Dr. Richard Land on the Civil Rights Act

Dr. Richard Land

by Richard Land

I believe the vast majority of Americans are disappointed in the degree of racial division, mistrust, and misunderstanding that still plagues American society. And I further believe that disappointment and discontent stretches through all ethnic groups and generations in American society.

In the wake of the tremendous, revolutionary victories won over de jure institutionalized, legal racial segregation in the 1960s, most Americans expected and hoped for far more rapid progress toward Dr. King’s dream of a nation where people were “judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Alas, while legalized racial segregation was dismantled rapidly in the wake of the 1964 Civil Rights legislation, racial prejudice has lingered like a stubbornly antibiotic-resistant virus that just refuses to die. Why? The Bible tells us that man is fallen and sinful (Jer. 17:9; Rom. 3:23). Thus racism is pandemic because people are always tempted to think more highly of themselves than they ought to think (Rom. 12:3) and thus thinking less of people who are different from themselves.

Ultimately, racism will be tamed not just by the law, but by the kind of inward spiritual change wrought by the transformative power of the Gospel of Christ. As I have said before, when it comes to racism, as well as other sins, the salt of the law can change actions, behaviors, and habits, but only the light of the Gospel can change attitudes, beliefs and hearts.

However, that does not mean that the salt of the law is not a necessary ingredient in the quest for greater racial equality and justice. While it is true that you cannot legislate morality in the sense of mandating beliefs, you can, and must, legislate against behavior when that behavior involves someone denying another person their basic rights to equality under the law.

On the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, it is helpful to reflect on how far we have come from the dark days of segregation, not to rest on our laurels, but in order to draw inspiration for finishing the journey.

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SOURCE: The Christian Post

Richard Land is the Executive Editor of The Christian Post

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