Let me start by stating clearly that melanin expression (skin color), bone structure, and hair follicle shape (collectively the major components of “race”) have no bearing on human value, or moral standing. To believe otherwise is frankly pretty stupid. As a Christian I hold the view that intrinsic value is based on the image of God placed in each person, and moral standing is based on our own moral views especially as carried out in practice.
However, people have made veiled accusations against me in regards to racism in the past. This is based on my views of cultures that are largely confined to one race or another. My view is that cultures that extol sin are inferior cultures. These cultures may extol idolatry (indigenous peoples), violence (middle east) or extra-marital sex (western liberal culture), or all three (ancient pagan cultures). The more a culture conforms to Biblical ideals the more superior the culture, and the more it is separated from Biblical ideals the more inferior the culture. The reason I abhor much “music” today is two-fold
- It is not beautiful (I doubt that you will find a rap “artist” who is claiming to pursue beauty)
- It praises what is wrong (drugs, sex, violence)
This is true of much of impoverished inner-city culture today, it extols
- Idleness (not idolatry, but living off of another person’s wealth)
- Drunkenness (I would equate drugs with alcohol in that both inhibit sobriety)
- Extramarital sex (especially pre-marital as opposed to adulterous or homosexual)
In fact, I have a hard time thinking of any virtues that are identified with the current inner-city culture. This is in stark contrast to (for example) the Puritans who were known for work ethic, and a commitment to sexual purity. It is also in stark contrast to the abolitionists and missionary movements that have served the least valued in our world at threat to their own lives. The English legacy begun at the signing of the Magna Carta and continuing through the development of representative government, personal freedom, individual responsibility, and widespread adoption of Christian virtues has been the greatest (political) force for good the world has ever known. When the British outlawed Sati (burning widows on their husband’s funeral pyres) in India that was a good western Empire ending an evil practice of an inferior culture. Ditto for the slave trade act in 1807. Ditto for the North during the Civil war (not getting into reconstruction, or Sherman, and only post emancipation) . Same for US involvement in Europe in the 1940’s. Some cultural norms (ante-bellum slavery), and some entire cultures (Soviet Russia) are evil. For us to say that they are not gives consent to the practices by implying “sure, it would be fine to set my wife on fire, but only if I was born in India,” or “sure, enslaving 14 year old girls in forced prostitution with 60 clients a day is totally cool, but only if you are from Mexico.”
The problem I have faced is that the inner city culture is also strongly identified with a particular race. The difference here is important, I don’t care about hair follicles, melanin expression, or bone structure, but whether the culture extols virtue or vice is paramount.
I think the next time I am accused of racism based on Christian values my response will be “No, I am not a racist, I am not stupid enough to think gene expression has any contribution to intrinsic value. However, I am a cultural snob because some things are just evil.”