Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sympathy for a Racist

I think the very idea of being kind and forgiving towards a racist - particularly a, for lack of a better term, 'still practicing' racist - is hard to swallow, precisely because "racist" is at this point universally condemned throughout our culture, or at least close to it. If you're a 'proud racist', chances are you are way, way out on the fringes of society.

Now, here's what's interesting to me. I can find Christians who approve of treating abortionists and abortion procurers (male and female alike) with love and respect, welcoming them, and certainly not condemning them for their sins in any overt way. Adulterers? Same deal. Polygamist? Yep. Atheists? Sure. Wiccans? You bet. The list goes on.

But a racist? I've never encountered someone saying, 'Even if you're a racist, we love you and respect you and want you to be part of our parish.'

So, here's the Biblical thought for the night.

Everyone knows the parable of the good samaritan. Less appreciated is the fact that - pardon my bluntness - samaritans were assholes. According to the wikipedia, we're talking full-blown 'desecrating a jewish altar', mutual hatred level interactions. It's not like the Samaritans were tender hearted people from an ethnic minority that was overwhelmingly nice but, gosh darnit, people just irrationally disliked them. These were ideological opponents - people who had beliefs others found repugnant.

So, to get right to the point: it makes perfect sense to cast a racist in the Good Samaritan role. Other examples abound, but the racist would work.

At the same time, I think this would make most people's heads explode.

So, without further ado...

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A liberal happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a conservative, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a racist, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two hundred dollars[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
[c] Denarii changed to two hundred dollars, because no one knows what denarii are.

8 comments:

Mike said...

Interesting post.

Also, while not quite the same admittedly, it nevertheless does remind me of this quote from G.K. Chesterton's book "Robert Browning":

We scarcely ever find in Browning a defence of those obvious and easily defended publicans and sinners whose mingled virtues and vices are the stuff of romance and melodrama—the generous rake, the kindly drunkard, the strong man too great for parochial morals. He was in a yet more solitary sense the friend of the outcast. He took in the sinners whom even sinners cast out. He went with the hypocrite and had mercy on the Pharisee.

Crude said...

Mike,

Could you explain the context there a bit more?

Mike said...

Sorry...the context can be found here:

http://www.cse.dmu.ac.uk/~mward/gkc/books/Robert_Browning.html

Basically, however, your post reminded me of that quote simply because of how many people who pride themselves on their "not judging" others and showing charity are selective in that regard.

Like I said, not completely the same, but...

Crude said...

Mike,

Oh, that's fine. Yeah, it's a little along the lines of how people usually talk about the courageousness of someone standing up for... what's a tremendously popular position that wins them a lot of praise with many culturally elite people.

Vand83 said...

Perhaps this post was prophetic. It's certainly clear now that Cardinal Kasper is a racist. Then again, he doesn't seem the type that'll be attending the wounds of the downtrodden anytime soon. Since his remarks have now made their way into the light of day, there'd probably be a decent amount of progressive liberals that would love this example. What if we were to replace Samaritain with bigot? Then the beaten man to a "transsexual"?

Crude said...

I do note that if Burke said what Kasper said, Burke would probably be catching hell right now.

Doubly so since Kasper has said 'I didn't say any of that' and the response is 'We have it on tape.'

By the by, I saw someone at Mark Shea saying that it's completely irresponsible to believe that, because perhaps the tape was doctored. There really are endless chances given for the 'right' people.

Vand83 said...

Was it the same individual who was warning against donatism?

Seriously...donatism.

It's the perfect example of the liberal/progressive types feeling as though they have the conservative/traditional types by the balls. The latter actually worries about somehow being in opposition to the Church. The former knows this and has been using to their advantage.







Crude said...

That's the one. And that 'have them by the balls' thing reminds me of that Christian adoption group double-shifting their same-sex partners stance.

When they shifted pro-gay, LGB activists were on the attack, talking about how mean, nasty conservatives were going to pull their money from innocent children because of their gay hatred, and it showed how much they hated Christ.

So then the group reversed itself again, and denied its previous support for same-sex relationships. And... the response was just furious hatred then, because now the LGB groups of course pull back their support of the project and they try not to look like shit because of it, which they compensate for by just going BALLISTIC.

Ah well. The good sign was that Burke, etc didn't play the role of meek quiet Christian. They spoke up, loudly. This could get interesting.