In his book The Problem of Slavery in Christian America, author Joel McDurmon explains black allegiance to the Democratic party this way:
If we wonder why, today, the left has a virtual monopoly on the affections of blacks, it is because the conservative Christians – when we were not the ones robbing the blacks leaving them for dead to begin with – were on the other side of the street during the entire history in which they needed help. The [Good Samaritan] parable calls us to stay on the side of the street where the problem is and address it. That is loving our neighbor.
McDurmon acknowledges that Christians have been complicit in the subjugation and wounds of black people throughout American history. After Emancipation, the church could have entered a time of repentance and redemption by welcoming blacks into their congregations, starting apprenticeship programs, and integrating schools. Christians should have been leading.
Instead, the narrative of black inferiority and racial terror continued to find expression in the church:
In light of this sick allegiance to white supremacy, liberal Christians joined other progressives in supporting civil rights activists. Black churches became the center of racial justice efforts and Baptist minister, Martin Luther King, Jr. emerged as a leader. Unfortunately, after the death of King, the quest for racial justice moved from the church to the political sphere. No other black minister held America accountable to God for injustice. Who could blame them? All the major black leaders had been assassinated, and white activists experienced a similar fate. You can read here about some of the courageous, ordinary people who lost their lives, including Universalist minister James Reeb who was beaten to death by a white mob, and Viola Luizzo, a mother of five who was shot by the KKK.
America sent a very clear message to Good Samaritans: “If you want to help blacks you will die.”
As the impact of King’s spiritual leadership waned in the black community, evangelicals became ardent in their opposition to abortion and locked arms with politicians who were pro-life champions. Over the past 40 years, the pro-life cause became central to the Republican party platform at the expense of racial justice, which the Democrats chose to own.
What we have today is a weakened Christian testimony. All of us are louder and prouder about what our politicians say than we are about what our God says. It may be true that we can only vote for one person, but that doesn’t mean we have to attach ourselves to them like barnacles to a ship. White and Black Christians alike are being carried along by partisanship, striving to win political battles while losing the real war against the enemy of our souls.
Brothers and sisters, Satan has played us. He chose racism as his tool of division and death in America, and sadly, it was the precursor to abortion. Disregard for the sanctity of human life did not begin with the passage of Roe v Wade. It began with the Middle Passage, (depicted in this brief video.)
The Good Samaritan is not the person who shares one more news story about increased crime rates in the Jericho Road district, demanding we vote in new officials, send in SWAT teams, or put more cops on the street to combat these bad guys. Posting on social media also gets done from the other side of the road. Jesus’ Good Samaritan approached the victim himself. Jesus did not call for police action, but private action.
Imagine what could happen if white and black Christians reconciled to one another across party lines and marched on Washington together in a spirit of repentance. What a powerful first step toward racial healing that would be!
In the meantime, each of us personally can engage in private action and make a difference where we are. I have run out of days in February, but not ideas. Stay tuned.