Thursday, June 2, 2011

We'll get over it as soon as it's fixed

I stumbled on this letter a couple times in the last month, and thought it was worth sharing. When I read things like this, I am moved to revulsion at the wrongs that have been commited in our history. Even as a young evangelical, I could never get behind the idea that people should just "get over it". Empathy--which should be the foundation of Evangelical Christianity, but isn't anymore in America--has always been a strong motivator for me.

The response from the Right is often some variant of "But that was a long time ago", "I never enslaved anyone, why should I pay", or "The people hurt by slavery are dead, their descendents don't deserve special treatment". Of course many of these are the same people fighting for easement of the Estate Tax, so that the heirs of millionaires and billionaires can keep more of Uncle Milton's fortune. Go figure.

Slavery was intolerable. While I don't think people need to be punished for the sins of their fathers, I do believe that we are complicit if we don't do everything in our power to balance the scales now. A subculture has been warped by enslavement, discrimination, poverty, and lack of education. If we do nothing, we are condemning the next generation to the same.

And to you Evangelicals. The imaginary person you worship would be very disappointed. "Love your neighbor", "Give everything you own to the poor", "It is easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle than a rich man to get into heaven." If you can't listen to arguments on the basis of reason and empathy, that's too bad. But you still lose this one. Your own religion condemns you.

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