My dad was once fired for converting a black woman (sister Perry). Dad studied with her and baptized her, but there was a contingency in the congregation that suggested she attend a predominantly black church. Dad rebuffed that suggestion, and for this he was fired. I know of another gospel preacher who at about the same time, in a neighboring state, was handed the same fate the weekend he baptized a black couple. Thankfully, as the decades have wore on, this mentality has changed and, in many places, disappeared. For several years, I preached in a congregation wherein of the five elders three were white and two were black. The most noteworthy thing about our racially diverse congregation is that race was an utter non-factor. We just didn’t think about it or talk about it. Such was my personal background, and such has been my experience as an adult.
To say that racial tension is mounting and emotion about race-related matters runs high is perhaps to understate the current state of things. The last 12 months has given rise to such slogans as “hands up, don’t shoot” and “black lives matter.” Racial oppression and racial prejudice are part of our nation’s (and at times the church’s) past, and sadly, like lying, stealing, and murder, prejudice is a sin that will never be fully eradicated—by whatever race toward whatever race.
Among certain extreme radicals, however, who seem to come to the forefront to foment and agitate racial strife through such provocative slogans as the aforementioned ones, there is an utter hypocrisy that we should not ignore. As Christians, we must understand that all lives of every race matter. While the activists focus narrowly on one specific situation in our society, they have chosen to ignore so many others.
- Do the lives of unborn black children matter? Have you read the history of Margaret Sanger, the mother of the “Planned Parenthood” organization? She and her colleagues advocated abortion particularly as a means of racial eugenics (deliberate efforts meant to control the population growth of specific ethnicities)(Sanger, “The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda,” Birth Control Review, Oct., 1921; “Birth Control and Racial Betterment,” ibid., Feb., 1919; et al). “An African-American woman is almost five times likelier to have an abortion than a white woman, and a Latina more than twice as likely” (Zoe Dutton, The Atlantic, 9/22/14, via http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5808a1.htm?s_cid=ss5808a1_e).
- Do the lives of kidnapped African girls matter? The media has largely been silent and organized protests in any of our racial communities conspicuously absent regarding the wanton kidnapping and abuse of female students from Chibok, Nigeria, in April, 2014. Boko Haram, Muslim terrorists, took these children from what were recognized as “Christian” schools and populations (Marie Arana, “Why Nigeria’s kidnapped schoolgirls are worth more than gold,” The Washington Post, 5/15/14).
- Do the eternal lives of blacks (red, yellow, whites, etc.) matter? The greatest threat to a person, regardless of race, is eternal separation from God! Yet, every day without fail, there are those of every race who die unprepared to meet Him in the judgment. Where is the outcry and outrage? We should be less concerned with social justice than we are with spiritual grace!
Mistreatment of people because of the color of their skin is deplorable and unconscionable. But, we need to make sure that we approach the issue without a myopic view. We need the eyes of Christ and the mind of Christ in this and every other matter!