Recently, I read a description for a mayoral candidate’s campaign that catered to conservative women of color. Okay, it’s fine to have events that cater to specific audiences, but the issue I have is with the description. Part of it says, “While the media and the race-baiters of today constantly look for and invent triggers for racial unrest and division, churches across this nation are awakening to their identity of being peacemakers and ministers of reconciliation in their communities.” It continues later “(conservative: holding to traditional Christian values).”
First Issue: We associate Christianity with a party. Now, biblically speaking, Jesus was not a liberal or a conservative. Jesus came to bring the Kingdom of God which challenged the very governmental and political systems in place at that time. If anything, Jesus would have been outside of the government, not seeking to conform to it. Therefore, the Republican Party is not, nor has it ever been, the party of Christ. Both parties have their pros and cons. Many Christians limit the Bible to the topics of gay marriage and abortion, but what about the other parts? Matthew 25:37-40 says, “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’” What about the fact that Republicans are taking away healthcare and generally support policies that don’t provide for one’s neighbors? But this isn’t about Republicans or Democrats because there are lives at stake.
Second Issue: How are we using the term “race-baiters” and yet claiming to be “peacemakers” and “ministers of reconciliation?” To begin the process of reconciliation, we must first admit that there is race. To use terms such as “race-baiters” ends a potentially successful conversation before it even starts. To address race in this way is to basically tell women of color that their votes matter, but not their lives. It’s as if the struggles of being black mean nothing and we are only seen as a political ploy. Once again, there are lives at stake. These “triggers for racial unrest and division” are not “invent[ed].” No one is asking for police brutality. No one asked for the prison industrial complex. No one asked for subprime loans and housing discrimination. No one asked for systematic racism. This isn’t a choice. This is lived experience, and it should not be dismissed just to get votes.
I agree that we need racial reconciliation, but this is not the way. We must begin to address race and social justice issues in a way that allows us to grow in knowledge and understanding and in a way that addresses historical and current systems at play. Reconciliation begins with admitting that racial injustices as well as white privilege exists. We must not allow political parties to cause us to lose sight of humanity and the cause of Christ. Above all, we as Christians are called to love God and to love others. Support whatever party the Spirit leads you to support out of your personal convictions, but please don’t call it the party of God.