Recently I was asked a question that was almost tailored-made for me or at least some of my significant interests. I believe it was asked because they knew I enjoy openly discussing what is taboo or controversial subject for many Christians. I simply believe you must be willing to speak openly with the attitude of sincerity and unbiased consideration of the experiences of others when you’re talking about what I call “Christian Taboos”.
Christian Taboos are subjects that people who proclaims to be a follower of Jesus Christ are either forbidden, restricted or even consider profane subjects. Often it is due to uninformed or even ignorant a perception that regards the subject to be dangerous, risky, untraditional or even makes some people uncomfortable. Many people are unwilling to engage in positive interaction with persons they do not understand, unfamiliar or have labeled as a sinner.
I will try to tackle most of the issues related to the question, but here’s the question that was asked. Can someone who tries not to be racist towards anyone still be considered prejudice and be a Christian too? If so, why?
Yes and this is why.
Christians are just like everyone else. Many have fooled themselves into believing that because they are a Christian they are no longer susceptible to the ills of the world. Many choose to ignore the symptoms that has infected the minds of many Christians and in some cases perpetuated the actions and mentality of sick individuals.
A person doesn’t have to be racist in order to be prejudice. Whether it be a charge of homophobia or even one that’s on the raise in the United States among certain constituencies; Islamophobia, it still amounts to an act of prejudice.
Conforming to taboos essentially suggests that you accept or willing to participate in exclusionary practices, which is a form of discrimination. It’s a form of discrimination, because it prevents objective consideration of an issue, situation or circumstance.
There are many people who say and believe that they are not racist, because racism has been explicitly intertwined with being prejudice. You may not be racist, but racism is not the only form of prejudice. We must consider the harsh discriminatory practices of Homophobia or even Islamophobia as two of the most popular and unfortunately socially accepted forms of discrimination among Christians and many other religious beliefs and cultures.
When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said that it is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o’clock on Sunday morning during the heights of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s & 60’s he was primarily referring to it in terms of race relations in the Christian church. I personally, belief it has not gotten much better today because we still can easily determine and often self-identify ourselves in terms of race in religious services. It’s gotten so bad that we can assume the racial demographics of the church by reading the name on the building, “First Presbyterian Church of…, Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church”. We’ve all gotten a little better, because you’ll see 1% of many of our churches have a member of color (Being a person of color does not exclude White. Last time I checked white was considered a color, unless Crayola changed something on me.)I know this is true and can easily document it, but do not want to focus on our religious racial bigotry just yet.
My focus is on the other ways we have allowed and accepted bigotry within many of our Christian churches. I can only speak about Christian churches; because that’s the center of religious/spiritual worship I attend and subscribe to. I can only assume that the same is true for other religious beliefs and cultures.
As I’ve written upon various aspects of this topic in the recent posts I must say that I am in no way casting any dispersion on Christianity itself or Jesus Christ. Christ isn’t the problem, we who have chosen to follow Christ are. Many of us have perverted the name in such an effective manner that we have somehow made hate acceptable in the name of Jesus.
You don’t know what I’m talking about?
We can begin by looking at recent events and activities of those who calls themselves Christians or organizations doing work in the name of Jesus.
Many Gay and Lesbians are pushed out of Christianity by Christians. It simply amazes me to see it and the amount of hatred I get when I speak out in defense of Gay and Lesbians who are seeking a church home. Many are understanding and see my attempts, but how can I effectively persuade anyone to just visit when they are greeted with the numerous signs of segregation in the sanctuary. I don’t care where you go or what church you belong to when someone who isn’t like the majority of the people within that church comes in there’s usually several people who ignores them or will smile in their face and talk behind their back when they sit down or get to their car. Just hypocrites. At least be honest about your bigotry and stop using God as a crutch to rest your justifications for discrimination upon. God is no respecter of persons.
As some would have it, I couldn’t be friends with anyone who isn’t like me. What a bleak existence that would be. I love myself and who I am, but I don’t want to be around people who think, acts and look like myself all of the time. This is why I absolutely love and respect my friends who are not Christian or Black or Democrat or male. I have something to learn from Muslims, I have something to learn from Republicans, I have something to learn from Atheists, I have something to learn from Non-Blacks, I have something to learn from Lesbians or Gay men and they have something to learn from me. If we refuse to talk to each other none of us learn anything except what ignorance is.
Christians must ask themselves the same questions Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. illustrated with such eloquence when he said, “On some positions, cowardice asks the question, is it expedient? And then expedience comes along and asks the question—is it politic? Vanity asks the question—is it popular? Conscience asks the question—is it right? There comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right.”
Bigotry, discrimination or prejudice is any form is not right and is not of God. To act, misrepresent or believe it does is a perversion of God. Isn’t that essentially another way of using the lord’s name in vain? This is easy, why would God hate? Or a better question would be what does God hate? If you find yourself doing what he hates shouldn’t that be an indicator that you need to make some changes?
I know there will be some who subscribes to a ridged interpretation of the Bible that we should only consider the interpretation of those who interpreted it. Wasn’t the Bible interpreted by a select few ordained by God? (Moses, Paul, John, David, etc…) Some interprets the Bible in a more fluid context. They consider it as a guide to help us understand the objective. Who’s correct and/or why can’t it be both?
I’m sure there will be more on this one, but will conclude here to open the door of criticism, damnation and the few who may agree with me.References & Inspirations Catherine Lawson – “The Most Segregated Hour in America: Protesting Segregation in the Church” NPR: Tell Me More – 06/05/09 “Groups of Black Clergy Rally to Support Gay Marriage” Religious Dispatches – 01/19/09 “King Dares Us to Imagine A Better World” NPR: Tell Me More – 05/15/09 “Gay Marriage Divides Black Religious Leaders”