On reparations, policy and guilt
“This is nuts,” I said to John after reading that New York was paying reparations to black Americans “affected by slavery”and that black lives matter protesters had won 13 million–a little under 10,000 per person–in a class action law suit against the city.
“It’s not nuts,” my husband said, “It’s guilt. But misplaced guilt by policy makers who feel coerced into policies that further divide. We’re all guilty,” he continued, “but not of institutional racism, of our sin: individual and collective. The reparations needed are to God for our offenses. Not in payments that suggest that all whites are culpable or racist merely because they’re not black. Or that homosexuality is right and proper.”
What began in California, then New York has spread to the entire nation: reparations are owed to black Americans because of Ameica’s history of slavery. And for the crime of “institutional racism.” The amounts of money being mentioned are staggering. One individual writes that “One hundred fifty million per person” isn’t enough.
A Missouri representative introduced a twenty-three page piece of legislation where 13 million would be paid to each black American. “To eliminate the vast wealth gap that exists between black and white Americans,.” the legislator writes.
There’s much more on this subject can be found by doing an online search.
Since that discussion with John early this week, the few moments when my brain wasn’t wholly occupied with working on the edits for my new book, which is done, far from perfect but my brain says, “Enough!”
Hence John’s remark. “It’s not nuts, it’s guilt, but misplaced guilt” compels more thought.
Misplaced guilt indeed
What this tiny bit or research on reparations, policy and guilt has revealed–for me–is the need for renewed contrition and prayer. In response to that need, a movie fell into our lap this week, kind of like books do. Looking for something to watch, we saw Holy Man of God
It was this image of the actor that grabbed me.
And as I reflect on the film can only tell you that it is breathtaking.
Food for the soul.
I’d heard of St. Nektarios, but just barely. And I delight in the Providence that caused this splendid, other worldly film to drop in my lap. The saint shows us truth. Each of us, black or white, non-binary or activist, is nothing. No amount of money, power or influence can make us Some Thing. None of our actions no matter how righteous our intention or justified due to man’s injustice can erase our nothingness. Only in Christ can we made whole.
And He comes to us. Each of all the souls now living, have died and all who will come to be.
And He waits for us to see and therefore let Him love us, heal us, restore us.
I stay in the Church because I believe that today as yesterday, behind our church lives intangibly his church because I believe that I cannot be with him except by being with and in his Church. I am in the Church because despite everything, I believe that she is not essentially our Church but his Church…
The paradox of the Church, Holy and composed of sinners…I must admit this unholy holiness of the Church is infinitely comforting….Would one not be bound to despair in face of a holiness that was spotless and could only operate on us by judging and consuming us by fire? Pope Benedict Introduction to Christianity
The Star in the Storm
is the title of a piece I read months back, saving for the right article. Because author T. Renee’s Kozinski’s piece so aptly fits these ever- darkening days, I thnk it’s this one.
In these darkest of present moments, the smallest of actions, like telling the truth and living out the natural law—actions that in former ages would be simple common sense—are now sanctified and sanctifying. There are no more Common Men: only the choice between being a shade blown about in the tempest, adding to the darkness, or a star in the storm, scattering it.
She begins by flipping GK Chesterton’s famed reply to “What’s wrong with the world? Sir, I am.”
“What’s right with the world?”
We can’t be untouched by her words when we look around at the useless, wasteful cries for justice, rights and increasing vitriol about everything: whether climate, sex, the president who doesn’t go away, or the pope.
We smile at author Kozinski’s triumphant cry because we know, believe St. Paul’s words that where there is sin, grace abounds.
She reminds you and me that our extra hours of adoration, our decision to increase our fasts or almsgiving–not reparation–but almsgiving, matter in ways we cannot imagine. On Reparations, Policy and Guilt
These small, inconsequential prayers and silent self denials matter.