Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Pride or Prejudice?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Pride or Prejudice?

Article excerpt

IN the large city I live near, one can hear Greek, French, Spanish, Cambodian, and a host of other tongues spoken. There is substantial ethnic pride among all groups (including the English-speaking cultures) and much sharing of customs.

Almost anything that helps us to find common ground is good and useful. But sometimes instead of encouraging unity, pride gets twisted into another track -- one that encourages pride as a mask for prejudice against other ethnic, religious, or racial groups. Often, the basis for this warping is fear -- fear that the other group will get more advantages, will take away one's job or housing, will "overrun" the schools and affect one's children.

Such feelings are not new, of course. As long ago as the days of the prophets and of Christ Jesus there were groups, even among the Jews, who were especially proud of their heritage and looked down on others who didn't share that background. Since Samaritans were among the despised groups, Jesus' parable about the Good Samaritan -- who acted wisely and compassionately where a priest and a Levite had not -- had an added impact for his listeners.

Throughout the New Testament, however, it is clear that Christ Jesus, the disciples, and other early Christians were striving to open people's thoughts to a more universal sense of God's love for all humanity. Paul expressed this universal love succinctly when he wrote to the Galatians: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

No matter what our ethnic, racial, or religious background, each of us has a heritage of good and of love from God. In truth you and I -- and everyone -- are actually spiritual ideas of God, of divine Mind. …

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