Christians and racism
The world is black
The world is white
It turns by day and then by night
A child is black
A child is white
Together they grow to see the light
To see the light
– Three Dog Night, Black and White
It is a mystery for many how some people who call themselves Christians can hate their fellowman simply because of the colour of their skin.
Where the Bible teaches about love and being a good neighbour, it is inconceivable that others could use that same scripture to justify hatred and segregation.
While the word ‘racism’ is not mentioned in the Bible, there are numerous scriptures that encourage love and unity.
Family and Religion asked the Rev Dr Zebulah Aiken, pastor of the Miracle Tabernacle, Free Town Church of God of Prophecy, to give her views on this paradox. She said that racism, which manifests itself as prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism towards people based on their membership of a particular race, should never be practised by any follower of Christ.
She compared racism to how the Jews treated the Gentiles in the Bible, with God having to give Saint Peter (a Jew) a revelation so that he could embrace Cornelius (a Gentile) when he approached him.
Peter, with new insight, said in Acts 10:34: “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons. That, she stressed, is all the evidence needed to show that when it comes to racism, God has no part in it.
For Aiken, creating a unified world is in stark contrast with racism. She pointed out that Christ was sent to “redeem and unite creation”, which is made up of different tongues, tribes, peoples, and nations.
“The Kingdom of God is made up of diverse people. There are Jews, Gentiles, black, white, with all given the same agend: to worship God in spirit and in truth as well as to love their fellowmen,” she said.
However, despite the evil of racism, which is practised by some Christians, Aiken said that that is just the tip of the iceberg as there are some Christians whose attitudes toward others are downright ungodly. According to her, some believers are “standoffish” and take delight in fostering a social divide between themselves and those on whom they are looking down.
In the body of Christ, Aiken said, it is about one love, seeing our brothers and sisters as coming from the same Father, and if we can accomplish that, then we would have been carrying out the Father’s will.
Racism, she says, has no place in a Christian’s life and the two should not be said in the same breath.
Pointing out that although Christians in Jamaica, thankfully, do not have to deal with the level of racism experienced by their counterparts in some countries abroad, she said that we, too, have to be careful about our own prejudices in other areas.
Quoting James 2:3, Aiken said, “If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, ‘Here’s a good seat for you’, but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet’, she said that sadly, too often, that attitude is practised in church, where persons are placed in higher esteem because of their social standing.
“Racism, or any action that would belittle another person, should be shunned. As for Christians, it should be all about love and unity.”