DECATUR, Georgia (PNS) — The Rev. Dr. Emilie Townes brought last week’s Migration and Border Crossings conference at Columbia Theological Seminary to a close, summarizing what attendees had been hearing the past two days.
“The times we are in are a hot mess or a post-modern, Shakespearian fresh hell,” Townes said during her closing keynote address Saturday afternoon.
Summarizing a nation where tax cuts have been of little benefit to lower-income Americans and there are myriad reasons for people to protest, she noted the similar themes of theological conferences that were generating buzz in her home base at the Vanderbilt Divinity School: the one she was addressing, about immigration, and an upcoming conference at Princeton University, Christianity and White Supremacy: Heresy and Hope.
The latter topic came up numerous times during the Columbia conference, particularly at the morning plenary session, Consequences of Migration, led by legal scholar Khaled Beydoun. In his talk, “The Roots and Rise of Xenophobic Nationalism,” Beydoun enumerated how the law helped establish the United States as a white Christian nation, despite the egalitarian rhetoric of some of the nation’s founders such as Thomas Jefferson.