No, this isn’t the case in all individual relationships. No, it isn’t a problem in all churches. But yes, it relates to some of our most common socio-political assumptions. Allow me to explain.
Even the best of us see ourselves through the eyes of the old Radical Republicans. We rejected slavery and the framework of the southern Democrats. We in fact, while quite “conservative” were willing to partner with that northern liberal-modernist (pre-Marxist) mindset. We tried to get the most possible out of private libertarianism while allowing the government under the Constitution to deal with the grander issues.
And in this we’ve been consistent. From the days of Wilberforce and Newton we championed that tension of freedom versus a government that maintains a moral responsibility to God’s moral codes. That meant an end to slavery. After that it was every man for himself.
There were many success in this approach. Little Tulsa allowed some great growth in the (then called) negro world. Though separate (a libertarian concept) it was able to flourish. And flourish it did, in grand scale. It was most certainly not destroyed by northern conservatives.
And the Competition
The Marxists have done an excellent job with their programme. The folk singers of the 50s & 60s taught the young that there was more justice to be had and that there could be a new system put in place to accomplish this goal. There would be social justice. There would be real freedom. Most of this was, of course, in the South. They chose the right place to address our libertarian problem.
It worked in Cuba. After the revolution all the poets were butchered by Castro & Che. But that’s another story.
The world is filled with promises from politicians. Most of them are empty. The idealism of a new and completely just world is an illusion. What remains is to create the most just world possible. Radical idealism just doesn’t work. It can’t deliver on its promises.
Where the Solution Lies
Our problem isn’t racism, at lest not overtly. The left says it is but we know that’s propaganda. Yes, there remains a problem with racism in the South and it infects the southern church. That condition is acknowledged though not all (notably in the South) consider it a problem. It exists in the north but more as a deeply held prejudice as opposed to the violent damage of overt racism. It’s a problem but a different problem. One problem at a time.
Our issue, as I see it, is this: We have allowed our libertarian attitude to maintain unnecessary racial separations and class distinctions. That’s not racism. It may be as simple as cultural affinities — something that all ethnic groups accept as a condition for maintaining cultural identities. But the lack of inter-church relationships and the silence of many (perhaps most?) evangelical churches on civic matters creates a vacuum. We weren’t silent in the days of slavery; why be silent now?
We may not be able to change the world and we may not accept that a better world is what we are seeking. But we do accept the role of social prophet. We practice this role when we speak against Marxism in government. We’re pretty good at that one. We’re also pretty strong on the anti-Semitism of today’s left, especially with regards to Israel and its struggle against jihad. Add to these abortion, euthanasia, and infanticide: The life issues. Let’s also speak on some of the other issues. Racial matters is only one of many, and a coherent voice is called for. Our libertarianism might actually be getting in the way of advancing the gospel.
(edit for clarity, 01/17/17)