Friday, June 17, 2005

An Epistle to the Saved and Politically Certain

A commenter, Always on Watch, responded to the post on Walter Williams’ tongue-in-cheek “Amnesty” for white people by noting:
    The never-let-it-go mentality puts me in mind of the Hatfields and the McCoys.
Even worse, such thinking allows for much whining and much excuse-making.
He’s right on target with that one. What his comment highlights is the similarity between the tribal cultures remaining in the world. The links between Irish terrorism, jihadist murderous resentments, and the attitudes of the Black underclass are not a far reach. They all thrive on envy and bitterness. The individual is not primary, the group is; heaven protect you should you swim against the group-think of your tribe.

Honor and shame are closely linked and the latter is easily provoked. “Dissing” someone can get you hurt. Women are to be disrespected, of course. There is a difference only in degree between a man who calls his woman a “ho” and his compatriot in the Middle East who thinks her only place is total subservience.

Nor should we forget the tribe comes before the nation. Patriotism? Not hardly. Defense of your bro? Absolutely.

And who is the great defender of this kind of thinking? What segment of our population would defend to the death (someone else’s death, not theirs, thank you) the superiority of such tribal thinking? Surprise, surprise: it’s the same group who equate Guantanamo Bay with the Soviet gulag…

Unfortunately, this crowd fills the pews of my church. They apologize for the sins of their fathers, and they prostrate themselves for their racism. Not long ago, our diocesan newspaper printed one of these insufferable apologias as prologue to the formation of yet one more — yawn — Racism Committee.

Here is my response.
    “The Sin of Racism”: A Reader’s Response
The downward spiral of the Episcopal Church in its rush to irrelevance can nowhere be seen more clearly than in the enormous amount of leadership energy now spent on 1970’s-style consciousness raising. Periodically, congregations are subjected to yet more hortatory about the need for right thinking. Once again, congregations are shown to be lagging behind the bureaucracy: whether it be race or gender or Palestine, Episcopalians have to be in line with whatever the politically correct thinking is at the moment.
Surely there is not a white Episcopalian left who has not discovered with great personal dismay his own covert racist thinking? Right? As a racism workshop facilitator once said, “if you’re white, you’re wrong.” This facilitator also told his audience that it’s inherently impossible, given the racist culture in America, for a black person to be racist. How’s that for the ultimate in condescension?
My bona fides: I am white, but I live in a black community. I was married in a black church. Back when it was authentically cross-cultural, I was a member of the NAACP. In fact, we have some black people in our family.
Those who would condemn others for their failures to think correctly simply don’t understand the hard-wiring in the human soul. We are born with a capacity to prefer our own kind. Watch any child encounter a stranger and you can experience the primitive startle effect that leads to a preference to be with one’s own. This inclination toward the known is neither sinful nor wrong; it is human.
Game theory has shown that when members of a community are left to their own devices, groups of similars will collect or ‘bunch’ together. It is not deliberate segregation, it is congregation. Ask the black students on any campus who they prefer to hang with. And then ask them if this preference is racist.
In the continuing rush to right thinking, it is the children who lose out. The Law of Unintended Consequences is easily seen in the effects on children of both no-fault divorce and mandated diversity. The idea that culture can be sorted out and regulated is surely one of the most pernicious legacies from the 20th century. It is past time to move beyond this dated, statist thinking.
I’ll be the first in line when a commission is formed to investigate the harm which accrues to children from illegitimacy and illiteracy. With all the oxygen in the room being consumed by correct thinking, though, it seems there isn’t any left over for the kids. Bill Cosby had it right when he said the main problems facing black children have nothing to do with racism and everything to do with poor decisions. Now whose fault is that?
We are Christ’s people. We need to be about our Father’s business and we already have a Creed to tell us what that business is. The statements of Mr. Kelly’s Creed - the ones that begin with an individual examination of guilty conscience and ends with a call for a permanent national Episcopal committee on racism - are jarringly wrong-headed. How about a national committee to make illiteracy uncool? That would be both Christian and cogent. How about a church which devotes its energy to strengthening the good rather than a church which is compelled to wallow in its own sinfulness? If I wanted to be a Calvinist, I would not have chosen to be an Episcopalian.
Once upon a time, the Episcopal Church was at the forefront of educating children to the fact of their individual free will and their membership, via Baptism, in the City of God. Now it seems that we stand only for the further balkanization by race which has so grievously retarded our culture.
Race and ethnicity are accidental. They are not instrumental in our salvation.
This letter to the editor appeared in the online version of the diocesan paper because the webmaster agreed to include it. The editor of the print version never even responded. Call it an Epistle to the Saved and Politically Certain.

How long can a thinking person remain in the Church without gluing her gluteus maximus to the pew? Each person has their limit: mine will be when the Episcopal Church follows the lead of some of the other mainline denominations and dis-invests from Israel. At that point, I am, as they say, outta here.


Always On Watch said...

Too many churches have fallen victim to the social gospel, the espousing of which leads to either the feel-good mentality or the good-works-leads-to-atonement syndrome. Political correctness is the logical outcome of those two modes of thinking.

Churches need to get back to their calling--preaching the Word.

Graf von Salm,
I love your phrase "no compromise with the Caliphate."