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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Original Sin (Again)

The best instance,  illustration, and explanation of what theologians calls original sin or the sin of the world is the most recent (June 2014) cover story in The Atlantic, the Case for Reparations, by Ta-Nihisi Coates. (Watch his interview with Bill Moyers http://billmoyers.com/episode/facing-the-truth-the-case-for-reparations/).

White supremacy is built into our culture, our economics, our politics from the beginning of the nation and much before within the European and Western order. We are all, black, white, and brown, born into this social order which shapes our person and behavior. I won't even try to summarize Coates' thesis. He does it so well.

I would only add that we also need to make the link between racism in America (and elsewhere) with class analysis as did Michael Harrington in the 1960s. Our economic system and the politics that serves it and the culture which rationalizes it is inherently unjust and violates the very integrity of the human person and community. That's why it is important to read Piketty's book along with Coates (or watch the interview with him http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=11858#.U3eqmh2agzU.facebook).

Overcoming the sin of the world consists in both 1) transforming our social systems so that they are just, but also 2) repairing the damage to exiting families and societies that have been injured. Righteous patriots and defenders of the status quo, no matter their race or class, will oppose this in the name of their God and the original sin will go on despite the efforts of great non-violent change agents like Jesus, Ghandi, Oscar, Martin, Malcolm, Harriet, Su Kyi, and Nelson.

The hope for justice to overcome the sin of the world of racial, class, gender exclusion and oppression is the light of empathy and integrity that is born into every new child. That light stimulates questioning of existing habits and addictions, innovative experiments in new social orders, and connection to all that exists in existence itself. Let it shine!

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