20 Jul

Racism in the Bible?

I’ve been incommunicado for quite some time as I heal from the death of my son, had some unexpected health issues and well, just trying to get on with life in general.

In that time I’ve mostly eschewed politics and the news as during this time I’ve come to realize more than ever that by believing God is sovereign and in control I also must believe that He’s aware of all the politics and unfairness in our country. As a result, I’ve realized I must, as a Christian believer, trust Him even as the ugliness and unfairness I perceive in this world is something that my Lord is aware of-and while I have mostly abandoned commenting, recent happenings have brought me out of my self-imposed exile of choosing not to comment. 

Instead, I go to my Bible to see what God has to say on an issue… and leave it at that.

I have made some comments on my Facebook page when I see something that is contrary to what I’ve learned-especially when it’s a family member! In other words, I’ve been pretty faithful to my commitment to keep my mouth closed when it comes to politically charged and/or controversial issues.

So what has brought me out of hiding?  A few seemingly dis-similar events in recent news.  These being first, the Supreme Court’s decision that a provision of the voting rights law is no longer needed because racism is no longer a problem. …and then, of course, the trial of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin. And lastly, our presidents’ comments on this case.

Full disclosure: I voted for this man and I also have a grandchild who has a similar mixed race geneology (a  Congolese father and a mom from Idaho). As I type, my daughter has made a decision to take her out of public school and home school her instead due to the outright mean hatred of classmates. For all intents and purposes, my granddaughter, by virtue of the color of her skin, could have been Trayvon.

Being troubled by all this, I recalled a story that touches on skin color perhaps.  Check out Numbers 12:1-16 – and for my purposes Numbers 12:1 is the primary focus.

Briefly, Miriam and Aaron came to Moses on the pretext of the fact that he had a Cushite (Ethiopian or perhaps Nubian) wife. The color of her skin is never mentioned and in the many commentaries I’ve read before I set out to write this, she is described as perhaps “swarthy” or dark and different. The bigger picture is that Marion, and to a lesser degree, Aaron resent Moses special relationship before God. That being said, I have to wonder if the color of this wife’s skin isn’t more important in God’s eyes. Scripture goes on to tell what God did about it… ” When the cloud lifted from above the tent, Miriam’s skin was leprous—it became as white as snow (leprous skin disease).-Numbers 12:10 In other words, God put Miriam in her place and she suffered the isolating consequences of any skin disease and was banished from the camp.

Paul taught in Ephesians 2:11-18 that we are all equal before God.  Somewhere, it’s written that we, as Americans have “equal justice under the law”. I’m not sure that is true anymore, if ever. When I see the stats on prisoners by race, and especially in the “Stand Your Ground” state of Florida, I DO see racism.

Hubby and I were discussing after watching the talking heads comment on President Obama’s impromptu appearance and speech. It was mentioned how our parents never had to warn us about the dangers of being Caucasian. We, as “white folk” have never had to fear being pulled over just because of the color of our skin, or the way we dressed.  While I am “color blind” now, I recall something my mom said after I loaned a black girlfriend a dress— that “they” have an odor that never leaves. I never wore that dress again as a result because mom would have been upset. And I truly don’t recall my parents being overtly racist… but subtly, this statement brought to my mind that “they” were not like us.

I was truly baffled by the statement of Mark O’Mara (Mr. Zimmerman’s attorney) when he stated that “If Mr. Zimmerman were black, this would have never come to trial”.  REALLY!!!  I have to question what world he’s living in! The selective blindness for the sake of being seen as righteous is so much like what Jesus called the Pharisees- BLIND GUIDES. Sadly, I see this becoming more prevalent in this land of the free and home of the brave, this land of equal justice for all.

Some time ago, there was a book written called “Black Like Me” about a white man who turned his skin very dark in order to experience and subsequently write about his experience in the 1960s south   … I venture to say that while, on the surface, we are a less racist society, that if one peels off a layer or two, its all still there. God had it right when He decided to show Miriam how her attitude of jealousy and desire for power colored her-so white that there was a need to banish her from camp!  Truly, my friends, how “white” are you really- pure as the driven snow or as diseased as a leper?

I realize that there are a number of other issues that I could consider in the Zimmerman case (guns, stand your ground, vigilantism, and of course the lesser issues inherent in the case).  I choose instead to focus on the REAL issue that, per judge’s order, couldn’t be discussed:racism/bigotry/bias and the arrogance of white folk.  The political hotbed of gerrymandering for the purpose of subjugating the minority vote and getting, keeping and maintaining government power to suppress equality are on my mind also-for another day perhaps?

The law of the land has found Mr. Zimmerman not guilty and that’s how our justice system works.  As his brother stated-he has to live with having killed a kid for the rest of his life. Soon after OJ was found not guilty, I said to many others that if indeed he is not innocent, he’ll perhaps kill again or get into some other trouble– we do, after all, reap what we sow…and we know where OJ is.