I have to “fess up” that I have racist tendencies. Well, if not racist then at least a xenophobic predisposition. I think deep down, many of us do.
It’s not something we are proud of or even like to admit but there is a comfort in the familiar and a discomfort with the stranger.
Recently however, I have been increasingly rattled by the undercurrents in public responses to certain Muslim groups and leadership as a result of the London bombings.
I hear quotes from radical Imams which are not that different to comments emanating from various “looney” fundamentalist Christians over many years and wonder why some are regarded as dangerous while others are simply considered loopy.
It was when I visited the White Pride Coalition website (and I suggest you don’t) that I was most troubled.
In articles that referred to non-whites as “lesser beings” and “mud people” and homosexuals as “sub-human animals” I found vitriol that is sickening to the core.
The difficult challenge is to find an appropriate response.
Martin Luther King Jr said laws can be passed to keep whites from lynching black people, or laws can require white people to open up their restaurants, but laws can’t be passed that will compel one race to love another.
Ultimately the solution will be found in our own hearts. As Jesus said, it’s the log in my own eye that makes it difficult for me to address the speck in the eyes of others and unless I confront my own inherent prejudice I can never begin to demand change in others.
I am proud to be part of the Uniting Church that has placed its opposition to the sin of racism so clearly on the public record.
I pray this edition of Journey might encourage all of us to step forward and extend the hospitality of God to one another as we continue to work for unity and reconciliation.
In the end, our diversity as a church and as a nation is not a problem to be solved, but a gift and a blessing.