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President Obama, the N-Word, Racism, and Christianity

President Obama
President Obama
Photo by Pool/Getty Images

New York newspaper, “Westview News,” is guilty of using the N-word in one of their headlines as a description of President Obama in the White House. The article was written by James Lincoln Collier - who is actually pro-President Obama - with the intent to address the racism that is still prevalent in America.

Copy of the article can be read on the New York Post.

Though Collier’s article was not about the N-word, let me say a few words about it. According to some historians, the N-Word derived from the inability or illiteracy of American captors to pronounce the word Niger correctly. It is from this beginning that the N-Word is said to be born.

However, the N-word became a term that developed to represent a time in American History where many African people were kidnapped from the continent of Africa and bought to America to become slaves.

During that period or era of enslavement, African Americans were unjustly treated and inappropriately and negatively described or addressed by their captors using the ever present racial slur, the N-Word. The N-word coming from the mouth of the American captors during that period - always and still does today - represented overt hatred and racism.

Though, the N-word is not being used as much verbally, the overt hatred and racism in America is prevalent. Many prominent people reveal racial attitudes - across the country - that continue to deny the existence of racism, especially when it comes to our current President.

Racial attitudes – called postmodern racism - are being excessively expressed toward President Obama through an overabundance of negative stereotyping, blaming minorities for any and all disparities in certain arenas of American life, and by blatantly resisting any kind of effort to get rid of troublesome social conditions.

Where should the Christian believer or follower of Christ stand when it comes to hatred and racism?

The Christian Faith represents God’s love for the world. A world where, in Christ, there is no distinguishing between people, especially based on race or ethnic background. Christ is the leveling ground. Christians are ALL one in Christ and One body of believers.

Every Christian should come to a point where they examine their hearts and cultural assumptions about their own racism and racial attitudes. Sunday morning is still the most segregated hour of the week.

Christians don’t avoid issues of racism or racial attitudes, but allow everything, in their hearts, that doesn’t line up with the love of God or God’s Word to be transformed by the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. The goal is to be Christ-like in this world towards all people

David N. Entwistle wrote in his book “Integrative approaches to Psychology and Christianity” in 2004: “In relatively recent times, in the deep South of United States, white supremacists concluded that white people were superior to black people, often using a perversion of Christianity to support their conclusions, their message, and their actions...” We see this happening today.

Entwistle also said that Martin Luther King, Jr. made these remarks, “Well, the most pervasive mistake I have made was in believing that because our cause was just, we could be sure that the White ministers of the South, once their Christian consciences were challenged, would rise to our aid…As our movement unfolded, and direct appeals were made to white ministers, most folded their hands – and some even took stands against us.’” Are some Christians still folding their hands and doing nothing?

Principles of the Christian Faith imply that followers of Christ “love their neighbors,” are recognized by “the way they love one another,” and often demonstrate their love by a “Good Samaritan” type of behavior and approach towards others. Christ constantly encourages his followers to love others as he has loved them. Biblical, godly love is one of the main goals of Christianity.
In Christianity, racism and hatred is attributed to sinful thinking and cannot reflect the Love of God. Without the Love of God shed in the Christian heart and expressed through the Christian lifestyle, they are limited to their own finite way of thinking and being towards themselves and others.

According to the Christian bible, if what comes out of the Christian mouth is racism and hatred, then it doesn’t defile those it was intended to hurt or offend it defiles the person speaking the negative message of racism and hatred.

There was a time in America where racism and hatred was belittling to African Americans and other minorities, but now it is belittling to the person who expresses racism and hatred with their mouth and actions - especially if they profess to be a follower of Christ.

Why? Because it is a revelation that racism and hatred exists in the hearts of some professing Christian Americans and it defiles their Christian character in the eyes of other Americans which represents a multi-ethnic population and it also impacts the integrity of the Christian Faith. 79.6% of Americans say they are Christians and they are from every ethnic group across the country.

One African American Christian woman said, “I have seen more racism and hatred since President Obama has been in office, than I have my entire life. I am 51 years old. Many of the great Christian leaders – evangelical included - I grew up with have made some awful racist and hateful statements. I am not so much insulted by the remarks as I am disappointed in their lack of true Christian witness and godly character….I am shocked by some of their racial attitudes and my illusions about certain groups of Christians being for social justice and inclusion is shattered…”

You can’t love God and hate a brother or sister in Christ, no matter the race or ethnic group – it would make you a liar.

The Christian bible says, “If a man says, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also. (1 John 4:20-21).

God says there is one definite way you can recognize his people and his true followers “By THIS shall all men KNOW that YOU are MY disciples, if you have love one to another. (John 13:35).

To the follower of Christ: Don’t distort the Biblical truth by saying you Love God, when your mouth and actions say you hate others. No matter your race or ethnic background, if you hold racism and hatred in your heart, it is a sin, it is a hindrance and blockage to God’s message of Love, and it is an indication you need to get your heart right before God.

The solution is not complicated. “This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you” John 15:12.

Dr. Pensacola H. Jefferson

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