There are many reasons why I despise racism. But one of those reasons is one that is likely not listed or thought of quickly by many people, and that is this: racism is utterly unintelligent and illogical. And anyone of any race is capable of demonstrating that illogical racist behavior.
I know among some circles it is popular to opine that only whites can be racists (by the way, many certainly are) but the truth is that every race has its racists. The notion that only whites can be racists is not an idea to take seriously; it is merely a salve to soothe many a wicked conscience.
I was recently confronted with a case of racism, one that bothered me both because of its wickedness, but also because of the very illogicality I mentioned above. I posted about it thusly: My friends, I have a conundrum, a vexing spiritual, emotional, and mental issue. I notice a man just wrote “All white people are ****** devils!” And now I am not sure what to do...
Maybe not for the reason you think. I could probably deal with the reality of being a devil, I suppose. At least I would know. But, as you may guess from my amazing year round tan, I am probably only about 85 percent white. So, am I 85 percent a devil? And if so, what is the other 15 percent? Is it possible to be an angel/devil mix? Or is there some other entity I could be comprised of? Could I be 85 percent devil and 15 percent poltergeist? Or how about 85 percent devil and 15 percent zombie?
I mean, I don't exactly have a taste for human brains, but how does one know? I have always considered myself simply a hillbilly with a great tan, but now, who knows?
In desperation, I turned to a higher authority... No, not the Lord, the President. But, as it turns out, he apparently is also part devil, roughly 50 percent, in fact. So what are he and I to do? We could try an exorcism, I suppose, but can the part devil be cast out while leaving whatever else is in there alone? And if the devil part is cast out, will my skin color change as a reflection of the change within me? Or, who knows, maybe there is another way entirely.
Maybe, just maybe, we can decide whether or not someone is a “devil” based on how they behave. Behave like a devil, be considered a devil. Behave like a decent, civilized human being, be considered a decent, civilized human being. Maybe we could, as Martin Luther King Jr. used to say, “Judge men by the content of their character, rather than by the color of their skin.” Just a thought.
I don’t know if that post will change as many hearts as I would like, but I do know this. My Bible tells me in Acts 10:34-35, “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” Acts 17:26 tells me that God “hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth...”
Racism is Biblically, morally wrong. God is not a respecter of persons. All of us came from the blood of Adam, and therefore are, quite literally, related. But to my point above, all of us who came from that one blood would probably be surprised if we learned just how “fractionalized” we have become in our racial makeup through the centuries. There are not very likely many “100 percent anything” on earth.
So everyone slow down and take a few deep breaths. And once you have done so, whoever you are, whatever your color, truly examine your heart. If you hate those of another race, repent. Then you might want to do one more thing; develop some strong ties with other races.
Pastors, have men of other colors into your pulpits to preach. Parishioners, take the gospel and an invitation to church to those lighter or darker than you. And in everyday interactions with other races, smile, be friendly, show the love of Christ. Remember that all of our interactions with others, even the smallest, have a cumulative effect on a society.
In the mean time, pray for me. I am still trying to work out that 85 percent devil/15 percent something else conundrum.
Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church in Mooresboro, N.C., a widely traveled evangelist, and author of several books, including a kid’s fiction book about the Battle of Chickamauga, “Broken Brotherhood.” He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.