“I am not a racist.”
Who says that? It seems to me the folks who are mad at the NFL protesters say it. They want to make it clear: they aren’t mad because they are racists.
One of those outraged people was explaining to me recently why he was mad, and toward the end of his explanation, he felt compelled to add: I’m not a racist.
But I feel like honest people, introspective people who can stand to look at their own interior, don’t say that. They say something more like, “I am making a conscious decision to unlearn racism, and when I notice racist thoughts, I do my best not to act on them.”
I was talking to Jesus about it, about how our faith relates to these troubled times and this particular issue … looking for some example from his time on earth that would show me where he would stand (or kneel). And I felt like he was reminding me of a couple things he said …
But I tell you truthfully, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were closed for three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land. Yet to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, a city of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet. But none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian. (Luke 4:25-27).
He was talking about two people miraculously favored by God who were definitely not among the Chosen People — and one of them wasn’t just a foreigner, but a woman, a widow, sort of the bottom of the barrel in the discrimination game.
When I mentioned this to my sister, she reminded me that Jesus said this in the temple, just after he had announced himself as Messiah by reading the beautiful passage from Isaiah …
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. — Luke 4:18-19
Here, indeed, Jesus is taking a knee with the poor, the oppressed, those who are in need of liberty. He is willing to stand — or kneel — with them, even though it incensed his own people! (They were so angry they decided to throw him off a cliff! I guess the NFL protesters got off light just being called a bad name by the President.)
It’s incomprehensible to me that many evangelical Christians are standing with the President on this issue rather than kneeling alongside those who want to set at liberty those who are oppressed. Somehow some Christians have chosen the establishment over the subversive Savior … and they say it’s not because they are racists. But then … why is it?