Victor Hugo said, “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time is come.” I hope that’s true because the time has come for people of color to get justice in this country. We must press on for real change. We simply cannot lose this momentum. Too many lives have been lost to get people thinking and moving; to break free from the grip of our nation’s history. That’s why it’s important to me that some white Christians stop being a silent, and worse, a vocal drag on our progress.
Since my last post, I read a very disturbing blog post entitled Do You Know What Really Killed George Floyd? In it the white Christian blogger argued that it was Floyd’s drug addiction that got him killed. She suggested that Chauvin’s knee on his neck was “incidental”, saying, “And he may well have survived the encounter if he wasn’t suffering from severe heart disease, high blood pressure, and a load of meth and fentanyl in his system.”
This came from a Christian. And when I challenged her hurtful post, she claimed she wasn’t trying to be intentionally hurtful, then lamented her inability to get me to understand the “truth.” I am still haunted by the comments from those responding to her racial triggers. One even suggested that a legal lynching of Chauvin was taking place. Can you imagine?
I also listened to a sermon by a white Evangelical pastor of a church in Phoenix Arizona. The sermon title was, A Biblical Response to Racism and Injustice. In it, he never actually addressed racism or injustice. His sermon was historically predictable and equally damaging. Racism is sin and the response to sin is the gospel. Yet oddly, or maybe it’s not so odd, he decried sin so generally as to encourage his congregants to do nothing. He didn’t even encourage them to share the gospel. While he did not directly condemn the actions of the police in the Floyd case, he did talk about the the Marxist underpinnings of the the BLM movement. In the end he simply said wait; justice will come. While true that’s not a biblical response to racism and injustice.
I reached out to that pastor. I told him as a fellow pastor I was deeply disturbed by his sermon. I offered to talk to him offline. I haven’t heard from him or anyone associated with the church. I shouldn’t be surprise given the fact that in the sermon, effectively dissuading his members from listening, he said he didn’t need to listen to people of color to know what the Bible says about racism or injustice. He actually said that. How incredibly prideful is that? He used the Gospel to effectively quell a movement toward justice. As if the Gospel works without the actions of people. He knowingly, or unknowingly, attempted to slow the building momentum, allowing the great grip of the status quo to do it’s work.
I have reason to be hopeful though. In the time since my last post I have also read much from my courageous white brothers and sister who are listening. Some for the first time. Many are compelled to step out from behind the veil of silence. Many are saying and have said that they stand with people of color in this long awaited time for change. They too recognized it’s time has come; it’s moment is now.
They are not afraid or ashamed to talk about race and to acknowledge systemic racism. They also know what they are risking to do so. Some of the comments on their posts also haunt me. They are dodging the political epithets hurled their way by their friends and choosing to stand with us. To all who have, I’m so grateful to the Lord for you. You are proving to be a neighbor and demonstrating the love that is the essential quality of the Kingdom. Thank you, and I love you too.