In the decades I have been alive, I have seen herculean efforts to address racism. From kindergarten through college, adults taught against racism at every stage of my life. Institutions everywhere poured time and money into diversity. Newscasters were diverse, movie characters were diverse, the most popular family on television was the Huxtables, the most popular talk show was Oprah!, and the most popular actor was Will Smith. We celebrated Harriet Tubman in school, celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day at home, and then celebrated a Black American in the White House.
So — why didn’t it work? Why is race the pressing issue that it is, as if the last 50 years never happened?
Secular Answers Failed
In the wake of the killing of George Floyd in May, it is more clear than ever: You have to pick one or the other — either secularism or racial harmony. You can’t have both.
All the secular-racial-diversity money in the world can’t solve a problem that stems from the human heart. Only faith can do that.
If you believe that one God created all people in his image and commands that you love them, you will eventually have to confront your personal feelings, whatever they are, about people of different races. But relativism breeds intolerance. If there is no objective truth that we all have a duty to discover and honor, then whoever has the most power in a given situation determines what is right and wrong — whether it be your schoolteacher, the media or a police officer. You can’t teach that racism is wrong and that “your truth is as good as my truth.”
It is no accident that the greatest advances of human rights in the United States have come from religious people, from Sojourner Truth to Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to the Catholic Church.
So, why aren’t more people looking to the Church for answers? My last column, comparing the anti-racism movement and the pro-life movement, was the perfect introduction to this column, because there are two stories to the Church’s response to racism, just as there are two stories about the Church and abortion.
One story is the Church’s unwavering condemnation of abortion, from the DidachetoPope Francis and U.S. bishops calling abortion the “preeminent” issue of our day. The other, darker, story is the fact that many of those who wrote, defended and expanded abortion laws were Catholic-raised, Catholic-educated, proud self-proclaimed Catholics: Joe Biden, Andrew Cuomo, Nancy Pelosi and Sonia Sotomayor, to name just a few. And don’t leave out Catholic voters who propped up the abortion industry with their votes.
The Church’s fight against racism is the same way: There are Catholic heroes and villains, but the Church’s teaching gets it right.
Read more at National Catholic Register