Having worked with Ed Stetzer for the past two years, one thing I have always appreciated about him is his willingness to deal with issues many Evangelicals avoid. His strong stance on immigration issues, the #MeToo movement, and mass incarceration is refreshing. He has used his platform in Evangelicalism to point out disparities in Evangelical approaches to those issues—issues I would say are key to gospel witness in this world.
As a Christian person of color, however, I approach Brett Kavanaugh, our President’s most recent nominee for the Supreme Court, with a bit less enthusiasm than my colleague. Besides the fact that the President missed the opportunity to change the narrative of a court dominated by white male appointments (only six of the 113 judges in the court’s 228-year history have been minorities or women), I long for the days when Supreme Court judges weren’t viewed as representing a particular ideology.
In grade school, I learned early about the system of checks and balances that help make our democracy a government for the people and by the people. As a lawyer, I know the vital role of the judiciary in interpreting the laws of the land.
In fact, landmark decisions like Brown vs. Board of Education, where the Court struck down segregation laws as “inherently unequal,” have had a profound and positive impact on American society.
But in recent decades our country has replaced checks and balances with political posturing—on both sides of the aisle.
Never before in history has our country been so divided politically. In the past, Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court justices were informative and valuable in determining a judge’s fitness to serve in this critical office. Today, confirmation hearings are nothing less than a political slugfest that often values partisanship over a jurist’s ability to fill a seat on the highest court in the land.
This tenuous relationship between judicial appointments and partisanship is why I am less excited about Kavanaugh’s nomination—especially when couched in terms of conservatism. While a more conservative court may be good for America, it hasn’t always been good for Blacks in America.
For many Black Christians, conservative strategies have historically had a disparate impact on our communities.
In Dred Scott vs. Sandford, a conservative court previously held that people of African descent could not be U.S. citizens. For the record, in the history of the Supreme Court, the Dred Scott case is regarded as the court’s worst decision.
Conservative strategies created the War on Drugs in the 1990s that has led to the U.S. far outpacing any other nation in the world in mass incarceration rates—which has resulted in a disproportionate amount of people of color in prisons across our country.
The truth is that many Black Christians aren’t so much looking for a more conservative court as they are looking for a more fair and neutral court—devoid of political influence.
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Source: Christianity Today