I recently went to the film, Hidden Figures (I recommend it). It is a film set in the 1960s, at a time in USA when segregation between men and women and between white and coloured was still practiced.
One of my realisations was that this was all so recent – during the formative time of many in leadership in USA today (to the point where, still as recent as 1965, USA was still needing to produce legislation that prohibits racial discrimination in voting). The undergirding attitudes are still manifest.
And it is all part of an underlying struggle with difference. Rather than rejoice in difference, many people fear difference.
Slavery, gender roles, racial segregation, and so forth – all have received justification from the Bible. That trajectory continues to this day in attitudes to gender, sexuality, race, and religions.
And shutting each other down by dogmatic assertions of: “that’s racist”, “that’s sexist”, “that’s homophobic” is having, manifestly, the opposite effect of what is intended. Rather than allowing for debate, it is pushing people with those underlying struggles with difference into hiding them – and they are coming out, instead, in the privacy of the voting booth. Brexit and Trump are sacramental – they are the outward, visible sign of an invisible reality. [And part of the perfect storm is the pushing of post-modernism to a post-fact culture. Spoiler: that is the subject of a future post].
We glibly say that “God is love”. And then many who are uncomfortable where the consequences might lead, assert that the reverse is not the case – that “love is God”. (As a disciple of the apophatic way) I’m not in a hurry to affirm definitions of “God” (in either direction). But, on Valentine’s Day, when love is celebrated, and I am certain that all love is sourced in God, I would rather stand with those who declare that “love is God” (and might get it wrong sometimes) than with those who are today’s inheritors of those who quoted the Bible to retain slavery, and the racial segregation and sexism so well presented in Hidden Figures.