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Christian liberty and affirmative action
It is very disappointing to see officers of Christ's Church lumping those who have good-faith objections to affirmative action in with white supremacists.
The following is a letter I sent to the United Methodist Church. I am opposed to race-based preferences in university admissions, but I did not address that in my letter to the UMC because that is not the point of my letter. I am not going to convince them, and they are not going to convince me. They have the Christian liberty to take a position different from mine. My objection is that the UMC does not seem to believe that I have the Christian liberty to take a position on a secular political issue that differs from theirs. With that, here is my letter:
The United Methodist Church's statement on affirmative action is deeply disturbing. It is one thing to see divisive rhetoric in the secular field, but the UMC statement is needlessly judgmental and schismatic, tossing aside Christian liberty for a dogmatic approach to the issue.
First, this should not be submitted as a universally applicable statement on Christian doctrine, which is what the UMC did by saying that Christians should see the Supreme Court's ruling earlier this summer as harmful. If someone does not agree with the UMC position on this policy issue, are they in heresy? Are they committing a sin? Where does Christian liberty fall in where Believers take differing positions on political issues?
The most disturbing by far was the needless personal attacks and accusations of the letter. The UMC bishop claimed that the ruling "advances the cause of white supremacy" and "carries out the objectives" of white supremacists and white nationalists.
Racism is a sin because Scripture teaches is in Genesis 1:27 that “God created man in His own image." Those who hate others on the basis of race are actually disrespecting the very image of God. Denying the equal worth of those created in God's image is heresy. That is why it is so very disappointing to see officers of Christ's Church lumping all of those who have good-faith objections to affirmative action in with white supremacists.
Obviously, there are times when Scripture is clear and church leadership must condemn sin, both inside of the church and in the culture at large. This is not because we Christians are more righteous and we are parading our piety, but because we love our neighbors and want to see them redeemed from their sin or sanctified in their walk with Christ. Sin is not simply wrong, it harms the sinner. That is not what the UMC is doing here. The UMC is falsely accusing fellow Christians of sins that those Christians did not commit.
There are arguments that can be made in favor of affirmative action, given the legacy of slavery and segregation. That is perfectly fine. What is not fine is bearing false witness against brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ and within your own denomination. For the peace and unity of the Church, not to mention the honor of God, you should retract those statements and apologize to fellow Christians of good will who disagree with your position on affirmative action.
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