A Christian Perspective on Racism

 

by Gjergji Evangjeli

 

The Christian perspective on racism is surprisingly simple to formulate. St. Paul, speaking on baptism, says that it is “a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all” (Col. 3:11, cf. Gal. 3:28-29). This is not to say that baptism erases ethnic identity, sex, or socio-economic status, but rather that none of these things are an impediment to membership in the Church of Christ and to the reception of the promises of the Lord. Since we have been commanded to “make disciples of all the nations” (Mat. 28:19), it follows that the same is true for any nationality or race.

 

Scripture clearly attests that all humans are made in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:27). Christ did not come to save dogs and donkeys not because He did not love those creatures, but because they are incapable of being saved. The medieval theologians—always thorough in their investigations—enquired even into the significance of a mouse gnawing on the Eucharist. The answer, of course, is that the mouse neither becomes Christian nor commits sacrilege. What is not made in the image and likeness of God, can neither sin nor be saved. Christ, however, commands that His good news be taken to all nations. It follows, then, that all humans are endowed with the image and likeness of God and are equal in dignity.

 

The racist, therefore, must reject Colossians and Galatians and, at length, Acts, as well as the Gospel of Matthew. If he is particularly anti-Semitic, the Old Testament has already been cast aside. Thus, we are left with a thorough rejection of the Biblical worldview, and with it, the One Who inspired the Biblical worldview. To be racist, therefore, is about as Christian as sacrificing your firstborn to Moloch.

 

But why is it, then, that so many racists claim to be Christian? The reasons may vary. Ignorance is an obvious candidate, as is cognitive dissonance. The more insidious reason, however, is that some racists wish to use Christ for their purposes. Richard Spencer, for example, explains in a Radixjournal podcast episode that religion is simply a force which binds people together. He therefore decries the loss of Christendom. In an “ask me anything” at AltRight.com, he explains that Christianity was paganized and Germanized, and was made an effective tool of binding Europeans together. His claim about the Germanization of Christianity is dubious at best, but it suffices to say that Spencer’s main point here is to highlight that Christianity is a European religion at its core.

 

Spencer readily accepts that he is not truly a Christian, but is “culturally Christian,” while also saying that he cannot bring himself to believe in any God. That is to say, Spencer rejects Christ, but finds Him a useful tool for control. He desires Christendom stripped of Christ, like a body stripped of its head and heart. The irony is that were he to speak in this way at the height of the power of the Church, he would likely face negative consequences.

 

Ultimately, this division between Christ and the Church is not merely heretical, it is not possible. The unity which Christianity creates is because we “let the peace of Christ rule in [our] hearts, to which indeed [we] were called in one body” (Col. 3:15). The Christian faith binds together only insofar as the Church is the collection of all those people who are bound to Christ. Anyone, then, who is filled by the peace of the God Who Loves and can be called a member of His body, can in no way harbor hatred in their hearts. Whenever one is met with seemingly charismatic speakers, therefore, it is proper to keep in mind the warning of St. Paul, “Take heed lest there will be anyone taking you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the principles of the world and not according to Christ” (Col. 2:8).

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