The Capitalist Class needs the Managerial Class not just to manage and properly allocate resources and personnel in order to efficiently complete tasks. It also needs managers – collectively as a class – in order to keep the Working Class in line. The managerial class exists to remind the Working Class who is in charge and does so through favors, punishment, and clear or implicit lines of demarcation such as rules, manners, and social boundaries.
When the workers organize, it is up to the Managerial Class to stop them using whatever tools are at their disposal: intimidation, threats, commiseration of faux-relationships, firings, and pleas for unity and understanding. The unity pleas and misinformation usually come before organizing actions, but it is the same idea wherein employers are on the same side as employees. You may have seen or at least heard of anti-union/anti-collective agency videos in workplaces such as Target and Walmart. You’re undoubtedly familiar with all of the classic tropes about “lazy, unworthy” unions and how they destroy productivity and destroy the workplace. The Managerial Class has to believe that unions are destructive, that the “little people” do not really have a voice worth listening to. Either they believe that, or do not care, as they are convinced that their own self-preservation is on the line.
So it comes as no surprise that White American Evangelicalism acts much like Managerial Class as that is its social, organizational, and economic background. WAEs view churches as workplaces to be managed and congregants as workers to be managed. To keep the workers-as-congregants in line, managers-as-pastors threaten them with excommunication and hell, try to cajole them, remind them that they’re on the same side and, when all else fails, remind the congregant-workers that they will surely be fired-as-sent-to-hell.
When a group of White American Evangelicals find themselves cast out by another group of managers, they redraw definitions of Evangelicalism in their own image and set up their own workplace. So now a wider group of workers are allowed in the workplace/church, but there is no fundamental change. Congregants-as-workers are still being manipulated for capital, but the broadening of the inclusive circle is simply about survival, simply about retooling and reforming the Capitalist system of the Western church, rather than making it more like a democratic institution that incorporates the people it is supposed to serve and operate as. And while the threats of hell may not be evident, they call for unity and make meaningless gestures towards reconciling rifts. They still operate as if each person were autonomous and within a class-and-race hierarchy. They co-opt the language of the Working Class and the oppressed but do not acknowledge present realities. And when the Oppressed talk back, the Manager Class ignores them – perhaps because, like their Manager Class peers, they desire to be the Next Capitalists.
In this New Evangelicalism, women are allowed to preach, but only a nice feminism can be shared. Lesbians, gays, and bisexuals are “welcomed” – but only under similar auspices. Don’t cross the line; don’t question well-meaning yet harmful allies. Transgender people are invisible, of course. And People of Color and People with Disabilities? Only as far as they are agreeable. Managers gotta manage!
This New, post-complementarian, post-World Vision Evangelicalism is still heteronormative White Male dominated. Because, after all, Managerial Class.