To My White Christian Friends: We Must Change Our Focus Within the Current Racial Discussion in America

I have listened quietly as people have discussed their views of our nation’s current racial divide seen most recently in the deaths of two African American men and five white Dallas police officers. There are strong emotions on both sides of the divide and because I am a white male I acknowledge my inability to fully understand the thoughts and emotions of the African American community, but I want to try to approach this topic from the position of one of Christ’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) and not as a Caucasian apologist. The rest of this post, until the concluding paragraph, is for my white friends – specifically for those who claim to live for Jesus.

I am extremely disappointed in the conversation that I see and hear surrounding this topic. Whether I have heard you in person, or seen your posts on social media, I have gathered that the overwhelming response is that of defensiveness, concerning the killing of the two latest African American men by police officers. I confess that I do not understand how that position can be rightfully taken. You are not the person being blamed for killing either of those two men and you do not know all of the facts surrounding the events that ended so tragically, so why are you defensive? You do not know that the officers were justified in shooting either of their victims any more than others can know that the officers were not justified in their shooting. None of us were there and it is none of our jobs to gather the facts and determine whether, or not, the officers were justified in their actions. So why are you so concerned with taking that burden on yourselves?

If this conversation should persist within the Christian community, and I believe it should, then I think the its aim must change. What is not relevant to us is whether the police in Louisiana and Minnesota were justified in their killing the two victims. What is relevant is that there is a 15 year-old now fatherless son who has undoubtedly seen footage of his father being wrestled to the ground by police officers, prior to being shot multiple times and killed. Can you imagine the emotional toll that would have taken on you had you seen that happen to your father? Similarly, there is another family who has watched the video of their son and brother lying in his car covered by a blood soaked shirt while the police officer continued holding him at gunpoint. Can you imagine what you would be feeling following events like that if it were your family member? You would feel extreme grief, sorrow, and rage. Remember, the justification of the officers’ actions is not what is being discussed here. Rather, the humanity of the victims and their families is what we are considering.

So why is it important to remember the point of view that is being brought to your attention? Because Jesus said that people will know his followers by their love (John 13:35) and you will remain incapable of showing that love as long as you continue to disregard the reality of what is being felt within those families and within the African American community at large. Regardless of whether you agree with me so far, or not, the fact is that most of the feelings within the African American community, right now, are the same as the emotions that you experienced when you learned of the five police officers who were ambushed and killed in Dallas. I know that the situations were very different, but I also know that the emotions surrounding them are very similar. With that in mind, how would you feel if someone attempted to provide you with factual reasons stemming from the Dallas shooter’s childhood, or his time served in the military, or otherwise that they felt explained and justified the reasons he felt that it was acceptable to ambush the police officers on duty that evening? You would likely be angry. You would at the very least completely discount everything else that person said to you, as you would write them off as being completely ignorant and uncaring. The point that I am trying to make is that nothing that person could say following his giving a defense of the shooter could come across as loving, or empathetic, because he would seem to be more focused on defending a person who has inflicted pain on you and your community than he was on feeling your pain, or showing support for your community.

The reason that this is so important, Christian, is because your donning that title means that your words and actions – good and bad – represent Jesus to those who are around you. In John 11, when Jesus went to raise Lazarus from the dead, he did not immediate walk to Lazarus’ sisters and those in his community and rebuke them for mourning their brother’s death even though he knew that he was going to raise him from the dead. Instead, Jesus, who knew what was to come, mourned with Lazarus’ community while some even mocked and belittled him for doing so (Jn. 11:37). He was more concerned with that community’s mourning in that moment of grief than with what he knew to be true – Lazarus would live again. If Jesus was that concerned with the legitimate feelings of grief found within those who were mourning, shouldn’t we who claim to be Christians be willing to grieve with those who grieve?

There is a time for truth and facts and all of those things, but it is not when wounds are so fresh. I know that some of your minds are being flooded right now by all of the “reasons” that you believe something about this situation makes it an exception for you, or gives you reason to dismiss what I am saying, but you’re wrong. Regardless of whether your “facts” about the recent events are right, or wrong, you are commanded by Scripture to mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15). Furthermore, we are not only commanded to love those who love us. Instead, Jesus said, “You have heard it said, ‘You should love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven’ (Matt. 5:43-45). That means that you are to love everyone, which includes showing kindness, compassion, and mercy, regardless of how they have treated you, or of any reasons that you believe that they have given you reason to do otherwise. Do you believe that your conversations and social media posts surrounding this topic is one would cause your African American brother or sister to believe that you are filled with love for them and for their community, or would they immediately dismiss you upon hearing your thoughts because you sound to them as the person who would make a defense for the Dallas shooter would sound to you? Would they be drawn to Jesus by your words, or would they simply be drawn away from you?

This closing paragraph is the only paragraph that I have intended for my Christian friends of all races, instead of just my white brothers and sisters. I am certain that you do not want this racial divide to persist further throughout even more generations of American history, but I think that some of you may be blind to the fact that the reason that it has persisted for this long is because both sides of the divide have continued holding to their “reasons” for considering themselves justified in holding to their sinful feelings that are contrary to the ones Jesus commanded. We know that Jesus said that no one is justified for such feelings, regardless of past or current events. That is why I am urging you, Christian, to represent your King well. Shift your focus from one that seeks to justify your own thoughts and actions to one that is concerned primarily with bridging the racial divide by demonstrating the genuine love and compassion of Jesus. I am convinced that it is in that manner that not only will the racial divide begin to be bridged, but also souls will undoubtedly be drawn into a saving relationship with Jesus because of the love that others see in us.

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Pro-Choice and Inconsistent

On Monday morning, twenty-one year old Emile Weaver was sentenced to life in prison for giving birth to her baby at her Delta Gamma sorority house, in Ohio, and then murdering her child by leaving it wrapped in a trash bag and left in a dumpster. The judge rightly convicted and sentenced the woman to life in prison. However, as I consider the implications of that ruling, I am in awe at the lack of coherence in our culture’s ideology. We sentenced a woman to life in prison for murdering her newborn baby by means of suffocation in a garbage bag – and most would wholeheartedly affirm the ruling – but, as a society, we would have affirmed her ‘right to choose’ the same fate for her baby had she only chosen to murder it by allowing a ‘medical professional’ to use a pair of scissors to cut her child’s spine, prior to dismembering its arms, legs, and head, in a partial birth abortion procedure. Not only could she have chosen that option without receiving a life in prison sentence, but the doctor who cut her child’s spine would have received a sizeable payment for murdering her child for her! How does this make sense? It is the epitome of a double standard and it is blind and incoherent reasoning at its finest. After I read about the sentencing of Weaver, I told a pro-choice friend about the case and she was mortified. I feel certain that her reaction would be common among the vast majority of pro-choice supporters, but, why? Given the pro-choice stance, would it not seem natural to affirm Emile Weaver’s choice, instead of gasp at it?

Pro-choice advocates often demand that others refrain from making negative moral judgments concerning abortion because they claim that morals are only relative opinions; however, they make their own negative moral judgments by claiming that those would seek to ban abortions are wrong for doing so. While they claim that legislators have no ‘right’ to tell women what they can, or cannot, do with their own bodies, they overlook the fact that every law that exists either directly or indirectly tells citizens what they can, or cannot, do with their own bodies. That is the expressed intent of every law in existence! Why is this particular scenario different than every other scenario in which the government has the ‘right’ to tell people what they cannot do with their own bodies?

It seems to be a very unstable and inconsistent state of mind that the Western society has adopted. We tout science as king and dispose of any sense of objective morality, until we enter the discussion of abortion and suddenly begin to tout, instead, our chosen “morality” (i.e that it is wrong to tell a woman what she can, or cannot, do with her own body) at the expense of science. The science that we disregard is the scientific fact that demonstrates that it is at the point of conception when babies receive their own unique human DNA and are, therefore, by definition, fully alive human beings. Although many medically murdered babies are less developed human beings than was Emile Weaver’s newborn child, the fact is that they are no less human. Consider the fact that a man born without arms or legs is no less human and valuable as the man born with all of his limbs intact. The level of a man’s development does not dictate the level of his humanity; instead, the presence of life dictates his humanity and worth. Still, there are many partial birth abortions committed against babies who are no less developed than was Weaver’s child, but their parents have simply chosen to murder their child in a manner that our society has deemed as an acceptable method, so society celebrates those mothers’ choices to do as they wish.

The conclusion that follows necessarily is that Emile Weaver’s mistake was not choosing to murder her newborn child. Rather, her mistake was that she chose the wrong method in which she would murder her child. Had she simply paid someone else to murder her baby then there would have been no legal question surrounding her choice and anyone claiming that she was ‘wrong’ to have made her ‘choice’ would have been deemed a bigot. Instead, she unfortunately chose an unfashionable time and method to murder her child, so she was sentenced to life in prison while I am certain that many in the pro-choice community recoiled at her actions. This is the definition of lunacy.

Contrary to what you may think, the primary problem is not that the wholesale murdering of babies has become the norm in our culture. Instead, the primary problem is that our society has chosen not to acknowledge any ultimate authority outside of the individual’s preference. They, in effect, undermine the government’s authority to tell people what they can, or cannot, do with their own bodies in regards to guns and drugs, so that they might lend an even greater authority to the preferences of people who prefer not to be inconvenienced by an unwanted child. I am not arguing that there are not more complicated pregnancy crises that have caused women to opt in favor of abortion, but that the vast majority of abortions performed in the name of convenience overwhelmingly eclipses those cases. Similarly, society affirms the authority of science in relation to its theory concerning the origins of humanity (i.e. Darwinian evolution) and the practice of medicine while it simultaneously undermines science’s authority by claiming that the act of murdering a living unborn human child is not the same as murdering the human being who is standing on a his front porch! It is clear that where there is no ultimate authority, there can be no real consistency.

The good news is that God anticipated this problem – not only in our culture, but in humanity at large. God knew that we would reject him and that he would be forced by his own just character to punish all those who have rejected him and his character, which is reflected in his moral laws. That is why he sent his son in the form of Jesus of Nazareth to live a morally perfect life. Although he deserved no punishment, he paid a debt to God that he did not owe, so that everyone who would believe in him and love him could put their trust in his payment and be free from their debts to God. Our debts have been paid and that is great news! The bad news is that everyone who rejects Jesus’ payment and, instead, trusts in themselves will be forced to pay his or her own insuperable debt to God. That is why I beg you to put your trust and love in Jesus and, thereby, to submit to God as the Ultimate Authority in your life. If you have not done that, please do not procrastinate. There is forgiveness to be found in Jesus, regardless of past failures.