Almost 30 years ago, my brother talked about how we should all be concerned that the birth rate of white people was low while those of other races was higher. It was something being discussed at the church he attended. He was spouting what is now called by some “replacement theory”. I found his comments repulsive and today I am sickened by the increase of white supremacy and our complicity in it. If we are not actively working to end white supremacy, we are complicit in its continuance.
As a person ordained in the Christian tradition, I have a moral and vocational obligation to speak to moral and ethical matters, even when people disagree with me. The concept of the so-called “great replacement” is no longer in the hidden, conspiratorial corners of the Internet; it’s mainstream. It’s mainstream in part, because good people remain silent about the sin of racism. Saying nothing is tacit agreement. Or, as Rabbi Abraham Heschel said about racism in America, “In a free society, some are guilty, all are responsible.”
This was a man who knew personally what it meant when so-called “good people” said nothing when hate was expressed. He lost his entire immediate family and more to the Holocaust. And today, the same kind of anti-Semitic, anti-Black rhetoric is not only present in our country today; it is amplified by television, Internet algorithms, and more. When people are explicit with their hate, it is our responsibility to name it as such, much as Jesus did in his day. And if that isn’t hard enough, Jesus instructs us to love our enemy: find a way to love the people who are full of hate. I appreciate how Rhodes Thompson (deceased member and pastor) used to put it: “Love the hell out of ‘em.”
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