In our last post, we looked at how facts of American history and its resulting policies and actions of today are sin issues. Which they very much are. But today, may I submit to you why this can not only be looked at as a sin issue but must be called out for the race issue that it has always been and continues to be today?
This year of 2020 marks 401 years since the enslavement of Africans, African Americans, and Americans of African descent. This year 2020 marks 155 years since the last slaves were set free. Only 155 years. No wonder these history lessons still sting like a whip.
In these 155 years of “freedom,” Americans of African descent have faced many trials as a people and as individuals.
Segregation is one of those many trials. Police brutality is another, and of course, the bias that Americans of African descent face in the court system — the modern-day “trifecta of trials” of the minority communities.
Segregation, a concept that in truth came out of slavery and the mandate that “blacks” were not to mingle or be equal to whites, did not “end” until the late 1960s.
It was written into law that black children would be bussed into white neighborhoods to attend white schools in 1954. This “historical” event was only 66 years ago. This law was written into existence seven years before my dad was born. My Dad. My superhero, no one but Jesus, is better than my dad in my eyes, Dad. Yet, the desegregation of schools would not be “completed” for another 15 years in 1969. That’s eight years after my dad was born. So you see, all of this is closer to us than many would like to think.
There are so many things to consider when looking at different elements of American history. Segregation was a part of slavery and continued for another 95 years after slavery was outlawed.
Police brutality in America stems from the birth of the Police force and its mission. In the days of the American Colonies, the force was instituted and tasked with protecting its white citizens from minorities. The Native Americans in particular. So from its inception, the police force was established as white against everyone else.
As slavery came about and the industry for it grew, the task of the police force shifted. Their responsibility shifted to the monitoring, capture, and punishment of misbehaved and run away salves. They would beat, maim, or even kill first and ask questions never. That seems a lot like today in a lot of ways.
Today, in 2020, when black men are still asked where they’re going like, they are not free to come and go as they please. Today, in 2020, when black men are told if they were politer to police when stopped, if they didn’t wear hoodies and baggy clothes, they would have nothing to fear. Like they aren’t hearing about uncle so-and-so who was lynched in the ’50s when manners were still top-notch, and Unc was wearing his brand new Sunday suit and hat.
With all due respect, when it comes to the “if the black community would just do such and such” argument, you can wholeheartedly miss me with that. Accountability and change are needed. As the church, we have to recognize that this is a hindrance to many coming to Christ. My skin and that of those who look like me is not a sin or afront to God and His Holiness. He crafted it and said that it is good. That “we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Before we were knit together in our mother’s womb, God knew our name.”- Psalms 139:13-14
The overall lack of change in the police relations to the minority communities is an ever-present wound. It seems like just as we are starting to scab over from the last injury to the masses, another one is inflicted. Another brutal beating, or uncalled for murder and we as a community are left to become hardened of heart as our cries for justice fall on deaf ears. As a Christian, I know that there is justice at the throne of grace. But for my community members that see Christianity as “the white man’s religion” to “keep the black man in submission under his thumb,” allowing these incidents to continue makes the gospel hard. Hard to share, and even harder to receive. (I think this train of thought will be broken down in another post to come.)
If this trifecta that we’re looking at is a body, Police Brutality would be the legs; segregation is the heart and core, and the bias of the court systems is the head.
Again, stemming from slavery, the systematic bias against Americans of African descent is long-reaching and very evident in court rulings. Court rulings that historically have sentence black men and women to longer jail sentences than our white counterparts. This is a stifling burden to live with, to live under.
What we need is for the church to hear us, to stand with us in this. To be God’s hands and feet and not leave the lost and dying, lost, and dying in societal squabbles that Christ answered point plank in the new testament.
As a Christian, regardless of if I like it or not, I am called to see first and last, the sin issue in everything. But as Christ ministered to the people and was not blind to their temporal trials and struggles, we too can not turn a blind eye to one’s plight simply because it is hard to talk about.
So, what do we do as a church in calling out racism?
One put the pain at the foot of the cross because it is a sin issue at the root. Two in our circles of influence hold the conversations of restoration. What is needed to make the situation, right, or better? What practical and active steps can we take to that end goal? Three understanding that this wound on society was inflicted over years of neglect and abuse. Trust, like a bone, was broken and healed crookedly only to be broken again and again. Yet it was never set properly and given the physical therapy needed to actually heal.
This is not a problem that was created in one night, and thus the situation will not be fixed in one. But, we can come together, hear the plight, and posed solutions with both open ears and hearts.
Scriptures to consider: • Luke 10:25-37 • John 4 • John 4:1-9 • Luke 18:1-8 • 1 John 2:1 & 2 • Matthew 5: 43 & 44 • James 2:14-16 • Psalm 34:18