Americans err if we believe that it’s only a black responsibility to right the social wrongs of racial inequality. It’s a white responsibility, too ”” and a Christian responsibility. Why Christians? It’s not that other faiths can’t do their part as well, but Christians ”” by sheer number and religious tradition ”” could be our best hope.
History shows that the teachings of Christianity hold an undeniable power to inspire positive social movements and call Americans to conscience, as they did during King’s time. Many Christians will be the first to tell you they should be held to a higher standard ”” because their religion insists on it.
Let’s improve educational and economic opportunities for African-Americans. Let’s acknowledge and root out the racism that mocks the American ideal. Let’s reject the harmful message of the prosperity gospel and reclaim the best of the nation’s black church tradition, with Christians ”” white as well as black ”” leading the charge for the dispossessed.
As the distinguished columnist Roger Cohen recently reminded, it is on the matter of race where one finds the greatest gulf between American behavior and American ideals. Will history find the same gap between Christian behavior and Christian ideals?