Much has been said lately about reparations for African Americans, mostly centering around California. But predictably, the chatter is showing up on the national stage as well. Just last Thursday, Congresswoman Cori Bush (D-MO) proposed a resolution that calls for the U.S. to pay $14 trillion in reparations to black Americans.
As long as proponents of this idea keep talking about it, opponents must keep talking about it, too. “Looking the other way” brought us Roe v. Wade. And brought us the removal of prayer and Bible readings from our schools.
So here is my counter-proposal. I am for reparations … to every single American alive today who was a slave.
Obviously, I’m being facetious. There are no former slaves alive today, probably no children of slaves, and very few (if any) grandchildren. The Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Lincoln on January 1, 1863. In 1865 the last Confederate troops surrendered. That was 160 years ago.
If a child was born a slave the day before the surrender, and was technically a slave for just a day, that person’s child could be alive today — if that child were now 100 years old, and was born when his or her slave parent was 60. Even grandchildren of slaves would be rare by now.
Pushed by Whom? The Party of Racism?
It’s interesting that Democrats are pushing for reparations. They are the party that opposed the Thirteenth Amendment (which freed the slaves), the Fourteenth Amendment (which granted them citizenship), and the Fifteenth Amendment (which gave them the right to vote). They were primarily responsible for the Jim Crow laws.
It’s interesting that Democrats are pushing for reparations. They are the party that opposed the Thirteenth Amendment (which freed the slaves), the Fourteenth Amendment (which granted them citizenship), and the Fifteenth Amendment (which gave them the right to vote).
The KKK was formed by Democrats and originally targeted Republicans, both blacks and whites. They lynched more than a thousand whites.
So, are these reparations to make amends for their feeling of guilt? Or could it be that Democrats want African-Americans’ votes instead? If they are truly remorseful, they should publicly repent as a party and humbly ask the African-American community for forgiveness.
Let This Sink In
Consider the ramifications of white people giving reparations to black people in the United States. Tiger Woods would essentially receive money from taxes paid by his white caddy (Joe LaCava). Robert Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Network (BET) and entrepreneur — worth approximately $600 million — would in effect receive his payout courtesy of taxes from his white assistants. Or for that matter Hispanic or Asian assistants.
The whole idea is messed up. Again, like Affirmative Action, attempting to repair (which is the root word of reparations) would have the opposite effect. After a century-and-a-half, just when we’re beginning to make some real progress, having even elected an African-American president, it would create an all-new “us and them” segregation partition.
Of course, there have been black people who have grown up disadvantaged, but so have many whites, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans. New Mexico is one of the poorest states in the United States, and yet it has only about 2% African-American population.
Many factors can cause people to be disadvantaged other than race such as economic environment, mental health issues, and addictions within a family. And the list goes on and on.
Two Biblical Perspectives
Ezekiel 18:20 tells us, “The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.” Similarly, Deuteronomy 24:16 says, “Parents must not be put to death for the sins of their children, nor children for the sins of their parents. Those deserving to die must be put to death for their own crimes.”
Some might ask, “But doesn’t the Bible say something about sins passing to the third and fourth generations?” Yes, it does (Ex. 20:5, 34:7, and Deut. 5:9). But these passages refer to sin’s consequences, whereas Ezekiel 18:20 and Deuteronomy 24:16 are about legal accountability. Or you might say, payback. Or reparations.
Squaring the Two
Consider a man who inherits a new Rolls Royce from his father, along with instructions to continue handing it down for three or four generations, or as long as the car will last. Unfortunately, the man develops a severe gambling problem and has to sell the Rolls Royce. The man’s son, grandson, great-grandson, and possibly even great-great-grandson will all be affected by the man’s sin, but nobody would ever place any blame on them.
Reparations are a terrible idea. White people alive today had nothing to do with the horrendous sin of slavery in our country’s past. They carry no legal or moral accountability.
Some families may still suffer repercussions of their ancestors’ cruelty in the spiritual realm. This can only be dealt with under the new covenant through Christ Jesus (See Galatians 3:13).
God may require repentance for our forefathers’ sins. God told Moses on Mount Sinai that He would remember His covenant with Israel “If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers” (Leviticus 26:40). Confession is not the same as reparations.
And there is still current sin to confess. Buying votes via reparations would be a prime example, if it were approved. And there is real slavery yet today. The State Department estimates there are between 15,000 and 50,000 sex slaves trafficked into the U.S. every year. And that was before the border was thrown wide open with the expiration of Title 42. We have no idea how huge that number could grow now.
The Democrats are the party of open borders. So, after all these years, it looks like the Democrats are still the party of slavery.
Nolan Lewallen is a retired pilot of a major airline and lives near Stephenville, Texas, with his wife, Kim. Nolan’s two greatest passions are the Bible and politics. His latest book, The Integration of Church & State: How We Transform “In God We Trust” From Motto to Reality, brings the two together.
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