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The End of a Racist Era 11/07/2008

What Kind Of Change?

Martin Luther King, Jr. laid the foundation for an African-American president.

 

On September 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln declared that all slaves in the United States were free. A century later, Americans found themselves in a battle to make Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation a reality. From Rosa Parks, who in 1955 refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man, to the “Greensboro Four,” who bravely sat down at a "whites only" Woolworth lunch counter, to the brutal deaths of Andrew Goodwin and Michael Schwerner (both Jewish) and James Chaney (an African-American) in Mississippi, the great Civil Rights struggle sought to eliminate racism from the culture of the greatest nation on earth. Men and women of every color stood together against the prevailing tide of hatred -- and won.

America has never been perfect, but she has led the way to freedom and equality for all. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The road to freedom is a difficult, hard road. It always makes for temporary setbacks.”

There have certainly been setbacks, yet in my lifetime I have seen what could be called the end of popular racism in America. Since the 1960s, I have seen blacks become leaders in entertainment, business, sports and every other area of life. President Bush advanced Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice to a higher political office than any African-American had previously achieved. Next year, we will have a man of mixed race in the highest office in the world.

Although I am deeply concerned about some of Mr. Obama's proposals, I fully recognize the significance of this presidential election. I hope and pray that he will govern with wisdom beyond his experience. And I hope that this election will put the final nail in the coffin of racism.

Diseases largely removed from the earth, like smallpox and Bubonic Plague, still crop up from time to time. Likewise, I know that racism will always be with us to a lesser degree. But Americans of every background can rejoice that it has been pushed to the fringes of society. Skin color is no longer a barrier at the water fountain or the White House. The movement that began in small southern churches has become mainstream. The culture of racism and oppression has been vanquished, I hope, forever.

Now it is time to take the message of love and peace to the rest of the world. Men are still enslaved in Africa. Women are still oppressed in the Middle East. Children are still owned and abused in Asia.

Jesus commanded his followers to “love each other as I have loved you.” This is the message we must convey to the world. Jesus’ words are not disrespectful or domineering, they are liberating. America would not be the prosperous nation it is today if we had continued the Jim Crow ways of the past. Likewise, the world will continue suffering for its lack of love and respect for others.

This is the time to act not as Democrats or Republicans, conservatives or liberals. This is the time to act as Christians. We must uphold the basic message conveyed in the children’s song, “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight.”

When we truly love each other, we will see real change – change far above politics or party alignment, but change in men’s hearts. We must continue fighting for the principles that we know are right. We must pursue justice for those harmed by evil, protect the most innocent among us, and promote all things good and virtuous. We must seek truth and wisdom from above.

The wrongs of racism have, for the most part, been made right. So while we rejoice in the demise of one injustice, we must resolve to push forward and promote further righteousness. The light of love has thwarted the darkness of hatred. Let’s continue to lift up the Light of the World until it reaches every corner of the earth and disperses the shadow of sin.


Author: James Robison

Word Count: 659

About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a Christian media ministry and mission relief organization. He and his wife, Betty, host of the television program Life Today; He has authored numerous books, including The Soul of a Nation, The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope and True Prosperity.

Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at jamesrobison.net . Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.