In the wake of an incredibly horrific hate crime against nine people at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina, we have seen an outpouring of the love, grace and mercy of Jesus Christ from the parishioners and the families who have been affected. They have shown they are people who not only know the Word of God, but live and walk it every day. While mourning for their loss, we have been blessed to see their tremendous faith in God.
The hearts and prayers of many in this nation are with the people of South Carolina. My heart grieves for the violent loss of life, but I can rejoice in the knowledge that those who were taken too soon are at the table of the Lamb, where there are no more tears and no more sorrow. They are rejoicing and worshipping with the King of kings and Lord of lords. I am assured of this because I know God’s Word and trust in His promises.
Unfortunately, there are many who do not know God’s Word and so they have no hope, no peace. They are not encouraged by the love, grace and mercy of God, so all they can offer is hate and blistering rhetoric. Instead of praising the people of South Carolina for their faith and calm in the face of racism, there are those who are trying to stir up racial strife.
For more than a week, I have watched and read commentary from all sides: the liberal progressives to the ultra conservatives. I commend those who recognize racism still exists, because we are a world of sinful people with wicked hearts. God told the prophet Jeremiah: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
Man, without the infilling of the Holy Spirit, are a wicked people. Without the Lord, Satan comes into the lives of people and stirs up the hate in their hearts. They hate Jewish people, African-Americans, homosexuals, women, children, etc… they hate. As long as a nation is inhabited by people, there will be hate. There will be racism.
Does this mean America is a nation of racism? Is racism endemic of America? I believe there is racism in every country, because there are people who hate in every country. This statement is not an excuse for racism. It is merely a fact. Racism is not indicative to America. Hate is universal.
Given the opportunity, people will blame someone else for their poor situation. Look at history. That is how Hitler got the people of Germany to turn against their Jewish neighbors. During economic adversity, Hitler’s propaganda machine blamed it on the Jews. Soon, the people believed the lie and blamed them too. It was not the truth. It was just a lie told long and loud enough to convince the masses.
Instead of resting on opinion, I want to look at how racism is defined. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, racism is: 1: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race; 2: racial prejudice or discrimination
Based upon this definition, there is racism in America. There are individuals who think they are inherently superior because of their race. Because of their superior beliefs, they are prejudice against those they see as inferior and will discriminate against them. Yes, there are racists in America.
Does society at large conform to this definition? As we look at our nation, in my lifetime, we have seen a number of African Americans in very important and high positions in our government, including the President of the United States, who was voted into office. We have had two African American Attorney Generals, Eric Holder and our current AG, Loretta Lynch. We have also had two African American Secretaries of State, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. We have had two African American Supreme Court Justices, Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas. We have a number of African Americans in Congress. If we were to look at the states and the local governments, we would find a number of African Americans holding political offices across the nation.
In the private sector, there are people of every color and creed in our media. Both locally and nationally, people are on the network news based on their knowledge and education. As you go about your day, shopping and running errands, you will find people of all races working in every venue, from the grocery stores to the utilities and the post office. I have never been in an all-white business or venue during my life. There is no apparent establishment racism or discrimination, today.
This is not to say there has not been establishment racism in the past and there are not individuals who are racist today, but to say we are a racist country is to belittle what real racism is and diminish the real plight people faced in the past.
In our society today, people can succeed if they get an education and work very hard. While there may be a handful of people who will inherit a business or given a job because of who they know, the majority of people have to start at the bottom and work their way up. That is the way of capitalism. It has always been the motto of America. We are the home of the free and the brave, the land of opportunity, but opportunity comes to those who are looking for them, because they have the passion and drive to succeed.
We need to learn from the people of Charleston, South Carolina. We need to embrace and forgive one another in the love of Christ, learning from the words of Paul the Apostle: And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).
If we love one another, regardless of our differences, our nation will be great again. Remember, nothing will be solved or achieved in division. Jesus said: “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand” (Mark 24-25). If we remain divided, our nation will fail and everyone will lose.