Speaker at PA Catholic College Tells Audience to 'Crucify Their Whiteness' and Accept 'Hopelessness'
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A private Catholic university in Pennsylvania recently hosted a talk that aimed to explore how one "begins to create a different cultural foundation upon which to base one's faith."
The College Fix reports that Carlow University in Pittsburgh presented, "Rejecting White Christianity" on March 3. The event featured Miguel De La Torre, a professor of social ethics and Latinx studies at the Iliff School of Theology in Colorado.
De La Torre maintained that white people should "crucify their whiteness," accept "hopelessness," and encouraged people to "ethically lie" to correct past errors.
He started the lecture by criticizing evangelicals who voted for Donald Trump, according to a video of the event.
"When eight out of ten white evangelicals voted for a person who is completely against everything Christianity stands for, I don't know what Christianity they are practicing," De La Torre said. "But I want nothing to do with that Christianity."
He noted the difference between "white theology and ethics" from "Latinx ethics," saying that the word white does not relate to skin color, rather it's an "ontological concept."
"Those of us who are colored, some of us can also be white. But the good news is there is salvation," he said. De La Torre also pointed out that this type of salvation means "we (who are colored) have to crucify our colonized minds, and for our white brothers and sisters, they need to crucify their whiteness."
His presentation addressed the concept of "hope," which he denied as a "gift of the spirit." He then offered his own definition of the word.
"We embrace Euro-centric concepts like hope because it helps to pacify the oppressed during their oppression," he said. "It leads to spiritual liberation, and ignores physical liberation."
He continued, "I'm defining hope through my own Latino roots. In Spanish, hope is esperanza. Esperanza comes from the word esperar, which means 'to wait.' And we're not quite sure what we're waiting for, or how long we're waiting for—and what we're waiting for may never come. This hope in Spanish does not mean the same thing in English."
He also referred to hope as "a middle-class excuse to do nothing."
De La Torre ended his speech by prompting the crowd to recognize that "embracing hopelessness is to be propelled forward into practice and action."
Action for De La Torre includes, what he labeled as, a "trickster ethic" to reshape civilization.
The principle embraces ideas such as, "how to ethically lie so we can discover what is true, how to ethically steal so we can feed those who are hungry… (and) how to disrupt the structures that have trained us to oppress ourselves and to take upon our body our own discipline," he stated.
"This empire was built on stolen resources and cheap labor," De La Torre explained. "So hospitality is really the wrong word. What we need is restitution … By seeing this dilemma through the eyes of the margin, we come to a very different understanding of what the Christian response should be."
When asked where God stands in his ideas, De La Torre answered by saying he is "not a theologian" and is, therefore, more focused on "dealing with what's going on than trying to figure out the theology."
Christian group, TFP Students Action, rejected the last month's event, saying it was contradictory to Carlow's spirit.
"According to De La Torre, even Jesus was a racist and had to learn not to be one," TFP Students Action said. " As proof of his 'trickster' solution, in the same interview with Brew Theology, he states that 'Satan helped Jesus figure out his ministry' and that Satan, seen as the personification of evil, is a 'medieval construction.' Accordingly, he claims Satan is not chaos but rather order and that Our Lord was chaos, which 'brings salvation to the oppressed.'"
Carlow University Public Relations & Communications Manager, Sean McFarland, told The College Fix that De La Torre's speech was an opportunity for the university to "expose students to a variety of worldly perspectives and encourage them to think critically and individually on how they feel about the topic(s) in question."
McFarland added, "Carlow University is proud of our Catholic heritage and mercy mission, which welcomes all. As such, the University welcomes respectful discourse and multiple perspectives, including being open to hosting speakers like Dr. De La Torre whose topic may engender thoughtful reflection and dialogue."
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