If skimmed, this article might spoon-feed you the notion that I’m one of those dastardly progressive millennials. Disclaimer: I’m actually a baby-boomer.
My political convictions probably could not hug conservatism more tightly. I’ve so slunk to the right wall my ninja status is “chameleon.” When you call yourself a conservative, you’re really just stating how liberal you are in relation to me.
That being said, I do not blindly support U.S. policies or the decisions of my European forefathers.
Thieving 101: Blind Nationalism
The United States is not the kingdom of God. Rise or fall, it does not affect Christ’s church. Also, we have no reason to assume the U.S. can’t act immorally. Critically evaluating our nation makes the difference between God-honoring civility and blind nationalism.
Litmus test: the Vietnam War. Were we the good guys? If you say, “Yes,” you’ll likely add, “because Communism.” Have you studied the history of Vietnam, especially leading up to and during the conflict? Read the personal manifestos and letters of Ho Chi Minh, or firsthand accounts of the war? I don’t expect you to be a Vietnam scholar – I’m not one. But if the information is at your finger-tips (i.e. internet and library), then study before answering dogmatically. If you haven’t studied the Vietnam War yet support all U.S. actions therein – well, that’s what I’m calling blind nationalism.
So let’s talk about the European colonization of America. The initial encounters with new world inhabitants set a dangerous precedent. The natives lived very different lives than the Europeans, and the Europeans equivocated “different” with “lesser.” Native Americans’ lack of technological advancement was seen as a deficiency. Their fluid geopolitical scheme appeared flawed. Europeans assumed Native American culture to be low grade and inadequate. Upon this assumption, unethical actions could be justified. Taking land, enslaving humans, scamming on trade deals – these and other activities were permissible because the Native Americans were lesser than the Europeans.
And ever since, America’s true ancestors have been displaced according to the conveniences of the United States. “Manifest Destiny,” we called it. Nineteenth century immigration revealed the same problem: allow them in but “Americanize” them. Slave traders infiltrated Africa’s Eastern coast and tore families apart, vindicated by the African’s “primitive” way of life that somehow made him less human than the European.
All of this to say: the United States was built on the back of racial prejudice, and if you deny that fact…I’m going to call you a blind nationalist.
Hmm… I Don’t Think That’s Yours
When we hatefully discriminate against a particular ethnicity, we manifest the conviction that our particular ethnicity is better. I’m not talking about personal tastes like preferring Italian over Chinese food. I’m talking about landing on the shores of Central America and thinking, “These natives are inferior to us.” That’s when explorers become conquerors.
Considering a particular tribe as less valuable than your own overestimates the value of yours. Comparing the two, yours now becomes a type of standard that the other should conform to. Your racism is the glorification of yourself identifying with your respective tribe.
Oh boy. Things are getting a bit toasty.
Problem is, you’ve got competition. Just so happens that Someone created all things (Ps 19:1; Isa 6:3) specifically to glorify Himself. Revelation 7:12 reads, “Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” Christ is worthy of the glory racism tries to rob Him of. God laughs from the heavens at the silly attempt to take Christ’s place (Ps 2:4; cf. Phil 2:6-11).
The appropriate response to racism is humility before the King of Kings, pronouncing His rightful exaltation above the peoples. This begins with acknowledging that all cultures have flaws and all peoples are precious in God’s sight by the blood of Christ. We then acknowledge that Christ is the image of the invisible God (Col 1:15a). He is “firstborn of all creation” (v.15b), not part of but preeminent before it, all things having been created by Him (v.16).
Christ being the glorious image of the Father – the Mediator (Jn 1:1-3; Col 1:15) through Whom we have eternal life (Jn 14:6) in relation to God (17:1-5; 1 Pt 3:18) – is alone worthy of all glory.
So in reference to the cross of Christ, racism is Scrooge. In reference to the glory of Christ, racism is Swiper.