26.2.15

Racial Inequality & Inherited Privilege (Monarchy & Socio-Political Stratification)

Statues Depicting the Kings of Judah (Decapitated During the French Revolution)
Almost all contemporary Christians actively oppose the idea of social stratification based upon race. Slavery and Jim Crow are regarded as blots on human history in which Christians embarrassed themselves by supporting an ungodly political order.
 
Why is racial stratification considered sinful?

Many answers are given to this question. Most of them have to do with accusations of racism. But racism itself is a difficult term to define, and it is not among the sins discussed in the Bible. Today, racism typically describes actions and views connected to slavery and Jim Crow. Because of this, claims that Jim Crow and slavery were wrong because of racism amount to a circular argument. slavery was a sin because it was racist, and racism is a sin because of slavery.

Racism is also equated to hatred based on racial heritage. But one can own slaves and believe in the separation of the races without hating one's slaves and wishing ill on other ethnicities. The apostle Paul must have believed this was possible when he sent Philemon's slave Onesimus back to his master with an admonition for mutual love.

So is racial stratification a sin? Would God condemn the concentration of political and social power in a particular race?

The subjects of monarchy and aristocracy are useful in evaluating this question. The office of monarch is a hereditary position that does not relate to merit. One does not earn the monarchy. Rather, one inherits it through inheritance ties to the last monarch. One family becomes the royal family and a political order is ruled through a specific bloodline.

The connection between race and monarchy is obvious. If monarchy is an ethical political structure then so is racial stratification. If the rulers of a nation can inherit political privilege through genetic inheritance than there is no reason to believe that members of one racial group cannot also inherit political privilege though genetic inheritance.

This parallel becomes more apparent when one considers the existence of a hereditary aristocracy such as existed in medieval Europe. The monarchs and nobility of feudal Christendom formed a caste in which social and political position was dependent on bloodlines rather than meritocratic talents.

Would God support such a system of inherited privilege?

He has and He does. God promised the throne of Judah to the bloodline of David. Why? Because David was a loyal servant of God. But his descendants often were not. The history of Judah is filled with wicked unworthy kings who received the right to rule not because of their character or talents but because God preserved their line due to a past promise he had made to their ancestor.

Both of Jesus's parents gained the privilege of raising the messiah because they were descendants of King David. Jesus himself is a hereditary monarch with a divine right to rule because of a literal physical blood lineage to the King whom God loved.

Now it is also true that Jesus deserves the throne because of his superior character and sacrifice, but this does not negate the fact that the messiah could only have come through the Davidic line. This is made obvious by the great effort the gospel writers put into tracing Jesus' family tree back to David and Abraham. These writers knew the Jews could only accept a messiah who had inherited the privilege to rule.

If privilege can and should be inherited then how could one argue that political stratification based upon race is sinful?

One of the ways this might be accomplished is by claiming that there is some special condemnation of inherited privilege based on race. But nowhere in the Bible is such a specific exception found. At least in the Old Testament God seems to endorse ethnic stratification by specifically allowing the Israelites to keep non-Israelite slaves as permanent inherited property.

In the Nation of Israel even the office of King was connected to race. This is made clear in Deuteronomy 17:15, 'Be sure to appoint over you a king the LORD your God chooses. He must be from among your fellow Israelites. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not an Israelite.'

Many modernist Christians (especially of the Cultural Marxist variety) would dismiss this entire argument about inherited privilege by claiming that monarchy and aristocracy is contradictory to Christian values. These same people would probably assert that politics should be carried out on the principals of egalitarian democracy.

But if they are right all of Christian history would have to be repudiated stretching back thousands of years, and an explanation put forth for why this was not understood by generations of Christian thinkers. These modernists would also have to explain why God would have set up Christ as a hereditary monarch descended from a line of God ordained hereditary monarchs, and why the early Church was run by elderly men who did not consider the majority or consensus votes of their fellow believers. Why were practical matters such as those discussed at the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 decided by an elite few rather than the masses? Why did Jesus choose only 12 men to aristocratically judiciate over the affairs of his kingdom?

The belief that Jim Crow segregation, slavery, and racial political stratification is a sin does not arise from the Bible but from the Enlightenment Liberal view of democracy as an inherent good, and the Marxist obsession with social equality as a cardinal value.