“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” – Rom 5:8
Before Jesus ascended to heaven, he told his disciples that they would be witnesses of Him, and that they would go to Jerusalem, all of Judea, Samaria, and to the end of the earth (see Acts 1:8). It is generally agreed upon that the mention of Samaria was quite deliberate – indicating that the disciples would have to go to a place they really would rather avoid. The tension and disdain between Jews and Samaritans was palpable. (Part of the point of “the good Samaritan” was to point out that the Samaritan had actually behaved in a neighborly fashion while the other Jewish characters in the story had not – breaking down some stereotypes, if you will.)
I suppose we all have a Samaria or two in our lives.
In American politics, there is one rather stark example that is raising its head these days. We’ve discussed at times over this past week the new accusations of racism emanating from the NAACP. The claim is apparently that there are racist elements of the “Tea Party” that need to be addressed. Get ready Tea Party – Samaria is at your doorstep.
First, let us consider for a moment the alignment between African-Americans and the progressive movement. Frequent readers will surely know that I find this political arrangement a bit silly. From a pragmatic standpoint, any people group that wants to hold political sway had better not become a sure thing for one party or the other. Nobody makes concessions when they don’t have to.
From a religious standpoint I also find the arrangement a bit off. For starters, the progressives are the part of abortion. How African-American Christians can rightly support this movement is beyond me. (Not to mention the inclination of the Margaret Sanger abortion movement to target African-American babies.)
Beyond religion and pragmatism there is also empiricism – progressive policies have not improved the state of the African-American population of the US. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is a painfully frustrating existence.
The conservatives in this country, the freedom-minded, take responsibility for yourself, get government out of your way so you can make your own choices conservatives do not want this to continue. We actually believe that taking the government out of the way and letting freedom reign will result in a better outcome for all Americans – including African-Americans. It does not at all serve the purposes of the Tea Party to maintain the status quo (I’ll let you decide for yourself which political party benefits from that … but it shouldn’t take too long, since the answer as it is ridiculously obvious).
Now, my interest tonight is not what the NAACP or African-Americans in general ought to do about this. My interest is how the Tea Party, or conservative, freedom-loving Americans (many of whom are white), react to this. First there is the obvious reaction – and then there is the better way.
The obvious reaction is, well, obvious:
“If you (African-Americans) want to continue down this road, then go right ahead. I can think of no more effective means of destroying a population than what progressive policies have wrought. America tried oppression through slavery, attempting to justify it based on ‘evangelism’ of heathen Africans. But, when many of the slaves converted they found a God who did not view them as second-class citizens. The human spirit longed for freedom. When coupled with the power of God and the light of the Gospel, it was not to be contained – and slavery fell. Then America tried oppression through segregation and Jim Crow laws. But, the human spirit, coupled with the light of the Gospel refused to be relegated to a second-class citizenship – and segregation fell. Equal protection under the law! How then to oppress? Perhaps Lyndon Johnson was wiser than Jefferson Davis and Bull Connor. —- First, cripple the human spirit through the dole. Then bring on liberation theology to affect envy and vengeance. Next we’ll destroy the family by incentivizing single parenthood. Finally, we’ll trap them in a political movement committed to their continual subservience … and they won’t even know it. —- Is this the life you want? Is this the movement to which you want to swear allegiance? Has this done anything but bring further destruction? Fine. I can’t stop you. If you want to continue to elect these leaders who are hell-bent on your destruction, then you get what you deserve.”
But this, is not the way ahead. For we, the freedom-minded conservatives, have a difference of political opinion with the majority of African-Americans. We think progressivism is dangerous – it leads to statism, socialism, fascism, evil. But this difference, while important, is a far cry from the difference between sinners and Christ. And while we were sinners, as Paul puts it, “enemies of God” – Christ died for us. This is our example.
Sometimes people have to be rescued in spite of themselves – didn’t we all? Deliverance, when it comes, has a way of changing perspectives.
So let us not shrink back from Samaria. Do not give in to the obvious retort. Do not give in to condescension. Do not allow the destruction to continue. We have brothers and sisters out there who are trapped in this mess. It could be a long, hard slog from here to freedom for all. But we must not lose hope or faith … and certainly not love. God has a way of “turning the earth upside down” (Acts 17:6). You never know what just might happen if our hearts, and minds, and prayers are aligned with Him.