Let’s begin with the obvious: as an evangelical theologian, I disagree with Sen. Kamala Harris on abortion, same-sex marriage, religious liberty, and a host of other issues. However, I am celebrating her vice-presidential nomination for three reasons.
When Joe Biden made his announcement this week, numerous media reports noted that Sen. Harris, if elected, would be our nation’s first female, first African American, and first Asian American vice president. These facts are worthy of significant reflection.
First, consider her gender.
Our nation’s founding document declares that “all men are created equal” (my emphasis). Women were not permitted to vote until the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified 144 years after America was founded. Women still earn less than men for the same job with the same qualifications. Gender inequality persists in the workplace and in other areas of society.
By contrast, God values women and men equally (Galatians 3:28). Women were vital supporters of our Lord’s public ministry (Luke 8:1–3). Jesus selected a woman to be the first evangelist of Easter (John 20:16–17). A woman was the first person to trust in Christ in response to Paul’s ministry in Europe (Acts 16:14–15). Women played vital roles in apostolic Christianity (cf. Romans 16:1–4, 7).
The nomination of Sen. Harris sends an important signal to women across our country that they can ascend to the highest places of leadership and cultural significance in our country.
Second, consider her African American heritage.
Slavery is our nation’s foundational sin, a grievous evil not eradicated until the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified in 1865. Segregation and Jim Crow discrimination were not outlawed until the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Voting discrimination was not outlawed until the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Racial prejudice remains a bitter and pervasive fact for many Black Americans today. Black women especially face income inequality in our nation. (For more, see my paper, “What does the Bible say about racism?“)
By contrast, racial prejudice grieves our Father’s heart. God loves all people of all races equally (cf. Genesis 1:27; 3:20; Acts 10:34). In heaven, we will join “a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9).
Kamala Harris’s father emigrated from British Jamaica to the US in 1961 to study economics and later became a Stanford University professor. As a Black American, her nomination to our nation’s second-highest position of leadership is an auspicious and significant event.
Third, consider her Asian American heritage.
Asian Americans have long faced discrimination in America, from moratoriums on immigration in the nineteenth century, to incarceration in internment camps during World War II, to continuing racial and ethnic slurs today.
Though Asian Americans graduate from university at far high rates than white Americans, they face barriers to vocational advancement described as the “bamboo ceiling.” Many Asian Americans have experienced significant discrimination since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic that originated in China.
By contrast, as we have seen, our Father loves all people of all races equally.
Kamala Harris’s mother emigrated from India to America in 1960 to pursue a doctorate in endocrinology. Her mother’s family is of Brahmin lineage. As an Asian American, Harris’s nomination to our nation’s second-highest position of leadership is an historic moment of celebration for Asian Americans across our country.
America is one of very few nations in human history in which a person of Kamala Harris’s gender and racial heritage could become a senator, much less a candidate for vice president.
Her nomination shows that we have made progress as we continue the fight to fulfill our country’s founding promise of equality for all. This is a moment worthy of reflection on our past and renewed commitment to our shared future.
St. Augustine noted that God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.
Now it’s our turn.
Jim Denison, PhD is the founder of Denison Forum with a reach of 1.8 million. He also serves as Resident Scholar for Ethics with Baylor Scott & White Health, Senior Fellow for Cultural Studies with Dallas Baptist University, and Senior Fellow with 21Wilberforce in Washington, DC. The author of more than 15 books, he has taught philosophy of religion and apologetics with four seminaries and pastored five churches with a combined membership of more than 20,000.
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