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Pet Sins January 2002

The paradox of racist Christians

I think most of us have heard about white supremacists who are part of a "Christian" church. They read some tenous connection or twisted interpretation into some Bible verse and come up with some "religiously-backed" idea like "blacks are animals" and not really human, or the "true Jews" are the white Europeans and the people now widely thought to be Jews are an imposter race. They teach their children Hebrew to "get in touch with their roots". Whose roots? Hebrew is from the Afroasiatic language family, which is distinct from the Indo-European family. Most Afroasiatic languages are native to black Africa. So the roots of the Hebrews are arguably more African and unrelated to the European.

Now the blatantly racist rhetoric of white supremacists is really sick. But what is also sick, but less talked about, are people of color who claim to be "Christian" and "non-racists", but also hold ideas of white superiority and/or black inferiority. For example, I heard this "devout" Chinese Christian man from mainland China comment that blacks are intellectually inferior.

How could anyone who believes in a just God believe that God created people unequal based on something as external as skin color? Jesus has emphasized over and over the worthlessness of genetic heritage and fleshly ties with regards to spiritual potential. When his biological family asked to see him, Jesus pointed out that the crowd around him was his "mother and brothers". Jesus also told the Saduccees that in heaven, people will no longer be male or female, but will exist in a spiritual form "like the angels", beyond gender. What makes us think then, that race will matter in heaven or in the eyes of God who watches us on earth? By tying ourselves down to race, we are tying ourselves to the flesh, which is death. A true believer cannot be a racist.

E.P.