One of the major areas of divisiveness in the country today is race. Turn on the TV and you are almost guaranteed to hear someone talking about racism. Is racism widespread and systemic in the United States? Society and corporate America are focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), but does that bring us closer or is it pushing us further apart?
What Does the Bible Say About All Being Equal?
In Genesis, the very first book in the Bible, God speaks to us in how we He created “mankind in His image.” – (Genesis 1: 26-27)
“Then God said: Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the tame animals, all the wild animals, and all the creatures that crawl on the earth.God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
So God made us equal right in the very beginning because He made us in His image. The Bible also says:
Psalms 67:5 – May the nations be glad and rejoice; for you judge the peoples with fairness, you guide the nations upon the earth
John 13:34 –I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.
Galatians 3:26-27 –So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ
James 2: 8-9 –However, if you fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
How Well Are We Responding to God’s Call to Equality?
Racial discord has been a problem in the US for generations. While all of us have been touched by this, we have been touched in very different ways. For many white people, we have openly declared there is no systemic racism in this country. For many black people, especially black men, there has been a tremendous outcry indicating just the opposite. The events over the past few years where black men have died at the hands of police have effectively been the match to the tinderbox igniting an explosion of protests regarding racial bias amongst a wide swath of the country, especially police organizations. Unfortunately, we have seen opportunists engage and take these protests and turn them into violent civil unrest across the country. The main stream media is complicit in exacerbating situations through selective editing on their reporting.
Back in 2020, while listening to the Catholic Channel, I came across an interview with Fr. Bryan Massingale. Fr. Bryan has written a book called “Racial Justice and the Catholic Church”. The interview was about a recent article he had written and I found it posted in National Catholic Reporter entitled “The assumptions of white privilege and what we can do about it”. For complete transparency I struggled with the title and some of the content, but this article stayed on my mind and I have brought this to prayer often. The article can be found at:
The actual link is below (copy and paste):
I have always believed that the US was not inherently racist. As I meditated on the subject, God asked me a very direct, and I believe a very profound question – “What do you know about being black?” As a white man, the obvious answer is nothing. This “revelation” allowed me to reread Fr. Bryan’s article from a very different perspective; I believe from God’s perspective. This also forced me to look internally at any of my own unconscious bias that shut off being open to other perspectives for a very large portion of my life. Here is what I know:
I cannot judge someone or disavow anyone’s opinion having never walked in their shoes. Nobody can. This is not my place to begin with.
So What Do We Do Now?
I ask you to open your heart in prayer and read Fr. Bryan’s article. I ask you to accept his experiences and his perspective as his, and pray on it. What else can we do since we have never experienced what he and other black people have experienced. We need to understand other perspectives in order to bridge any gaps between the races (all races). The goal is to find common ground between all of us and help each other to understand the challenges we as God’s children face. I believe then, and only then, can we start to break down this wedge between us. Please pray on this. I would welcome feedback on this article and any other ideas to engage proactively to bridge the racial gap that exists today.