Pervasiveness of Bigotry

“Think not the bigotry of another is any excuse for your own.” — John Wesley

I’ve been a member of a Methodist (now United Methodist) church for most of my life. But they don’t teach Wesley (one of the founders of the movement) as much as they used to. Probably part of the blending of overall teachings, I guess. But there is much to learn from Wesley’s example and his teaching.

This week I was in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I’m not sure what the status of race relations is these days in the state that was once a symbol of the “Old South.” A startling revelation came upon me Monday. Where are all the black faces?

A restaurant we visited had a black girl as a hostess who seated customers. I’d swear that I heard a different tone of voice from the hostess when she said Miss so-and-so or the black girl was seating someone. I didn’t think about it at first. But the tone sort of laid half-formed in my brain.

Then we went to a show. Out of probably 1,000 people there, perhaps 5 were black. No performers were black people. Then I looked around. At the resort I saw perhaps 3 black families.

Within the past month, I’ve also heard comments about the Spanish-speaking people trying to come to the “Land of the Free” and work their way up a ladder that so many of us take for granted. The tone was, shall we say, not that of a sincere Christ-follower. The tone of those who labored with Paul to bring all the disparate cultural elements into one common fellowship.

I was made fun of for my civil rights views in the late 60s in my home town. Later I realized what a fool I was to drive to Louisiana through Mississippi in 1970 with an equal-rights decal on the car. Back then I’d have hoped for better understanding among the races and ethnic groups than I see today. It’s severely disappointing.

Where did we go wrong? Or lose our enthusiasm? However, let’s let Wesley’s words guide us.

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