We condemn racism, and it is absolutely antithetical to Christianity. Period. Full stop.
This should be obvious, but tragically it’s not.
There are those outside of the church who believe Christianity supports racism because of the behavior of those who claim to be Christian in the past and now. They judge Christianity on the worst behavior of those who claim to follow Christ. Sadly, there are enough examples to lend credence to these false ideas.
And there are those who claim the name Christian who have not followed Christ. Racism and bigotry have been tolerated in the church at times. Those who claim the name Christian have justified depriving the rights and dignity of other human beings based on their abuse of Scripture. There are some in the church who let their political loyalties inform their behavior and beliefs more than their loyalty to Jesus and His teachings.
So when events like Charlottesville occur, it’s important for Christians to be very clear and unambiguous about condemning racism and bigotry as evil. Every human being bears the imprint of God and has inherent dignity and value deserving respect and protection. Nothing else about them can change that.
We cannot waver in condemning racism or excuse sentiments that embolden those who hold explicit hatred for others on the basis of ethnicity. I’ve heard Christians who are not racists or bigots waver a bit in their condemnation of these attitudes because they understand why some people are angry. Even if some have legitimate reasons to feel angry or alienated, that does not excuse them from how they indulge their anger, for how they let their anger corrupt their decisions and behavior. We cannot ignore and excuse indulging emotions and attitudes that are sinful and dehumanize other people. We have to resist the temptation to feel embattled and defensive when we see our values marginalized or reviled. We are all responsible for how we allow our anger, hurt, and disappointment to affect our characters and souls.
We Christians must commit every day to living in a way that honors Jesus, showing respect for every person. We must live in a way that challenges the false judgments people have made about Christianity. We must live and offer the Gospel of reconciliation and forgiveness. We need to be unequivocal that racism and hate are sins that are antithetical to the Bible.
Tim Keller writes about how Christians need to respond in a week like this one.
We all need to guard our hearts. It’s so very easy to let things cloud our judgment or capture our minds and hearts. Examining our hearts is a habit all Christians need to cultivate on all kinds of things because we are sinners and can be led astray. And this is so important because to fulfill our prophetic witness in the world, to maintain and regain our credibility to commend the Gospel to the world, we have to speak and live clearly by what the Bible teaches about human value and dignity.