The Rebirth of Scientific Racism

recent article in the Washington Post warns that “‘scientific racism’ is creeping back into our thinking”. The story reports of a woman who filed a “wrongful birth” lawsuit after delivering a biracial baby conceived through artificial insemination.midwife She sued, claiming that the mixup created hardship and injury to her and her family. The argument made by her suit called up the specter of eugenics–the science of racism so prevalent 100 years ago but since discredited. The article explains the thinking behind scientific racism:

Here’s how the argument goes. Some people are born with outstanding talents, easily mastering basketball, mathematics, languages or piano, if given the right environment in which to grow. What biologist or social scientist could argue with that? But alongside that genetic understanding, an old and pernicious assumption has crept back into the American conversation, in which aptitudes are supposedly inherited by race: certain peoples are thought to have rhythm, or intellect, or speed or charm. That’s a fast track toward the old 19th- and early 20th-century problem of “scientific” racism.

The article continues by recounting examples where eugenics is currently rearing its head. At one end of the spectrum there’s Dylann Roof, who wrote, “Negroes have lower IQs, lower impulse control, and higher testosterone levels in general. These three things alone are a recipe for violent behavior.” Ironically, he (allegedly) followed up these words by killing nine people during a Bible study in an African-American church in Charleston, SC. At the other, more respectable end of the spectrum are academic articles which claim that genetic differences are the primary causes of ethnic conflict.

As evolutionary psychology and socio-biology become more accepted, so shall “scientific racism” also. Darwinism is an ideology that, when carried to its logical conclusion, has devastating cultural and social consequences. The Gospel stands squarely against this. All are created in the divine image, and all have sinned. Christ died for all, and all the redeemed are brethren in the family of God (Gal 3:28; Eph 2:11-22). Racism must be rejected, even when it wears a scientific veneer.

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A Few Thoughts about Kim Davis’ Imprisonment

Last week on Sept 3, Kim Davis, the county clerk for Rowan County, Kentucky, was jailed for contempt of court. Rather than issue state marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Davis stopped processing marriage licenses altogether. She and her office were sued by both straight and gay couples. The courts ruled against Davis, and when she refused to comply a federal judge had her taken into custody.HT_kim_davis_jef_150903_16x9_992  As of this writing, she remains in jail. The Rowan County clerk’s office now grants licenses to same-sex couples. A concise and clear summary of the case and the issues involved can be found in the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s The Weekly Explainer. I want to express a few thoughts:

1. Kim Davis is right not to violate her conscience. To the best of his or her ability, a Christian has a responsibility to the Lord to obey His will as expressed in His Word. The Bible gives numerous examples of believers who find themselves in circumstances that require them to stand against the tide. The Books of Esther and Daniel were written for the express purpose of providing such examples. I admire and respect Davis’ courage and conviction.

2. There is no need to give a blanket approval to the way Davis handled this matter. She was wrong to shut down the County Clerks office. Her decision to refuse all marriage licenses is problematic. Because she is an elected official (as a Democrat), she cannot be removed from office except by impeachment. This appears to be a case where resigning in protest may have been the best course of action for her to have taken.

3. Kim Davis should not have been put in jail. In their article “Need We Jail Each Other Over Marriage Licenses“, Russ Moore and Andy Walker point out that this situation was created by the overreach of the federal government and the failure of the Kentucky state government. They note:

[T]he judicial ruling against Mrs. Davis needlessly escalated the events in Kentucky by meting out an unnecessarily harsh penalty—incarceration—with failure to consider similar past measures undertaken by those in support of same-sex marriage. As many others have noted, those who are now hailing the rule of law as a way of cudgeling Mrs. Davis are the same voices who once undermined it in the name of advancing same-sex marriage. When Attorney General Jack Conway (now the Democratic candidate for governor) refused to defend Kentucky’s marriage law, no negative recourse was handed out even though Conway got to play pick-and-choose with the laws he believed were worth defending. Furthermore, when a same-sex couple in Kentucky exercised civil disobedience at being turned down for a same-sex marriage license in 2013, they were arrested, fined one cent, and quickly set free. With the length of her incarceration unknown, is Mrs. Davis receiving equal treatment?

4. This is just the beginning. We are going to have to think carefully about how we respond to future situations. As Moore and Walker’s article notes, there are differences between the religious liberty claims of private individuals and those of government officials. Christians must pray for the wisdom, grace, and courage to stand rightly for the truth. Days like these require from us the spiritual balance to be “as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves”.

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In Case You Missed It

Earlier this week, Dr. Stephen Wade published an article which offers a few foundational thoughts relative to understanding addictions biblically, and in it he also suggests some practical tips relative to ministering to addicts. In his article Dr. Wade writes:

Addictions are typically associated with alcohol and drug abuse, but when we dig deep into the human heart, we find that a clear understanding of what is going on is really a picture of the battle going on in the heart of every sinner. Pastors will find that both believers and non-believers struggle with addictive tendencies, to a greater or lesser extent, with many different things in their lives. Indeed, the grace and power of the gospel applied to the struggle of an addict is the same grace and power that every believer needs in the battle with sin.

Thom Rainer published an article describing five reasons pastors have guest blindness at the Lifeway blog earlier this week. Dr. Rainer writes:

In light of the woeful reports from mystery guests, I was very surprised at one facet of some research we conducted as we interviewed pastors across America.* One of our questions asked if the pastor’s church does a good job of meeting the needs of first time guests. Surprisingly, 90 percent of the pastors said “yes.” Did you get that? Less than 20 percent of the guests said their visit was good, but 90 percent of the pastors perceive the opposite, that most guests have a good visit.

At The Gospel Coalition, Camille Cates writes: “Why I Don’t Blame Planned Parenthood.

In Genesis 3, we see Adam shift blame to his wife, Eve, and even to God himself. Likewise, Eve shifts blame onto the serpent. Neither takes responsibility for his or her own actions; instead, they simply act as if their sin is someone else’s fault. In the years immediately following my abortion, I shifted the blame too. I blamed my baby’s father. I blamed my parents who took me to the clinic. I even blamed God.

In a recent post on his blog, Dr. Waylon Bailey gives five practical steps for wise speech.

How many times have you asked yourself: “Why did I say that?” Or, maybe you asked: “How could I say that?” Nothing seems to be as easy as saying something dumb. None of us wants to misspeak or say things we shouldn’t. What can we do to minimize our unwise words?

Reflecting on a question he was once asked about Christians eating black pudding in light of Old Testament regulations about eating blood (Lev. 17:10ff), Sinclair Ferguson writes on four principles for the exercise of Christian liberty over at Ligonier:

Although (as far as I am aware) no theological dictionary contains an entry under B for “The Black Pudding Controversy,” this unusual discussion raised some most basic hermeneutical and theological issues:

  • How is the Old Testament related to the New?
  • How is the Law of Moses related to the gospel of Jesus Christ?
  • How should a Christian exercise freedom in Christ?

Yesterday in Chapel at Southeastern, Dr. Chuck Lawless, Dean of Graduate Studies warns students not to become hard hearted to where they destroy their witness. Watch the entire message here: