Posted on

Are Inter-Faith And Inter-Race Conversations Related?

I found this on a UK site, “Communities and Local Government”

The Race, Cohesion and Faiths Directorate works with other government departments to reduce race and faith inequalities in education, health, housing and the Criminal Justice System, as well as the labour market.

We are reducing perceptions of race discrimination and leading the work on creating more cohesive communities, tackling racism, extremism and hate and promoting inter-faith activity and a shared sense of belonging.

I know what a race inequality is. I’m not sure if I know what a faith inequality is.

I know that historically, issues of faith may have created inequalities based on racial lines…or maybe it was issues of race that created inequalities based on faith lines?

If we try to reconcile differences across faith boundaries, does that address and resolve racial boundaries as well? Or vice versa? I think I hear what this community in the UK is trying to accomplish, and this one too, I guess I’m just asking how it came to link the two (that is, race and faith), when in the US, especially in the church, we hardly let these two livewires touch. Are we pessimists or realists for not associating the two?

This is an interesting added dimension to viewing inequality and justice.

There are rich Black folk and there are poor Black folk. Are the rich obligated to help the poor?

What if we add to this, there are rich Christian Black folk and poor Christian Black folk. Now what? They help the poor, OK, but more or less? How much more or less? What would the marginal return of faith inequality to race inequality be?
Add to this the historical oppression of Black people in the US by the dominant White majority…a Christian White majority at that. Can you see how complicated this can get? What is the relationship of race and faith with regards to justice over time?

And what if we throw in another religion in there? Because the hope for a resolution wasn’t complicated enough…

Is the solution to promote inter-faith dialogue to create inter-racial harmony? or an inter-racial dialogue to create inter-faith harmony?

Can we really work together and not be in competition? Gosh, that sounds fundamentally un-American, doesn’t it? That’s probably why the Brits can talk about it across the pond, but I wouldn’t know where to begin. Although I did find a new blog that bravely states (I’m a new fan):

This is not one of those sites that seeks to “end intolerance” or “end racism” in America. From where I sit, that’s simply unrealistic. The goal here is to talk about race in America with renewed energy, compassion and candor.

At the very least, I find that if our faith does not have the recursive property of asking itself how it relates to every aspect of life, then we have failed to honor God with our whole lives. At some level, we must acknowledge actively barricading God from impacting our society or passively ignoring the call for complete transformation of our individual lives.

The Christian faith cannot say that race doesn’t matter. Instead, we must seek God’s design in our race. For all our unredeeming qualities, we must discover redemptive purpose and meaning. We must not minimize the issue or the pain, nor maximize beyond sight of our Lord, but we must recognize that it must be address as individuals, as communities of faith, and unto other communities.


About David Park

Christian 2nd-generation Korean American; Atlanta Georgia; more details to come.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s