The question of race and a more solid brotherhood
A Christian Science perspective.
Whatever one's take on the recent incident involving the African-American Harvard professor, the Cambridge, Mass., policeman, and the subsequent comment by President Obama, it's clear that America still has a long way to go in letting go of its fixation on race.Skip to next paragraph
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Although the occupant of the White House is a man of color, old attitudes and perceptions haven't changed in some hearts. And as a dad, I can attest that there have been many moments of sincere prayer on my part to protect my sons, now confident young men, from the effects of racial profiling, taunts, and slurs, coming sometimes from unexpected places. The president has referred to this incident as a "teachable moment" for all of America. If so, we need to move from the concept of just reconciling one side with another (which implies that there will always be sides), to putting the brotherhood of all on a more solid basis than that of human idealism. Then we'll need to prove it, to walk the talk.
The inspired Word of the Bible begins with the scientific account of creation, where it's recorded that God "created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" (Gen. 1:27). There's no mention of race here. This generic man, including male and female, is the image of God, the very likeness of Spirit. There are no warring camps, no sides, no ethnic divisions. Many years later, the Apostle Paul wrote in a letter to the Galatians, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus" (3:28). In Christ, there are no chips on the shoulders, no smoldering resentments, no expectations of brutality, and no "otherness."
Because of God, we are one. That is the scientific truth that transcends all cultural, socioeconomic, linguistic, and skin-tone differences. This scientific unity, the inescapable brotherhood of man, doesn't mean the dominance of one way of doing things. No idea of God can be elbowed aside or intimidated or damaged by another idea of God. It means that the infinite God is expressed in an infinity of ways, and this fullness contributes to the glory of God. Diversity, seen spiritually, is the affirmation of unity.
Because of God, we are one. Starting with the certainty that God exists, has created all with Love, and maintains His creation with justice, seems to me a solid alternative to mere wishful thinking that we all need somehow just to "get along." Because God is also Mind, we can trust His intelligence to guide our actions in such states of confrontation. For example, when one of my sons found the "n-word" spat at him from some of his classmates during school activities, and the school authorities were reluctant to take disciplinary action, our son was distraught and became distrustful of his friends. We were led, through prayer, to make arrangements for him to go to a different school, where within days he was elected class president. That was the needed solution for him at that moment.
It's easy to walk the talk, to keep the vision of brotherhood, when we keep God in the forefront. Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this newspaper, summed it up in a well-loved passage from her major work, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures": "With one Father, even God, the whole family of man would be brethren; and with one Mind and that God, or good, the brotherhood of man would consist of Love and Truth, and have unity of Principle and spiritual power which constitute divine Science" (pp. 469-470).
Our brotherhood – and sisterhood – is not a pipe dream. It is already established because of the nature of God, and shifting our view to the allness of Deity and the spiritual inclusivity of His creation, can bring healing reconciliation to our society.