“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal”, so says the American Declaration of Independence. Race riots in Charlottesville, USA have led to those words being quoted to call out the evil of white supremacy. President Trump’s seeming hesitancy in confronting racism has led to his judgement being called into question by leading lights in his own Republican party.
The truth that the framers of the Declaration of Independence held to be ‘self-evident’ is based on the teaching of the Bible, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27). That is why people of whatever nation, race, or creed, whether they be male or female are to be treated with equal dignity and respect. Equality does not mean uniformity, but whatever differences there are between people, the fundamental principle of equality remains.
An old song by my boyhood heroes, The Jam bears witness to this principle. In Man in the Corner Shop they sang,
Go to church do the people from the area
All shapes and classes sit and pray together
For here they are all one
For God created all men equal
The church is not confined to one nation, race or social class. Jesus sent his followers to make disciples of all peoples. The songs of heaven would make any racist decidedly uncomfortable. The saints in glory sing to Jesus,
You are worthy
For you were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation
The Bible teaches that all people are equal in three important ways:
1. All people are created equal.
2. All people are equally in need of salvation.
3. All people are equally welcome to receive Jesus as Saviour and Lord.
* For Trinity parish magazine