Sun, Jun 6th - 10:30PM
Racism is not limited to any particular race or group. All races have been guilty of racism and all races have been victims of racism. This has long been a nationwide (and worldwide) problem, but in this writing I tend to focus on racial problems in the South because the South has received more notoriety on this.
Most of the racial problems in the South during the twentieth century, along with the resentment toward the North that is still sometimes evident, trace back to Reconstruction (1865-1877) when Federal extremes proked extreme reactions and attitudes that lasted for generations (problems that could have been avoided if Abraham Lincoln had lived longer, as it was not Lincoln's plan to continually punish the South, and Lincoln opposed the radical Republicans).
For example, the Fourteenth Amendment should not have meant the loss of the vote or political opportunities for Confederate veterans since they had an official pardon, but Reconstruction laws and measures virtually eliminated the White vote and made illiterates the overwhelming majority vote in the South. This enabled Carpetbaggers and Scalawags to take advantage of a bad situation, use and exploit freed slaves, and win elections with empty, outrageous, and unrealistic campaign promises, such as the promise of forty acres and a mule for every freed slave.
It is ironic that today many ethnic minorities think it is wrong to vote against the party that opposed the Civil Rights Movement (so-called) and desegregation in the South because it claims to represent them. (I am trying to avoid naming parties, but which political party was in control in the South, in many cases maintaining a monoploy, in the 1940s, '50s, and '60s?)
Modern Liberals often perpetuate the belief that Black people are inferior (and therefore unable to succeed on their own merits) with special rights and reverse discrimination. Many efforts to promote racial harmony and racial equality have the opposite effect. Hearts cannot be changed for the better through legislation and court orders. Egalatarian socialism, reverse discrimination, and Ex Post Facto laws do not alleviate racial tensions or promote racial harmony, but instead foster resentment and a we-versus-they complex. If you have a group of children and you give one child a stick and the right to hit the children who don't do what he wants, in time the other children will submit and conform to the child with the stick while resentment and animosity increases; race cards have the same effect.
It is sometimes argued that racial equality would not be possible without the US Supreme Court. (Instead of looking to the US Supreme Court as savior or as an infallible authority we should be holding federal Judges accountable; e.g., impeachment). While I am not denying the need for the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court is not infallible and many racial problems were the result of Supreme Court decisions. Consider a few examples:
By 1857 slavery in America was a dying institution. But in the Dred Scott Decision of March 6, 1857, the US Supreme Court ruled that Negroes are inferior and that laws prohibiting the spread of slavery into U.S. territories were unconstitutional, thus fueling pro-slavery forces.
In the 1890s racial segregation was on the way out, but the Plessy VS. Ferguson Decision of 1896 enunciated the doctrine of "separate but equal." It is entirely possible and probable that racial segregation would have faded away, and racial harmony would have been achieved, without federal intrusion, but making racial segregation the official federal policy for over fifty years ensured that federally mandated desegregation would provoke resentment and opposition; in the Twentieth Century many racists were not so concerned about State's Rights as they were with maintaining or restoring the federal "separate but equal" policy.
How can Christians promote racial harmony? One important thing we can and must do in this regard is to uphold and promote the Holy Bible as the infallible Word of God and the final authority. There is no Scriptural basis for racism as many suppose.
All humans are natural-born sinners and every race has a record of evils, so no race can be considered better than others. (Romans 3:23)
Racial distinctions are varieties of the same characteristics found in all humans; for example, all humans actually have the same skin color, and different races are often characterized by different shades of that same color. Race and race classifications refer to interbreeding communities of individuals, that is, populations separated from other populations by geography or by customs, taboos, or social conventions. Races are not subspecies of the human species, and race is not a Scriptural concept.
Acts 17:26-27 does not teach any supposed New Testament standard of racial segregation. This refers to the events of Genesis 11 when God separated mankind into separate nations in order prevent further centralization and thus prevent government and society from inevitably becoming even more corrupt and ungodly.
The prophecy about the history of the descendants of the sons of Noah in Genesis 9 did not establish racial segregation or forbid Shemites or Japhites from marrying Hamites. The purpose of this account is to explain the subjugation of the people designated by the name of their forefather Canaan to the descendants of Shem and Japheth. This was fulfilled when the Israelites took Canaan, the Greeks took Sidon, and the Romans conquered Carthage, and since then the Japhetic races have dominated the world and largely converted to the God of Shem. (Genesis 9:20-27 ) None of this indicates that God loves the descendants of Shem or Japheth more than He loves the descendants of Ham, and this does not require racial segregation, nor is any racial superiority or inferiority indicated. (consider Psalm 68:31 & Amos 9:7) Ham was blessed by God along with his brothers. (Genesis 9:1) http://www.rbc.org/questionsDetail.aspx?id=46128
Old Testament prohibitions against mixed marriages refer to cultures of idolatry and not race, and forbade intermarriage with idolaters and did not forbid intermarriage with other races. In the Old Testament the children of Israel were permitted to marry converted Gentiles, including converted Hamites, and numerous marriages to Hamites or people of Hamite extraction were blessed by God and recognized as valid marriages. (e.g., Rahab, Ruth, Uriah, etc.) Note also that cultural (and other) differences should be expected in any choice of a mate, even if husband and wife are of the same race, age, social status, and cultural background, and prohibiting interracial marriage does not alleviate racial tensions; the measures needed to prevent people of different races from meeting, being attracted to each other, and choosing to marry promote mistrust , disrespect, and enmity between the races, which are the very problems we should seek to prevent. http://creation.com/interracial-marriage-is-it-biblical
The toleration of the institution of slavery in the Bible does not mean that it was God's will and purpose to preserve that institution, or that Hamites are inferior beings. God did not institute slavery, He merely regulated an already existing institution.
For example, while polygamy was tolerated in the Old Testament, the Mosaic Law made polygamy terribly impractical and taught principles that, when applied, led to the abolition of polygamy. (Exodus 21:10; Leviticus 15:16,18; etc.; in the Bible domectic happiness is always associated with monogamy. -Psalm 128:1-6; Proverbs 5:18-20; Ecclesiastes 9:9; etc.) Likewise, both the Old & New Testament teach principles which, when applied, led to the abolition of slavery, such as the New Testament teaching to treat a slave as a brother. (consider Philemon 15-16)
Slavery served to illustrate bondage to sin and the need for redemption. (consider Hebrews 10:1)
The separation taught in both Testaments is godly relationships, conduct, and distinctions within society, not racial segregation.
If we wish to persuade people of racial equality we must uphold the Holy Bible as the infallible Word of God and the final authority, especially the Genesis account of creation. Racism is ultimately based on the theory of evolution in some way or another. If the theory of evolution (whether atheistic evolution or theistic evolution) is correct then it naturally follows that certain races are more highly evolved and are therefore superior or inferior; if the Genesis account of creation is true then it naturally follows that racial superiority and racial inferiority are myths. If the theory of evolution is true it naturally follows that man is naturally good and sin is the result of environment, which also means that some races are more highly evolved and thus are better; the Bible teaches that all men are natural-born sinners. (This does not mean that all evolutionists are racists or do not believe in equality; they simply do not have a firm basis for equality and their belief system supports racial inequality.)