It occurred to me that in this country, we probably live by a set of two of everything we hold dear.
It seems that we – black and white Americans – both live in make-believe worlds. In my world, I make-believe that the Constitution is a document that pushes egalitarianism, equality, justice for all. In my make-believe world, God is a God of justice, who is, as the Book of Galatians states, “no respecter of persons.” My God is one who would not and who has never sanctioned violence, discrimination, lynching, denial of rights and economic disparity. My God is the hero of the oppressed, the God who thundered “Let my people go!” The Bible I read supports the idea of God that I have as a loving God who loves all His/Her children equally.
In the make-believe world of my white brothers and sisters, racism is gone, a thing of the past. It seems that for many, not all, but for many of my white brothers and sisters, God was, at least, a God of division, a God who ordained slavery and allows injustice. For them, God does not insist on social justice ; or them, “the least of these” is a group narrowly defined, most often not citizens of America. For my friends, the United States Constitution does not guarantee that all people should have the same rights as others; all people are NOT created equal, they will say, and have always said. (Even our beloved President Abraham Lincoln, though he opposed slavery for some very pragmatic reasons, said that he in no way thought that white and black men were equal or deserving of equal rights.) The Bible that my white friends read and interpret from seems to condone the superiority of one race over another, and includes passages, divine words, if you will, as justification not only for racism, but for sexism and homophobia…and perhaps militarism as well.
Well,it’s no wonder the country is in such a mess! We do not intersect, we blacks and whites, in the very areas where we should,tied together by one God, one Bible and one Constitution. The problem is that God, in Her wisdom, created us with minds that interpret what seem to be pretty clear-cut and dry messages in all kinds of different ways. The Founding Fathers never intended any of us to include black people or women, for that matter, in their lofty statement that “all men are created equal.” The late Strom Thurmond said that yes, the Bible said that we should love our neighbor, but that, by golly, we as individuals have the right to choose who our neighbors are.
I wonder if God is wringing His hands? I rather doubt that the Founding Fathers are sorry for what they wrote; they wrote what they meant, and they thought everyone – including black people and other people of color and women – would be bright enough to understand. But God…I wonder about God, and about what God thinks. Is God pleased not only with this country, which seems to have a dual belief system for whites and blacks, but for other countries which practice oppression, discrimination and cruelty on the basis of another’s race or gender?
I sometimes wonder if God is sighing and thinking that we people still have problems “returning to God,” as did the ancient Israelites. When God’s people back then continued to live in ways that were in contradiction to God’s will, God got angry.
I wonder if God is angry now.
A candid observation…