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Thursday, July 5, 2007

Racial Harmony

Racial Harmony

         There’s a very important new museum being built about 50 miles south of Washington, DC in Fredericksburg, Virginia, not far from the site of one of the bloodiest and fiercest battles of the American Civil War. It is the United States National Slavery Museum. While this museum doesn’t have a political agenda, it does have a humanitarian agenda—it seeks to not only tell the truth about Slavery, but to also heal the long-standing split between the black and white races. In other words, this museum is not about assigning guilt, but rather about making a case for mutual understanding and respect between individuals, regardless of race.

         As a matter of full disclosure, I need to advise you that my company, Fund Raising Strategies, is doing some work for this museum, but I must also tell you that my interest is far more than business.

         It’s not that this museum will wipe out racism. Unfortunately, racism of all types will never leave us. It is a part of the human condition from the Fall. After all, racism is simply the hatred of a class of individuals without any reason or logic. Racism is simply sin. In the Bible we are told that "He who hates his brother is a murderer" (1 John 3:15). You can’t wipe out racism any more than you can wipe out sin, but can’t we stop dividing folks along racial lines for political gain or to boost our own esteem?

         This business of judging people by the class they belong to will tear our nation apart if left unchecked. It’s what white racists have done to black Americans for too many years. It’s what the news media did to my former client, Richard Jewell. Even today, Richard suffers public castigation when strangers falsely single him out as the "Atlanta Bomber," although the reality is that he was the hero that saved many lives during the Atlanta Olympics.

         People are individuals, not groups. On this earth, each of us deserves to be judged by our own individual actions, not by the color of our skin, the size of our bank account, our age, our weight, or any other personal characteristic. It’s exactly what Dr. Martin Luther King was talking about and it’s what the Christian religion teaches. We must be held accountable for our own actions, but not for the actions or words of others. 

         Of course we are all frail, imperfect human beings, so before you strive to get the spec out of someone else’s eye, be sure you get the log out of your own eye. If we will all consider our own imperfections and strive to avoid giving offense, as well as strive to avoid taking offense, this would be a much better place in which to live.

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