Healing the Racial Divide
Harry R. Jackson, Jr / Townhall Columnist
The recent national crisis and racial tension have underscored that America seems more divided than ever. On the one hand, President Obama believes that our differences are just being exposed. On the other hand a few of us feel that the President and Attorney General Holder exacerbated the race problem. In some ways, both views are right. How could that be? America has come a long way since the lynchings of the 50s and days of Selma. However, we have a ways to go in terms of race, poverty, and class.
We could not have expected the President, alone, to work miracles with an issue that has plagued our nation from its beginning. Our political leaders can only do so much. All the institutions in society must work together to move forward, but the Church has always had a special role to play. While segments of the American Church have historically been blind to the sin of racism—and even justified slavery by distorting Scripture—other parts of the Church have led the way in ending racial injustice.
So how can the Church take the lead as we look for ways to draw Americans closer together and build greater understanding among the growing variety of ethnic groups that make up our great “melting pot”? Last week Thursday January 15th, I helped convene a meeting of over 150 ministers who met at the Potter’s House in Dallas, for a powerful closed door conclave called: The Reconciled Church: Healing The Racial Divide. Collectively, we represented a diverse group of significant leaders from across denominations and ideological backgrounds. These leaders represented over 40 million American Christians.
The purpose of that meeting was to reach consensus on how we can promote peaceful reconciliation and to collaborate on how bridges can be established for a brighter economic future in our communities. As social entrepreneurs and influencers that are building tremendous ministries that address underlying cures for race, class, and poverty problems. Our nation deserves better models of spiritual leadership. We have the opportunity to change the course of history within the American church and affect the globe. Our time is now.