Here is blogpost I had no desire to write about my community, but sometime over the weekend someone has been distributing flyers purporting to represent the KKK in our town. So how should people of faith respond to these overt acts of intimidation and ignorance, particularly when they make their own claims to faith?
There are several things we must make clear.
These individuals are wrong. Hate and racial prejudice can have no place alongside the name of Christ.
A major theme of Scripture is the gathering of people from all parts of the world to gather together as brothers and sisters in worship.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27
Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the Lord. And many nations shall join themselves to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. Zechariah 2:10-11
But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. Galatians 2:25-29
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
In the story of the Good Samaritan Jesus emphasized that the character in the story we should emulate was the one who crossed racial lines to care for a neighbor.
It is clear, one can be racist or one can be a Christ follower…but you can’t be both.
By the way, it is ludicrous for a group of Gentiles to use Old Testament texts to promote racial superiority. (You are on the wrong side of that argument!)
These acts are harmful. There is nothing funny or amusing about these actions. They harm our community, they harm the witness of our faith, they are a cancer to our own souls, and they are an embarrassment to our children. It is a great scar on the history of our nation and our faith that prejudice once permeated the structure of our culture. While we are far from perfect today, it is an anathema to give the slightest thought to going back to those broken times. It would be better to return to the glory days of small pox and outhouses than to wax nostalgic about hate.
These acts are the work of a tiny minority. Undoubtedly, those responsible for these flyers and this website are huddled around their computer celebrating each click of the mouse. But they must never confuse curiosity for support. Rubberneckers can cause a simple fender bender to back up cars on I-10 for hours, but that does not reflect a spike in the popularity of traffic jams or rear end collisions. What I know of this community speaks far louder than a pickup truck and a fistful of flyers. This is not who we are.
The most challenging part of this situation is that we cannot oppose hate with hate. Just this past week, Rev. Fred Phelps, the most visible hater in America passed away. As much as he embarrassed me as an American and a minister, if I celebrate his death I have in a way become one of his hate filled disciples. So we stand clearly opposed to the acts of this weekend, but we keep a soft heart to the brokenness behind these voices. Not because we want to, but because we have to. To protect our own souls.
And one more thing…spend your day loving your neighbor. Don’t fill your day talking about what is wrong, instead live out what you know is right. It is what makes the difference between a town and a community.