Charlottesville

Bigotry is the seedbed of genocide.

In the past year I have been both demeaned by a white, female, liberal professor for not saying enough (in her estimation [1]) against racism and disparaged by a white, male, nationalist for not defending my “blood kin,” my nationality, my skin color, my “whiteness.”

The most recent incident occurred when I posted this 12 August 17 statement on Facebook:

I stand with my black brothers and sisters against racial hatred #Charlottesville

One man took issue with my statement, posting over one hundred replies. Here is one, direct, unedited comment about my “stance”:

Sorry, but many white believers are growing weary of white weakling professors of faith who loathe the very skin God gave them, all the while “standing” with the perceived downtrodden. Weak, vacillating Professors.

I doubt any of my students past or present, or anyone who knows me personally, would agree with the descriptors “weak” or “vacillating.” My public posts and staunch commitment to any “stand” I have taken should explode any connection to weakness. [2]

Making a simple statement that I stand with my black friends was vilified because I was not maintaining the “purity” of the “white” “race.” [3]

Further, I was called “an alienist.”

Mark exhibits classic Alienism. . . . “a prejudice in favor of the alien, the marginal, the dispossessed” . . . In Christianity, . . . we have a greater responsibility to our own family, race, town, state, region, and country, than we do to “the other”. Christians should favor the native and the normal over the alien and the novel. . . . Shame on those who despise their own flesh, who God Made them.

Far from ashamed as to who I am [4] I am not ashamed to speak out on behalf of others. As an “alienist,” then, I stand with Yahweh who chose to give the same love He gave to His people (Deut 7.8) to the “alien.” The identical Hebrew word is then used to command His people’s love for the “alien.”

              “He loves the sojourner . . . love the sojourner” (ESV, Deut 10.18-19)

“The sojourner” is the non-resident, the alien, the outsider, one from other nationalities or ethnicities.

When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself (ESV, Lev 19.33-34)

My responsibility is to love (support, uplift, esteem, give to) everyone no matter their religion, gender, ethnicity, nationality, creed, or self-identity.

There are no boundaries given.

There are no “what if ___” given.

There are no “what about ___” given.

There are no “but they did ___” given.

There are no rationalizations given.

“Love the sojourner.” Period.

Some would say – as did my interlocutor this weekend –  that I should defend my ethnicity. No one is disparaging their origins here! But that is NOT the issue. The issue at hand is “How will I respond to the history of oppression against my fellow countrymen and women?”

As a white man, my responsibility is to reach out to my black neighbors. I bear the responsibility to initiate, making intentional my communication and action. Ethnic superiority, purity, and division is NOT the gospel.

So to my liberal collegiate counterpart and my white nationalist Facebook “friend” I say the same thing: only the love of Jesus breaks down all the barriers.

My “whiteness” has nothing to do with the gospel of Jesus.

There is MUCH more to say against quotations ripped from context, misapplied arguments, non-sequiturs, hate-filled videos, and memes which conflate ideas into ideology. Many have thanked me online and in private for allowing false belief to be seen for what it is. Readers can see much more of my stand in the footnotes below. Dr. Mark Eckel is President of The Comenius Institute (site) (video).

[1] Readers can find many writings from me about ethnicity [use the search line]. Among them I wrote a three-part series with my brother, Pastor Brian Green on “Oneness” (one, two, three) and my personal responsibility as a professor is explained in the essay “Race” (here). Currently I am working on a journal article with my friend Charlie Mitchell on the theological foundations of the 20th century civil rights movement. Find my essay about “Charlie” here.

[2] After I read comments about my supposed “weakness” I continued to remember Paul’s comments, “God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1.27).

[3] “Race” denotes the “human race.” It is better to use the word ethnicity when referencing a person’s origins.

[4] See my faith statement here and biography here.

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10 comments

  1. Thank you Mark for your stand with us against White Supremacy. This article brings both great encouragement and deep sadness. Great encouragement that there are such lovers of truth and all humanity across this widening racial divide. But deep sadness that they’re are still ignorant -intellectual racists that still defend racial superiority and purism as if it were a biblical responsibility. Thank you Mark for standing for truth and with Black people in our resistance against such an evil doctrine and enemy to civility and human decency. I love you for that. – Brondon Mathis

  2. I am grateful for your words, for your friendship, and for your wisdom. Thank you for speaking up and speaking the truth in love. I have been struggling with my fellow white brothers and sisters in Christ remaining silent on this matter. I appreciate you for not remaining silent but speaking out. I am actually working on a blog post for later this week addressing the silence from some, as well as asking forgiveness for where I have been ignorant and apathetic in the past.

  3. Dr. Eckel, I do not have an educated mind as you do but I certainly agree that our Savior would not show favoritism toward any man and that all must repent. I also believe that our intellectualism may hinder this simple truth.

  4. I think you may have missed some of the points that Steve was making. Ultimately, I feel He was asking would you write that about your white brothers. Would you proudly stand with them. To me what you wrote made me question more than proud. I felt you separated whites just as BLM separates themselves us as Lovers of Christ. I love the way God made us all different. All beautiful and fully his.
    I may be totally off mark here but felt the need to comment.

  5. I followed that conversation and I felt like, being a Black, I would be unsafe around this person, despite the fact that I am a conservative and love ans support my White brothers and sisters.

  6. Hi Mark, I totally agree with all that you shared and your views. I would like to add a point for consideration that I’ve never heard brought up about the consideration and viewpoint of Gods heart for the stranger among his people.
    In the book of a Ruth, we have Ruth, a immigrant, willing to go back to her mother in laws homeland…but she willingly embraces their people, their culture, their God. Ruth would not have been as welcomed, iif she had brought her Moabite Gods and eschewed the Jewish holidays, and religious customs. Also, in the books of law, as you quoted, the rules for sacrifice and worship actually list that the alien and the stranger needed to participate in some of these. The principle is that , yes an alien or stranger or sojourner need to be welcomed and treated with respect. But the alien needs to respect the religious and cultural norms that are there. I realize that America is not Israel. But the character of God that would care enough to encourage his people to care for the sojourner, also expected the sojourner to participate in its holidays, in its worship at some points, and to respect the culture in which it finds itself. I’m interested in your thoughts.

    1. Hi Wilma. To begin, yes, American is not Israel. The point of Ruth has much more to do with the universal message of Yahweh “that the world may know.” I’m not sure that we can make direct application of Ruth’s respect for her surroundings to American immigration policy. The applications should be much more pointed toward The Church, how do believers in Jesus participate in love toward their neighbors. The Law Code has immediate application for the Christian in principle (I would argue). The ideas of acceptance of all people no matter their ethnicity, for instance, is crucial to begin the process of friendship and assimilation. Thanks for your comment!

  7. Excellent article! I stopped using the term race many years ago I think it is a term invented to divide us. As Americans we are largely a nation of immigrants, both free and forced, we have heritage that connects us to different parts of the world (mine is west African in ancestry, but American in culture). Race is the most shallow of terms. For example not all Africans today are black, and not all Europeans are white. I think the terms white, black, Latino, Asian are still appropriate, but we don’t stop there. We seek to understand the individual and not default to group identity/race.

  8. As succinctly as I can put it.

    Christ is no more the champion of Christless white Nationalism or Republicanism than He is the champion of Christless Black Lives Matter, Antifa, or your garden variety Democratic politician. As such I will not be forced to choose between the two. I will not conclude, “well, one is better than the other I suppose.” If I have a hope my hope is that each would negate the efforts of the other. A pox upon any movement that refuses to bow before the Crown Rights of King Jesus.

    And if you’re an organization that refuses to officially affirm the Lordship of Jesus Christ in favor of a big tent approach you are part of the problem and not part of the solution.

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