Tuesday, January 29, 2008

How much prejudice is too much?

What about this issue don't Christians get?

I stand amazed at the tolerance for prejudice that still exists in 2008. Today I got an e-mail from a pastor friend of mine. After today, our relationship has changed. I can't just sit back and listen to people, especially those who call themselves Christians, make racial or gender prejudicial remarks and just nervously laugh, or quietly walk away. This is evil, plain and simple.

Edmund Burke once said, "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

The e-mail I got contained some racial slurs. I don't want to repeat what they said because it is so horrible but the gist of what they said was, "life would be much better in America if we had a lot less black people." I was pretty horrified by the e-mail. I sat for a moment sort of stunned and kept scrolling back up to make sure it was really the person I thought who sent it to me. I kept saying, "this can't be...it can't be..." but it was.

I was so shocked you might as well have told me the person was...a stripper...a drug dealer...a member of the mafia. I mean, I was SHOCKED. But I guess I shouldn't be. Racial and gender prejudice is still not viewed as a sin by many in the church. People find all kinds of ways to try to justify their words and actions.

One time I was in a room full of Christians and we were talking about places to shop (cause I love shopping!) and someone said, "Oh, don't go to such and such a mall...it's horrible." And I said, "why?" and they said, "oh, it's too dark." And naive ol' little me, I thought she meant there wasn't enough lighting in the place and you couldn't see the merchandise.

When she explained what she meant by "dark" I got upset and said how offended I was by the comment. Instead of apologizing, she and others in the room tried to justify what was said by sharing about what they see as the stereotypical behavior of black people they know. But that didn't cut it with me. I had to get up and leave. Their comments made me sick.

Equal time is a blog about gender equality and I know right now I'm talking about race but the thing is I've noticed that there is much rationalization in the Christian world about both race and gender prejudice. The thing that scares me is that some of our young people are very laissez-faire about this. If you don't realize the seriousness of this just think about all the young people who are now calling each other nigga and cracka and thinking this is somehow cool. This is nothing but a slap in the face to people like Rosa Parks, and all of the people who went before these young people to guarantee that they would have a seat on the bus just like anybody else.

On gender issues I see some of our young ladies who are especially indifferent. Like the young people who think nothing of calling one another racial slurs for fun, so some of today's young women could care less what our foremothers went through for us and some even make light of it. Our foremothers fought a long hard battle just so we could vote. And many young women today could care less about voting. The other day I was on the blog of one young woman who shared that her husband "votes for the both of us" and I was absolutely shocked at the number of young women commenting on the blog who said they considered it wrong to vote differently from their husband, thereby "cancelling out his vote." So if they are not voting the same as their husband they abstain from voting. I just have to wonder if some of these women are also laying at the foot of their husband's bed, calling them Lord... (um, only half kidding there...)

Many of the women who went before us in ministry went through unbelievable challenges to give us the privilege of standing on platforms now, ministering the gospel. Some younger women today don't care about that. In fact they would even sit under the ministry of a man who believes women should not be ministering the gospel or holding leadership positions. There are some younger women in ministry today who wouldn't see anything wrong with voting for a man to be in leadership in their church, fellowship or denomination who doesn't believe in gender equality. They are in living in a sort of complacency or naivety at best to believe that this will not affect the decision making process in leading the organization in which they serve.

Recently a man who doesn't believe that women should pastor was being considered for a prominent position in the denomination in which I serve. (Our fellowship happens to 100% believe in and stand for the equality of women at the highest levels of leadership. It's one of our core values.) Well, this man's views on women are well known. However he pastors a very large church and has great leadership skills. Many people felt his views would not affect our fellowship in any negative way and that we would only benefit from his leadership skills, but I disagree. Even if he were to not stop anything currently going on in the way of opportunities for women, would he pursue further advancement of women? For it's not just a matter of allowing what is happening currently, but in making progress for women now, and for our daughters in the future. I guarantee, progress in this area would not have happened on his watch, had he been elected.

There's a story I was told about some parents who were trying to teach their kids this principle when it came to sin and questionable activities. The kids were asking to do some things the parents just weren't comfortable with and the kids responded, "well, it's not that bad...it's just a little of this...or a little of that..." and so to prove a point the parents went out unbeknownst to the kids and got some dog poop from the back yard. They made a pan of brownies and put just a tiny miniscule bit of poop in the brownie batter. When the brownies were done the parents called the kids to come to the kitchen and began to cut up the brownies and dish them out on plates. Before the kids could take a bite from their plates the Dad said, "Ok kids, just so you know, there is just a tiny bit of dog poop in these brownies from the backyard..."

The kids were totally grossed out and said, "Eeeewww!" and pushed the plates away. The brownies all ended up in the garbage, but not before the parents said, "what's wrong kids? It's just a little bit..."

Would you eat brownies that contained just a bit of poop? Would you buy a bottle of water if it said, "99 percent spring water...1% sewage"? Of course not. Any rational thinking person would not even entertain the thought.

So how much prejudice is too much? Any amount.

A truly Godly person with their head on straight will not even entertain the thought.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

WOW what a great illustration to get the point across! Loved it! I completely agree with you on this topic too bad more people don't get how wrong it is! We teach our children to sing Jesus loves the little children of the world, red, yellow black and white...all are precious in His sight!