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Race Relations and Christianity

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Introduction

Race relations and Christianity Racism is a form of prejudice that has effected society for many years. It has been written in the bible where the Egyptians kept the Jews as slaves. There were clashes between Romans, Greeks, Egyptians and other races after the Romans conquered the Greeks and took over Alexandria. There are more recent examples of racial discrimination that have occurred during this century such as the Holocaust where Hitler attempted to commit genocide by murdering millions of Jews in death camps like Auswitz. The Steven Lawrence case has haunted our headlines for approximately five years; the African- American male who was murdered in 1998 by three Caucasian males in Texas, they belonged to a white supremacist group. Racism is when one person or a group of people dislike or even hates another group of people because of their race, creed, skin colour or nationality, and because of this they may believe they are superior. It is also when a person is prejudged and discriminated against because of their colour or nationality. People may believe that racism only occurs between different nationalities and races, however it can occur within the same nationality and race. One very good example of this is what is occurring in Kosovo at this moment in time, where "ethnic cleansing" is occurring. There are other examples of this that may not seem so bad such as English people discriminating against the French and calling them "froggies" or an African person thinking themselves superior to an Afro-Caribbean person because "they are the sons of slaves." There are different explanations and reasons as to why racism exists the main reason is probably fear of new things, fear of different things and fear of progress. Some people may have racist attitudes because that was how they were raised or they may have had a bad experience in the past. Certain groups such as the New Aryan race (a white supremacist group) believe that all other races are inferior to them. ...read more.

Middle

The Church of England is concerned with race relations and the representation of ethnic groups not only within the congregation, community or across the country but also on an international scale. It opens its doors to people of all races. The Church of England has not always welcomed people of different ethnic backgrounds. After the Second World War the British Government invited people from Commonwealth countries like India and from the Caribbean islands to come and work because there was a shortage of manpower. Due to the war Britain needed to be rebuilt, but also the country had just entered a new age of technology, that was demanding new skills and experiences. During the 1940's, 50's and 60's the Church of England didn't allow people of different ethnic backgrounds into their church to worship. Nevertheless, in the 1970's there were calls for the Church of England to "make space" for black Christians. The Church of England encourages people to follow the teachings of Jesus and to treat everyone with fairness. Peter told his followers at Ceaserea "I now realise that it is true that God treats everyone on the same basis. Whoever worships him and does what is acceptable to him, no matter what race he belongs to." This may have been one of the biblical texts that helped the Church of England to realise that by not letting people of different ethnic backgrounds worship, contradicted what God teaches. The Church of England realises that there is still work to be done in many areas. The Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers as they are more commonly known, believed that the slave trade was grim and inhumane. Their configuration co-incided with the development of the Atlantic slave trade, some owned slaves others didn't. George Fox wrote in 1676 that Christ "Died for the tawnies and the blacks as well as for you that are called whites" George Fox reasoned that the subjugation of Negroes should end just as the Law of Moses provided that slaves should be emancipated after a time. ...read more.

Conclusion

Racism is still existent, not only in the church, but in all walks of life. There are some that would say that the church should not be critical or interfere with political issues. There are others however, who feel the church should be doing more to influence the social structure of our society. But before this can be done traditional churches need to re-examine their doctrine and face reality when it comes to how they portray themselves. Many of the new up and coming Evangelical Churches are doing this to a large extent. They present many faces- colour, race, and creeds are reflected in their formation. However these churches follow the teaching of the bible literally and many advocate homosexuality as a sin, believe that a man is the head of a household and that women should obey their husbands. This is a form of discrimination in itself and so it seems we substitute discrimination. Treating everyone, as equals would be a nice ideal to aim for but in a society where everyone is an individual and people have different abilities it would not be fitting or right to treat everyone the same. Class and money are also of great importance in our society the very rich having most of the power and the poor having very little power. The principal that everyone is an equal is similar to the principal of communism and as we have seen in the past, communism does not work out. Therefore I believe it is more appropriate to treat people based on their abilities. Will the church ever be free of racism and other forms of prejudice? Is a question that needs to be asked. I doubt it will not be so for a very long time, in order to free the church of bigotry the teachings of the bible would need to be followed. However if applied to every day life these principles would not be very effective. ...read more.

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