In late December 2010, Mike Huckabee, was still considering a run at the presidency 2012. But it was another potential candidate in the news, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, who had just made an ignorant (perhaps racist) remark about segregation in the south. Huckabee came out quickly to condemn the remark. I wrote about it on Caffeinated Thoughts. A few Christians had actually defended Barbour.
Now, a similar controversy has come out of the hit A&E show, Duck Dynasty. Patriarch of the show and star, Phil Robertson, made the news, in part because of his own comments on race relations:
“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”
This is similar to Harbour’s remarks, though we are perhaps only given a snippet of Robertson’s comments by GQ. Some Christians have ignored this remark, and focused on what was considered the more controversial statement, in which Robertson tied homosexuality with bestiality, and to Robertson’s credit, other sexual sins. (Many articles have been misspelling it “beastiality”) . Homosexuals are outraged at the remark, and asked for Robertson’s head on a platter. They got it, when A&E dumped Robertson from the show, and a hotel in NY refused a Robertson son service, either because of the remark, or probably because of his burly facial hair.
1) Why aren’t liberals focusing on the potentially racist remark, but on the “gays and lesbians” angle. (That’s kinda obvious.)
2) Why aren’t Christians equally outraged about his racially insensitive and possibly ignorant remark? (Not so obvious)
Perhaps it is because racism is secretly tolerated in some of our churches. Michael Horton, of Westminster Seminary West, wrote a blog post addressing the racism of theologian R L Dabney, and other Christian slave-owners from the south. Some churches still honor Dabney, without addressing his remarks.
David Van Drunen spoke at a conference, showing how our latent racism may make our testimony about homosexuality seem incredible to the world.
I have experienced such evidence first hand. A deacon’s wife in an Assembly of God church (in the 1980s) balked at housing a Teen Challenge student she said “because he was black”. Again, in the 1990s, a current deacon of a Baptist church blamed some of current cultural problems on blacks, and he used the “N” word.
This is not an indictment on the whole church, nor on the plain teaching of Scripture about all sexual sins, but on our failure to speak out plainly against racism, today. Racism strikes at the heart of the gospel, for in the body of Christ He has torn down the wall of separation (for example, Jew and Gentile, Ephesians 2:14) and we are all one in Christ:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
David is currently an adjunct instructor of Composition and Speech at Marshalltown Community College in Iowa. His wife and he have also owned a business selling antique and collectible postcards on eBay since 1999. David was an activist with Operation Rescue in the early 1990s. He is a member of Trinity Presbyterian Reformed Church in Johnston, Iowa.
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