Christ on Racism

There should not be a single racist follower of Yeshua Ben-Yosef, commonly called Jesus, the Christ.

Not. A. Fucking. One.

It’s right there in Luke 10. The parable of the good Samaritan, when Yeshua was asked “Who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denariiand gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

Maybe it’s not your fault. Maybe you had some milquetoast Sunday School teacher that told you that parable was about kindness. Or maybe about social class, at best. They missed the point.

Samaritans, in the time of Yeshua, were not just “commoners” or “peasants” or “low class”. It wasn’t like a schism among the Protestant denominations.

They were seen as traitors. They were seen as heretics. They were the despised.

To the Jews, a Samaritan was more revolting than a Gentile (pagan); Samaritans were half-breeds who defiled the true religion.

This is not just a parable about radical kindess.

This a parable about racism.

Even when Samaritans turned Yeshua and his followers away, he told the apostles to be peaceful.

And [Jesus] sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them ?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them.

Read that last verse again.

But Jesus turned and rebuked them.

Yeshua Ben-Yosef – the Christ – did not say “stand back and stand by“. He did not hem or haw.

He did not have to be pressed to denounce racism.

He gave a clear answer.

He said that these people are your neighbors, and that they should be loved as yourself.

They should not be locked in cages, or separated from their families.

They are people, and should be treated as any other, even if society’s rules say otherwise (John 4:1-26).

Because he knew it was not the color of one’s skin that makes one righteous.

“Do you not yet realize that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then is eliminated? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander.”

This is not some “true Scotsman” fallacy.

This is not some bit of apocrypha.

This is one of the core parables.

This is one of the core teachings of the faith.

I still get e-mails from the Knights of Columbus, a decade later. I still see churches more concerned with abortion (something Yeshua never talked about) than the bigotry he explicitly worked against.

Perhaps those so-called followers of the Christ should reconsider who they refuse communion to.

Featured Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash