism and so on.

This attracts many racist ideologies for sure:

((((White) Eurocentric) Christian) Nationalism)

But the movement in the US has been widening the tent to move past those racist ideologies. This is very notable in many Evangelical circles.

As a result you’ll find any number of variations nested within the movement of Western Chauvinism

In the minds of many Americans it doesn’t go much deeper than:

((Christian) Nationalism)

leaving behind the Eurocentrism for a much more generic western-centric ideology. Again, particularly attractive to Evangelicals of any ethnicity.

In many Evangelical circles the focus on Western or European culture is too broad and they have a much more specific:

(((USA-centric) Christian) Nationalism).

In both these cases the ancestral component is much weaker or less influential. This entices more people from every ethnicity.

The development of Evangelical ideologies that American exists in some kind of covenantal relationship with God similar to historical Israel are particularly strong and have made pervasive inroads into Latin, Asian, and African groups (both African immigrant communities and historical communities of the descendants of American slaves). In many cases those groups are the fastest demographics of the American Evangelicals.

But you’ll also find the same big tent outreach with the religious elements. In some cases you can replace the religious affiliation:

(((Eurocentric) Pagan) Nationalism)

Or

(((Eurocentric) Areligious) Nationalism)

This attempt at big tent proselytizing has been quite successful for a number of reasons.

The result of the expansion of Evangelicalism across every ethnic demographic.

The result of appeals to some construct of traditional masculinity.

The result of red-scaring tactics in communities with pervasive issues trusting government institutions.

They’ve even started spreading the ideology outside the US in parts of Africa and Latin American.

“White Supremacy” is not the right term.

The tent is getting bigger.

You can find evidence here.

And here.

And here.

Ignoring the expansion of the tent is dangerous.

Barack Obama frequently gets criticized for his criticisms of those he generally tends to agree with.

I imagine that’s the general reaction I’ll get.

But he does it for the same reason I am.

Being precise with our language matters

The Evangelical Ethnicity

(Links in Blue)

Usually ethnicity is used as an overly complicated term that is very difficult to pin down

So I’m going to make it simple;
Ethnicity is a combination of ancestry and culture.

How that plays out looks different from group to group

but there it is.

And that’s what Evangelicalism has become.

It’s not a denominational distinction,

as in

“That’s an Evangelical Church over there, and that one over there is not!”

Evangelicalism has become a way of identifying yourself as part of a broader cultural identity

(The Last Temptation)

Identity centered on a culture of Biblical Literalism, Appeal to Tradition, Hostility to Science, and Political Conservativism

(👆Just to name a few)

There are Evangelical Catholics now, Evangelical United Methodists, PC(USA) Evangelicals. Doesn’t matter the denomination, the culture is everywhere, including the Mainline Churches!

…but now an ugly serpent is slowly uncoiling itself, slithering from the base of Evangelicalism.

Till now it’s been hidden.

It’s always been there, but for years it’s been lurking in the background.

Now it’s come into the light.

It’s the other aspect of ethnicity:

Ancestry

For decades the Evangelical identity has been growing in influence and exposure, coming to define Christianity in the public square

And the whole time it’s leadership has maintained that ancestry isn’t a component!

We’re not racist!
Everyone’s welcome!
We’re all brothers in Christ!

I guess it’s possible those leaders meant it.

(Demanding Change)

But their congregants did NOT all believe it

Ancestry is clearly woven into the Evangelical identity.
Intimately
Irrevocably

The cries are clear:
We’re losing “our country”!
We have to take “our country” back!

It’s not subtle; the “our” part is ancestry.

(Taking “Our Religion” back too)

Call it race if you want (a ridiculously unscientific fiction)

But it’s been revealed as a cornerstone of Evangelical identity.

Some that have come from the “Evangelical Denominations” have now realized they can’t call themselves Evangelical anymore.

(Just listen to The Liturgists podcast)

(The Liturgists)

These former Evangelicals are the few who actually believed that ancestry wasn’t a part of the identity.

Now they see it and it’s undeniable.

(I could no longer ignore)

It shouldn’t surprise them.

Some stay. Trying to battle this rise in ancestry as central to the identity

(Trying to Fight)

Not surprisingly the most vocal opponents are the leaders who recognize the change in demographics (and don’t want to lose their new base)

(Fighting for the groups that we need to take “Our Country” back from)

Still

The truth plain; Evangelicalism is in the process of fully transforming into Evangelical Ethnic Identity

And the contingent that has conjured that identity around European Ancestry

is LOUD

Words are Dumb

Words are meaningless

Seriously

They mean nothing

We give words their meaning by using them

That’s why a word’s meaning changes over time

One person uses a word to communicate an idea

Then another uses it to communicate their own idea, which may be relatively similar or wildly different.

That process continues, each person using words for different purposes and passing on those subtleties in meaning. Eventually any given word will have an array of definitions.

Just look in a dictionary. Some words have a laundry list of uses.

Eventually new uses will be added to those lists as we use words in new, inventive ways.

Some uses will get deleted from the list. That’s what it means if you come across word definition that has archaic next to it

https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/whats-the-difference-between-archaic-and-obsolete

The definition is archaic because no one has used the word that way for a long time.

We even conjure up new words.

Like meme

Or blog

We also alter words to add meaning to them, like irregardless

(which is totally a word)

https://www.facebook.com/businessinsider/videos/10154743619774071/

Words are slippery and malleable They are also INCREDIBLY important

Words are absolutely the best way we have to communicate.

Music, painting, & other artistic expressions are all good ways to communicate our ideas to each other in a general way.

But words can do so with precision.

If I want to know you, the best way to do so if through your words

If you want to know me, the best way will be through my words.

I have to examine the words I come across. Think long and hard about how they are being used. How they were meant to create meaning by the person using them. Try to feel my way through their slipperiness and find what the speaker or writer wanted me to know.

I can’t assume that others use words the same way I do.

I’ve come to realize that so many of the problems we have in the world are the results of not taking the time to exam the words we come across. Those words are meant to create meaning and if we don’t try to see how the person is using the words we can easily miss what they meant.

Grammar, Google, Dictionaries, all good tools to uncover meaning.

But they’re not enough to capture the nuance of how we use, alter, and recreate meaning through language.

Words and language will always be defined by use, just as much or more so than convention.

Think on the words others chose to use

Think on the words you chose to use

I know that I get more out of every interaction with other people when I’m able to consider the words, then move past them to what they mean.

Don’t get caught up on words, they’re dumb. Look for MEANING.

http://www.latimes.com/socal/burbank-leader/opinion/tn-blr-me-0805-aword-20170803-story.html