And Jesus ISN'T the cure.
By J. Sells
Photo by John Cameron.
This article was inspired by our single "Jungle", which features God Over Money signee Jered Sanders. You can listen to the song below.
You may mean well, but...
I'm sure we've all heard the phrase, "Jesus is the cure for racism!" Or at least some version of the phrase. While I'm sure that those who use the statement and the statement itself mean well, it's ultimately false. It grossly oversimplifies the changes necessary to tackle racism by reducing it to a 'heart' issue, or an ideological problem. This is problematic because it assumes that all will be made well if we merely THINK differently, as opposed to actually DOING different things and BEING different human beings. It would be great if racism ONLY affected the gray matter (or lack thereof) sloshing around inside the human skull. If only. Contrary to popular belief, the opposite is true.
Racism isn't just thinking of oneself as superior to another race. That's prejudice. Racism is MAKING oneself superior to another race.
Now, one could argue that new actions will flow from a new train of thought, and I would mostly agree. However, with specific regard to racism in America, we're talking CENTURIES of embedded policies that have wreaked havoc upon minorities; havoc that isn't undone by simply saying, "sorry" or "Jesus is my homie now!" (insert eyeroll). Racism isn't just thinking of oneself as superior to another race. That's prejudice. Racism is MAKING oneself superior to another race.
Photo provided by Flickr.
Un-rig the board
I'll use a chess board for a quick analogy. A change of heart taking place in the 'creators' of chess would be cute, but that means nothing if the GAME itself is still rigged. When the phrase "Jesus is the cure for racism" is used, the thought that typically accompanies it is "just preach the Gospel", as if the Gospel is merely fire insurance. As if the Gospel doesn't inform how we LIVE. As if the Bible ONLY talks about how to avoid Heaven and Hell, and is silent on what goes on in between. As if people will somehow become afraid enough of Hell to live differently. Nah. That…is a flaccid Gospel!
To say that social justice has no place in the Gospel is tantamount to saying God isn't interested in fairness, or righting wrongs, when that's EXACTLY what He has done and will do!
Isaiah 1:17 and Micah 6:8 both speak to how justice should be sought and how oppression should be corrected. Oppression may not be as overt today as slavery was back then, but it's still very real, and in many ways, covert. Ironically, many of the arguments made against the abolition of slavery are the same ones being made today against social justice! Here's the thing. Police reform needs to happen (murderers caught on camera shouldn't be able to bail themselves out, or essentially throw 'hush money' at the family of the victims, as in the case of Breonna Taylor or Freddie Gray for example). Policies surrounding criminal sentencing need to be grossly adjusted (it shouldn't take months to arrest, indict, charge, and sentence when the evidence is overwhelming). To the say that social justice has no place in the Gospel is tantamount to saying God isn't interested in fairness, or righting wrongs, when that's EXACTLY what He has done and will do!
Photo provided by Flickr.
The REAL cure
The phrase "Jesus is the cure for racism" will actually be relevant when racism has been reduced to prejudice. THEN we can address the people who like to justify death by asking questions like,
"What was their criminal history like?"
"Were they on drugs?"
"Why didn't they just comply?"
Until then, don't waste time arguing with them. BE the change. Speak up. Speak out. Vote. Correct laws. THAT is how we cure racism!
You can also tangibly fight racism by making a statement with our "Racism is a Virus" tee, available here!