November 14, 2018

White Privilege? Christian Privilege? Don’t We All Have Some Kind of Privilege

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Every last one of us experiences some kind of “privilege” throughout our lifetime. It is inescapable. It’s part of who we are whether natural (sin) or a learned apparatus, privilege is exercised daily whether we want it to or not or whether it was consciously intended to be that way. The real issue with so-called “privilege” is whether or not such actions were of a malicious intent resulting in a significant consequence. Adding to this confusion is the fact that making a determination of significant consequence is subjective. Because of our sinful nature, we can never please everyone.

I got thinking about all this after reading an article on Powerline Blog about “Christian Privilege.” It seems that I agree with this author to the point that it appears the rhetoric about Christian Privilege has picked up in recent weeks, and for what reason I’m not sure other than to ask, why not? If you are so mixed up and weak minded to not understand how life is, I suppose it is easy to think someone else is getting something you are not or more of it and thus it is easier to make accusations of some sort of unequal privilege instead of just going out and earning it for yourself.

Oh, sure, I understand the roadblocks that do exist – not all are imaginary – that wrongly prevent someone from getting what they want, but then again, we can’t have everything can we?

There is a line that ought to be drawn between what is a real privilege, which was once recognized as discrimination of consequence, and perceived privilege – like I got more attention from the teacher because I had blue eyes.

We can’t help ourselves. We find ourselves continually placed in situations where we must make decisions that involve selecting one person over another. As a child playing games or picking sides for the recess softball game, the captains learn quickly who to choose for their team. Those choices are based on friendships, ability, popularity, and good looks. Does that somehow translate into privilege? How do you prevent natural things like this from happening?

We would kid ourselves to think things like good looks doesn’t provide some a better chance than others. Good looks are also a subjective topic and to some guy, a young girl he sees across the dance floor that he perceives as good looking, or friendly, or a great personality, will be the first asked to dance. Is this privilege or just the way it is? Can you say you know the mind of the other person?

Growing up, I was a gifted athlete. I was captain of the football and ski teams. Was I privileged? I know I was in some way. But, now that I am an adult and have put away childish things. With much sincerity, I can say that I earned much of that privilege. I didn’t seek out to become captain of the team. I worked to become the best I could be at what I did. Did I experience privilege along the way? Probably. Am I now to be punished for that because someone else sees that as some kind of inequitable privilege?

Any person has a very tough life ahead of them who sees things in this manner. I feel sorry for them.

The only time in my life that I can recall feeling angry toward someone because they got something I wanted, was when I was passed over for a job and it was given to another man because I was told, he was married and I wasn’t. Was that privilege or discrimination? Maybe it was neither. Maybe it was both. Time to move on.

The real discrimination comes from those who practice favoring one group, race, religious group, etc. over another for reasons of bigotry, anger, hatred, and ignorance. I will be chastised for saying so, but because of a man’s nature to sin, discrimination will always exist. All we can do is work toward mitigating the level of discrimination in order to bring it to levels that are inconsequential – a seemingly insurmountable task.

One thing is for certain though, burning up energy and fomenting anger and hatred at another person or a group of persons because you think they have been placed in positions of privilege over you is beneficial to nobody.

Discrimination/privilege exists. I don’t doubt it. I have seen it. I have experienced it. What I choose to do about that is up to me. Hating someone and being angry because of it doesn’t help.

The talk has shifted to Christian Privilege…whatever that is. I can only guess the reasons for this targeting. Placing bullseyes on groups setting them apart because of one’s perceived privilege is driven by many things or perhaps I should say people or groups of people.

Christians have always been targets of hatred as have all religious groups. As wrong as this is doesn’t change the fact that it is real. However, lumping Christians into one large group as being one and the same is a terrible thing.

Catholics, Baptists, Protestants, Episcopals, Pentecostals, Methodists and many more are all lumped together as Christians. I can guarantee there exists, in someone’s perception, Catholic privilege, Baptist privilege, etc. etc. So is it even correct to speak of Christian privilege? I would suppose to some degree.

I consider myself a Christian but I can also say I belong to none of the so-called Christian denominations. To somebody, I am privileged because I have a strong faith in a just God. To some, I have privilege because I accept that the promises Yahweh made to those that believe and follow him as real and I reap the benefits of those blessings even though I tell Yahweh daily that I really am not deserving of them. Is Yahweh showing privilege to some and not to others? You could look at it that way but I will tell you this. He gives to those he promised to give to and never goes against His Word.

Man’s sinful perception of privilege is rooted in the belief that somebody else has and/or is favored over another because of some distinction between them that is different than another’s. Yahweh doesn’t operate that way. You can have the same “privilege” I have with no strings attached. It doesn’t matter the color of your skin or whether you are good looking or homely enough to stop a clock. Yahweh doesn’t see those things because he created you. He doesn’t care if you are a gifted athlete. Nothing is different. And we’re all the same.

The choice is yours of where you want to focus your energy – on being angry and hateful because you think somebody has something you don’t or you can make your own life better by seeking Yahweh’s privileges.

Discrimination is a terrible wrong. Obsessing on silly “privilege” is a distraction. One that takes your focus and attention away from the Creator.

 

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