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.