Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Tucson Pastor Shares Her Thoughts on the Fight to Save Oak Flat & the Harms of Christian Privilege

Posted By on Wed, Jul 15, 2015 at 10:46 AM

Southside Presbyterian Church's the Rev. Alison Harrington is speaking the truth on the Huffington Post.

(Southside Presbyterian has been part of a new emergence of the Sanctuary Movement. The church has housed undocumented mother Rosa Robles Loreto for nearly one year as she fights her deportation order.)

To paraphrase, this country is continuing to do what's been done since the conquest: devaluing and trying to destroy all that is sacred to Native American tribes, over some man-made rule that Christian religious traditions and practices are above the beliefs and traditions of Native Americans. The most recent example being Oak Flat.

Harrington points to an op-ed in the New York Times by Lydia Millet, where she says that if Oak Flat were a Christian, Jewish or Muslim holy site, no senator "who wished to remain in office would dare to sneak a backdoor deal for its destruction into a spending bill—no matter what mining company profits or jobs might result."

As the fight to save Oak Flat from the hooves of money-hungry politicians and Resolution Cooper mining, be aware of Christian privilege. "And I must confess that as much as I think about privilege related to my race, class and sexual orientation, I have not spent enough time thinking about what it means to have Christian privilege," she writes.

Here's part of her post. I highly recommend reading the rest, here
Of course, there are those who will argue that somehow Christianity is under attack and perhaps not surprisingly, their arguments sound a lot like the arguments of those who say the Confederate Flag shouldn't be removed. But the truth is that not only are our religious traditions respected but they are defended viciously from every corner when there is even a perceived slight to us. And even as these same people fight to defend constitutionally guaranteed religious freedoms, the religious traditions of native peoples are outright dismissed and denigrated and at best co-opted for our own enlightenment and entertainment. Its time for us to be honest about this privilege and the way in which this mentality is threatening to destroy Oak Flat.

In the beginning of July, members of the Apache Stronghold began a journey to Washington, D.C. in their struggle to defend Oak Flat. As they journey, it is my hope that white Christians might also be inspired to begin a journey of our own as well; a journey deep into our own history and religious traditions; a journey of courage as we seek to be painstakingly honest with ourselves about the way in which our faith and our holy texts have been manipulated and used as a deadly weapon against this earth and against native people. We need to be really honest with ourselves about our own complicity in the mentality that sees no problem treating sacred land like a commodity and the religious practices of native people as something less than our own practices.

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