‘Racism Is As American As Baseball’???

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I was minding my own business, watching my beloved Red Sox (yes that’s me swinging away with a bat once used by Big Papi) when in between innings three young white persons who were seated in the Monster seats on top of the Green Monster, unfurled a huge homemade banner on a sheet that read— ‘racism is as American as baseball’. Now if that was simply a declarative sentence, stating a fact, I would have to agree. We continue to be plagued with the serious sin called racism. Whatever color you are prejudiced against, black, white, brown, yellow, tan, whether it also involves anti-Semitism, anti-Christianity, anti-Islamism, anti-immigrants, it is simply a sin, a very serious sin.

America of course has a very long history of racism, and other related forms of prejudice. It was of course so severe in this country’s early history that it involved slavery of black Africans in America, who didn’t ask to come to this country but rather were dragged here on slave ships. Simply abominable. In various ways even worse than the slavery that plagued and drove the economic engine of the Roman Empire.

But sadly, I am rather certain that the banner was not lamenting a simple fact of life in America (witness what has been happening in St. Louis again recently). No, I’m thinking this banner was rather like the events in Charlottesville– a credo statement, with the implication that racism is just fine. It’s an American ‘family value’. Horrendous. What especially concerned me in this case is, like at Charlottesville, many millenials seem to be caught up in this surge of unChristian, indeed anti-Christian behavior. And even worse, and more twisted are those who somehow think that racism is a value that Christians can and should uphold. Jesus, on this showing was not a Jew, his immediate followers were not Jews, let’s revive the Nazi mythology once again, so we can blame Jews for our various societal problems is how this illogic goes.

Some people may think that mere education will solve this problem. I am not among those, and I am an educator. The problem is not mere ignorance. The problem is sin, deep-rooted sin, phobia based sin, and if you read your Bibles you will know that fear is the opposite of faith, not its partner. America seems to continue to fail to come to grips with its fallenness, its deep rooted heart sins, including racial and ethnic and ‘religious’ bigotry. And in the ultimate irony of all, some had wrongly assumed that Christian values are inherently a form of bigotry. Wrong. As Paul once said ‘In Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, no male and female, for we are all one’ (Gal. 3.28). We were all created in the image of God, all of us as people of sacred worth, and yet ‘all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory’.

Christians everywhere need to stand up and repudiate the hating of Jews, or people of other racial groups than one’s own. Hatred is the opposite of love, and love is the greatest commandment, including love thy neighbor as thyself, to which Jesus added ‘love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you’. And finally let me be clear that love does not demand nor require that one agree with all the values of the person you are called upon to love. It does not even mean you accept various of those values, especially if they are anti-Christian and anti-Biblical in character.

Think on these things.


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