Pastor's Corner 072113

posted Jul 24, 2013, 11:59 AM by Music Director

A couple of recent events have raised the foul specter of racism that I’d like to address this week, as there are serious implications for us who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ.  The events to which I refer are, of course, the flap over a racist word used by celebrity chef Paula Deen, and the acquittal of Sanford, Florida resident George Zimmerman in the killing of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.

               The “n” word is one of the English language’s ugliest.  I never say it, don’t even think it, and get very unnerved if anyone uses it in my company.  I’ll usually let it go the first time, which I shouldn’t; but if a person repeats it I will always ask him/her to please not use that word in my presence.  And that includes black friends who use it in reference to or toward other black people, be they friend, foe, or anything in between. 

               Be that as it may, I think Ms. Deen is being treated quite unfairly.  She testified in a trial that she had used the word in the past, which apparently was the distant past.  This does not make her a racist today.  If she is, then she certainly deserves the treatment she is receiving (losing her Food Network show and many commercial endorsements, shunning by the food and entertainment industries, and scathing condemnations from journalists) and more.  But there doesn’t seem to be any evidence to support this. 

How many of us would like to be judged for stupid things we said or did in the past, especially the distant past?  Why is it that we as a society always, always, always seem to overreact?  Whatever happened to forgiveness?  I’m ecstatic to live in an age that is trying to root out the remnants of racism that still thrive in certain hearts.  But in our drive for “political correctness” we go way overboard and end up committing injustice to correct injustice!  As the old proverb states, “two wrongs do not make a right!”

On the other hand, I don’t believe racism played any factor in George Zimmerman’s acquittal.  As in the infamous O.J. Simpson trial over a decade ago, I believe the acquittal was the result of a disastrously poor prosecution of the case.  I’m not so sure the same can be said for Mr. Zimmerman himself, however.  Race certainly seemed to play a factor in everything that led to his shooting of Mr. Martin.  Even if it was in self-defense, it should never have gotten that far.  Even if Mr. Zimmerman suspected that Mr. Martin was up to no good, all he had to do was follow him from a distance and report any suspicious activity to the police.  Instead, a 17-year-old kid is dead, and in that I can’t see how racism was not a factor.

To me, racism is one of the stupidest attitudes ever created in the human mind and heart, and certainly one of if not the most insipid.  How or why any human being could believe that the color of skin could or should matter is beyond me.  The reality is, unfortunately, that many do believe this.  But racism is so far from Jesus, so opposite everything He taught and commanded that to even be discussing it in a Catholic parish bulletin is a disgrace. 

The bottom line is that if we want peace on earth all of us have got to root out hateful attitudes and philosophies, and I think racism tops that list.  Even more important, there’s no “white heaven” or “black heaven” or red, brown or yellow heaven.  There’s just one, and it will be made up of people of all races.  And anyone who’s even slightly racist will never, ever see it!


In His Love,

Fr. Mike