Eric the 1/2 Troll left an interesting comment. Here is part of it.
While identity and race are not the same thing, discriminating based on identity is just as abhorrent as discriminating based on race.
What did Eric mean by “identity”? What happens when we ask someone about themselves? What do they say? Do they tell us:
- What they do for a living.
- Where they work and live.
- What their hobbies are.
- Who is in their family.
- Their religion.
- Their race.
- Their sexual preference.
Do they answer our question? Do we actually learn who they are, or do they tell us what they are and what they do? Do we learn about the classification of an object or a person?
It is a curious thing, but it is very difficult for any of us to communicate who we are. Yet that seems to have been at least one man’s dream.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. — Martin Luther King, Jr. (quote from here)
Unfortunately, instead of realizing Dr. King’s dream, we seem to be splintering into feuding factions. Some would describe this phenomenon in its modern form as identity politics. In its article on the subject, Identity politics, Wikipedia effortlessly provides 47 Examples of identity politics.
“blacks, Latinos, feminists, gays, and lesbians — and economic-interest groups, like unions” “single, working, and highly educated women” – from here
“women, Chicanos/Latinos, lesbians, disabled people, and more” “Jewish women” “Muslim and Arab women” — from here
“Black person” “Native American person” “women” “Gay Liberation Front” “working-class people” “white male workers” — from here
The Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy also provides an interesting (albeit lengthy and unnecessarily hard to understand) article, Identity Politics. That article provided this quote by Sonia Kruks:
What makes identity politics a significant departure from earlier, pre-identarian forms of the politics of recognition is its demand for recognition on the basis of the very grounds on which recognition has previously been denied: it is qua women, qua blacks, qua lesbians that groups demand recognition. The demand is not for inclusion within the fold of “universal humankind” on the basis of shared human attributes; nor is it for respect “in spite of” one’s differences. Rather, what is demanded is respect for oneself as different (2001, 85).
Essentially, identity politics function to garner respect for an aspect of what we are instead of who we are. Thus, identity politics primarily serves to highlight and magnify our differences.
How should a Christian regard identity politics? The Apostle Peter was a Jew. His first “identity” was that of a Jew, and he found that “identity” hard to give up. Here the Apostle Paul tells a story about Peter’s struggle.
Galatians 2:11-13 (New Living Translation)
But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile Christians, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. As a result, other Jewish Christians followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. (continued here)
So what does Bible say about identity politics? Nothing specific, of course. However, it would seem the problem with “identity” is not new. What the Bible does say is that we should be concerned for the souls of individuals, not a soulless group “identity.” Our “identity” in this life is of little consequence, and that is something Peter already knew. So when Paul confronted Peter, he just reminded him Jesus did not die on the cross so Peter could be a Jew.
This idea for this post sprang from a four-part series, REVIEWING THE ARGUMENTS AGAINST NORMALIZING HOMOSEXUALITY.
- In Part 1 of REVIEWING THE ARGUMENTS AGAINST NORMALIZING HOMOSEXUALITY, we asked “Why Is Homosexual Sex An Issue?
- Part 2 considered this question ”Should We Take What The “Experts” Have To Say About Homosexuality Seriously?”
- Part 3 asked “What Does The Tolerance Of Homosexual Sex Involve?”
- Part 4 reviewed specific issues, asking: “When Is Intolerance Of Homosexual Sex Appropriate?”