Jesus’ kingdom is a many colored kingdom
On institutional genocide and injustice
Defend the rights of the poor and needy (Proverbs 31:9).
Tomorrow is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a national holiday that celebrates the achievements of Dr. King, an inspiring leader and Christian pastor who protested racial discrimination in state and federal law. As followers of Christ, we do well to remember King’s vision, courage and hard work, for inherent in the gospel is the truth that all humans are made in the image of God. Because of this shared image, in King’s own words “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Quite different is what will be remembered next Sunday. January 22 is the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision to make abortion legal in the USA. Dissenting justice Byron White called the decision an exercise of “raw judicial power.” With it, the Court created a legacy of political, cultural and moral division, not to mention a legitimization of the murder of ~60 million unborn children since ‘73. To paraphrase King, “a threat to human life anywhere – in this case, the unborn child – is a threat to life everywhere.”
Sadly, these two commemorations are far more closely linked than by calendar. I have in mind the racial disproportions in US abortion rates. According to the most recent government figures, in 2012 there were 699,202 reported abortions in the US (not including California, Maryland, and New Hampshire). How tragic! But figures become more sinister when you break the abortion rates out by race. In 2012, blacks comprised 13% of the population of America but accounted for 37% of all abortions. In other words, black unborn are five times more likely to be aborted than white unborn. This disproportion was not unique to 2012. It has been the case for almost three decades. Per sub-population, far more black babies are being aborted than white. Our own Tone Bellamy calls this grim reality “institutional genocide.”
In a perverse twist of fate, the equality that Dr. King fought for is being undermined by the inherent inequality of Roe v. Wade. The 1973 decision defined one group, the unborn, as irrelevant to the law. That injustice is like any injustice anywhere; it is indeed a threat to justice everywhere.