FOUR students pulled this! Now I'm not trying to say that every student at George is racist, or that every evangelical is racist - but this incidents and others like it are indicative of a problem in the evangelical community. The focus on gay marriage, abortion and the militarization of Christian culture have all created an environment that fosters an "us vs them" mentality. The defacto segregation thats occurred between the suburban evangelical community and people of color is startling.
Its easy to see why these kids would see minority students getting different opportunities would be an injustice when they haven't been exposed to the evils of racism. Looking at what evangelical leaders write about - one could easily infer that the theological shortcomings of "The Shack", "secular" literature like the Golden Compass and their usual pet issues: gay marriage and abortion are all more important than racism. When evangelical leaders tie themselves to anti-affirmative action anti-immigrant politicians, these bonds become stronger.
What should be done about this? Churches need to make racial reconciliation a priority. Youth Pastors need to teach more social gospel theology - now I'm not saying throw the evangelical theology out the window (although again, I am not an evangelical, in case you couldn't tell), but students should be encouraged to not just to serve the poor in far away countries or in periodic visits to soup kitchens - they should build relationships with them. I'm willing to bet that in most suburban high schools and middle schools - regardless of how wealthy they are - there are probably significant immigrant populations. There lies the opportunity for an authentically "Christ-like" ministry - not sharing his word, but living it.
Now many of you might wonder why I felt the need to write this. Coupled with this dispatch from George Fox I recently heard a pretty disturbing account from a friend of mine. This friend isn't the type to make things up mind you. He hasn't been to church in some time but found himself in a conversation with someone who went to his former church. This person relayed a story about how they went to do some relief work in a place with a significant population of a certain minority. Along with an account of the work that they did they also offered their opinion about this group of people. They were "always looking for a handout", they "didn't deserve what they were getting since they weren't doing much before this disaster happened" and lastly they "certainly weren't like people in the mid west during a blizzard who knew how to pull things together".
Whats wrong with this picture? Now if this person was doing relief work out of the goodness of their own heart, or to feel better about themselves or even to brag about it thats one thing. But this person was a Christian and that Christian had done that work to follow Christ's teachings - his actions therefore, were quite simply, blasphemous in my opinion (that sentence was awful wasn't it?).
Now I'm not saying there isn't a strong social justice community in Christianity today. But my evangelical brothers and sisters have made me pretty darn concerned lately.