Growing up on the west coast of Scotland in the ‘60s with its attendant sectarianism did have an effect on me. However, it was probably when I was about eighteen and in attendance at an “Old Firm” match (a football game between two rival Glasgow teams) that I became conscious of some of the words of some of the team songs we were singing. Historical victories by Proddie (ie, Protestant) over the Irish, “papes,” “Fenians” and “Caflicks” (ie, Catholics) were belted out with united and tuneful melody. The collective songful voice usually ended with the Roman Catholic pope being cursed! The greens responded to the blues in kind! It suddenly dawned on me that this was not healthy team rivalry but sectarianism!
I decided to start supporting my (more) local team, Dumbarton, “The Sons of the Rock.” No doubt the Son’s supporters were “proddies” and “caflicks” together! No cursing popes or queens, no waving Union Jacks or Irish Tricolours at these games. Just football.
I don’t recall any racism at the proddie schools I attended. The one or two folk with black skin were not treated in any racist manner that I could see, ie, they were neither fawned over nor put down. They were just one of “us.”
What is racism anyway? I’ve never understood it. I listened intently at church this morning as the preacher described what was presently happening to an AFL (Australian Rules Football) player. He was being booed by opposing fans (and even some of his own teams' fans) every time he approached the ball. I can’t say I’m too impressed with this Aussie Rules guy. He became irate towards a thirteen year old girl for calling him some name or other. Apparently if a thirteen year old girl calls you an “ape” she is being racist! When will this madness end? The preacher used the actions of the girl towards the big football player to illustrate that as human beings there is something wrong with us. I agree!
I guess if you have dark skin and someone calls you a monkey or an ape being racist makes sense to you if you are an Evolutionist. I’m not an Evolutionist. Therefore racist remarks are wasted on me. The Bible says, “[God] has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth.” Acts 17:26a. What do apes have to do with humans seeing as we are all descended from the first humans Adam and Eve?
Brian Ferry popularised a song in the early 70s with the words, “I’m in with the ‘In’ crowd, I go where the ‘In’ crowd goes. I’m in with the ‘In’ crowd, and I know what the ‘In’ crowd knows.” Since becoming a Christian (in my early thirties) I’m no longer in with the “In” crowd. I no longer follow the herd mentality. Instead I follow Christ. By calling all of us “sinners” He breaks down all sectarian walls of partition, be they racist walls, rich/poor walls, Left/Right walls, Socialist/Capitalist, Evolutionist/Creationist walls et al. All manmade walls are pulled down by Christ and a new one is erected by our Creator. We “are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28b.
Bottom line? As human beings we will never escape sectarianism in its variety of manifestations (including racism). However, it will not be cured by Political Correctness or any other forms of Progressive Social Engineering. Racism is sectarian in nature. Believing in the Triune God and singing the praises to Him in gratitude for forgiving all our sins on account of Jesus Christ is the only cure for our sectarianism. It works for me!
Repenting of your sins and believing in the Gospel may not get you in with the “In” crowd but I will enable you to love God and your neighbour as yourself!