US Evangelicals’ love affair with Donald Trump is wrought up with this tradition of whitening Christianity. Trump is of German and Scottish extraction, and when he was trying to defeat Ben Carson for the presidency, he emphasized his “mainstream” Presbyterianism against Carson’s sectarian 7th Day Adventism. These themes sere all underlain by race (with the implication that African-Americans are more often cultists, as opposed to White Christianity).
And, so, whatever Sallman’s own politics, his famous portrait has a sinister context. White Christians need to come to terms with the century of Aryanized Christianity that ensued from Renan, and which often demonized Jews and Black and brown people. And, yes, let’s put the creepy Nazi art away, guys.