The news was talking about a politician who voted to have a civil war statue torn down. He was accused of being a race traitor. What does that mean? To understand that, we must answer three questions. When and why were the statues put up? What race are they referring to? What concept was he traitor to?
After the American Civil war, the greatest hero of the south, General Robert E. Lee asked that no statues be erected to him, that statues would hinder the healing of the nation. There were not many statues erected then. When Martin Luther King Jr. lead the civil rights movement, the various state and local governments opposed the US govt laws. During this time, the same people raised statues to the southern Civil War Heroes. They especially focused on statues to people like Nathan Bedford Forrest, a minor war hero, but the founder of the KKK (Ku Klux Klan) The message was clear, the statues were meant as a message to blacks, “we oppose your demand for equality.”
Of course, the race has varied. Irish were classified with blacks for quite a while. Slavic peoples of eastern Europe and Mediterranean people especially if they are Catholic or Orthodox were not quite true whites. What is really considered the true whites and the Protestant Europeans of North West Europe. There are many of these peoples in the northern United States, but it is only the People of North West European descent that live in the South long enough to be identified with the Southern heritage of Blacks as slaves or lesser people to be oppressed. It is this attitude that “We are the superior people and deserve the best part of everything” that he was a traitor to.
We see a similar attitude in the Bible. Peter has a vision of a giant sheet let down with clean and unclean animals on it and was told to kill and eat. While contemplating the vision, men came from Cornelius because he also had a vision. God told Peter to accompany them, so he did. He ate with them and preached to them, and they became Christians. The Circumcised back in Jerusalem accused him of, in essence, being a race traitor to the Jewish faith, which the Christians still believed they were.
Christians should realize that God, in effect, said to Peter, “I love all people and want you to love them equally. If doing so is being a race traitor, then be proud of it.” In Luke 4, Jesus upset his home town with the same message, You are not special and these foreigners are worthy. It seems that all people around the world have a tendency to think of their own “race” as the best and they thus have the right to oppress others. Jesus preached against that attitude and the Bible consistently says that allhumans everywhere are equally loved by God.
Thus, for me to be a Christian automatically makes me a race traitor to many people like me. I am proud to be a Christian, and proud to be filled with God’s love for all people. I am learning to be proud to suffer for the Gospel. This means standing up to oppressors and suffering for the oppressed. I am proud to be such a race traitor.