Editorial: The heresy of racism (6-19-43)

The Pittsburgh Press (June 19, 1943)

Editorial: The heresy of racism

By the Religious News Service

Church groups in this country have been perennially concerned over the issue of racism. They look upon it, today, not only as particularly dangerous to a nation at war, but as a serious threat to the establishment of a lasting peace in the world. They insist that whatever attempts may have been made in the past to justify or rationalize racial prejudices and discriminations, it is imperative now to face the issue in a realistic and honest fashion.

That there is a basic heresy in racism should be made clear to everyone. It is a heresy to claim that God did not create all men equal, that the Negro is inherently inferior to the white man, physically, mentally, and spiritually, and hence must be relegated to a lower plane of social existence. Nazism is an expression of this heresy. So, too, we must admit, are the lynchings, the Jim Crow laws, the forced segregations and the countless discriminations that the Negro has experienced in America.

We are counting upon churches and schools to take a leading part in opposing this heresy by clarifying and reiterating truths implicit both in our Christian faith and in our democratic concepts. Unless racism is overcome, it will seriously impair, if not completely destroy, the post-war order we are planning. Merely to enunciate Christian principles or to stress democratic ideals will not, however, suffice to destroy this inner enemy. What is needed most of all is the translation of precept into action; and this must be done in families and communities until the whole nation has been aroused.

Passive acceptance of racial evils has encouraged the growth of injustice in the past; it can lead to immeasurably more disastrous results in the future. It is opportune, therefore, to urge that all Americans, whatever their race or creed, accept a personal responsibility in this matter. There are many spiritual signposts to point the way to a happier and more contented America. One of these points towards interracial justice.

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A warning that the Americans of the day did not heed with repercussions by all subsequent generations.

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Some Americans of the day. My grandfather by this time already understood and even witnessed the idiocy of race hatred (one reason why [SPOILERS] he voted against Stevenson in 1952 was because his running mate was an ardent segregationist).

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