André Johnson posted an update: 2 years, 2 months ago
As a religious leader in Memphis, what do you want to say to the community about the subject of race?
As a religious leader in Memphis I want to say two things. First, race and racism is more than a social problem—it is a religious and theological problem. Race was not seen as a theological issue for most of our history. In other words, the way that we handled and discussed race was not seen as sinful at all. It was seen by many as honorable to have slaves, segregation was God inspired, and sermons that supported Jim and Jane crow were lauded. There was no shame because somehow you could treat other humans badly and still be in good relationship with God—with the blessing many times from your religious leader. Sometimes I wonder can there ever be reconciliation because when was there ever a time in which people were truly together?
Second, I want to say that our religious institutions need to take race more seriously than they currently do. This will only happen if our collective ways in which we engage God-Talk places emphasis on racism as a theological and religious problem. To address race theologically will force us to talk openly about the pain and horror of racism and to bring it up when it (still) occurs. Only when we can address race theologically can we begin the process of healing and (re) conciliation.