Racism Isn't a Partisan Issue. It Is Sin | Sojourners

Racism Isn't a Partisan Issue. It Is Sin

Two people hug at the site where Heather Heyer was killed on the one-year anniversary of the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Racism is a sin. Racism is the antithesis of holiness because it denies the divine image of God in others. To engage in racism is to engage in wickedness, and to passively ignore it — and refuse to condemn it — is to be guilty of complicity.

As followers of Jesus, in order to love our neighbor as ourselves, we must passionately be anti-racist. This requires us to denounce racism wherever we see it, whether it comes from politicians, pastors, or parishioners. Silence is not an option.

Imagine if Jesus had refused to intervene when an angry mob brought a woman to him, prepared to stone her to death. Instead, Jesus confronted the crowd and saved her life. Jesus bravely and boldly stood up for women, children, Gentiles, Samaritans, the poor, and the sick. By taking a stand, he also became unpopular, chased by mobs, hated by religious leaders, and ultimately arrested and crucified on a cross.

There’s a long and horrible history of Christendom oppressing others. Whether it was the colonization of the “new world” and oppression of indigenous tribes, slavery, the KKK, internment camps, or segregation, Christians have regularly aided and abetted racism under the banner of Christ. Today is no different. The president has used racism to spread his political agenda, and American Christendom has been an eager participant.

Many white Christians won’t publicly deny racism because they mistakenly categorize it as a “partisan issue” rather than an undisputed sin. They view the quotes, videos, and reporting of racism as “fake news,” thereby making it nearly impossible to contradict anything that doesn’t align with their worldview.


Hardly anyone personally claims to be racist, and in an era where truth and morality have become co-opted by political rhetoric, moral relativism is the new theology of conservative Christians. So while most will admit racism is wrong, they won’t dare betray their political allegiances by condemning it. But racism isn’t something that’s acceptable within certain contexts. It’s sin.

The idolatry of political allegiance has changed the definition of what is now considered morally right and wrong. Many Christians have abandoned Christ’s great command to love others as we would like to be loved ourselves, choosing instead to turn a blind eye to the rejection of refugees, deportation of immigrants, denial of asylum, separation of families, assault of women, and blatant racism. Some Christians have even accepted and praised these hateful actions. To confront these evils as Christ did would be to betray their political party. This rampant form of “Christianity” isn’t a faith in Jesus but rather a faith in Trump.

If your churches, pastors, and fellow Christians have remained silent toward racism, they’re not only woefully failing to represent Jesus, they’re also participating in the sin of denying the image of God that’s divinely bestowed upon each human being. God help us.

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