What is the conversation about race Christians in the U.S. should be having?
The January 2016 Remind & Renew is intended to be a contribution to the conversation and argument about race that pockets of the nation and some religious communities are having.
While the conversation about race should be pursued with more vigor and expanded to more places, it is not the endgame. Liberty and justice for all is closer to what the goal should be.
The speakers we’ve invited for the conference represent various sectors of the church and academy. They have been asked to address the question, “What is the conversation about race Christians in the U.S. should be having, and how might that conversation contribute to liberty and justice for all?”
Both Christianity and the value-laden, aspirational documents of U.S. history make promises regarding this question.
In one reading of Christianity, there is only one race: the human race. All peoples of the earth are created by God and are children of God.
But the practices of both Christians and of government officials at a variety of levels are inconsistent on this issue.
Historically, preachers summoned all their righteous indignation both to defend and to condemn slavery. They did the same during the decades of Jim Crow laws. And particular congregations may be among the last, if not the final, mono-racial pockets of American society.
Within U.S. history, aspirational documents regarding basic human rights such as the Declaration of Independence, the First Amendment, section one of the 14th Amendment (equal protection under the law), and the more modern Pledge of Allegiance should lead us to believe the U.S. recognizes and protects the rights of all persons, regardless of race.
We are all equal in God’s eyes. We are all equal under the laws of the United States of America.
The history of doing violence to racialized and dehumanized others is at least as much a part of Christian and U.S. history as are movements for reconciliation, defense of human dignity, equality of opportunity, and equal protection under the law.
We invite you to the 2016 Remind & Renew to be inspired and encouraged in the important work that is yours to do in the place you serve.