Author Topic: Racism and the Church, Overcoming the Idolatry  (Read 7439 times)

mariemeyer

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Racism and the Church, Overcoming the Idolatry
« on: June 08, 2020, 03:32:57 PM »
Racism and the Church,  Overcoming the Idolatry A Report of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations of the LCMS (February 1994)

LCMS pastors may have a copy in their files. Is so, I hope they join a conversation on how Christians might confront individual, cultural and institutional racism today. If not, copies are available from Concordia Publishing House ($3).

From the CTCR Report Introduction
“Racism is at its core idolatry… It is a sin against the first commandment….It is to this malady of the human heart that we address ourselves in this report.”

The church’s response to racism is complicated because sociologists and anthropologists differ on the definition of racism and how certain facets of racism are played out in society and culture.

I.Racism and the Necessity of a Christian Response.
What is racism? “The theory that there is a certain causal link between inherited physical traits and certain traits of personality, intellect, or culture..."

Characteristics of racism:  1)the actions of one group adversely affect the lives of others….2)one group is in a position of power to enforce their influence on others and even to exploit them…3)it is paternalistic…4)includes a misuse of power… 4)  race is a distinct biological group -an inherited identity 5) there is “patterned dominance” that is neither a random nor an unpredictable relationship. 

“Since all are born into their respective groups (one does not chose to join or have the privilege of resigning,) racial privileges and liabilities  accrue to the individual regardless of his or her choice.”

Influence of culture on racism:  the totality of our culture transmits behavior patterns, beliefs, institutions, other products human work and thought characteristics of a community or population.

II. Racism as an Ideology
Racism is a belief system…"life squeezed into the idea and made to conform to its dictates”…as an ideology racism seeks to justify racial divisions and may even provide a rational to divide and/or govern society. 

"Racism is publicly spurned  and declared abhorrent in America.  ‘But racism as an ideological reality is, unfortunately, not dead. Quite the contrary racism in its variable forms shows up at every level of our life today, and it is precisely because it most often posses an ‘incognito character” that is so ominous.”

Racism manifests itself in the individual level.  “It is also possible to speak of institutional racism with respect to the way institutions operate (through their laws, customs, practices, procedures.”  Thus racism is manifested at individual, cultural and institutional levels.

II. Necessity of a Christian Response at All Levels
“We confront racism now because of the urgent need to assess where we as individuals and as a church body committed to putting into practice our Christian faith.”

“As a church body The Lutheran Church-Missouri has made numerous efforts over the years to deal with the evil of racism.  Since 1956 the Synod adopted resolutions, held conferences and created new structures and policies aimed at addressing the problem in our midst. The same can be said of numerous other church bodies. The question remains, however, whether such efforts  have effectively isolated the real causes of racism and applied the biblical solution. To underline the necessity and urgency of our present task, we consider the following… " 

The report then addressed a 1994 response... What needs to be be the response of the Christians today, June 8, 2020??? There were roadblock then??? What are the roadblocks today????

Marie Meyer




James J Eivan

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Re: Racism and the Church, Overcoming the Idolatry
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2020, 03:45:41 PM »
Racism and the Church, Overcoming the Idolatry is also available instantaneously as a download.

Dave Benke

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Re: Racism and the Church, Overcoming the Idolatry
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2020, 04:03:21 PM »
Quite the contrary racism in its variable forms shows up at every level of our life today, and it is precisely because it most often posses an ‘incognito character” that is so ominous.”

This was in my recollection one of the better papers the CTCR came up with.  The part I've highlighted gets at "systemic" racism.  I like the use of 'incognito character' in that regard, because it identifies us with Paul's understanding of Christian vocation in Ephesians 6.  It seems as though we're wrestling with flesh and blood, but behind that lie the principalities and powers, the systems and structures that continue to enslave. 

Janis Grant McDaniels, whose husband is a member of the Black Clergy Caucus, and who herself holds a position on the National Missions board of the LCMS, put a post on Facebook that has drawn a lot of comments because it identifies Lutherans and specifically Missouri Synod Lutherans as responding to what's happening with racist remarks. 

In other words, 'incognito character' extends into our denominational lives and relationships as well.  What is not only possible but necessary today is to listen, to analyze, to examine all of our institutional character across so many lines - congregation, wider church, board and commission - no matter the faith group, and find ways to develop policies and activities that expose what's wrong and sinful, bring grace, and eventually bring not only healing but a fresh set of intentions in ministry and in mission.

Thanks, Marie, for bringing this article to our attention at the ALPB Forum Online!

Dave Benke

James J Eivan

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Re: Racism and the Church, Overcoming the Idolatry
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2020, 04:05:29 PM »
God’s Word Rejects Racism ... Recent statement by Rev Matthew C Harrison


Discriminatory treatment of human beings on the basis of race is irrational evil and results in evil. It is folly, which can produce only anger and hatred. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” America’s original sin of legal racism, the denial of human rights based on race, has reaped the whirlwind.

God’s Word rejects racism. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “No one is righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). All are equally created by God. All are equally accountable to God. The sins of all are equally atoned for by Christ. All are equally precious to God. Racial animosity is the result of sin and is sin in itself. Racism is not acceptable in the church. Jesus Himself bids us love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31) and did so precisely while rejecting racial preference (cf. Good Samaritan, Luke 10:25–37).

Unity in the church according to the Augsburg Confession is defined by Article VII: “For it is sufficient for the true unity of the Christian church that the Gospel be preached … and that the sacraments be administered in accordance with the divine Word.” Christ and His gifts bring unity and equity in the church. Racial discrimination in or by the church is sin. Racial conflict in our nation calls every Christian to introspection. “It is time for judgment to begin at the household of God” (1 Peter 4:17). “Righteous indignation” without self-reflection and repentance is meaningless, or worse, hypocrisy.

The one who grievously and unjustly took the sacred gift of life from George Floyd — resulting in a charge of 3rd-degree murder — will, ironically, be given the very thing he denied his victim, due process of the law. Justice must be meted out according to the law. Others may be charged.

We weep for George Floyd, for his family and loved ones because he was robbed of life. We weep for our nation. We weep for those across our nation who believe their only recourse is destruction. We weep for police officers everywhere, who carry out their honorable vocations with courage and goodwill but find their task infinitely more challenging and dangerous in the wake of the sad events in Minneapolis. We pray for the safety of all and the welfare of those who have lost property and livelihood. We pray for the police who must stand against mayhem. We support the First Amendment rights of the peaceful protestors.

We deplore injustice. We deplore destruction, robbery and doing physical harm to others. That, too, is injustice. We plead to citizens and governments of this nation for communities beset by poverty, crime and injustice. We plead for rational and unifying policies that will end injustices and address social breakdown, lack of economic access, and other factors that fuel anger, hatred and dissension.

We shall pray, but we shall do even more. We shall follow the ancient mandate of the prophet of Yahweh: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8

And we shall proclaim Christ, “in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2). “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person — though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die — but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” Romans 5:7–8

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:1–17 ESV).

Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison
President
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

Dave Benke

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Re: Racism and the Church, Overcoming the Idolatry
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2020, 04:14:20 PM »
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:1–17 ESV).

Take a knee.

Dave Benke

James J Eivan

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Re: Racism and the Church, Overcoming the Idolatry
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2020, 04:26:32 PM »
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:1–17 ESV).

Take a knee.
<Emphasis Added>
Dave Benke
Sorry ... don’t see  any thing to with a knee above ... but it is very clear in the following

Quote from: Philippians 2:9-11 King James Version (KJV)
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.



Dave Benke

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Re: Racism and the Church, Overcoming the Idolatry
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2020, 04:31:47 PM »
https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/north-carolina/articles/2020-06-08/police-officers-wash-feet-of-black-pastors-in-north-carolina

This is a quite amazing article in which the police take the lead in a specifically spiritual and religious and Jesus-initiated activity - washing the feet of the black pastors in Cary North Carolina.  This to me is the way idolatry tumbles and is broken - inside out and upside down Kingdom of God.

Dave Benke

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Re: Racism and the Church, Overcoming the Idolatry
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2020, 05:42:48 PM »
Quite the contrary racism in its variable forms shows up at every level of our life today, and it is precisely because it most often posses an ‘incognito character” that is so ominous.”

This was in my recollection one of the better papers the CTCR came up with.  The part I've highlighted gets at "systemic" racism.  I like the use of 'incognito character' in that regard, because it identifies us with Paul's understanding of Christian vocation in Ephesians 6.  It seems as though we're wrestling with flesh and blood, but behind that lie the principalities and powers, the systems and structures that continue to enslave. 

Janis Grant McDaniels, whose husband is a member of the Black Clergy Caucus, and who herself holds a position on the National Missions board of the LCMS, put a post on Facebook that has drawn a lot of comments because it identifies Lutherans and specifically Missouri Synod Lutherans as responding to what's happening with racist remarks. 

In other words, 'incognito character' extends into our denominational lives and relationships as well.  What is not only possible but necessary today is to listen, to analyze, to examine all of our institutional character across so many lines - congregation, wider church, board and commission - no matter the faith group, and find ways to develop policies and activities that expose what's wrong and sinful, bring grace, and eventually bring not only healing but a fresh set of intentions in ministry and in mission.

Thanks, Marie, for bringing this article to our attention at the ALPB Forum Online!

Dave Benke
Pastor McDaniels and his wife were part of a visiting team of clergy to our church from whatever the synod's traveling evangelism training program was called a few year ago (Missionaries for Christ, perhaps? Something like that.) They stayed several days and evaluated every facet of our ministry, he preached for our services, and they were nothing but complimentary about the way we approached racial diversity.

I object to the idea of systemic racism as applied to our current situation. What system is racist? Systematic racism is a system designed with racist goals, like Jim Crow laws or like birth control policies as originally proposed by Margaret Sanger. We don't have any such systems in place. We have sinners running everything, as we always have and always will. All Utopianism is idolatry; it looks to the secular order to solve a spiritual problem and treats the human condition not in terms of original sin but in terms of systemic flaws.

Group identity based on race cannot square with the Gospel. The great throng in Revelation consists of people from out of every race or tribe or nation, not various races, tribes, or nations gathered collectively. God saves white people and black people as individuals. We all, white and black, must give up the further idolatry of solidarity with those of our skin color; it is not a spiritual reality and it certainly doesn't survive Judgment Day unless it happens that every individual member of a given tribe or race all enter in as individuals, not as a collective. 

So much of progressivism today is premised on group identity, and it is so well-meaning and seemingly beneficial, that Christians can sometimes unwittingly swallow the utterly anti-Christian nature of racial group identity. Their solutions then become part of the problem. If you simply want to help the less fortunate and victims of historic and hidden racism, and if you're looking at public policies, your best bet as a Christian is to work for anything that dissolves the idolatry racial solidarity based on group identity assumptions. That is the stuff of Nazis and the klan. Racial solidarity is a necessary survival mechanism in the face of official, race-based oppression. The imposition of a racial identity on people is the crime. Embracing it and trying to get the racial equality on those terms simply perpetuates it. Thus, for example, I think school choice desegregates schools more slowly but more effectively than busing, because school choice eliminates a forced race-group identity while busing depends upon reinforcing it.       

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Re: Racism and the Church, Overcoming the Idolatry
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2020, 05:53:27 PM »
I object to the idea of systemic racism as applied to our current situation. What system is racist? Systematic racism is a system designed with racist goals, like Jim Crow laws or like birth control policies as originally proposed by Margaret Sanger. We don't have any such systems in place. We have sinners running everything, as we always have and always will. All Utopianism is idolatry; it looks to the secular order to solve a spiritual problem and treats the human condition not in terms of original sin but in terms of systemic flaws.

Group identity based on race cannot square with the Gospel. The great throng in Revelation consists of people from out of every race or tribe or nation, not various races, tribes, or nations gathered collectively. God saves white people and black people as individuals. We all, white and black, must give up the further idolatry of solidarity with those of our skin color; it is not a spiritual reality and it certainly doesn't survive Judgment Day unless it happens that every individual member of a given tribe or race all enter in as individuals, not as a collective. 

So much of progressivism today is premised on group identity, and it is so well-meaning and seemingly beneficial, that Christians can sometimes unwittingly swallow the utterly anti-Christian nature of racial group identity. Their solutions then become part of the problem. If you simply want to help the less fortunate and victims of historic and hidden racism, and if you're looking at public policies, your best bet as a Christian is to work for anything that dissolves the idolatry racial solidarity based on group identity assumptions. That is the stuff of Nazis and the klan. Racial solidarity is a necessary survival mechanism in the face of official, race-based oppression. The imposition of a racial identity on people is the crime. Embracing it and trying to get the racial equality on those terms simply perpetuates it. Thus, for example, I think school choice desegregates schools more slowly but more effectively than busing, because school choice eliminates a forced race-group identity while busing depends upon reinforcing it.
Amen to all this, which expresses eloquently what I have been thinking lately but could not find the proper words to say.  Thank you.
Jon Alan Schmidt, LCMS Layman

"We believe, teach and confess that by conserving the distinction between Law and Gospel as an especially glorious light
with great diligence in the Church, the Word of God is rightly divided according to the admonition of St. Paul." (FC Ep V.2)

Dave Benke

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Re: Racism and the Church, Overcoming the Idolatry
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2020, 06:09:30 PM »
Quite the contrary racism in its variable forms shows up at every level of our life today, and it is precisely because it most often posses an ‘incognito character” that is so ominous.”

This was in my recollection one of the better papers the CTCR came up with.  The part I've highlighted gets at "systemic" racism.  I like the use of 'incognito character' in that regard, because it identifies us with Paul's understanding of Christian vocation in Ephesians 6.  It seems as though we're wrestling with flesh and blood, but behind that lie the principalities and powers, the systems and structures that continue to enslave. 

Janis Grant McDaniels, whose husband is a member of the Black Clergy Caucus, and who herself holds a position on the National Missions board of the LCMS, put a post on Facebook that has drawn a lot of comments because it identifies Lutherans and specifically Missouri Synod Lutherans as responding to what's happening with racist remarks. 

In other words, 'incognito character' extends into our denominational lives and relationships as well.  What is not only possible but necessary today is to listen, to analyze, to examine all of our institutional character across so many lines - congregation, wider church, board and commission - no matter the faith group, and find ways to develop policies and activities that expose what's wrong and sinful, bring grace, and eventually bring not only healing but a fresh set of intentions in ministry and in mission.

Thanks, Marie, for bringing this article to our attention at the ALPB Forum Online!

Dave Benke
Pastor McDaniels and his wife were part of a visiting team of clergy to our church from whatever the synod's traveling evangelism training program was called a few year ago (Missionaries for Christ, perhaps? Something like that.) They stayed several days and evaluated every facet of our ministry, he preached for our services, and they were nothing but complimentary about the way we approached racial diversity.

I object to the idea of systemic racism as applied to our current situation. What system is racist? Systematic racism is a system designed with racist goals, like Jim Crow laws or like birth control policies as originally proposed by Margaret Sanger. We don't have any such systems in place. We have sinners running everything, as we always have and always will. All Utopianism is idolatry; it looks to the secular order to solve a spiritual problem and treats the human condition not in terms of original sin but in terms of systemic flaws.

Group identity based on race cannot square with the Gospel. The great throng in Revelation consists of people from out of every race or tribe or nation, not various races, tribes, or nations gathered collectively. God saves white people and black people as individuals. We all, white and black, must give up the further idolatry of solidarity with those of our skin color; it is not a spiritual reality and it certainly doesn't survive Judgment Day unless it happens that every individual member of a given tribe or race all enter in as individuals, not as a collective. 

So much of progressivism today is premised on group identity, and it is so well-meaning and seemingly beneficial, that Christians can sometimes unwittingly swallow the utterly anti-Christian nature of racial group identity. Their solutions then become part of the problem. If you simply want to help the less fortunate and victims of historic and hidden racism, and if you're looking at public policies, your best bet as a Christian is to work for anything that dissolves the idolatry racial solidarity based on group identity assumptions. That is the stuff of Nazis and the klan. Racial solidarity is a necessary survival mechanism in the face of official, race-based oppression. The imposition of a racial identity on people is the crime. Embracing it and trying to get the racial equality on those terms simply perpetuates it. Thus, for example, I think school choice desegregates schools more slowly but more effectively than busing, because school choice eliminates a forced race-group identity while busing depends upon reinforcing it.     

Here's a response to your position, Peter, written by the US Catholic Conference of Bishops with some specifics included:  http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/racism/upload/racism-and-systemic-racism.pdf.

Dave Benke

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Re: Racism and the Church, Overcoming the Idolatry
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2020, 06:17:59 PM »
Peter, in light of the comment I respectfully request that you order Racism and the Church, Overcoming the Idolatry.  The CTCR offers a spiritual solution that is also systemic in the LCMS.

"I object to the idea of systemic racism as applied to our current situation. What system is racist? Systematic racism is a system designed with racist goals, like Jim Crow laws or like birth control policies as originally proposed by Margaret Sanger. We don't have any such systems in place. We have sinners running everything, as we always have and always will. All Utopianism is idolatry; it looks to the secular order to solve a spiritual problem and treats the human condition not in terms of original sin but in terms of systemic flaws."

Marie Meyer


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Re: Racism and the Church, Overcoming the Idolatry
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2020, 07:11:38 PM »
From the USCCB under "What is Systemic Racism."

Today, racism continues to exist in our communities and in our parishes. Racism is what makes us see the "other" with suspicion or to attribute negative characteristics to an entire group of people. This evil manifests itself in our individual thoughts, and also in the workings of our society itself. Today's continuing, inequalities in education, housing, employment, wealth, and representation in leadership positions are rooted in our country's shameful history of slavery and systemic racism.

I've bolded what I consider the key part. Certainly any individual might be, for example, lazy. And that is a negative characteristic. It is racism for anyone to attribute laziness to an individual by associating them with others of the same race. That is my point. Anything that forces individuals to identify themselves by race is a systemically racist system; it binds the individual to the group. Overcoming racism means liberating people from group identity, in themselves and in others. Systems that force them or me to group-identify, no matter how well-intentioned, perpetuate racism.

Consider that dreaded topic, pronoun referents, possibly more dangerous even than passive constructions when one wants to use language to obfuscate. Racial solidarity creates a "we" to refer to some group. There must be something "other" to make the "we" make sense. "We humans" makes sense only if there are animals or aliens in the mental framework. So "we" creates a necessary other. But that same "we" objects to that other using "they" to refer to that exact same group. Language can't survive such chicanery. If an African-American says, "We lack access to education," he or she can't possibly be referring to African-Americans, because then saying, "You are black and therefore uneducated," would be as innocuous and non-racist as saying that you are black and therefore have darker skin than white people." But it is racist to say that because it forces the individual to bear the burden of some characteristic based on membership in a group. Rather, people who go to bad schools lack access to education, and that is true regardless of race. So the "we" is the poor, not the black. Poverty is a race issue only if we assume black people live in poverty.

So when white college students express solidarity with people of color, on what basis? Not color. It is on the basis of a shared agenda. That's why it comes so easily to them to say that black people who don't share that agenda "ain't black." The "we" such white people have solidarity with isn't black people, it is political progressives. But anyone who identifies that same group as a "they" is a racist. Linguistic sleight of hand. That's also why virtually everything a conservative proposes gets called racist in some way.

Consider the vast number of biracial people. I'm reminded of the old Doonesbury comic that came out at the time President Obama was inaugurated. Everyone was cheering and celebrating the first black president, and the lone, sullen Republican B.D. says, "He's half white, you know." That was just Trudeua buying the assumption that objections to Obama must be race-based, and therefore celebration of him by a Republican would only happen to claiming him for "whiteness." In reality, Barry became Barack by a conscious decision to identify with a "we" and therefore to identify a "they." That was a socio-political decision that prevented him from being the post-racial president he aspired to be. You have to eliminate the divide, not reinforce it and make sure both sides are economically and socially equal.   

« Last Edit: June 10, 2020, 01:58:11 PM by peter_speckhard »

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Re: Racism and the Church, Overcoming the Idolatry
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2020, 07:19:12 PM »
In 1993 the ELCA adopted a Social Teaching Statement on Race, Ethnicity, and Culture. It includes a section on racism. I've attached a copy.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

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Re: Racism and the Church, Overcoming the Idolatry
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2020, 07:38:36 PM »
I object to the idea of systemic racism as applied to our current situation. What system is racist? Systematic racism is a system designed with racist goals, like Jim Crow laws or like birth control policies as originally proposed by Margaret Sanger. We don't have any such systems in place. We have sinners running everything, as we always have and always will. All Utopianism is idolatry; it looks to the secular order to solve a spiritual problem and treats the human condition not in terms of original sin but in terms of systemic flaws.

Group identity based on race cannot square with the Gospel. The great throng in Revelation consists of people from out of every race or tribe or nation, not various races, tribes, or nations gathered collectively. God saves white people and black people as individuals. We all, white and black, must give up the further idolatry of solidarity with those of our skin color; it is not a spiritual reality and it certainly doesn't survive Judgment Day unless it happens that every individual member of a given tribe or race all enter in as individuals, not as a collective. 

So much of progressivism today is premised on group identity, and it is so well-meaning and seemingly beneficial, that Christians can sometimes unwittingly swallow the utterly anti-Christian nature of racial group identity. Their solutions then become part of the problem. If you simply want to help the less fortunate and victims of historic and hidden racism, and if you're looking at public policies, your best bet as a Christian is to work for anything that dissolves the idolatry racial solidarity based on group identity assumptions. That is the stuff of Nazis and the klan. Racial solidarity is a necessary survival mechanism in the face of official, race-based oppression. The imposition of a racial identity on people is the crime. Embracing it and trying to get the racial equality on those terms simply perpetuates it. Thus, for example, I think school choice desegregates schools more slowly but more effectively than busing, because school choice eliminates a forced race-group identity while busing depends upon reinforcing it.
Amen to all this, which expresses eloquently what I have been thinking lately but could not find the proper words to say.  Thank you.

I will also say "Amen" to your post, Peter!  This is also advocated by men who have lived it, most of whom come at it as Christians such as Larry Elder https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piwaBO6U43U ; David Webb  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pv7hsiUirUU ; Shelby Steele https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWWVzF7B3-s ; as well as Bob Woodson; Thomas Sowell; Walter Williams all of which you can find easily on youtube.com.


Dave Benke

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Re: Racism and the Church, Overcoming the Idolatry
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2020, 08:41:10 PM »
From the USCCB under "What is Systemic Racism."

Today, racism continues to exist in our communities and in our parishes. Racism is what makes us see the "other" with suspicion or to attribute negative characteristics to an entire group of people. This evil manifests itself in our individual thoughts, and also in the workings of our society itself. Today's continuing, inequalities in education, housing, employment, wealth, and representation in leadership positions are rooted in our country's shameful history of slavery and systemic racism.

I've bolded what I consider the key part. Certainly any individual might be, for example, lazy. And that is a negative characteristic. It is racism for anyone to attribute laziness to an individual by associating them with others of the same race. That is my point. Anything that forces individuals to identify themselves by race is a systemically racist system; it binds the individual to the group. Overcoming racism means liberating people from group identity, in themselves and in others. No system that forces them or me to group-identity, no matter how well-intentioned, perpetuates racism.

Consider that dreaded topic, pronoun referents, possibly more dangerous even than passive constructions when one wants to use language to obfuscate. Racial solidarity creates a "we" to refer to some group. There must be something "other" to make the "we" make sense. "We humans" makes sense only if there are animals or aliens in the mental framework. So "we" creates a necessary other. But that same "we" objects to that other using "they" to refer to that exact same group. Language can't survive such chicanery. If an African-American says, "We lack access to education," he or she can't possibly be referring to African-Americans, because then saying, "You are black and therefore uneducated," would be as innocuous and non-racist as saying that you are black and therefore have darker skin than white people." But it is racist to say that because it forces the individual to bear the burden of some characteristic based on membership in a group. Rather, people who go to bad schools lack access to education, and that is true regardless of race. So the "we" is the poor, not the black. Poverty is a race issue only if we assume black people live in poverty.

So when white college students express solidarity with people of color, on what basis? Not color. It is on the basis of a shared agenda. That's why it comes so easily to them to say that black people who don't share that agenda "ain't black." The "we" such white people have solidarity with isn't black people, it is political progressives. But anyone who identifies that same group as a "they" is a racist. Linguistic sleight of hand. That's also why virtually everything a conservative proposes gets called racist in some way.

Consider the vast number of biracial people. I'm reminded of the old Doonesbury comic that came out at the time President Obama was inaugurated. Everyone was cheering and celebrating the first black president, and the lone, sullen Republican B.D. says, "He's half white, you know." That was just Trudeua buying the assumption that objections to Obama must be race-based, and therefore celebration of him by a Republican would only happen to claiming him for "whiteness." In reality, Barry became Barack by a conscious decision to identify with a "we" and therefore to identify a "they." That was a socio-political decision that prevented him from being the post-racial president he aspired to be. You have to eliminate the divide, not reinforce it and make sure both sides are economically and socially equal.   

Better start boycotting Ben and Jerry's, Peter:  https://www.benjerry.com/whats-new/2016/systemic-racism-is-real.
And Ted Talks:  https://www.ted.com/talks/dr_phillip_atiba_goff_how_we_can_make_racism_a_solvable_problem_and_improve_policing?referrer=playlist-talks_to_help_you_understand_r

Dave Benke
« Last Edit: June 08, 2020, 08:43:26 PM by Dave Benke »