"I am lost before thee, Father! yet I will
Claim of thee my birthright ineffable.
Thou lay'st it on me, son, to claim thee, sire;
To that which thou hast made me, I aspire;
To thee, the sun, upflames thy kindled fire.
No man presumes in that to which he was born;
Less than the gift to claim, would be the giver to scorn."
-- Geo. MacDonald
I challenge anyone to find a reference in the accepted (by the majority of Christians and Jews) canon of
scripture that can be construed to be what we in our times call "race".
Scripture makes reference to "nations" (a political and cultural distinction, not a genetic one) and, sometimes, to a person's appearance. David was "ruddy", and “fair”
in some translations; Esau (whose name means "Hairy"), who was also described as red or "reddish"; the Shulamite bride is self-described as "dark", or in some translations "black", but, she herself says that’s because she’s sun-darkened (while
working the fields?), and was, therefore, different in appearance from the other ladies of the King's court, who did not labor so.
While there are other references to appearance, “ethnicity” and nationality, the most explicit of them
is actually used in saying that such things are not to be considered in our “Christian” relations, one with the other (Colossian 3:5-14). I can find no other significant references in scripture explicitly identifying anyone by inherited genetic
characteristics such as skin color or eye color, hair texture or color or amount, or any of those kinds of things that we identify with our concept of “race”.
Christ's ancestry includes people from several ancient nations, clans, and tribes
of the middle-east, SW Asia, and, possibly, Africa. When His followers finally behold Him, face to face, as we are promised we will, I think many of us with predominantly northern European genetic backgrounds are going to be surprised at His relative swarthiness
and general appearance as a middle-easterner – I don’t think He looks much like Scandinavian, Teuton, Anglo-Saxon or other Western or Northern European people (but I’m sure looking forward to finding out). In fact, In our world today,
Christians of “color” outnumber “white” Christians by a considerable margin. Assuming (without any real scriptural basis) that our “resurrected” and eternal bodies will have many of the same characteristics as our
mundane ones, I suspect that what “white folks” there are in heaven will be a minority – and I know that such things will be of very little or no significance, anyway.
Simply put: the concept of “race” – the
idea that human beings can be divided up into three or four “collectives” (Caucasian, Negro, Oriental, and/or “First Peoples”/Native American – or “White”, “Black”/”Brown”, “Yellow”
and “Red”) based on the genetic inheritance of skin color, eye shape, amount and texture of hair, etc. is, to a very large degree, arbitrary, artificial and, outside of certain medical considerations of genetic propensities for disease or physical
Not only is it almost impossible to accurately account for genetic inheritance based on anything other than medical and genealogical analysis, attempting to do so for any other reason than understanding our familial backgrounds
or targeting better medical care, leads to unnecessary confusion, error, inappropriate alienation, and SIN.
Which brings me back to the opening quotation from Scottish (a cultural, “tribal” and “national” categorization –
not a “racial” one) “Preacher” MacDonald…
I was made to become a Child of God, and to live in supportive harmony with my brothers and sisters of His family. That familial relationship is based in the content
of their character and their allegiance to Him, not any other factor – nothing else but that, whatsoever (1 Samuel 16:7; John 13:34; Acts 10:34-36; 17:26; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:28; 1 Timothy 5:21; James 2:1-4).
The contents of
MY character and the quality of my judgments about others (by which I will be judged – Proverbs 24:23; Matthew 7:2; Luke 6:37-42; John 7:24; Romans 2:1-11; 1 John 2:11), and the truth about my relationship to God and my fellows (Exodus 22:21; Leviticus
19:33-34; 2 Chronicles 19:6-7; Mark 12:11; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13; Philippians 2:3-4; 1 John 3:15-16, 4:19-21) are displayed in my reactions to the actions of others, and in my own actions towards authorities and my fellow human beings.
I saying that “we all just need to behave as Christians ought”? Yes I am, and of course, I’m quite aware that the trolls and the mockers (if any have bothered to read this far) are sharpening their half-witty rhetorical knives with
glee in preparation to respond, but mine is the same message preached by all the greatest leaders of free peoples and civil-rights advocates, most notably the Rev. Dr. M. L. King, Jr; they just said it just in different forms, usually.
On a purely secular
level; I note that, as a generally law-abiding citizen (there are both too many and too many absurd laws to believe that I’m not in violation of least some) of this country, I have the responsibility and authority to try to do what I may to help ensure
that our laws are just and that they are enforced fairly and appropriately. The evidence is nearly overwhelming that that is not the case, at this time, nor has it ever really been, despite heroic and costly historic (including the bloodiest war we ever
fought) and on-going efforts by a majority of Americans to make sure that they are more just and more universally enforced in a just and humane manner. Generally speaking, marching and non-violent advocacy may be useful. But intelligent and informed
voting for politicians and lawmakers who respect individual human rights (who are NOT collectivists) is even more so.
And, while we're on the subject of "people in the streets": there's simply no excuse for criminal destruction of property and looting; not by sane adults, anyway. Injustice towards others cannot be justified by injustices experienced
or witnessed – no, not ever. It is either an immature and emotionally unbalanced outburst or a pitiful excuse for criminally self-serving behavior, and it’s the height of “racism” to suggest that some groups may do so because of the
color of their skin or that others may not criticize the behavior because of the color of theirs.
I know what it is to experience
"blind rage" in response to the frustration of feeling helpless in the face of prolonged or systematic abuse. In the home where I was raised in I was targeted for abuse, and I once "went off" on a bully to the point my friends had to pull me off him to save
his life. But, I also know, now, that's not the right way to respond to even targeted abuse.
It may be necessary to wage a strategically planned and disciplined campaign which includes violence to confront and eliminate a systemically abusive system or to forcefully stop abusive and
violent individuals. But the former is WAR, and the latter is law enforcement, and for either to be just, they must be morally conducted and justified as a last resort, as well as disciplined and restrained by the doctrine of minimal force lest they become
as corrupt and wrong as that which they oppose.
Any movement or force that discriminates in the
application of its violent corrections or intellectual prejudices according to so-called "racial criteria" (targeting a genetically-defined collective of "blacks", "whites" or other "races") or indiscriminately attacking people because of their lawful occupation
(such as the "ACAB" slogan) is, simply put: wrong. And the destruction and looting of the property of others who're not associated in any supportive way with the targeting system, even in an all-out war, is simply criminal.
Again, Injustice and abuse of others cannot be morally justified by injustices and abuses experienced or witnessed. Additionally,
Law Enforcement Officers (LEO) officers are not soldiers fighting a war under the jurisdiction of a separate and unique military code of conduct and law, and their operations must be completely distinct from vengeance or punishment. LEO are not to be judges,
juries, and, certainly not executioners.
Totalitarian and other collectivist tendencies in parts of our body politic interfere with efforts to build a more just and humane society in many cases and most jurisdictions. But, the
most severely damaging and ugly collectivist manifestation, right now, is that the normal human intellectual function of discriminating (creating mental categories) among things according to observable likenesses and differences has been twisted by rulers
and authorities and powers that are spiritual forces of evil (Ephesians 6:12) or their minions to cause one the greatest of injustices – “Racism” – the treatment of people as members of an artificially created and falsely categorized
genetically-defined collective. All collectivism is easily twisted by the evil one and His tools into something bad, but “tribalism” of this kind is perhaps the easiest aspect of our humanity to distort in this nasty and destructive way.
It doesn’t matter whether you're accusing an entire group of people, based on their genetic heritage, of ignorance of their “privileges” or you’re suspecting another "collective" of criminal or anti-social tendencies based on their
genetic heritage or national origin, you’re wrong. This twisted “tribalism” is sinful and outside of God’s clearly expressed expectations of His children.
Again, on a purely secular level, I stand in solidarity with those that
say that no criminal or suspected criminal of any ethnicity or genetic heritage under the control of the police ought to be executed by being knelt on, “choked out”, repeatedly shocked, neglected or abused in any manner not directly related to
restraining violent resistance to lawful arrest or custody.
I also believe limited immunity for police officers ought to be much more limited than it is in practice in most jurisdictions and that no contract or Police Union agreement ought to
preclude appropriate investigation of ALL injuries or deaths that occur during detainments, arrests, and transport of detained, arrested and confined people.
I understand police have to deal with insane, vicious, violent, drugged up and dangerous
(in many forms and ways – including violently resisting arrest and lying about their treatment by police) people on a daily basis, but any persons delegated the ability and authority (derived from our individual God-given right to self-defense) to use
possibly deadly force in the performance of their duties, such as military people and LEO, must be held to an incredibly high standard of conduct and expect constant and intense scrutiny of their actions. No other course or procedures can hope to mitigate
or prevent, to the maximum extent possible, the corrupting influence of such power.
Violence in the name of law enforcement would be unnecessary in a universally “Christian” society of saints; but, since no such society has ever existed
or will exist until after this old world passes away and is remade (as it will be), violence must remain a necessary evil in Law enforcement. The challenge is to restrain its growth with law, ethics, morality, and the help of the Divine.
saying cops and soldiers ought to behave in an ultimately “Christian” manner in their treatment of the criminal elements and dregs of our society or the murderous terrorists, state and non-state actors attacking our nation and civilization (such
as it is)?
Yes, I am.
Let the mockers mock, the haters hate, and the trolls emerge trolling from under the metaphorical bridges and rocks and mother’s basements where they reside. This whole world, and each of us in it,
needs Christ to even begin to consistently behave decently and respectfully towards one another.
I understand that will take a miracle, and that scripture itself says no such society will ever exist until the King of Peace and living incarnation of
Love returns and enforces real justice and destroys evil.
But I serve Him now, and He works miracles in the lives of people, right now. I, myself, am a walking (and sitting, and riding, and typing) bundle of miracles, whose current existence and
survival is against all odds and the imprecations of secular “wisdom”.
God says that those who seek Him will find Him, that those that pray to Him and keep praying will be heard, and that He will respond to us in the midst of everything
that plagues and scares and threatens us, to at least give us peace, at a minimum.
So, pray to be relieved of false ideas and be granted wisdom and discernment in our perceptions of one another. Pray for the strength to be gentle, even when others
are not, the courage to be kind, especially when others are not, and the wisdom to discipline ourselves in the applications of our rights, responsibilities, and prerogatives.
Pray that He also grants that to our police officers, and our Leaders, and
to all our authorities, ALL of them, regardless of how you otherwise feel about them. Look around you for the helpers and those sincerely trying to do real good for others, not just themselves, and join in.
Pray for God to give all of us
more heart – more compassion, more understanding, more forgiveness – in short – more Love for others, and that He'll bless and magnify our own efforts to see past the externals aspects of on another to our commonalities and motivations and
watch the miracles unfold and our judgments improve.
Anybody telling you that you must fear another for anything beyond his or her dangerous or actively hostile actions is mistaken, confused, or lying, or all three.
Look to the truth, the
way, the Life and the Light, and we can all do better, and live better, and stave off the darkness, for a while yet.