Moral Priorities: Equity and Justice

By Rev. David Wilson Rogers |  October 22, 2016

            At the time of Creation, God created humanity in God’s own image, blessed humanity, and called all that God had created, “very good.” In sending Jesus Christ, God sought to reconcile humanity to God’s self by boldly breaking down the barriers and divisions that people have so sinfully erected. As a matter of faithful morality, Christians must also stand for the reconciliation of justice, equality, mercy, and love that is called for in Christ Jesus!
            The divisions that have been created throughout human history have been horrific. We have divided along lines of race, class, gender, language, culture, religion, and economics for all of human history. Inevitably, efforts to bridge those gaps are always met with fierce resistance—even within the church which is supposed to be leading the charge in this area.
            One may consider some of the landmark shifts in American culture over the last 160 years. As the nation divided over the injustice of Slavery, the church also polarized over how to move beyond the egregious sin of that institution. The bloody and bitter war that followed, horrifically pit Christian against Christian in a sinful battle of control rather than any faithful application to promote God’s love, justice, and inequality. Nearly a century later, the church again divided over equal rights and justice as the Civil Rights movement challenged long-held assumptions and the deeply engrained racism that was a filthy stain on the ministry of much of American Christianity.
            Today we face another time of bitter division and deep hatred within Christianity. At the heart of our challenges are the reality that God’s call for equality, justice, mercy, and love are still not headed. Once again, the church finds itself entrenched in a bitter debate as some in God’s family strive to move toward full equality and justice as God would have us live, and some in the church bitterly resist the changing fabric of culture and society.  Perhaps it is fear of what is not known. Perhaps it is remorse over what is lost to a nostalgic history. Perhaps it is a realization that in our pluralistic world, traditional church assumptions will no longer carry the day as they once did. Yet, regardless of the reasons why, it is clear that the church is, once again, bitterly split as God tries to move American culture beyond past discrimination, inequality, and injustice.
            To resist calls for equality, justice, mercy, and love is a moral problem on the part of the Church. God did not send Christ into the world so that we could prop his name up as a means to discriminate, dehumanize, and exclude people from the blessings of being created in God’s image. Jesus did not say that he is the only way to the Father so that the church could set up rigorous doctrines that dictate to others exactly what Jesus will accept and reject.
            So much of our political discord and rancor, not to mention the bitter hatred that is so rampant in America today, is rooted in the Christian failure to traditionally uphold true equality across our culture and exacerbated in the resistance of many to embrace the reality that God is going to bring about God’s will with, or without, the church. As Christians, let us stand on the side of God and leave the bitter inequality—along with all the sin it embodies—at the foot of the Cross as we embrace God’s call for justice, righteousness, and equality by living in God’s love.