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Why black Christians in the US need to pray with one eye open

Taken from the NCLF website·

Why black Christians in the US need to pray with one eye open

The tragic news of the fatal shooting of nine people as they worshipped at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, is sadly not so much a shock as further confirmation that we live in perilous times. That this happened in a church adds a theological dimension to questions of race and America’s infatuation with guns.

Enduring racial hatred

Human hatred for ‘the other’ has, since the beginning of time, juxtaposed itself against the divine injunction to love one another as our basis for loving God. Cain killing his brother Abel very early on in the biblical story sets the tone for this difficult relationship. Over the past months we have witnessed gruesome sights of beheadings and mutilation on our TV screens and so-called social media, many of which are reminiscent of the worst of medieval atrocities. We have become virtually shockproof.

The present is almost always rooted in the past. And I am reminded that, in spite of its veneer of peaceful race coexistence, black progress and a black president in the White House, the US has a sordid history of lynchings and racist laws that supported an infrastructure of white supremacy. The impressive work and sacrifice of civil rights leaders, past and present, and the progress made has not pleased or indeed benefited everyone.

The regular deaths of African Americans at the hands of white police officers is a constant reminder of ‘look how far we have not come’ in terms of race in America. It would be wrong to say that no progress has been made, but it is tempting to exaggerate how much; particularly among those who seek to promote American cultural and ideological Read more

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