In 2019, there’s no shortage of world views to choose from. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world, all of which influence believers with various policy prescriptions regarding world affairs, all the way down to daily living habits. All of this is relative to today’s topic, where I plan on tackling the issue of discrimination. Some groups are pointing a finger, shouting “privilege!” at other groups, regardless of skin color, gender, or religion all the while expressing concern towards a system which seems rigged against them.
It seems apparent that everyone feels discriminated against, while other groups seem to have it better off. In the workforce, African-American’s and Women, alike, feel as though work environments are favoring Whites, and Males. Christians feel as though Hollywood is relentlessly abrasive toward their values. A lot of people will jump at the sound of this gun, saying, “_______ are just being overly emotional, MY people are the ones who really have it bad!”
Fortunately, my job isn’t to validate the standard for discrimination, such a task ought to be bestowed upon whatever underfunded Human Resource department the Government may have. What I want to address is the fact that, regardless of legitimacy, a majority of people today feel discriminated against in one way or another.
Between Republicans and Democrats, there’s always a chasm between statistics.
-33% of Republicans believe there are “too few women in political offices.”
-38% of Republicans believe there are “too few women in top executive business positions.”
-79% of democrats believe there are “too few women in Political offices”
-77% of democrats believe there are “too few women in top executive business positions.”
However, from a bipartisan standpoint, 59% of woman say discrimination plays a major role in the lack of female officials in office, and 62% say discrimination plays the same role in the lack of women in executive positions. There’s a lot of personality types and psychological applications to consider here. Many would argue that women statistically tend to have what’s called an “Agreeable” personality type, which doesn’t appeal to a hiring managers need for innovators or “Go-Getters”. There may be some truth to that, as Disagreeable women out-earned agreeable women by 5.47%, and Men who were disagreeable earned 18.31% more than agreeable men, but I would argue that it’s not even relevant. If women feel they face discrimination, then shouldn’t we expect that to have an impact on that same “Go-Getter” attitude which makes individuals stand out for promotions? It’s no secret that if you walk into the arena defeated, then you’re likely to leave defeated.
Unfortunately, the trend doesn’t just surround gender. 38% of Whites say the country has made the changes needed to afford equal rights to African-Americans, opposed to 8% of African-Americans which say the same. What’s even more sobering is that 43% of African-Americans say the country will never make the changes needed to afford them equal rights. This lets us know that almost half of African-Americans view the country from a defeated standpoint. What are people then left to do when they live under a system they feel is against them? It doesn’t matter if the system is, or isn’t in their favor, how people view their civil rights and liberties will directly influence their behavior. It circles back to what I said about when women go into an interview feeling as though their gender is working against their odds. When people feel as though an entire system is against them, often times they begin to feel more and more inclined to give up and play by their own rules.
The trend extends to both Latinos and even Whites in America, more than half of Latinos say they face “a lot” of discrimination (63%), and results from an NPR Poll, where 3,453 Adults were surveyed, found that 55% of Whites in America are among those who feel their groups are discriminated against.
I wish I had better news as we move into the religious aspect of this article. Amongst Conservatives, between 2016 and 2019 discrimination towards Evangelicals/ Christians has gone up from 21% in 2016, to 30% in 2019. An article from DoSomething(.org) said, “In a four-year study of religious discrimination around the world (2006-2010), Christians were the most-discriminated against group, experiencing harassment by the government and society in 168 countries.” The study went on to say that Muslims were discriminated against in 121 countries between 2006 and 2010, and that Jews make up 1% of the Population, yet experience discrimination in 85 countries- the third most of any religious group. PEW Research found a “sharp increase” in discrimination against Jews, finding that in 2019, 64% of Americans say Jews face “at least some” discrimination- a 20% increase from 2016.
Again, there’s no way for me to gauge the legitimacy or the severity of people’s experiences with discrimination, but it breaks my heart to know the numbers are on the rise, and even causes in me a moment of pause, to reflect on my contribution to these statistics. Sure, sometimes the moment gets the best of us, maybe to us it was “just a joke.” Maybe we looked at our Muslim neighbor with contempt, or even exchanged words with them, after the Shri Lanka Bombing that just took place on Easter. Sometimes, we just don’t understand how people can think differently than us, but whatever the case may be, there’s got to be a solution.
Every Religion has a policy prescription for these issues, but I fear there’s many flaws in these implementations. Even the secular world would say their Moral Code could solve the problem of discrimination, which I encourage you to read a previous article of mine “Atheism, Satanism and the Moral Code,” which goes into detail regarding the ideological practices which could only increase things like discrimination, let alone violence.
What I can give you is the Christian worldview. While I understand the objections you may have, probably because there was a time when the person you may have faced discrimination from shared the same faith as I, let me tell you what our Bible says.
For starters, the Bible doesn’t shy away from all men being created equal. In the very first chapter of Genesis, verse 27 says, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” This doesn’t just include equality in worth between Men & Women alone, but all people. In Hebrews 12:14 we’re told, “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
The Bible even closes the gaps as to who “everybody,” could be limited to, to ensure the scriptures aren’t twisted to mean “everybody among you,” or “other believers.” Matthew 5:46-48 says, “If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
Mark 12:31 says this in addition to loving the Lord your God, “The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Proverbs 22:2 reminds us that the rich and the poor both have in common that the Lord is their maker.
We’ve already seen that the Bible calls for the equal treatment of everyone, from men to women, rich to poor, but what about foreigners? There’s even a verse for that! In Leviticus 19:34 we read, “The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.” Jesus didn’t want there to be confusion about who our neighbor is, which is where we get the famous story of the Good Samaritan, his point was that everybody is your neighbor, regardless of race, religion, or gender.
Aside from the plethora of individual verses warning us to not show discrimination, James Chapter 2 actually has an entire segment on “The Sin of Partiality.” The message particularly uses the examples of a rich and poor guest visiting an assembly, however the lesson is applicable even to race and gender. It starts by saying, “My brothers and sisters, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” The story goes, that a man dressed in fine clothing and gold rings walks into an assembly, soon after, a man in shabby clothes enters. The leader of the assembly says to the rich man, “you sit here,” and places him in a position of honor, while turning to the poor man and says to him, “You sit in the corner, or down at my feet.”
The Bible is so against discrimination, that it even warns us to be careful as to where we assign seating! How much more applicable is its teachings in the workplace, at school, or even in our homes? To make it ever more so clear, verses 8-9 says, “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.”
So, that’s our “policy prescription.” Discrimination isn’t getting better. In fact, it’s getting worse. We’ve been searching high and low, looking for new ideas, and implementing new laws to try and solve the problem of hatred. However, the unfortunate reality is that the heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9), yet here we are in the midst of a culture which promotes “Following your heart,” along with those cheesy “Live, Laugh, Love” phrases you’ll find in just about every residential bathroom. We are being taught to follow the most deceiving aspect of ourselves, rather than following what the Bible says.
I would argue that we don’t need a new idea to combat discrimination, but that we’ve known the antidote all along, but it’s a solution the world is drifting further from: Reverence for the Lord.