How do people who think of themselves as decent Christians support politicians like Donald Trump and Roy Moore? How do they champion policies that discriminate and disadvantage and sometimes even do violence?
Latin American theologian Marcella Althaus-Reid identified decency as a concept utilized within colonialism and patriarchy to ensure maintenance of the social order that benefited wealthy, white, male colonizers.* What was outside the approved behaviors of wealthy white men became “indecent.”
Althaus-Reid notes in Latin American culture referring to a man as decent means he is economically honest and proper in his social exchanges. A decent woman is one who doesn’t engage in sexual behavior outside monogamous heterosexual marriage. She says these decency codes control men and women’s behaviors, politically and personally, and keep dominant social, political, economic, and religious structures intact. Christianity has often participated in and reinforced these norms of decency and the oppressive institutions they sustain.