Bloodshed in Buffalo

 (Originally published, May 16, 2022)

“Racism is man's gravest threat to man - the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.” ― Abraham Heschel

“Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, everywhere is war. And until there are no longer first-class and second-class citizens of any nation, until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes. And until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race, there is war. And until that day, the dream of lasting peace . . . will remain but a fleeting illusion to be pursued, but never attained... now everywhere is war.” ― Haile Selassie 
Once again, we have witnessed an angry young white man, fearful of being “replaced” by people of color, going on another bloody rampage, this time in a grocery store in Buffalo. Among the murdered, an 86-year-old woman who stopped by the store on her way home from visiting her husband in a nearby nursing home.
As the flawed notion of white supremacy has slipped into yet another subtle disguise, the fear and hatred only deepens and there is no room for reason, for dialogue, for truth-telling. Only violence and murder and mayhem can express the rage of white dominant culture as our dominance slowly slips away. 
And it’s not just the man with the gun who needs to come to Jesus. It’s all of us who stand by, knowing full well that life is not remotely the same for people of color in our society, and do nothing to level the playing field, to address the latent unfairness, to fix the systems and structures designed for our benefit over others. 
Any theological gymnastics to somehow wed such views and behavior to the way of Jesus is unthinkable, impossible. There are no contortionist antics that will allow us to cling to Christ and defend white supremacy. Between the two is a chasm that cannot be bridged. The racist person who seeks to baptize his views by sitting in church on Sunday morning should think again. Such hypocrisy must sicken the God who made all humanity in His own image. “Depart from me. I never knew you.” (Matt. 7:23)
May the broken hearts in Buffalo drive us deeper into the heart of God for all people.


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