Quote of the month: "If you really want to make a friend, go to someone's house and eat with him... the people who give you their food give you their heart” ~ Cesar Chavez
The Bible says in Genesis 1:27 that "God created humankind in God's own image, in the image of God, created them male and female." Later in Genesis 1:31 the Bible says, "God saw all that was created, and it was very good." When we combine these two essential passages from Genesis, there is no basis for racism. Racial justice is a moral problem - it is a spiritual problem.
I was watching a press conference that was going along fine until I heard the Secretary of Housing & Urban Development say, “There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less. But they too had a dream.” (watch and read here). I am deeply troubled by this fundamental misconception that somehow slaves were immigrants. Immigrants come to this country willingly - not on the bottom of slave ships, chained to one another, malnourished and soon to be the property of another person - not giving up their lives of prosperity and roots, which were plentiful in Africa. I am not personally attacking Secretary Carson (as I am sure that he is a fine person); but a Texas school textbook published by McGraw-Hill referred to slaves as “helpers” and “workers” in 2015 (see news article). The company later issued an apology, and decided to rewrite the textbook, but still has not published an updated version in 2017. There seems to be a natural inclination to assuage the atrocities of slavery, and its sustained impacts on the African American community; however, doing this does not make anything better for anyone. The first step toward solving a problem is acknowledging this problem exists.
On Religious Discrimination
There has been an outbreak of heinous attacks across the country, committed against Jewish cemeteries with the defacing of tombstones and racial slurs. These attacks have mainly occurred in Pennsylvania, Missouri, New York, and New Jersey, with hundreds of graves being disturbed. This harrows my heart, because I can only imagine the grief and frustration that these families can feel for their loved ones. Burial sites are supposed to be sacred grounds; I do not say this to condone acts of terror committed elsewhere, but I must ask myself: “Where are we safe?” If not our homes or churches, one could only hope to finally have their bodily remains safe and in peace in the cemetery. My thoughts and prayers are with those who have been afflicted with these malicious acts of terror.
How are we acting?
Amos 6:1 says “Woe to you who are complacent.” Then the Bible lists the things that people who felt secure were doing (dining, laying on bed, drinking, listening to music and much more). And at the very end of Amos 6, it says, “But you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph.” In many ways, it can be easy for us to remain complacent in our thinking and our actions regarding communities of color who are hurting, and just offer a sympathetic answer of pity: “Oh, that’s such a shame. Um um um.” And that is the end of our road. I am asking that we become more involved, to actually and intentionally stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters and others who are hurting and in need of our help. Can you give your time? Can you give a donation? Can you sign an on-line petition at change.org? What can you do to move beyond sympathy - to empathy - to action?
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