Thursday, March 07, 2013

Racism? Still? Oh Yes.


So many people, overwhelmingly white, suggest that racism does not exist in America or that it exists only rarely. Because we have now many black doctors and lawyers and elected officials, to say nothing of the President, we assume that racism is all but eradicated. Oh contraire mon ami. Racism not only exists in America, but it still exists within the evangelical community. Yes, we love to point to a black friend or two, or several black families that attend our church as proof that we are freewheeling civil rights advocates who see no color at all. Yes, that is what we tell ourselves.

But the truth is that as long as men are fallen racism from all sides will still exist in the hearts and minds of men. Case in point. Part of the 1964 Voting Rights Act insures that no state or county can change voting laws that restrict in any way the free practice of voting, especially as it pertains to race and poverty. Any law that changes the practice of voting must be approved by federal oversight. Usually, though, learned men can hide their true feelings by manipulating words which are so nebulous that any direct accusation of racism is can be easily deflected. But every once in a while someone opens their mouths and allows their true feelings to come forth in revealing terms which have no linguistic buffer.

Justice Antony Scalia deemed section five of the Voting Rights Act as a “racial entitlement”. Now most of us white people would see that as a little brunt and insensitive, however it far more racially savage than that. In an unguarded moment Scalia has allowed a brief looking glass into the racial prism that still exists in this culture. The county in Alabama that brought this case to the Supreme Court was motivated by one man and funded by several right wings groups. And let is be known that Shelby County, Alabama has attempted to pass 240 voting laws that were blocked by section 5 oversights because they were discriminatory.

So you would think that an educated man who is so well versed in law and so esteemed by the academic community that he was appointed to the Supreme Court would be so enlightened that no hint of racism could ever find its way into his thinking. You would think that but you would be wrong. Most racist speech remains hidden in the kitchen or living room or in a bar or while traveling in a car. But sometimes it inadvertently spills over into the public arena.

This post is about racism or its twin sister prejudice. I want to address some issues which center around two points. First I want believers to see the truth about a fallen culture. And secondly, I want believers to see how racism has infiltrated the church. Do you want a one word expose on prejudice and racism?


In the Senate there is a parliamentary vehicle called a “filibuster”. Any senator can block even a discussion on certain legislation simply by rising to speak and speaking for hours on end. He can read a book or just babble, it does not matter. It is an incredible act of insanity. Can you imagine having a big decision to make in your family and someone begins to talk so no decision can be made? Yes, that is how juvenile the government is.

But the longest filibuster ever recorded was in 1957 when Sen. Strom Thurmond spoke for over 24 hours straight. I believe that is even without a bathroom break. And what was the piece of legislation about which Thurmond felt so strongly that he needed to block it? It was a civil rights legislation. And no one knew but Thurmond had “raped” a 15 year old little black maid years before and fathered a mixed child. Now that is some hubris, but he was revered as a great patriot. At least he shared something in common with some of the founding fathers.

Racism is very slippery. It can hide behind talk of socialism, or liberalism, or most anything as long as it is protected from a public revelation. Years ago racism was accepted, but now it is considered objectionable so it must be well hidden. But while these kinds of prejudices are understood within a culture of darkness, they should have no place within the community of faith or in a believer’s life. But, sadly, they still exist and there is little preacher correction from the pulpit against it. In the late eighties I pastured a church when a young couple were living together. But the Lord got a hold of their hearts, and they both professed Christ. The next step was to be married, and they had two children as well. No problem, right?

The man was black and the woman was white. I set the date right after a Sunday morning service. Most people stayed to witness the union, however several “leaders” in the church left because they disagreed with mixed marriages. That sentiment quietly lives within many evangelical hearts. Comments with racial overtones are usually camouflaged, but the attitude still exists. Over many years I have found that unless you face that sin, see it for what it is, you will allow your flesh to cleverly find a place within your heart.

Those of us who grew up in America have been affected by racism both subtle and overt. And when a Supreme Court justice says that a law designed to make sure no law infringes on anyone’s right to vote is a “racial entitlement”, well you know that we have a long way to go. Since the church of Jesus Christ was mostly silent and sometimes complicit in the racism of years gone by, perhaps we can shine the light of Christ this time and openly present the gospel without regard to ethnicity. Until then we can never fully serve Christ.

The church must have a voice that is completely different than all the rest.
When we are called liberal or conservative it is an indictment to us who profess to follow Jesus.


Anonymous said...

I have acquired a Staph infection about 2.5 weeks ago. It all started when I pulled a hang nail off of my right little finger. It bleed some and was tender for a while, then was better. Then the lump under my right arm started growing.

I had to go to a doctor to have him lance the boil. It was not just a large abscess, but several pockets of them. That was little painful to say the least.

I have been on 2 types of anti-biotics and one sulfonimide anti-biotic. Even though I am thru taking all my meds, I still feel ill. My body does not recupperate like it did 35 years ago. The reason for my illness is my immune system is compromised by other meds that I have to take daily.

What I am trying to say in all this, that is how sin gets a foothold in our lives, our congregations, through a very small opening. We are not even aware of the consequences of our actions regarding this sin, so we think all will be ok. Maybe God didn't notice. Before you know it the whole body is sick with a super infection.


Cherie c. said...

Lifting you up in prayer brother Joel.

your sister in Christ Jesus,

Cherie c.

Anonymous said...

Rick-here are some other -isms to be aware of in the evangelical church. They are religicism, ageism and ableism. (Good post.)

Joel- I will pray for you too. I know what it feels like to be sick with a staph infection.

Anonymous said...

Where I grew up, we never had an issue with racism like in the U.S., primarily because there were much fewer minorities where we lived.

So, without experiencing the dreadful segregations and hatred toward African-Americans and others, it is not easy for me to understand where this hate comes from. As an outsider looking in, it paints a clear picture of how our hearts are continually sinful and prideful and our carnal nature always wants to feel superior to others.

If that carnal sin is so prevalent, and if Christ's love is not enough to regenerate that sinner's heart into feeling a personal love for all men, then the church should not boast about itself. Yet the church does boast. And it points the finger, and it rejoices in sinners' misery, or rejoices when liberal men fall. It demands media attention and becomes God's jounalist for sin issues, speaking on radio, tv, any media avenue it can, to praise itself and pat itself on the back that it's the spiritual tower that can save citizens from socialism and godlessness. It has a new agenda, but it's not the great commission. Its new agenda is how to conquer its government and mete out rewards to those who comply and punish those who disobey.

So, yes, it's understandable that the U.S. church can't represent the real Jesus. When one sinner repents and is saved, if he has past sins that he regrets, he will go and make amends if he can. If he was a blatant racist, he'll go to people that he persecuted individually, or as a whole, and ask for their forgiveness. The fruit of his new salvation will show. If the churches during slavery times up to Martin Luther-King's efforts has never once asked the African-American community for genuine forgiveness, then where is the real heart washed by the blood of the Lamb?

Give an ex-pastor/turned tv host/talking head a microphone and he'll attack anti-God socialists and liberal sinners, but never once has he used that microphone as a tool for good; never once does he speak on behalf of true repentant christians and ask all communities that the church has abandoned, turned their face from, and persecuted, for FORGIVENESS.

And what we see today is the reaping of what was sowed yesterday. The church sowed in the "ignore" garden. It didn't clean out it's weeds. And today, it's full of unclean things and until it repents, it will be of no effect.

Anonymous said...

Thank you all for your prayers.


Ramone said...

"In modern America we believe racism to be the property of the uniquely villainous and morally deformed, the ideology of trolls, gorgons and orcs. We believe this even when we are actually being racist... The idea that racism lives in the heart of particularly evil individuals, as opposed to the heart of a democratic society, is reinforcing to anyone who might, from time to time, find their tongue sprinting ahead of their discretion..."


Evelyn S said...

Acts 17:6 says "From one man HE (God) made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth, and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live." Further, Revelation 7:9 says "After this I (John) looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and the Lamb," verse 10 says, "And they cried out in a loud voice: 'Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne and to the Lamb."

Racism is man's idea, instigated by satan's lies. According to God's Word, we all came from one man, Adam. Many church attenders will be bitterly disappointed to learn, (by then it will be too late) that people groups of all colors and cultures will be together worshiping our God throughout all eternity.(Rev 7:9-10)
Christ went to the cross so that "everyone who calls upon His name shall be saved," irregardless of their skin color or station in this life. The fact that our Lord loves variety is manifested throughout all of His creation. What an awesome God!