Wednesday, 9 March 2016

The Plain Truth on Race, 1964

Over at Living Armstrongism Redfox has an interesting post about current paranoia promotion in the Philadelphia Church of God over racial issues; PCG's False Prophecy of "Race War". Reading it I was reminded of the articles published in The Plain Truth in the 1960s. Perhaps the most disturbing example I've found comes from the pen of a certain Roderick C. Meredith, writing in the September 1964 issue.

The article, "CRISIS Flares into Bitter Racial REVOLT!" (emphasis in original) is anything but an objective, calming word on the subject. Meredith explicitly rejects the program of peaceful civil disobedience led by Martin Luther King, then under the sub-head "The Prophesied REVOLT of the Gentiles in Our Land" he makes some amazing statements after quoting Deuteronomy 28:43 [The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low]
"The Hebrew word here translated 'stranger' is clearly referring to the GENTILES or peoples of other races - who are living in the midst of modern-day Israel."
By "modern-day Israel" Meredith means the Anglo nations. By "Our Land" he means Anglo-Americans only. Where he went from there you can read for yourself in the clipping from that article.

Granted, this was the 1960s, these were less enlightened times and hindsight has 20/20 vision. Yet this same sabre-rattling logic seems to have been passed on like a virus into groups like the PCG. And what about the LCG and its ministry? Has the current Presiding Evangelist ever repudiated these statements?

Wouldn't it be interesting to sit down with Meredith now, all these years later, and ask "do you regret writing that? Is that the way you still understand those passages?" and maybe, just maybe, "would you like to offer an apology for what you wrote back then?"

There are many people who find it hard to accept that the Worldwide Church of God was ever racist in its teachings, or that BI was a fundamental part of that problem. That's not to say all members today share those views; many - perhaps most - absolutely don't.

Then again, some do, and that's a problem.

And honestly, can you separate out BI assumptions from Meredith's prejudices?


Redfox712 said...

Thanks for the mention. It took me the longest time to notice that PCG actually has this bizarre, racist doctrine that they teach every now and then since 1992.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to find out how many non-white members of the COG groups believe in BI. I know several black members who do.

BI is not innately racist, as some seem to think; and not all BI proponents are racist, any more than all Jews who believe the Jews are the "chosen people" are racist. But, yes, BI is part of the problem in that it appeals to prejudices that are already there. I reject it on biblical and historical grounds, not because it might be attractive to an indefinite number of prejudiced nutcases.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I wish I had the time to critique all the uncritically accepted anti-Armstrongite arguments out there. Gavin is one of the sharpest critics of the Armstrong movement, as is Byker Bob. Yet amazingly, both believe passionately that BI is necessarily and inherently racist. To say that BI fosters, facilitates, accommodates and could even possibly encourage racism is one thing. To assert that it IS racist is quite another, and is quite unwarranted. That, with the greatest of respect, indicates sloppy thinking.
Again I point out to people like Byker Bob who still insist on believing in the Bible that they have a problem of cognitive dissonance. For there is no way one can accept the Bible as the Word of God and assert that the teaching that a particular nation is chosen above all others and is privileged is racist, without accepting that the Bible itself teaches racism . Duet 7: 6 says unmistakably that "the Lord chose Israel as a special people unto Himself ABOVE ALL THE PEOPLE THAT ARE UPON THE EARTH". How can read the Old or even the New Testament and not see that God had a special status for Israel, that they were covenantally put above all non-Israelites They were even forbidden to marry people of other nations. Paul reaffirms their special status in his New Testament, New Covenant writings. You can say that notion of a special status of an ethnic nation is now put aside in the New Covenant But even a "New Covenant Christian" like Byker Bob is not a Marcionite to believe that the Old Testament God was not the true God. How can the belief that a particular nation today represents the modern day descendants of those ancient Israelites be inherently racist? This does not make any sense! Say Bi is mistaken and historical and theological hogwash , but necessarily racist? That is non sequitur reasoning--if we can call that "reasoning" at all. I am a black man (Jamaican) and while I don't see the evidence for BI I don't think my organization, CGI, is racist because I have some leading ministers teaching this. I must tell you that I was deeply affected emotionally when I read Pam Dewey's first-rate, absolutely brilliant historical review and critique of the 1960s Plain Truth ,Meredith's and HWA's abominable role in opposing the civil rights struggle. I knew about our racist attitudes for decades and our apartheid church services and racist articles before but somehow reading Pan's searing historical recounting and flawless analysis was extremely hard-- and I pride myself on being cerebral rather than emotional thinker. But one, in the final analysis, has to separate emotions from intellect. Yes Bi did facilitate the racism in some of our leaders That US and Britain in Prophecy booklet did excite some racists. But then Peter and many of the early Jerusalem church was also racist and they sought to lock out Gentiles--which Armstrong even in his most bigoted days did not do. If I can accept the Bible with racist leaders like Peter whom Paul had to oppose to his face for his racism and ethnic exclusivism and chauvinism , why can't I accept Armstrong as a legitimate messenger of God? Anti-Armstrongite critique has to be raised to a higher level Too much of it is glandular, visceral, and reactive. If there was once a nation which was God's special people and anyone who taught that was not necessarily teaching racism, then a modern-day(albeit deluded) person who misidentifies that nation's descendants today is not necessarily teaching racism. BI in itself is not racist Certainly not as taught by HWA. Let me see how you guys respond to this. Remember: Solid, rational argumentation; not spilling of emotions or venting That's not an argument. Ian Boyne

Connie Schmidt said...

Is it true that RCM still has a "George Wallace For President 1968" bumper sticker still on the wall in his garage??

Byker Bob said...

First, the God of the Old Testament was not racist, in other words He didn't teach that there was an eternal hierarchy of the races based on skin pigmentation, or other ethnic considerations. He seems to have chosen the Israelites based on the righteousness, belief, and faith of their patriarch Abraham. This compares to the heathenism and paganism of the other peoples who inhabited the Mesopotamian region. So, it was a religious matter, not a matter of race. There had obviously been racial diversity in Noah's family, Moses' wife and in-laws were black, and Joseph's wife was Egyptian, which could have meant Nubian during that era.
Plus, there were provisions in Torah that any "gentiles" who wished to participate in the Hebrew tabernacle or temple culture could do so by embracing Noahchide law.

In the New Testament, Jesus freely interacted with people of various backgrounds. This was unheard of, and even scandalous, because the Jews maintained separatism from the Gentiles, because they were (per the Law of Moses) ceremonially unclean. Peter's dream showed that the banquet was open to all peoples, that no man was considered untouchable. Jewish Christians marvelled that the Holy Spirit had been poured out on Gentiles who knew nothing of the Jewish culture and lifestyle. How awesome was that??? And finally, Paul declared that Christians were the new Israelites.

Mentally, I can't separate British Israelism from the way that Herbert Armstrong taught it. He most definitely assigned a hierarchy to the various extant races, and if you go back through the old Ambasador Reports, particularly the episodes on the Manpower Committee, you can see how this affected the way in which the Church and College developed and promoted their human resources.

(Continues below)

Byker Bob said...

Gerald Waterhouse, under approval of HWA, toured the world spreading his vision of the Millennium to local church congregations. Somewhere within that message was the plan for sending everyone back to their homeland. The talents of the different races were enumerated, with Jews and "Israelites" being overly endowed, followed by (gasp!) Germans whom HWA had given a race change operation so they could become Assyrians and fulfil his bogus prophecy mold.

When church congregations in the '60s and '70s grew to the point where a second set of sabbath services could be added, Church Administration (CAD) would start L.A. #2 not by calling for volunteers, but by reassigning all of the brethren of color to #2. I understand this also happened in other major metropolitan areas of the country.

HWA taught that this was the time in which Gentiles had the minds of wild animals, and particularly Rod Meredith hurt people in the congregation by singling out Italians and Mexicans and stereotyping them as having violent tempers. He failed to point out the tempers of those of us with Celtic blood, because British Israelism gave us a clean bill of health as the chosen ones.

This stuff hurts even for a non-victim of the racism to recall! Now, I have no idea how J.H. Allen's attitudes went, because the HWA influence contaminated that for all of us. I believe that if Dr. Martin Luther King had known of the WCG, or perhaps Bishop Desmond Tutu, they would have seen our WCG culture as being just as racist as was Apartheid in South Africa.

It is very magnanimous of you, Ian, to be willing to overlook this, and to forgive and forget. But the bottom line is that it is an area in which the church was profoundly wrong. It stereotyped people in very hurtful
ways, and placed obstacles in their paths that should never been placed there by an organization calling itself God's Church.


Byker Bob said...

Finally, if you simply believe that a group of people living today, descended from a group of people who existed in 1200 B.C, that is not racist. If you teach that those people are blessed or superior simply because of the physical qualities of their ethnicity, and that others are not, that is racist! If you state that people have been blessed by God for their obedience, that is also decidedly not racist. When you invoke Abraham, and bring in an inexplicable 3,000 year gap, and then apply the promises to Abraham to a people who are by no means ethnically pure, but are white, and from an "empire" at its zenith, that is just a little bit contrived.


Anonymous said...

It is always a delight to interact with you,Byker Bob.But note that you have not refuted my point that BI is not inherently racist You have told us that HWA foolishly taught that there would be segregation of the races in the millennium and that the God of the Bible taught no such thing That's just one of the many areas where HWA got it wrong He was a fallible and flawed human being like all whom God used (perhaps more mistaken than many) But the teaching about the position of the races in the millennium is not integral to BI,though an outgrowth of it BI identifies particular modern nations as the true Israelites,mentions their role in modern and future prophetic fulfillment ,but is not necessarily tied to racial hierarchies in the millennium .Keep in mind that God's blessings on ancient Israel related to a particular ethnic group It was blessings of RACE, though based in grace. But don't forget that race part or try to soiritualise it Re Armstrong's inter-racial teaching, that was simply based on his theological incompetence. He was not a theologian God used him to restore His distinctive doctrines He did not need to be a theologian to do that.Armstrong never understood theological nuance and almost certainly never read one serious book on theology in his life. That did not affect his mission as God's messenger to restore critical truths,though his defense of them was woefully lacking. So Armstrong taught that the prohibition to marry inter-racially was due to race, rather than religion He allowed his cultural conditioning and his Redneck socialization to blind him I understand enough about sociology and psychology to forgive his prejudices and limitations We are all influenced by our social milieu What you must reckon with is how durable and obstinate was the apostle Peter's own racism and ethnic chauvinism Even after that pivotal dream showing Gentile acceptance,God's miraculous outpouring of the Holy Spurit on the Gentikes and his own powerful testimony to fellow racist Jews as reported in Acts 10;After all of that he was still withdrawing from the Gentiles as reported in Galatians, when the racists from headquarters passed through Amazing! But not so amazing to social scientists who study these things Bi in its essence is not racist It can easily facilitate racism but nothing in its jaundiced theology necessitates that You guys should continue your critique of it on historical,genetic and theological grounds, but you just drop the groundless case that it is inherently racist You don't need that for your critique It does nothing for your case But, in fact, detracts from it in the eyes of people not influenced by emotive rhetoric Ian Boyne

Anonymous said...

Incidentally,and this is not for you, Byker Bob,Gavin, Gary, Connie and other rational interlocutors, don't waste time venting about my shockingly absurd view that HWA was,after all, a true messenger of God after all his horrible sins ,abuse, corruption etc.etc. Don't go off on that tangent Deal with my substantive points If any one cares to after that, he can vent about my brainwashing and recite all the horrors of Armstrong and Armstrongism As long as that is not used as an excuse not to engage my substantive points. Ian Boyne

Anonymous said...

Oh I just looked back over the first line of Byker Bob's reply to me where he mentions that God never taught an eternal hierarchy of the races,apparently in contradiction to Armstrong May I remind him ,as he has been out of the movement for forty one years now and might have forgotten , that Armstrong taught no such thing.Instead, he taught the glorious truth not found in any New Covenant church that all saved human beings of ALL RACES would become,equally, God beings after the millennium and the Great White Throne judgment If you want to see a robust defense of that doctrine,I invite you to read my short booklet online Man's Awesome Destiny You can google it. It was published by CGI It does not regurgitate HWA's Why Were You Born I would be gleeful if Byker Bob,Gavin or Gary would read and critique it I would be over the moon!

Anonymous said...

Regarding your post, Byker Bob, Armstrong NEVER taught that so-called modern Israel was superior because of their race That would indeed be racist But he never taught that He always taught they were chosen because of Abraham's obedience,not because of race I dare you or anyone to produce even one quote which proves that Ian Boyne

Anonymous said...

Contrived is not synonymous with racist Contrived and convoluted,indeed,was HWA's BI ,but not racist We must drop that charge for truth's sake, Byker Bob. Ian

Gavin R said...

@ Ian. I'm wondering which of the statements I made in this post you disagree with. I'm assuming you would find Rod Meredith's quoted comments repellant, but I may be wrong. But, of those I offered specifically in this post, which do you think are unreasonable or misrepresent the situation?

Byker Bob said...

Ian, I'm going to list a couple of cause and effect activities which happened in the Radio or Worldwide Church of God, and then will give you an opinion as to what happened with British Israelism.

1) You would not want potential alcoholics or practicing alcoholics to be taught without further caution that strong drink is to be a part of the commanded rejoicing or worship at the annual festivals or for that matter daily Christian life.

2) You would not want parents who had suffered horrible child abuse themselves to be taught that persistent corporal punishment, breaking a child's spirit, was to be part of Christian child rearing.

These are two examples of teachings which actually had very devastating effects on large numbers of church members. Such teachings caused people with common inherited weaknesses to stray from the good path, and to suffer or inflict grave damage. On the other hand, true spiritual guidance strengthens people and helps them to lead stable and productive lives.

Finally, British Israelism is a theory or belief to which you would hope and pray that racists would never ever be exposed. Just as surely as the rabbit who discovers your garden is going to eat the lettuce, a racist is going to abuse that theory, which is precisely what happened when HWA read J.H. Allen's book! It is no accident that HWA's booklets on this topic are very popular even today amongst hate groups and separatist militias. If BI is not racist, at the very least, it is used by the racists to foment or to aid and abet racism. That is a mighty thin line of distinction.


Anonymous said...

No,Gavin I am totally with you with your denunciation of Meredith's reprehensible and repulsive statements But poor Meredith I have very low expectations of him What I was reacting to,and I stand corrected if I am wrong, was an impression I had formed from reading other references of yours on BI that you hold that it was inherently racist That was what I was taking exceptions to,not particularly your comments in this post. Ian Boyne

Anonymous said...

Ah,Byker Bob,I am absolutely with you now on that statement that "if BI is not racist ,at the very least, it is used by the racists to foment or to aid and abet racism"Absoluteky unassailable point But then you make a tremendous and unwarranted leap:"This is a mighty thin line of distinction" No it is a major distinction The bible allows freedoms which can always be exploited by people with various sinful tendencies to disastrous effects It has been in an effort to avoid those consequences that various legalists,cultists and fanatics have developed controlling systems to avoid those pitfalls We cannot take a purely consequentialist view iof truth Or in the case if BI say it is racist because of its potential to foment racism Huge difference Ian Boyne

Anonymous said...

Byker Bob: If you believed BI were true, would you oppose teaching it because of the effects it might have on people who tend to be prejudiced? I reject the teaching on biblical and historical grounds (as I mentioned in the second post from the top), but, in all due respect, I seriously doubt that BI (as taught by proponents like HWA or E. Raymond Capt) ever did much to aid and abet racism.

What is your source for the "very popular" status of HWA's booklets on this topic? And which booklets are so popular among hate groups? I'm aware of only one book he wrote on the topic.

One thing is sure: HWA's book on the topic cannot be nearly as popular among hate groups as material published by the "Israel Identity" movement. From the perspective of HWA and the COGs, BI is important because it's the "key" that "unlocks prophecy." But that's not true of "Identity" groups. Their version of the teaching excludes the Jews as descendants of the house of Judah. The Jews, they claim, are enemies of the true people of God--and, by the way, the Holocaust is a myth. Some Identity preachers go so far as to say that blacks are identified in Scripture as "beasts of the field" and can never be truly happy unless they're doing what they were designed to do: serve the Adamic (white) race. Regardless of HWA's opposition to the civil rights movement and other indications of racial prejudice, you won't find anything like that in his book on the topic.

And there is another side to HWA that should be mentioned. He wasn't all bad. Once, when a restaurant refused to serve a group of black church members at one of the WCG's feast sites, HWA said, "If they won't serve our Negro brethren, they won't serve any of us." After the owner of the establishment discovered what HWA's "ban" (yep, "banned by HWA") did to his business, he apologized and sent word that all were welcome.

My early experience in the WCG was very different from what others experienced. I was impressed when I walked into my first service and discovered that black members attended with the white folks. They sat right there with us, not in a separate section. That was something I had not seen in mainline churches! I know a lot of bad things happened, and I realize the Armstrongs turned out to be a disappointment (to put it mildly), so I understand the need to vent--but there are also some very positive things to be said about the WCG experience.

Gavin R said...

@ Ian. I'll take you up on your "Man's Awesome Destiny" challenge. I hope you'll find it fair-minded, but I do note that the title doesn't lend itself to a flattering acronym :)

Miller Jones said...

If we Google the term racist, we read "a person who believes that a particular race is superior to another." Merriam-Webster ( defines racism as "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race."
Did you notice that neither definition is qualified by motivation?
If you believe that a particular race of people is stiff-necked, it doesn't matter WHY you believe it (even if your reason is a statement within Scripture). If you believe that Israelites have been blessed above other folks, it doesn't matter that you maintain such a notion because of Abraham's obedience! If you believe that an entire race of people has been singled out for blessings or punishments, the WHY is not relevant to that belief's characterization as racist. Do we begin to see why this teaching is inherently racist?

Anonymous said...

To Miller Jones: OK, so most of us are racists by that definition. So what!? If I'm a racist for believing that Abraham's descendants through Jacob's sons turned out to be a stiff-necked, hard-hearted people, then fine--I'm a racist! In that nuanced sense, racism is not necessarily a bad thing. But that's not what most people mean when they call someone a racist. You know that full well!

This is just a word game. It's semantics. Can you honestly say that you're not playing this game for the purpose of attaching a term to BI that will inevitably be interpreted in the negative sense?

Miller Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Miller Jones said...

Is it ever appropriate to portray British Israelism in a positive light? I wasn't under the impression that anyone here was playing games. I thought we were having a serious discussion about this topic (and words are important to those, even Scripture underscores that point). For the record, I hate the autocorrect feature on my phone - that's why the first comment was erased.

Pam said...

The Worldwide (and now most of its major splinter groups) amazingly totally misunderstood most of what the Old Testament REALLY had to say about the "stranger among you"! Throughout the whole history of Israel, the prophets proclaimed that God was really, really interested in how the people treated "The fatherless, the widows, and the strangers." Because, of course, the Israelites were once "strangers" in Egypt, and thus should know as a people what it was like to be oppressed and marginalized.

The message over and over was to "not forget" the stranger (and fatherless, and widows) when it came to charity, to keeping the feasts, and so on. And the "solution" to the "stranger among you" was... to allow them to become Israelites! With full citizenship, right to eat the Passover, and so on. It was "assimilation" that was encouraged, not "segregation" into ghettos. IF the stranger wished to become a full-fledged Israelite, he just needed to agree to "play by the rules" of the community ("keep the Law") and be circumcised.

So think about it...if the stranger became an Israelite with full participation in the community, there wouldn't BE a need for fear that he would "rise up" and eventually rebel against the Israelites. I don't buy the British Israel nonsense, but IF it were true, the smartest thing for the Americans to have done once they emancipated the Negro race among them would have been to "share the dream" with them. To LET the "stranger" North America by no choice of his own!...become one of them. Instead of almost immediately inventing the Jim Crow system to "keep them down." Keep them from having any real "stake" in the nation or their local community. Keep them from quality education and the possibility of good jobs and nice homes and such. I'm pretty sure that the average Negro in the post-Civil War era would have been ecstatic to have been "brought into" the life of the nation and become a contributing member. Many of them tried desperately, as a matter of fact. You can read how well THAT worked in a lot of places in a blog series I did a while back I titled "Terrorism on American Soil."

So when the WCG and its offshoots have resisted the efforts toward Civil Rights in the country, they haven't "promoted God's way" at all. They have instead created a situation in which that ONE prophecy becomes self-fulfilling...ignore the stranger, treat him like dirt, persecute him, "keep him in his place." (And maybe even burn his body and his community...) What a recipe for breeding rebellion rather than brotherly cooperation.

Anonymous said...

Miller Jones said, "...and words are important to those, even Scripture underscores that point." Yes, words are important---and that was just my point. You're making an argument of semantics in order to hang the "racism" label on a certain belief (which, by the way, I reject as well). You can now point to the Google dictionary and say, "You see, BI is inherently racist!" THAT is a word game.

Miller Jones said...

We're all subject to the meanings that are commonly ascribed to words. Each and every one of us could compose our own dictionary, but I think coherent communication would cease almost immediately if we did. If you don't mind my asking: If you have rejected British Israelism as a viable teaching, why are you so vociferously defending it against being characterized as racist?

Pam said...

There is a common misconception abroad that the terms "racism" and "race hatred" are synonyms. No, they are not.

Racism is very specifically the ***belief that all the people in a certain race are inherently "superior" in numerous important qualities to all the people in another specific "inferior" race.***

One can embrace racism about one's own race, thinking it superior to some or all others, without "hating" people of the other race. It need not lead to "hate" at all. It most often leads to other attitudes, of course, such as condescension at best or ridicule at worst, and to discrimination and unfair treatment. But even then, one can be condescending to others without hating them.

Before the Civil War, I doubt that most Southerners "hated" Negroes. They merely thought them created by God as inferior beings, and suited to slavery by the superior race. Many white young people were taken care of... and even wet-nursed as a Negro "Mammy." Witness Scarlett in Gone with the Wind. This likely often led to "affection" for the Negro caretaker, maybe even "love." But they would never have mistaken that for a belief that she was "equal" to them, or had the right to be treated as an equal. As long as she was subservient, she would have been totally welcome in the home.

I'm pretty sure that the average white in the South before the Civil Rights movement didn't "hate" Negroes at all. The upper class still typically employed Negro cooks, housemaids, nannies for their children, gardeners and so on. The middle class would have often been in managerial position over Negroes who were day laborers and such. I doubt most would have harbored any "hate" toward them, AS LONG AS they "kept in their place" and didn't demand to use a white drinking fountain, a white library, a white swimming pool, and so on. Admittedly, many in the lowest classes DID hate Negroes, because they were in "competition" with them for the lowest position on the economic (and respect) ladder, including for unskilled labor jobs. That's where you would have seen "race hatred." I discuss this kind of race hatred in my recent blog entry titled "This Land Ain't YOUR Land, This Land is MY Land."

Pam said...

The problem in considering the teachings of Herbert Armstrong in the greater modern movement of British Israelism is this... the MOST VOCIFEROUS promoters these days of the B-I teachings literally ARE "Race Haters." White Supremecists of the most evil sort.

Yes, the B-I of the olden days in the 1800s, straight out of Britain, and the ones that Herbert learned from, were of a more benign sort. They merely believed blacks (as well as most other non-Aryans or non-Anglo Saxons) to be profoundly inferior genetically to the white race. This led not to hatred of those groups... but to exploitation. As in the methods of the British Empire in dealing with the indigenous inhabitants of its "possessions." Rudyard Kipling, raving racist that he was, didn't "hate" non-whites like "Gunga Din." He bestowed upon them often an "affectionate" sort of paternalism as one would a small child.

So yes, it is possible to NOT harbor "race hatred" and yet intellectually accept the tenets of British-Israelism (about the superiority of the genetics of the descendants of Abraham and their destiny to rule the world some day...either in the "now world" (which is what the classic B-I teachers insisted), or in the Millennial Kingdom (as Herbert taught...after they had been "spanked"--as Rod M would put it---and repented.) But it's NOT possible to accept the very standard teachings of B-I, even as taught by Herbert, and claim to not be "racist."

I guess I'll just be blunt...those who want to play in the British-Israel playground in the 21st century need to just suck it up and realize that their presence there WILL be interpreted by the public as being evidence that they share the opinions about "inferior races" of the rabid white supremecists on the Storm Front website and so on. Because they use all the same reference works, frequent some of the same websites where they gather their "proof" of their doctrine. And once "outsiders" read some of that horrendous garbage written by Herbert and Herman and Rod from back in the day, that is so filled with rabid rabble rousing against Civil Rights, if they know you have your roots in that cellar, they will (perhaps rightly...) paint you with the same brush.

The Bible is very clear about how important it is to be careful of the company you keep, because it can ruin your own reputation.

Anonymous said...

By attaching the word "racist" to it, you are in effect attaching that word to people who hold the teaching. That includes your dad and the late Ronald L. Dart. It also includes Bill Watson, who has been seen at feast sites proudly carrying his mixed-race grandchild on his shoulders. You know as well as the rest of us that the word "racist," in the minds of most people, is not restricted to the definition you gave. Racism is an ugly disease, but accusing people of racism who in fact are not racists is no virtue. You're not directly calling these folks racists, but you are implying that they are by attaching the word to a belief they hold.

Now, let's look at the fuller definition provided by

1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.

2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.

3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

So yes, words are important, and how we use them have consequences. There are racists who hold to BI, but BI is not inherently racist.

Anonymous said...

Pam: Are Jews who believe they are the "chosen people" racists. It all depends on how we define "racist," doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

I am so happy to see this high-quality discussion of IDEAS taking place on these fora. At least we are discussing issues, rather than just ranting, belly-aching and venting Ian Boyne

Gavin R said...

Thank you for your comments, Pam, they've really added to the discussion. A plea to all the 'anonymous' posters, it's telling that you all seem to be hiding your identity, not even bothering to use a pseudonym. A pen name to identify who is who would really be helpful.

Pam said...

" A pen name to identify who is who would really be helpful."

AMEN, Gavin! I'm beginning to feel like I am in a totally dark room, trying to carry on a "group" conversation with a bunch of people...whose voices all sound the same. It makes it very difficult.

Yes, a pen name would be just fine. Surely some of you Anonymous fellows (or ladies, if some of you are) had a "CB handle" back in the day if you are old enough. I had one back in the 1980s...

"Breaker 1-9... this here's Mother Hen."

My daughter was Chicken Little, and my hubby was Big Bird.

Please, even just "Mr X" or "Ms Z" would help sort out the thread.

Pam said...

Just testing to see if I can use the proper HTML to create a clickable hyperlink.

Terrorism on American Soil

Byker Bob said...

I still maintain that British Israelism is racist, although perhaps subliminally. As HWA taught it, it presumes blessings or cursings based on genetics which are visibly subject to dilution through assimilation over a gap of thousands of years.

Paul taught us that Christians are the new Israelites. Some believe that the US was founded as a Christian nation which was based on the principles that came out of the Protestant Reformation. And you can get to the same place in prophecy about a nation forgetting its Godly precepts through that line of thinking without a bunch of contrived and pretentious racial theories. The problem is that HWA did not accept this type of Christian as being authentic. He failed to see any difference between Jewish, or Judaizing Christians, and Paul's Gentile Christians who lived under James' Noachide edict, and the abandonment of circumcision which had been the lynchpin of several previous covenants, and integral to full participation in temple worship. HWA also wrote off the chain of individuals who had been the students of the apostles, and their students (collectively known as the Antenicene Fathers) putting them in the box as being "Catholic".


Pam said...

Byker Bob wrote "Some believe that the US was founded as a Christian nation which was based on the principles that came out of the Protestant Reformation. And you can get to the same place in prophecy about a nation forgetting its Godly precepts through that line of thinking without a bunch of contrived and pretentious racial theories."

One of the Anonymous commenters on here had noted that Ron Dart was still teaching British Israelism up to the time of his death a few weeks ago. I was a close associate of Ron during the last decade of his ministry. (I helped him with many CEM projects, including co-authoring a couple of small books with him.) We corresponded almost daily via email, and he often ran ideas for his radio programs and upcoming books by me. Although he never did make a big deal about it openly (I would suppose, to not offend many of his supporters who were still involved in COG splinter groups) he had long ago abandoned the standard B-I nonsense, and had come to a position much like that mentioned by Byker Bob above.

You can rummage on his CEM website, and I'm pretty sure you will find no articles or sermons that are based on B-I theory. He had a vague feeling that there was *something* to the notion that God seemed to have "used" the US, for instance, for the spreading of the Gospel. And that it had strayed as a nation in recent times from biblical principles (I would argue it strayed from those principles... such as care for the fatherless, widows, and strangers, and "do unto others," from its very founding--witness the Indian Removal, and African slavery. But that's another topic for another day. :-) ) But he confessed it wasn't necessary to propose that all of this was related to a few vague passages in Genesis about the sons of Jacob. And he admitted that the so-called "scholarship" upon which most B-I theory is based is a house of cards. And that the "fruit" of embracing British Israelism, in so many cases, has been racial arrogance among some people.

As I said, he wouldn't openly condemn it, lest he offend some supporters, but you would never have heard him quote the works of, for instance, Steven Collins.

Byker Bob said...

Right, Pam. Also, as Dr. Condoleeza Rice used to state, "America was born with a birth defect." I always thought that that was a kind way of summing up the injustices.


Pam said...

"Byker Bob said...
Right, Pam. Also, as Dr. Condoleeza Rice used to state, "America was born with a birth defect."

Good way to put it. Here's another way...

I follow a magazine called Sojourners, that focuses on issues of peace and social justice from a Christian point of view. Its founder, Jim Wallis, refers it as "America's Original Sin" as the title of his latest book (referring in particular to the foundation of the nation partially in the near-genocide of one race, and the enslavement of another.)

Anonymous said...

Just to add not previously quoted source of the racism.

The fact is that it is possible for some to make a case that bi in wcg is not inherently racist. Depending on the definition of the word.

They are able to point at the "nice grandfather with the mixed child", other great people in the church, an evangelist of color, and abstractions of the BI doctrine. The fact that the church was manoeuvering in a legal environment of "apartheid" in the us and sth africa, cultural genocide on the aboriginals in australia etc, all in a defined time and place.

Others are able to make a case that indeed BI is inherently racist. They point out dated articles, racist encounters, sermons, in the church and certainly other groups that hesitate not to quote BI in their overall volume of hatred.

In other words BI as a racist doctrine is a point of contention but at least debatable.

The fact that it took me a long time, (until the age of the internet) to see that it is racist (but perhaps benign) testifies that I experienced the root of racism differently.

The racism in my opinion does not solely depend on the BI doctrine but moreso on the story of Noah and Ham, as expounded upon in wcg and the original version of mystery of the ages. This sorry episode was quoted to me as the reason why "the Hamite race" was to be subject to the Semitic. (In a different manner from Ruben, Jacob's eldest son was to be subject to his brothers.) (and I am really sorry to publish this for scientific reason).

By definition the "most evil man ever" Nimrod, (of "catholic" fame LOL, had to be a "Hamite". "The Caananites that were so easily expelled were pointed out as Hamites.

Now once again. The people who brought this to my attention were very kind and sincere people. And sincerely mistaken in their interpretation in my opinion.

To paraphrase.
The genetic component of subjugation is in the story of Noah. The cultural component is in BI. In the quoted article dr meredith is saying race riots, but he points out "the strangers" among you, which can be explained cultural.

Just my take, not being contentious.