God’s Affirmative Action Dr. Teresa Williams ORAL ROBERTS UNIVERSITY
What is ‘Affirmative Action’? • ‘Affirmative action’ is a tool for insuring adherence to minimal guidelines for diversifying workplace, educational and other institutional environments.
What is the purpose of Affirmative Action? • The original intent of ‘affirmative action’ was and is to rectify past and present discriminatory practices in various institutional settings.
Who does Affirmative Action Affect? • Affirmative action is the term for strategies to increase the participation of all minority groups (women, Native Americans, Hispanics, Blacks, recent immigrants, etc.) in America’s institutions…
Who does Affirmative Action Affect? • However, the original intent of ‘Affirmative Action’ was to open the doors of opportunity for Americans of African descent.
Purpose • The purpose of this discussion is to examine how God’s ‘affirmative action’ plan should influence the admission policies of post-secondary Christian institutions.
The Crucial Issues • Does a Christian world view based on the moral and spiritual authority of God’s word demand a higher level of responsibility?
The Crucial Issues • Should historical antecedents of inequality of opportunity form the basis for a continued moral and spiritual attack on this cancer in our society?
The Crucial Issues • How can we interpret and apply Christ’s mandated priorities as exemplified in His words and actions to this ‘modern day’ problem?
The Crucial Issues • In essence, does God’s word give credence to the concept of affirmative action?
Definitions and Antecedents of Affirmative Action • President John F. Kennedy initiated the first order calling for “appropriate steps to eradicate the then widespread practices of racial, religious, and ethnic, discrimination.”
Definitions and Antecedents of Affirmative Action • In 1965, Johnson noted that : “You do not take a person who for years has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say,
Definitions and Antecedents of Affirmative Action ‘you’re free to compete with all the others,’ and still justly believe that you have been completely fair.
Definitions and Antecedents of Affirmative Action • Thus it is not enough just to open the gates or opportunity. All our citizens must have the ability to walk through those gates.
Definitions and Antecedents of Affirmative Action • We seek not…just equality as a right and a theory but equality as a fact and equality as a result.”
The Debate: Opponents • The term ‘Affirmative Action’ reinforces the victim versus oppressor mentality. • The employer or institution awards positions to an otherwise unqualified applicants.
The Debate: Opponents • Affirmative action’ is a disguise for ‘reverse discrimination’ perpetuated against more qualified applicants.
The Debate: Opponents • ‘Bias’ in the selection process brings into question the objectives of fairness and equal opportunity irrespective of race, color, gender or creed. • It’s against the law to base selection on preferential treatment.
The Debate: Proponents • ‘Affirmative action’ is a major strategic mechanism for penetrating the historical obstacles of institutionalized segregation and discrimination.
The Debate: Proponents • Its demise may signal an erosion of the hard won gains emanating from the civil rights era that herald the unification of a nation divided along racial/ethnic lines.
Remembering Rosa Parks.. • In recent weeks, Rosa Parks passed away at the age of 92. Fifty years ago, the 42 year old seamstress refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white male and was subsequently arrested for violation oflegally enforced rules of segregation.
Remembering Rosa Parks.. • As quoted in USA Today News, this valiant woman of God said in 1992, • “History too often maintains ‘that my feet were hurting and I didn't know why I refused to stand up when they told me.
Remembering Rosa Parks.. • But the real reason of my not standing up was I felt that I had a right to be treated as any other passenger. We had endured that kind of treatment for too long.’"
Remembering Martin Luther King Jr. • Martin Luther King Jr., rose to prominence as leader of nonviolent boycotts that focused international attention on the unconstitutionality of discrimina-tory laws. In his timeless words,
Remembering Martin Luther King Jr. • “I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight;
Remembering Martin Luther King Jr. • and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together. • This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.
Remembering Martin Luther King Jr. • With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.
Remembering Martin Luther King Jr. • With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.”
The Missing Variable • In our efforts to legislate equality, to undo 400 years of persecution and willful segregation, we have sought to balance the equation through strategies, formulas, coercive tactics, as well as appeals to moral and ethical ideals.
The Missing Variable • Yet the spiritual aspect is not usually considered a variable in this mixture, when in fact, such emphasis is the principal thing.
The Missing Variable • The lack of spiritual reference creates a gap in the practical application of affirmative action because of its apparent contradiction.
The Dilemma • How can we achieve fairness to all while emphasizing differences and preferential treatment of minorities?
God’s Affirmative Action • From a spiritual perspective, this is a matter of ‘heart’ knowledge and guidance through the Holy Spirit in interpreting the word of God on what Jesus would have us do.
God’s Affirmative Action • In Luke 4:17-19,Jesus proclaims:
God’s Affirmative Action • "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed…..”
God’s Affirmative Action • These scriptures provide insight into our Savior’s mission while on earth.
God’s Affirmative Action • He recognized the suffering humanity in need of compassion, healing and deliverance from the sick conditions of the heart, mind, soul, and body.
God’s Affirmative Action • He named the abject, abandoned and rejected of this earthly domain as his primaryconcerns.
God’s Affirmative Action • Jesus’ identification with the lowly individuals of this world continued throughout His ministry on earth. Specifically, He painted a vivid picture of responsibility and consequences in Matthew 25: 37-40 as follows:
God’s Affirmative Action • 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? • 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
God’s Affirmative Action • 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? • 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
A Commandment to Love • More profoundly than any other book or philosophy, the authority of the living word of God penetrates to the heart of the matter concerning our dealings with each other.
A Commandment to Love • Jesus, our Savior, whose one desire was to mirror His Father’s will, astounded the religious order of the day with radical challenges to Old Testament legalism.
A Commandment to Love • He spoke of a love so great and encompassing that class, race and gender barriers melt away in its presence. • Listen quietly to His gentle ad-monishments in Matthew, Chap-ter 5:
A Commandment to Love •  Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
A Commandment to Love •  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
A Commandment to Love •  That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
A Commandment to Love •  For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
A Commandment to Love • In fact, the essence of God is Love, ‘For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ (John.3 v.16)