Separate but Equal—Really?
By Dr. Sylvan Lashley
“Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all”. (Colossians 3:11). “There is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ”. (Galatians 3:28). “So we being many are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another”. (Romans 12:5). “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love…”Rom 12:10.
It suddenly dawned on me that the framers of the certain Amendments to the United States Constitution must have been reading Paul’s letters to the Galatians, Colossians and Romans. In 1865, the United States Government enacted the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery. In response many Southern states enacted the “Black Codes” which severely curtailed the rights of blacks to hold property. In reaction, the United States then enacted the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment in 1868, which provided that “no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction, the ‘equal protection of the laws”. This clause was reinforced later by the Equal Protection clause of the 5th Amendment, applicable to the federal government. These Amendments formed the background for many other laws and decisions of the Supreme Court and are the forerunner of the Civil Rights laws that deal with discrimination.
We too in the church have standards of spiritual care, despite the many cultural, economic and social differences, and places of origin. Paul enacted several amendments to the Constitution of the church as we have shared directly in our texts to celebrate oneness with our brothers. Yet too often, we are consumed with divisions. We are one in Christ, because in the same way we relate dually to Christ, we are to relate to each other. This relationship to Christ, then establishes a parallel relationship with each other. Inversely, if we do not have relationship with each other, we cannot be one in Christ, because oneness in Christ, requires a oneness with each other. Thus oneness is triadic (threesome) rather than dualistic (twosome). We cannot be separate but equal, for to be “separate but equal” means that we are inherently unequal and out of relationship with Christ. So let nothing divide us spiritually–neither race, social class, church office or anything else under the sun, but let us come together as with one accord in Christian unity and virtuous spirit. This is a moment for forgiveness and renewal for we are one in Christ—we are in a triadic relationship. Let us sing one song albeit with different parts. Leave no part out—talk to your fellow soprano, alto, bass and tenor, and correct any false notes before the grand rendition in the soon-coming. Lift every voice and sing. https://youtu.be/