From time to time I allow my eyes to drift slowly towards the singular road of mainstream American life. In those rare moments I get to enjoy those days with family and coworkers within the small community we’ve built. Each of us in this community can easily relate to similar experiences like paying bills and date night as we work hard to raise our families and solve the worlds problems while at the office...and it honesty feels pretty good sometimes to feel like...I’m just another just another guy.
Unfortunately, when I do allow myself to momentarily buy into the idea that I’m just a husband, father, employee and devout follower of Christ, often times it causes me to lose sight of the full picture of what it means to live life as a minority in the US.
Aside from the normal societal challenges that I face, I am often thrust back into this reality by seminal moments in this country that remind me of how important it is to remember my past, how it impacts my present, and how it could ultimately impact me and my family’s future.
“Whoever says to the guilty, ‘You are innocent,’ will be cursed by peoples and denounced by nations. But it will go well with those who convict the guilty, and rich blessing will come on them.” ~Proverbs 24:24-25
On February 26, 2020, the US House of Representatives passed a bill that would (if passed by the Senate and signed by the president) make lynching a federal crime or the very first time in our country’s history. But why is this significant?
In the US, lynching has left a distinct historical stain within the black community that most often resulted in death and deep psychological scarring. Current historical records would show that we have suffered more than 4,000 episodes that ended in death, in the 20th century alone. Countless instances occurred resulting in injury and lasting emotional wounds. Lynching is an act of terror utilized for the sole purpose of spreading fear among blacks and other minorities. It was, and remains, a racial tool designed to maintain the ideology of white supremacy within economic, social and political circles.
The passing of this particular legislation in the House of Representatives is a feat that had previously been met with failure nearly 200 times in the 20th century. However, as many people of color have by now noted, there were four (4) senators who voted against passing the anti-lynching bill....in 2020.
This is particularly significant for people of color and of faith because Republicans Louie Gohmert of Texas, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, and Ted Yoho of Florida, and Justin Amash of Michigan are all Christian men, on record who voted against a bill that would protect US citizens from undue violence, most often issued by a group now recognized by the FBI as domestic terrorists.
Republican Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas regularly boasts of his Christian values to the public who voted for him. While attending Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, Louie regularly speaks of serving as a deacon and Sunday school teacher for many years.
Recently, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, in an interview with Church and Society from the United Methodist Church, remarked, “Well as a Christian, I always come back to the Golden Rule – to treat others as you would want to be treated. I learned that in Sunday School. And while I’m partial to the United Methodist faith, all Christian denominations share that same call.”
Similarly, Ted Yoho of Florida openly refers to himself as a devout Catholic while Justin Amesh is a Members of the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church and the son of Christian refugees. For these men who believe that Jesus Christ is their Lord and savior they now face a major biblical issue.
Throughout the Bible, both New and Old Testament, God frequently demands justice. According to scripture, justice is not simply an option or something to consider. It is a command that if not met would result in swift and often lingering consequences.
“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute,” ~Psalm 82:3.
It is a command that requires every believer to practice, seek, speak up for, fight for, and demand justice because…simply put… injustice is a sin.
Those who work in public office are required to make very difficult decisions that affect the lives of thousands of people nearly every single day. A decision to favor one group could possibly carry negative consequences for a different group of people while choosing to favor a different segment of the population could harm another. It is a tough position that many would never seek to occupy simply because of the constant scrutiny attached to the title, “Senator.”
This is why, as a Christian, when an easy decision comes your way with regards to passing a law that would provide justice to the weak and maintain the rights of the afflicted, the decision to vote against such a law is simply wrong.
I would even go as far as to say, it is sinful.