Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Inclusive Prejudice

When Phillip went to his friend Nathaniel to tell him about a new acquaintance, a man named  Jesus, Nathaniel asked, “Where is he from?”  Phillip replied, “He’s from Nazareth.”  Nathaniel (a man without guile, Jesus would later say) responded, “Can any good thing come from Nazareth?”  Nathaniel, you see,  had a prejudice against all Nazarenes.  Why?  Perhaps he had had bad dealings with someone from that town, or maybe he had just heard things about them.  Who knows?  I do wonder what prompted his inclusive contempt?  Nathaniel did not think  of the men, women, and children of Nazareth as persons, he just lumped them all together and tagged them all with one label and despised them all.  Nathaniel’s inclusive prejudice is a classic example of the kind of prejudice that curses our country today.

A Smoldering Volcano (Hawaii)
Many people today are subscribing to an inclusive prejudice with reference to Islam, Syria, refugees, Mexicans (you name the group) without recognizing either the public menace in it or its implicit denial of the American Dream or its implicit denial of every basic Christian idea of God and man.  

Hitler sought a new world order based on this kind of group prejudice—anti-Semitism.  The cost of that prejudice—the death of millions in concentration camps.  For God’s sake, don’t be a Nazi!  

In 1940, William Temple, later the Archbishop of Canterbury, made the following statement:  “The spirit in which we fight matters more than our winning.  If we go Nazi and then win, it will be the same for the world as if the Nazis win.  But if we keep charity alive with courage, our victory will be a boon to mankind and our defeat would be a redemptive agony.”  We need to heed that admonition right now because the growth of certain Nazi elements in America is appalling—and one of these is inclusive prejudice.

No matter what the emotional provocation may be, to lump a whole race, a certain group of people, a religion, or a nation in an inclusive prejudice and hatred is as ignorant and insane as it is unchristian. Something good came out of Nazareth. 

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