The Voice of One in the Wilderness
During Advent, the Church remembers with thanksgiving the life and ministry of John the Baptizer, cousin of Our Lord and the promised messenger of His first coming.
The Divine Hours, Phyllis Tickle
I picked up the December 6, 2005 issue of The Mennonite and was skimming through it on Monday. The first thing I read was the editorial by Karl McKinney, “Race-ism is anti-Christ.” Somehow I had missed the comments made by former drug czar, Bill Bennett, on September 28. McKinney reports that Bennett, author of The Book of Virtues, said on Sept. 28, “But I do know if you wanted to reduce crime, you could–if that were your sole purpose–you could abort every black baby in the country, and your crime rate would go down.”
I don’t have the context in which this statement was made. But context or no context, these words come across as insensitive and inflammatory and I believe McKinney is right to call them “race-ist.” McKinney also makes note of the fact that within a week of making these comments, Bennett appeared on Focus on the Family with his friend James Dobson. During this show, McKinney reports that Dobson “affirmed Bennett’s prolife stance yet ignored the Hitler-esque nature of Bennett’s adjacent point. Not once did Dobson challenge Bennett’s assertion, the factual basis underlying that assertion and the assumptions that Bennett must hold to propose such a hypothesis.”
McKinney calls upon Mennonites to “write to Dobson and Focus on the Family and to tell them you think they should have taken Bennett to task for his blatantly violent and factually inaccurate hypothesis. Tell them they missed an opportunity to exalt Christ above whiteness, even as they responded to Bennett’s need for support as a prolife spokesman. Point out you find it morally reprehensible that the abortion of babies in the wombs of black Christian mothers would contribute to the reduction of the crime rate.”
I am deeply troubled that such views would go unchallenged by Dobson– someone who is looked to by many evangelical Christians as a spokesperson for values and what it means to follow Christ. I pray that Christians will hear the prophetic voice of our brother, Karl McKinney, and be troubled to the point of repentance.
May God have mercy on us and forgive us for the things we have done and the things we have left undone that have contributed to oppression and injustice in our society.