Words of wisdom on race and humanity

Race Issues | Conservative leaders share universal truths and personal experiences
by Nick Eicher
Posted on Friday, July 15, 2016, at 2:14 pm

Each week, The World and Everything in It features a “Culture Friday” segment, in which Executive Producer Nick Eicher discusses the latest cultural news with John Stonestreet, president of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Here is a summary of this week’s conversation.

In the aftermath of the police shooting deaths of two African-American men and the subsequent attack on Dallas police officers, two conservative leaders gave inspiring messages of hope for racial reconciliation this week.

At the Dallas memorial service for the slain police officers, former President George W. Bush reminded the crowd that, whatever our cultural differences, none of us is a mere mortal. We share, as human beings, the image of God our creator:

“At times it seems like the forces that are pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates too quickly into dehumanization. Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions.”

John Stonestreet noted Bush’s message hit on an important point.

“We have to go back to the fundamental humanity that we all share,” he said. “And that is that we’re made in the image of God.”

In Washington, D.C., Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., shared a more personal message in a series of speeches from the Senate floor. He told of indignities he has endured as an African-American man, even since becoming a senator. One Capitol police officer saw the Senate pin on his suit jacket lapel and demanded identification anyway.

“So while I thank God I’ve not endured bodily harm, I have, however, felt the pressure applied by scales of justice when they are slanted,” Scott said. “I have felt the anger, the frustration, the sadness, and the humiliation that comes with feeling like you’re being targeted for nothing more than being just yourself.”

Scott pleaded with fellow political conservatives who refuse to acknowledge the problem of racism.

“I simply ask you this: recognize that just because you do not feel the pain, the anguish, of another does not mean it does not exist,” he said.

Stonestreet echoed Scott’s sentiment and talked about his own awakening to racial problems.

“What gave me pause years ago was realizing that I also saw this differently than someone who agreed with me theologically on nearly everything,” Stonestreet said, referencing his friend Carl Ellis, an African-American theologian and seminary professor. “Just because I don’t have that experience doesn’t mean that experience doesn’t exist. Just because one situation can be explained away, that doesn’t mean that there are no situations in which there is injustice. There’s just a lot of assuming and not a lot of listening right now.”

Listen to “Culture Friday” on the July 15, 2016, episode of The World and Everything in It.

Nick Eicher

Nick lives in St. Louis, loves the Blues (as in the NHL), is executive producer of WORLD Radio, and co-hosts WORLD's radio news magazine The World and Everything in It. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickEicher.

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