Repentance

If there’s one proverbial nail that Christianity hit on the head it’s that we’re all broken and in need of repentance.

Which is why I’m so heartbroken over white Christians’ unwillingness to admit and repent of our racist past in the United States or to address the ways that past still haunts us today. Ideologies like being tough on crime and polices like the war on drugs disproportionately hurt people of color and follow an unbroken lineage from a Jim Crow past.

Seeing senators who voted for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson in the past praise her in front of a camera only to vote against her is stomach churning. When asked about her judicial methodology, Jackson replied rather conservatively: “I believe that the Constitution is fixed in its meaning. I believe that it is appropriate to look at the original intent, original public meaning of the words when one is trying to assess because, again, that is a limitation on my authority to import my own policy views.” She hasn’t been accused of impropriety. She isn’t married to a political activist. By all accounts she appears to be as non-biased as a person could be and offers a much needed different point of view. And still, the Republicans who crossed the aisle to vote for her were called pedophiles.

In Kyle Whitmire’s recent State of Denial article he cites a 2019 bill in which abortion was compared to a few historical atrocities: “It is estimated that 6,000,000 Jewish people were murdered in German concentration camps during World War II; 3,000,000 people were executed by Joseph Stalin’s regime in Soviet gulags; 2,500,000 people were murdered during the Chinese ‘Great Leap Forward’ …”

But an amendment proposing to add the 2 million enslaved Africans who died in the Middle Passage to the list was an ocean too wide for lawmakers to cross.

Beloved, how can we remove the speck from our German or Soviet or Chinese brother’s eye until we’ve removed the plank from our own?

No red blooded American who displays any fruit of the Spirit would deny the evil of the holocaust or gulags. But ask us to acknowledge the evil committed against Native Americans or Africans and you start hearing how we’re teaching kindergarteners Critical Race Theory or how it’s not the good, hard-working aliens, it’s the “illegal” aliens.

It all reeks of fear and hubris and an unwillingness to repent or even acknowledge our need, skipping right over the first step on the Roman road to salvation.

Whitmire’s article was particularly triggering because it referenced a longtime family friend who sponsored House Bill 312 prohibiting public K-12 schools from teaching certain concepts relating to race, sex, or religion, which will likely show up in future political ads as the anti-CRT bill. When asked if he was familiar with the MIddle Passage, he conceded he was not.

Confession: Neither was I.

I had to look it up. And that’s not fair to all my friends who do know what it is because it’s part of their story. To be sure, my ignorance could be attributed to my lack of attention in public school. But it really makes me wonder if some lawmaker many years ago passed a bill prohibiting K-12 teachers from teaching it.

And if that’s the case, what else haven’t we learned? Apparently how to hear our black and brown brothers and sisters when they tell us how we’re still being hurtful.

Friends, it’s time we repent.

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