Activism, protests, and legalism
To be racist is said to be the greatest sin in our world—even greater than murder—and if you don’t say the correct three word magic phrase today—you are labeled as such. But words do have meaning and should be more than a political tool and symbol for outrage at perceived injustice.
“ ‘It is not enough to talk about racism, you must strive to be anti-racist and fight against racist policies and practices,’ Dr. Heard-Garris said. If you have the privilege, ‘make space, speak up or amplify issues of inequity and injustice.’ Children see everything” (Jessica Grose, “Talking to Kids About Racism, Early and Often,” NYT Parenting, June 3, 2020). Notice that working and acting a very particular way, or at least getting out of the way is required. There is no freedom—this is forced slavery of a different kind.
The collective guilt is thrown upon all–not for judging the color of a person’s skin, beliefs, or stances, but simply for not acting as the mob demands. The made-up guilt is used to motivate actions and imprison minds, making others do what is unnatural and even unjust.
The Christian has the truth that there is no justice and no true hope without the just and righteous Lord. Christ is Lord, who died, and His righteousness is gift. It does not have to be implemented by force or authoritarian groups. It simply is, because God is right and distributes His goodness in His Word.
But the race to have sinners “fix” injustice is by nature unjust—it can never arrive at true justice. Like the endless and impossible-to-win war on poverty, we will always have the sin of discrimination among us. It is inescapable—since this world cannot become heaven and perfectly impartial by our own efforts. We can’t deliver ourselves from our sin, only Christ can when He returns.
But the fervor which the anti-racists demand action reeks of the same error of racism—in the opposite direction. It perpetuates the divide among citizens and labels all those who do not categorically support their pagan philosophy “racists”—even the very people it supposes to promote! We do not need more judging and name-calling. Outward deeds cannot fix the heart—where discrimination and sins originate.
The religious character of this anti-authoritarian epidemic is scary. It is not about listening to a viewpoint and acknowledging that all people are one race, created by our Father in heaven to know Him and be loved by Him. Instead, it demands brutal submission and rants and raves demanding its imaginary, heavenly candy right now. But true earthly justice does not exist, and because of sin it cannot.
Life is full of injustices. Overweight people are shamed, while the skinny are considered unhealthy. The tall are awkward, while the short are deficient. The intellectual are boring book-worms, while the uneducated are ridiculed. Those too poor are looked down on, while those too rich are called evil and greedy. Those who obey authority are uninteresting, goody-two shoes, while the disobedience are criminals and thugs. There is no pleasing sinners. Sinners are very good at judging the wrong things.
Properly defined, racism is a sin—no one is to be judged or treated by what they look like or possess.
My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called? If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors (James 2).
But justice is rooted in God, our Maker, not in making up for past societal sins. Two sinful acts do not make a righteous one. Only Christ’s Spirit renews man from within and allows us not to judge sinfully, by receiving us into His love. Only the Father can take away the burden of real divine guilt and fill us with true love, a love which does not consider what people deserve, but the life that Christ has blessed us with. We are to treat all people just as we wish to be treated, even when they do not deserve it. This takes love, not faulty attempts at human justice and phony atonement.
We should morn and decry injustice and unloving attitudes—it is sin. But we can’t forgive by our emotion or make new people’s hearts and souls—that is Christ’s workshop. It is not the domain of politicians or activists. This world will always be unfair and unequal in all sorts of ways. But the Gospel gives us something much better than we deserve—the privilege of being a son of God with an eternal inheritance. No need to apologize for this privilege! This future heavenly home with our Father is our hope as we all endure persecution for belonging to Christ and loving our neighbors—no matter what they look like or have done and said.
A justice without God can never be just. A hope and solution without Christ is godless and in the end must be futile. Thanks be to Jesus we have victory over sin—and the answer to man’s injustice: Righteousness in God’s death for us. –ed.