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White people, your racial sins are forgiven

by William McGaughey

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The foul stench of racial sin and guilt permeates America. It arises from the sin of the white man with respect to the black population, a sin going back five hundred years to the early days of slavery. And now there is the sin of racial guilt that white people have assumed from its legacy and continuing effect. The good news is that this sin has been abolished. There is no more racial sin or guilt; it has gone away. All that needs to be done is to believe.

Racial violence is a sin, as is hateful thought. But we are all sinners. We all have angry, hateful thoughts. This is an issue for me rather than for another. I am responsible for my own hate-filled thought, not for someone else’s. Jesus said: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye, with never a thought for the great plank in your own? ... You hypocrite! First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s.” (Luke 6: 41-42)

But now I wish to address the hate directed generally against white people in America. It is focused in the continuing accusation of white racism and in the persecution of those who would restore dignity and pride to the white race. Most white people avoid this subject. The accusation of racism is so painful they care not think of it. There are real penalties for being a white racist. But there are also some whites who do take their racial identity seriously. They are usually regarded as haters who desire, if not carry out, acts of violence against black people. I am thinking particularly of the Ku Klux Klan.

The most potent Klan organization in recent years was that established in North Carolina in the 1960s under the leadership of Robert Jones. Its story was recently told in a documentary aired on public television. By the middle of 1966, it had 192 chapters throughout the state and 10,000 members. This particular Klan was nonviolent. It filled a political niche in representing poor white people who, on one hand, were threatened socially and economically by the black Civil Rights movement while, on the other hand, they were despised by their more educated and affluent white brethren in North Carolina and other places.

Jones’ North Carolina Klan made the mistake of inviting the three accused killers of Civil Rights worker Viola Liuzzo to one of their rallies. CBS News reported this event nationwide. President Lyndon Johnson then publicly announced a crackdown on the Ku Klux Klan. FBI agents, infiltrating the North Carolina group, persuaded several of its key members to leave Jones’ organization. Jones himself was hauled before the US House Committee on Un-American Activities where he pled the Fifth Amendment in refusing to answer certain questions. This act discredited him in members’ eyes. Also, Jones was held in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over certain financial records and was jailed for a year. The North Carolina Klan never recovered.

Today the Ku Klux Klan continues in various groups, concentrated in the South, whose total membership may be several thousand. Some are associated with neo-Nazis. The Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-Defamation League, considering them “hate groups”, regularly report on their activities. It is fair to say that such groups are a target of political persecution.

Their best-known representative may be David Duke, a former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and one-term member of the Louisiana state legislature, who has served time in prison for fraudulent fund raising. Duke himself has never been linked to violence; and his affiliation with reviled groups dates back to a time decades ago. Yet, he has been demonized like no other political figure. A political scandal erupted in January 2015 when the U.S. House majority whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana admitted to having attended a meeting of a group (not the Ku Klux Klan but a pro-European heritage group) fourteen years earlier that had been founded by Duke. Rep. Scalise kept his leadership position in the House after condemning the group and its ideas unequivocally.

And now there is an organization called American Renaissance which has never been linked to violence. When it attempted to hold a conference in February 2010 in a Virginia suburb near Washington D.C., anti-racists led by a former Department of Homeland Security official phoned in death threats to personnel of hotels where the conference was to have taken place. It had to be cancelled. Much the same thing happened, less violently, a year later in Charlotte, North Carolina. That conference, too, had to be cancelled.

Recently, the U.S Department of Justice announced that it is establishing a new position, called "domestic terrorism counsel", to combat the “real and present threat” of domestic extremism. A department official praised the Southern Poverty Law Center for helping to identify the threats. Are those “terroristic” groups necessarily violent? No, said a spokesperson for the Southern Poverty Law Center. “I think there’s a common misunderstanding about the way you get on our Hate List. We post groups on the basis of ideology, not whether they’re violent or not.” While “some of the groups are ... violent, ” the spokesperson said, “others are simply pushing propaganda that we consider hateful. For example, there’s an organization called American Renaissance.”(Essentially this organization argues that blacks as a group have lower intelligence than whites and proportionately commit more crimes and that political correctness is ruining America. It maintains a website, amren.com, that reprints articles on this subject.)

In short, there seems to be no discussion of race in America nowadays other than ones characterized by the demonization of pro-white groups and, from their side, verbal attacks on black people. The white advocates are generally non-violent yet police organizations keep a close eye on their activities. Politicians, Democratic and Republican alike, disavow and condemn them in the harshest terms. Most whites, sensing a no-win situation, care not to become involved in discussions of race.

The result is a pervasive censoring of thought and speech, sometimes called “political correctness”. People are punished for what they say rather than what they do. The symbolic connection with violence is punished more than the actual thing. If it were otherwise, government would have to punish itself, being by far the most violent organization in society. So, in “the land of the free and home of the brave”, we Americans are not free to think our own thoughts about race and certain other subjects; we are too afraid to object to the loss of our fundamental liberties.

This is the political and cultural atmosphere surrounding race relations in America today. There is no “moderate” pro-white position to speak of because most whites are afraid to express disagreement with the prevailing consensus of opinion. Those having opinions strong enough to express them are likely to have hard anti-black views. Whites today are perceived to have a high degree of racial guilt. As this attitude has existed for more than a half century, it is likely to continue for decades to come. The hatred is engrained.

There is a saying of Jesus that may be relevant here. He said: “When an unclean spirit comes out of a man, it wanders over the deserts seeking a resting-place; and if it finds none, it says, ‘I will go back to the home I left.’ So it returns and finds the house swept clean, and tidy. Off it goes and collects seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they all come in and settle down; and in the end the man’s plight is worse than before.” (Luke 11: 24-26)

The first unclean spirit was racial slavery, ended by the US Civil War. After the war came northern carpetbaggers and scalawags and the first incarnation of the Ku Klux Klan. Then came imposition of the segregationist system. The Civil Rights movement brought local black resistance and an influx of northern support for it. This was a time when higher education was on the rise. College students saw themselves as a socially advanced class in contrast with the ignorant, bigoted whites in the south. Righteous church goers in the north condemned the evils of segregation. They were ones who saw the “speck of sawdust” in their brother’s eye and ignored the plank in their own.

So the machinery of national politics and media-driven discussion kicked in, imposing itself on the nation from above like a freezing layer of ice. Racial identity replaced economic policies in the definition of political parties. We have thus become a nation beset by many kinds of demographic differences and hateful attitudes related to them. Speech has been silenced as politically dominant groups demonize their opponents. Who will cast out the demons?

I see an analogy between what we have today in America and the cultural and political environment facing the early Christian community two millennia ago. In both cases, people live in a militarized state. Jews play a decisive role in the politics of the nation, both in America and ancient Judea. There is an unforgiving, legalistic approach to justice. There is social division and mistrust. The Roman proconsul Pontius Pilate and Caiaphas, the Jewish high priest, together brought Jesus to his death. Yet, the religion that sprang from this event later became the state religion of Rome. So there is both suffering and redemption in the story of Christianity.

It is from this story, I think, that we can take our model of what needs to be done with respect to redeeming white Americans. The North Carolina Ku Klux Klan tried and failed. Those white people who lived in backwater areas of the south were left to fend for themselves. They were left with poverty and racial shame. Yet, it is just that they, too, should have dignity even in a nation whose politics is unsympathetic to them as a group.

America does not have an official religion. People believing in divine or supernatural things should not bring those concerns into the realm of practical politics or, at least, not wear God’s endorsement on their sleeve. Worldly politics was not a concern for Jesus. Yet, Christianity as a historical example does have relevance to the politics of redemption for whites. Even in societies as hostile as Rome was to the early Christian community and as the elite of American society today is to groups of poor, uneducated whites, it is possible to follow Christian teachings and win. I therefore follow Jesus in saying: Repent. Your racial sins are forgiven.

When Jesus forgave sins, the lawyers did not like this. They reproached him saying “Why does the fellow talk like that? This is blasphemy! Who but God alone can forgive sins?” (Mark 2: 6-7) Forgiving sins in spite of the lawyers’ objections, Jesus proceeded to cure the paralyzed man. There is no such cure in the case of racial hate but forgiveness of sins is possible nonetheless. It can be done in the spirit of Jesus. Hate both imprisons the hater and injures the hated. Give up hate and your racism is forgiven.

Even in a nation whose culture is as hostile to the white race as ours, redemption is possible. Even if American history condemns the white man in many respects, today can be a time when the historical baggage is left behind and people can live in peace. Practical politics dictates, however, that redemption must come with a struggle. It requires organization to change government policy. It requires focused resistance to abusive power.

Even non-Christians must know that the methods of Christianity work. This has been a hugely successful enterprise, judged in terms of membership and historical impact. Let me summarize some of the Christian principles upon which an organization might be built to redeem the white race.

Forgiveness: The Lord’s Prayer says that God will forgive us if we forgive others.
Love: The members of an organization devoted to God or a righteous purpose should love each other. (John 13: 33) Jesus even taught that we should love our enemies. (Luke 6: 28, 32-35)
Sin: We are all sinners but sins can be forgiven. None can present himself as being without sin.
Humble class: The early Christian community was built from the dregs of society. Jesus quoted this text: “The stone which the builders rejected has become the main-cornerstone.” (Mark 12:10-11) Jesus did not limit his company to the respectable members of society. (Mark 2: 16)
Non-judgmental attitude: Jesus said we should not judge, lest we be judged by others. (Luke 6:37)
Faith: If you believe, good things will come to you. (Mark 5: 34, 37)
Non-violence: Jesus peacefully submitted to death upon the Cross.

There may be other principles, too, but these come immediately to mind. They all have application to race relations and groups that might deal with this problem. Some commentary may be helpful.

Forgiveness is an improvement upon the tight-fisted holding of grudges or memories of injustice that often animate and prolong political disputes. This is better than the Babylonian “eye for an eye” or the Jewish attitude of “never forget”. It is morally superior to the relentless pursuit of race-based villains by organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center. To be implacably “against hate” does not equate with tolerance or love. Intolerance of intolerance is intolerance - period. Jesus said: “where little has been forgiven, little love is shown.” (Luke 7: 47)

Sometimes people do need to get over the bad things that have happened and move on. No person or group is inherently good or bad. No bad experience is worth keeping indefinitely. Forgive and forget. Love your neighbor.

In an organizational context, love should not be understood in terms of romantic or sexual love or the compulsory display of favor and affection in our commercial culture but as a spirit of good will toward others or trying to think the best of others rather than trying to be superior to others by finding fault. The lowly ones of the early Christian community loved one another even as Jesus had loved them.

To purge one’s heart of hate is a spiritual discipline. It is normal to love or hate depending on the circumstances of life. Some will succeed in ridding themselves of hatred while others will fail. But Jesus set a high standard.

Christian belief was strong among the lower classes of society, the slaves and women, during the long period of struggle within the Roman empire. It seemed paradoxical that the politically and socially weak would conquer the strong; but this is what happened. Jesus said that whoever wanted to be first should be willing to be last. (Mark 10: 44) The apostle Paul said that divine weakness is stronger than man’s strength. (First Corinthians 1:25) God has “chosen things low and contemptible, mere nothings, to overthrow the existing order.” Salvation can come from the backwaters of America.

Therefore, the battle will not be won by those who head financially powerful institutions, dispense foundation money, hold distinguished professorships at universities, or control messages spread in the commercial media and entertainment industries. Regardless of past history or present situation, those who believe in their ultimate redemption and can rid their hearts of hate will win in the end. What happened at the time of Christ can happen again. Yes, dear white people, your racial sins are forgiven.

 

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