Since May 25, 2020, when George Floyd was brutally and unnecessarily killed by a Minneapolis policeman demonstrating what police brutality looks like, protests and eventually also riots have struck nearly every city and hamlet in the United States. Calls for racial justice, reforming or defunding police departments, rejecting what some see as “systemic racism” characterizing all of American society, noting “Black lives matter,” and a host of related or tangential issues are ringing loudly across the land.
To say race and/or racism are complicated issues is to make a profound understatement. But they are, and they “complexify” still further by mixing with many other issues and agendas in the noisy public square.
These are some of my thoughts on race and/or racism, attempting to make some sense, to create order from chaos, for now, for I like any living human being can and will likely change, though I hope for reasons rooted in a thorough understanding of my own Christian worldview.
- God created every human being “in his image,” and as such each person is temporally and eternally significant, possesses dignity, and is the highest order of creation (Genesis 1:26-27).
- All human beings, whatever their gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, or any other demographic, is who they are because the Sovereign God created them for his purposes: “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands” (Acts 17:26).
- While demographics are important, they are not the ultimate definition of a human beings’ character or value: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
- “Black lives matter” is not ipso facto a contradiction of or challenge to the statement “All lives matter.” Both statements are true. Likely most who use the phrase “Black lives matter” are simply pointing out the emphasis or the need of the moment, that Black lives have perhaps not been valued sufficiently and this must change. “All lives matter” or “Blue lives matter” are true. Undoubtedly some who use any of these phrases do so to push back at the other position, like a statement that my Dad is tougher than your Dad. But what does it matter? Most of this back and forth about phrases is a sideshow. What really matters is how Blacks and Whites and other races can and should respect each other and live well together in the same space. So it does not offend me for someone to say, “Black lives matter.” I agree. This does not mean I devalue others.
- The organization Black Lives Matter is hugely problematic. The leaders describe themselves as Marxist, the organization has periodically supported violence, the organization is pro abortion on demand, “queer affirming,” which means an aggressive promotion of LGBTQ+ lifestyles, and anti-Western family positions, all perspectives at odds with Christianity. I do not support Black Lives Matter.
- Support for abortion, specifically Planned Parenthood, is one of the greatest threats to Black lives in American culture. While Blacks represent 13% of the US population they account for 36% of abortions, most through Planned Parenthood. This is one killer that must be stopped.
- I think I understand the desire of many to see Confederate statues come down. It is true that some of these statues were erected as a statement about how the Old South would rise again and as a means of reinforcing Jim Crow laws. So while I don’t believe that removing statues somehow changes history, nor do I believe we must sanitize history, nor do I support mobs ripping down statutes at will rather than through due process, I don’t think hanging on to Confederate statues is necessary or worthy.
- I reject the riots and mob action that first followed then overwhelmed and displaced legitimate peaceful protest. Lawless, anarchistic mobs accomplish nothing but destruction, endangering peoples’ lives, ruining property and livelihoods—often of the people the mob purportedly supports—and they undermine law and order, peace, justice, the democratic process, and social well-being. Defending mobs as “protestors” as some in media and some politicians have done is clueless and irresponsible.
- Ripping down or defacing statues of great Americans, all in the name of racial purity, is a farce. No one who ever lived is without fault, yet many have accomplished great achievements on behalf of all people. We choose to honor them accordingly. And if it is a cause you wish to support, you can bank on greater resistance if what you do makes no sense, like defacing statues of Abraham Lincoln or Gen. U.S. Grant or the 54th(Black) Regiment of Massachusetts, etc.
- Racism exists. It will always exit, because it lies in the deceitful, sinful heart of all human beings. Racism is not just a “White problem.” All people whatever their race can be or may have been guilty of racism at some time. Racism will always be with us. But this does not mean we should ignore it, much less advance or excuse it. We work to remove and eliminate it because we are to “love our neighbor as ourselves.”
- There are bad and good cops, bad and good lawyers, bad and good politicians, bad and good Whites, Blacks, and more. Bad and good are not determined by race or ethnicity or profession. I do not believe all cops are racist, nor do I believe—nor can it be statistically demonstrated—that cops are hunting Black people. I do not believe the criminal justice system or the economy, much less the country, is in every way, systemically, racist. Yet I believe racism exists within all this. So I am in favor of learning, of criminal justice or police practice reform but not “defund the police,” which I believe is naïve if not stupid on the face of it.
- I believe in the Civil Rights laws of the 1960s. They are in place, along with much legal precedent reinforcing them. If these laws were enforced, or more effectively, if people of all races acted morally and responsibly before God, we would not need more laws. We need moral recommitment and revival.
- Despite what some on the Left are saying, I believe the United States of America, for all of its fits and faults, for all of its checkered history—like each of us—is still the freest, most open, most economically accessible, least racist country, still “the last best hope of earth.”
- I see no reason why, realizing that many Black Americans have struggled or suffered the effects of racism, that the American people should not discuss this problem and take reasonable actions to change the social system. To do this is simply caring for our fellow human beings even as we recognize that someday we will likely need them to care for us. So I support reform or racial reconciliation and justice discussions and do not see them as an attack somehow upon what’s good in America.
- With Abraham Lincoln, I would say, “Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword as was said three thousand years ago so still it must be said 'the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.' "With malice toward none with charity for all with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right let us strive on to finish the work we are in to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan ~ to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."
- Race is part of the variety, indeed the beauty, of God’s creation. Race is a gift of God. Racism is sin. We are called of God to live justly, to love our neighbors, to bless and do no harm, for one and all.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020
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