Does this Apply to Parks Departments and Historical Commissions?

13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor. (1 Pet 2)

Or is it better for Christians to be known for their protest love?

Perhaps most difficult of all, I believe victory will come through our obedience to the Lord who commanded us to love our enemies. We cannot live in the disobedience of ignoring the sin of racism and using the terminology “love your enemies” to justify the protection of prejudiced practices. This is not the example of Jesus.

Jesus taught us that telling the truth – and acting accordingly – is integral to godliness. As the Word of God and the Son of Man, he confronted the oppressive actions of church leaders. He challenged bigotry, judgmental attitudes, and injustice. He exposed the prejudices that his enemies loved. He knew exactly who his enemies were, and he took every opportunity to speak directly about the wickedness they shielded. The love of Jesus for his enemies was not a cover-up; it was rooted in revelation. This is the example we must follow. This is the work of love that the church has inherited.

But we have shunned the revealing, revolutionary acts of love because they are too difficult. We have invalidated our own message. The reason that the Church has not been able to rightly dismantle white supremacist notions is because the Church is guilty of undermining racial justice.

17 thoughts on “Does this Apply to Parks Departments and Historical Commissions?

  1. DGH – in context he is clearly talking about the need to preach against and confront the racism of other “Christians.” In fact, the very next sentence after the part you quoted is “The Church is a spiritual army…” His point is that Christians must speak out against and confront racism in the Church and actively fight against it in our own lives. I see nothing even implying civil disobedience. I think his essay wholly conforms with 1 Peter 2 and Romans 13.

    His point is valid. I have been shocked at how many Christians have rationalized and minimalized the sins of the KKK and neo-Nazis. They may claim their racism is wrong, but that they are really fighting to preserve their “heritage” rather than harm others. This idea is absurd on its face, but there are many, many so-called Christians – mainly in the Baptist denominations, but also in some Reformed churches in the Deep South and Appalachia – who are reluctant to denounce the racism of these groups. The Church as a whole must do a better job of confronting these errors.


  2. vv, who in “the church” defends racism? You may think if someone doesn’t condemn something in the “right” way, they are racist. But the USA is overwhelmingly opposed to white supremacy.


  3. D.G.,
    Where there is white privilege, there is white supremacy. Certainly the US is opposed to the KKK or Neo-Nazi forms of white supremacy. But it still lives off more subtle forms of white supremacy. And if we don’t think that exists, then we should ask Blacks about it because many are telling us it still exists.


  4. CD:

    Are churches that don’t condemn “white privilege” in the manner prescribed by Curt Day simply racists or something far worse?


  5. Curt, so if white supremacy is that pervasive, what do I do? Where in the world is white supremacy in place? Will you pay for my passage to Mars?


  6. DGH – I never said anyone in the church defends racism – in fact I said the exact opposite. What I said is some Christians are reluctant to denounce it, which is not the same as defending it.

    Paul – many far-right – or in some cases mainstream right – in the American South dislike the unabashed racism of the KKK, but consider them allies in what they view as a war against Southern heritage and Southern values. The typical comment from such Christians (in a variety of forums) is that the KKK is bad, but in the case of Charlottesville they were simply trying to preserve the Confederate statue and thus Southern heritage. In other words, the KKK may have a racist agenda, but they aren’t *that* bad because they get some things right. This is minimizing racism and too few Christian leaders are willing to strongly denounce racism in general and this tendency to minimize racism in particular.

    A case can be made for preserving the Confederate monuments (I think they should all come down), but Christians making allies out of organizations whose raison d’etre is sinful and hateful is not the way to go. Optics and all…


  7. ESPN has made the case to prohibit an Asian broadcaster named Robert Lee from covering a UVA football game. I’ll bet he’s really hateful. Someone should identify the last church Mr. Lee attended and demand repentance.


  8. D.G.,
    I’ll pay for a trip to Mars if someone pays for me.

    What to do about White Supremacy? Think in terms of reducing it, not eliminating it.


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