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The Supreme Court, Colorblindedness and Theology


A little less than an hour west of me sits Louisville, Kentucky. Louisville is not an enormous city but it is progressive and growing. This is, perhaps, why it is so shocking to me that the school system there has been using ethnic profiling to place students in certain schools. Some of the educational officials said that they were doing this to create diversity; they were trying to mix the schools up so that they did not become ethnic hodgepodges. However, many parents (and students) in Louisville see this as a disgusting practice and numerous of them have claimed that both they and their children were discriminated against by the school system because of their ethnicity. This debate has been going on for seven long years and many see such actions as directly in opposition of the Constitution and even coming close to a reversal of the 1954 "Brown versus Board of Education" ruling. This has also been going on in Seattle, Washington as well. Click the following link to read more: Ethnic Profiling.

Yesterday, however, the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 against using ethnic profiling when admitting students into educational institutions. Despite this long overdue victory, one thing that this reveals is that in many parts of America, ethnic prejudices are still alive and well. It is surely a sad sight when the Supreme Court almost loses when voting on such an issue (again, the vote was only 5 to 4). Just as troubling to me is the fact that Chief Justice John Roberts commented after the ruling, that we all need to be “colorblind.”

Honestly, I am so sick of hearing about colorblindedness. In fact, I think the call to be “colorblind” only adds fuel to the fire of prejudiced thought and behavior. Sadly, I’ve heard many Christians advocate this same type of thinking. I’ve heard many a Christian claim that God Himself is colorblind. From a Biblical and theological perspective, nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, Scripture reminds us time and time again that in Christ, there are no distinctions. As Paul’s Magna Carta states, “In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male and female.” All who are baptized in to Christ Jesus are one. And even a cursory reading of Revelation quickly reminds us (as the phrase is repeated over and over again) that Christ’s blood was shed for “every nation, tribe, people and language.” Again, in Christ there is no distinction.

Yet, “no distinction” does not mean that Christians should advocate “colorblindedness.” Rather, it suggests the exact opposite, that believers should affirm the beauty exhibited by the wide array of diversity. To be colorblind is to deny the beauty of God’s rich and creative diversity. Further, and still worse, to suggest that God is colorblind is to speak against His own beauty and His own creativity. Just as well, it is to deny, in large part, the call of the Great Commission to take the Gospel to all peoples with a spirit of love, not a spirit of elitism. Theologically, then, Christians must see past the hollow words of our elected officials and instead, view the world in all of its many colors, in all of its many shades and in all of its divine beauty.

Perhaps we need a reminder from an old children’s song: “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight, Jesus loves all the children of the world.” And if children can grasp and sing this truth, then why can’t we? And even more, if Jesus loves all the children of the world and we are called to emulate our Lord, then shouldn’t we love each other too—with no distinctions?

2 comments

Clay | June 29, 2007 at 11:41 AM

Great point, Michael. We can't pretend that differences don't exist. However, rather than seeing that as a negative, we should (as you put it) "celebrate the diversity" while accepting and loving each other. My wife is Bulgarian and female. I certainly celebrate those differences, even if they create misunderstandings at times. (By the way, I think it was 5 to 4--only 9 judges, right?)
Regardless, it's a step forward.

T Michael W Halcomb | June 29, 2007 at 8:08 PM

Clay,
Good call, I did type in "6 to 4" didn't I; I will fix that. Thanks. By the way, it is a good thing that your wife is female!!! I'd be scared if she wasn't!

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