How can they be called Christians while flaunting the Teachings of Jesus Christ ? by Raymond A Joseph*
On reading a story in The New Yorker, September 2, 2020, I could not contain myself and felt unable to wait for the publication of my memoirs, still in the writing stage, to address the issue of racism among those calling themselves Christians, while going against the teachings of Jesus Christ in whose mantle they wrap themselves.
The title of the article – “American Christianity’s White Supremacy Problem,” subtitled “History, theology, and culture all contribute to the racist attitude in the white church” — by Michael Luo, is quite enlightening. I recommend that Christians and non-Christians alike find it on Google to get an idea about the hypocrisy of so-called Christians in this “Christian nation” of the United States.
While reading Mr. Luo’s masterpiece, I kept waiting for an explanation of the reasons for the hostility, antipathy, even hate displayed against others by White American “Christians” based only on skin color. As a graduate of two “Evangelical” institutions – the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and Wheaton College, in Wheaton, Ill, the alma mater of the famous Billy Graham— I experienced first-hand the sting of racism from those who call themselves Christians. That is another story. For the moment, I will deal with the racism of White “Christians” under the light of the Scriptures.
Always claiming the Bible as their source of inspiration, the majority of White “Christians,” especially those harboring “racism,” turn to the Scriptures for affirmation of their belief that Blacks have been “cursed” long ago. In fact, that is the origin of the black skin. They turn to Genesis, the first book of the Bible, to point out what happened between Noah and his sons after the epic flood that had covered all the earth, as was known to them then. In chapter 9, verses 18 to 25, the whole story that has given rise to White supremacy is spelled out.
According to the narrative, Noah, who learned how to make wine, no doubt from the grapes in his fields, got so drunk that he passed out in his tent, all naked. His son Ham happened to come into the tent, saw his dad in that shameful state, and went out to tell his two brothers, Shem (Sem) and Japheth, apparently joking and laughing at the expense of their old man. To the brothers, it was no laughing matter, so they found a big cover that they put on their shoulders, went into the tent, and walking backward not to see their father in his pitiful position, covered him up.
When Noah finally slept off the effect of the wine and regained his composure, he learned about Ham’s tattling on him. Angered about what his “youngest” son had done, the Scriptures say he cursed, not him, but Ham’s son Canaan, in these terms: “Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants he shall be to his brethren.” (The King James version)
There is some discrepancy in the narrative. While nothing is said about Ham’s wife, a Canaanite from today’s Palestine, she may have been a shade darker than Noah and his offspring, and Noah may not have approved of Ham’s bringing her into the family. Nothing is said about that in the Bible. But why curse Ham’s son and not Ham himself? Was Noah, showing racism, sparing his own son, and blaming the darker-skinned son of that woman he did not like? Though the Canaanites are not considered black, they are of a darker hue than the Israelites, not unlike today’s Palestinians. Somehow, for their own purpose, White “Christians” say the Noah curse turned Canaan’s skin black. And from his line of the family, dark skin supposedly was extended to all dark-skinned people. There you have it, certified by the Bible, as the racist White “Christians” would have you believe. Since Noah said Canaan would be “the servant of his brothers,” enslavement of the Black race for centuries by Whites was God’s punishment—via Noah.
Forget that Noah had done something which the Scriptures, both in the Old and the New Testament, condemn in no uncertain terms. In various passages of the Bible, drunkenness is described as a vice mainly of the weal thy, something that is not pleasing to the Lord. Yet, the curse on Canaan was approved by the Almighty.
Even if we were to agree that this was so, God’s wrath is not forever. In the book of Exodus, the second of the Bible, Moses asserts, “. . . The Lord, God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin . . . visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and to the children’s children to the third and fourth generations.” (Exodus 34:6-7, Bold ours.)
The extent of a generation, according to the current model, is 25 to 30 years, not comparable to Old Testament biblical times when those folks lived for hundreds of years, including 930 for Noah. Nonetheless, the Noah curse has run its course long ago. By the time Moses came on the scene, more than four generations had passed and Noah’s punishment against Canaan and his descendants was null and void, based on the Bible, as explained above. Better yet, with the arrival of Jesus Christ on the scene, Christians live under a benevolent and inclusive charter clearly spelled out in Christ’s “Sermon on the Mount” in the New Testament book of Mathew, chapters 5 to 7.
Moreover, consider Jesus Christ’s answer when asked, “What is the greatest commandment in the Law?” He answered: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind. . . . And the second is like it, Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Matthew 22:36-40, the New International version).
Was segregation, practiced under Jim Crow laws by White Southerners, the majority of whom were “Christians,” a crafty way of saying Blacks were not their neighbours and were underserving of love? Are policies or practices in place — economically, educationally, socially— leading to poorer neighborhoods up to this day ways of keeping Blacks in abject conditions, many having to live in ghettoes, where they do not fit the term neighbour as far as “White American Christians” are concerned?
In the era of Black Lives Matter, White American so-called Christians cannot continue to perpetuate the fraud about being followers of Christ. They are also deluding themselves when they call on Old Testament Noah to the rescue for their bigotry because the Noah curse, if it ever existed, was nullified four generations after it was pronounced.
“American Christianity’s White Supremacy Problem” is self-made and nurtured to continue the oppression and ostracism of Blacks, even after four centuries of slavery, which was instituted for economic exploitation by those who considered themselves of a superior race, based on skin color and hair texture. It pained me when I saw the results of a survey conducted September 30- October 5 by Pew Research Center, stating that based on responses from registered voters, Joseph Biden, the Democrat, will carry the day with 52% of the vote against 42% for President Donald Trump, the Republican. But in the breakdown of the various blocks, 78% of Protestant Evangelicals back President Trump who, having given a chance to condemn White supremacists during his first presidential debate, September 29, failed to do so. And I remember the saying: “Birds of a feather flock together.”
RAJ October 21, 2020 email@example.com
*I am a graduate of the Pastors’ course at the Moody Bible Institute (1957) and hold a B.A. in Social Anthropology from Wheaton College (1960) and an M.A. in Anthropology/Linguistics from the University of Chicago (1964). A former Wall Street Journal reporter (1971-84), I was the ambassador of Haiti to the United States (2005-2010) and, reportedly, played a major role when the destructive earthquake hit my homeland on January 12, 2010, by enlightening the U.S. public about the historical importance of Haiti to the greatness of the United States.
Following the declaration of Christian televangelist Pat Robert son on Rachel Maddow’s program at MSNBC, about the reason for the earthquake, diplomatically I upbraided the minister without ever mentioning his name. Pat Robertson had said the earthquake was “God’s punishment on Haitians for the pact they signed with the Devil to win their independence.”
By his statement Pat Robertson, an Evangelical icon, still believes that his God was in favour of slavery, and indirectly admits that the Devil cannot stand such exploitation. Anyway, being interviewed next, I said: “Some people don’t know the history of their own country because had they known it, they would have known that the pact signed with the Devil allowed the Haitians to defeat the mighty army of Napoleon Bonaparte, forcing the French to sell Louisiana to the new American nation for the equivalent of $15 million. Thus, did the U.S. double its landmass overnight. But Haiti has yet to benefit from that pact.”
Cet article est publié par l’hebdomadaire Haïti-Observateur VOL. L, No. 41 Édition du 21 octobre 2020 et se trouve en P. 3 à : http://haiti-observateur.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/H-O-21-octobre-2020.pdf