The Gospel takes away our right to discriminate

“The Gospel takes away our right forever to discriminate between the deserving and undeserving poor.” – Dorothy Day.

I love this quote. God’s care for the poor is because they are poor nothing else. It cuts across governments whose attitude to immigrants is less than generous, especially those who have signed up to the 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees.

Asylum seeking is legal and asylum seekers are not illegal immigrants, no matter what the lies of the press and politicians say.

A crowd of protesters, looking concerned. A banner has a red heart on a white background and this slogan in blue, "Welcome Asylum Seekers and Refugees".
Image shared under a Creative Commons License

Discrimination does not only an issue between rich and poor, though the poor and foreigners are important enough to have made it into the Jewish law.

  • “When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over them again. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.” Deuteronomy 24:20.
  • “At the end of every three years you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns. And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do.” Deuteronomy 14:28-29.

There is no room for racism. Foreigners are to be treated in exactly the same way as natives who live in the land but have no means of support, even the Levites. The Levites were saved the task of farming because they were special, it was a rural economy, in order to worship God. Temple guards and musicians were all Levites. This special treatment was extended to the sojourners, foreigners living in the land.

At an international friendly match on Sunday 6th June 2021, the England team and most of the Romanian team were booed the taking of the knee as a mark of respect to black people by a portion of the crowd at the beginning of the match. Some have tried to blame the people of North East England for the booing, but the tickets were not sold via stadia but through the England web site. These were core England fans, the same people who will have the tickets for the European championships now taking part. Taking the knee is not woke politicising, as has been suggested, but a mark of respect. “Woke” is a tern from black people in the USA meaning that they are awake, aware of what is going on; that white people in the UK think they have the right to change that meaning is another sign of racism.

Taking the knee being booed is a sign that taking the knee is still needed.

The Gospel is about equality of people. Paul, in one of his earliest letters to the churches, wrote, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3.28. He was addressing the contentious issues of his day. Had he being writing to today’s society I cam imagine the Black Lives Matter movement being addressed, along with gay and trans rights, disabled rights and neurodivergent acceptance. I can safely say, There is neither black nor white, there is neither straight or LGBT, there is no disabled and and able-bodied, there is no neurotypical or neurodivergent, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

We are in the middle of Pride Month. That such a thing as Pride Month can exist as an official thing is testament to how fat society has come, though there is still a long way to go. Sadly this is not true in the church. The Church of England has a consultation document out, Living in Love and Faith (LFF). The 1998 Lambeth Conference acknowledged ‘that there are among us persons who experience themselves as having a homosexual orientation. Many of these are members of the Church and are seeking the pastoral care, moral direction of the Church, and God’s transforming power for the living of their lives and the ordering of relationships. We commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and we wish to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.‘ If that was acknowledged in 1998, how come we are still having LFF in 2021? I don’t think we have been listening ‘to the experience of homosexual persons hard enough. Saying that it is all right to have a homosexual orientation yet must be celibate is a big stumbling block to many coming to know Jesus who said he would never reject anyone who comes to him. John 6:37.

White, rich, straight, cisgender, able-bodied, neuro-typical men have their rights. But some do not have the same rights. It is not a zero-sum equation. Giving other people the same rights does not mean having to give any rights up.

All lives matter to God, but…
All lives will not matter until black lives matter.
All lives will not matter until female lives matter.
All lives will not matter until poor lives matter.
All lives will not matter until LGBT+ lives matter.
All lives will not matter until transgender lives matter.
All lives will not matter until disabled lives matter.
All lives will not matter until neuro-divergent lives matter.

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