Have you noticed that we live in and Us against Them world? Should I care about “them,” or is it every one for himself?
Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #121 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.
Who or which human beings should we care about? White people or Black people, or maybe some other race?
I ask because there are certain ideologies today that are reductionist, meaning they reduce everything to a lowest common denominator. Race is one of those denominators. Many people, if we’re to believe their social media posts or their actions in the street, reduce everything in life to racial or maybe ethnic parameters.
This happened recently when a young boy dressed for a home game as an Indian and painted his face half black, half red, the colors of his team the Kansas City Chiefs. A sports journalist immersed in racist categories accused the boy of insultingly coming to a game in “blackface.” So, an innocent 9-year-old fan was summarily condemned for “hating black people and Native Americans.” The absurdity of this attack is noteworthy for its all-too-common frequency in contemporary culture.
Another example of racial overkill is, in my view, what’s called “cultural appropriation.” I mean, how dare someone, who is not Latino, wear a sombrero or celebrate Cinco De Mayo? Or how offensive one should name their team the “Braves.” But what about cowboy boots or tweed? Is it cultural appropriation to wear this clothing? What about putting cornrows in your hair? Is this cultural appropriation?
Question is, where does this stop? Are non-Native Americans not allowed to ride horses? Are non-Italians not allowed to eat pasta? Are non-Scots prohibited from wearing tartan fashions?
One of the beauties of the historic American “melting pot” is that all nationalities, ethnicities, cultures, and eventually all races could become part of the abundant opportunities and blessings of E Pluribus Unum, and that included fashion, entertainment, food, language, and more.
Remember Emma Lazarus’s immortal words on the Statue of Liberty:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
The idea was that there is an American Dream, that people came come from all over the globe to this free country and be given an opportunity to live out their lives in freedom and flourishing. In the 19thand 20th Century, once the Irish arrived from the potato famine, then came Germans, Italians, and manifold others, who could work to achieve their dreams. They could become Americans by adopting culture they found here, by adapting their own cultures, and by assimilating in the melting pot.
I am entirely in favor of immigrants, even in the face of today’s highly charged immigration politics. I just want immigrants to come legally and participate in a legal process toward citizenship, not arrive via the invasion going on now on the US southern border.
By the way, Emma Lazarus was Jewish. So was the recently deceased statesman Henry Kissinger, who with his family escaped from Nazi Germany in the 1930s. Later, young Kissinger became a naturalized American citizen, joined the US Army, and eventually came home from Europe with a Bronze Star.
Who or which human being should we care about?
If we assume a prolife position, does this mean we must leave behind care and concern for what’s called “women’s health”?
If we are “pro-Israel” does this mean we cannot or should not care about Palestinians, or Arabs in general? If you care about Jews, does this mean you must not care about Greeks, as others were called in the Bible, or about Arabs? About Gentiles the world over?
If you affirm biblical views of human sexuality, and thus reject the expression of human sexuality embraced by people who say they are LGBTQ+, does this mean you must not care or express concern for people who choose to identify as LGBTQ+?
If you root for this team, does this mean, in the language of our times, that you must “hate” the other team?
If we believe in the American dream, does this mean we have unavoidably and irrevocably become “settler” colonialists, cultural imperialists, or adopted an oppressor mindset that always takes advantage of anyone who is considered marginalized?
Polarized politics, now, not only “affects” but “infects” every sector of American society. Much of what’s marketed as discussion these days has been captured by polarized politics. Same thing when it comes to answering the question, who or which human beings should we care about?
If you begin with an a priori commitment to ideology, like for example cultural Marxism, the “ism du jour” of leftism, you will inevitably reduce all things to oppressor vs oppressed, have’s vs have nots, and you will support whatever gives you power.
If you listen to people in the street or on university campuses who are promoting “woke” views, you will hear how you must fight for the marginalized, i.e., the oppressed against the oppressor. In other words, you are not allowed to care about the perceived oppressor.
So, this means pro-Black or Brown…anti-White. It means pro-LGBTQ, especially transgender…anti-heteronormativity. pro-Palestinian…anti-Israel; pro-the latest perceived downtrodden state…anti-American.
But the problem is, “the woke cult is inherently racist/bigoted. It believes if you are White (or straight, or male), you are automatically morally inferior to non-White people (or non-straight or male, depending).”
“This is the main reason why so many non-Arab progressives/leftists are now anti-Jewish. It's often not that they are originally anti-Semitic --- it's that they are anti-White, i.e., they think that Jews are White, and thus privileged oppressors, and Palestinians or Arabs are Brown, thus the oppressed.” (cited from Based Latinos on X)
For the left, “all the past narratives were absolute – white people are racist, police are racist, America is homophobic and transphobic, America is Islamophobic, etc.
No gray area. They treated it like they treat the climate change hoax – no legitimate ‘two sides,’ only those who agree with them, and evil…The left views everything, ultimately, through a lens of victim and oppressor… when it comes to Israel, they view Palestinians as perpetual victims.”
“Leftist academics see the world through the prism of race, and history as a struggle between oppressive white colonialists and settlers versus the indigenous and nonwhite multitudes, who are portrayed as the oppressed. Any violence self-appointed representatives of the oppressed wreak on those identified as oppressor colonialists or settlers is justified.”
Who or which human being should we care about?
Scripture answers first with the statement that every human being is made in the image of God and is both temporally and eternally significant. There are no human beings God did not create and does not know.
Then God said to “‘Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22:39). Everyone is our neighbor.
God even said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? (Matthew 5:43-47).
Scripture says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Who or which human being should we care about? All of them.
Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com.
And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2023
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