It Is Time to Cure The poison of Racism in American Life

Took in a little sightseeing and went into Jasper. We stopped at an overlook beside a gift shop and not only was the scenery beautiful, I purchased a “soda pop” for $1.00. I saw a rebel flag and had a conversation in my head. “You know for a lot of folks when they look at that flag feel anxiety because they see that as a symbol of the slavery and oppression of their family members ages ago.” I imagined the person retorting, “It’s just a flag, they need to get over it and move on.” My response would be, “You lost the war, you need to get over it and move on!” Those conversations are best left in my head.

This tipping point moment is not helped by the King’s false prophets who rise up and defend the undefendable, support the unsupportable, and explain the unexplainable. In my lifetime I have never witnessed such extraordinary efforts to undermine the reputation of conservative Christians by cloaking this President in a mantle of Divine appointment. And continue to defend every divisive action of this cruel man.

What believers of faith need to focus their attention on in these days is the helping of African Americans move the issue of civil rights further down the road. It may not be the “best time” with a Republican Senate majority, and a president who has terrorized Republican office holders into a complicit silence allowing him to breach every boundary, cheapen public discourse, spew hate speech toward most immigrant groups and anyone who disagrees with him.

But it is the “right time.” It is the opportunity of people of faith to identify closely with those God identifies with. Anyone who reads Scripture with understanding cannot escape noticing God has an unchanging attitude toward corruption, injustice, and cruelty. His call again and again is justice and mercy. Truthfully, that is the struggle of our African American community since most of their forefathers were brought to America. No person is property. No person is less significant than another. No gender inferior to another. Their value and worth are settled in the heart of God because each is one for whom Christ died. So many times I walked the halls of the prison setting my heart on that truth. No one I ever met in prison was outside the love of God and the offer of salvation in Christ. The truth is more basic than even that. No one I have ever met is outside the love of God but is someone for whom Christ died.

If we truly want America to be great, really great(and not again), we will focus our attention on healing a poisonous wound which predates this nation, overlooked in our Declaration of Independence, ignored in the adoption of our Constitution, explained away in our writing and adoption of the Bill of Rights, and suppressed after the Civil War during Reconstruction, and left unhealed and untreated to this day. Historically our leaders have compromised on the rights of others they had no claim on which to compromise. The Bill has come due.

Some have pointed to some nebulous sinister forces pushing this movement for more justice, more inclusion in the opportunities of America, and more medical and mental health resources for all. In my mind, if there really are some sinister, radical groups working under the cover of this movement, the best way to isolate, expose, and neutralize the radical groups, is to elevate the rights of African Americans to the same freedoms, the same access to justice, the same opportunities shared by most Americans. Radicalism only works on the margins.

Let us join our brothers and sister at the back of the movement giving support, density, and encouragement as they lead to bring this nation to resolve and heal the one powerful poison which has over time made our national life sicker and sicker. Let’s forego our temptation to tell others how they should go about this great work, and simply let them lead.

There are many in my generation who realize our days and our “summers” on this earth are drawing to a close. It would be one of the great accomplishments of our national life to finally face and begin to heal the racism and prejudice which has killed more than the COVID virus.

Wash your hands, wear your mask, mind the gap, and be kind

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