Constable David Peterson (Hays County, Precinct 1) and Mr. Bob Wiegand, Senior Vice President at SMA, appeared together during two chapel services on the last week of September to discuss the issue of racism and how Christians are called to overcome uniformity with diversity. [View their talks on Video 1 and Video 2 on our YouTube channel]. Students had the opportunity to submit questions to Constable Peterson or Mr. Wiegand, but time did not allow the speakers to address every question.
Following are some of the questions posed to Mr. Wiegand along with his responses. Additional blogs will be added to this series to provide answers to those questions posed to Constable Peterson or to both men.
Question 1: How do we continue to move forward as a country/world in becoming less racist?
Mr. Wiegand: I am not sure about the world. Racism takes on many different forms in other countries including genocide. In the US there must be open dialogue. It must reach the home and family as racism is not an innate behavior. It is learned. When two young children of different races interact absent of outside influences they are able to do so without prejudice.
Question 2: The world now has to face racism, but some people use racism to defense their problems, both right and wrong. What do you think about using the term “racist” for personal purposes?
Mr. Wiegand: Has to face? Why do we have to? Is it possibly because a divisive narrative is causing us to? Racism is not a defense it is an excuse for poor behavior on either side. We must continue to rise above it. The term “racist,” when used loosely is harmful, and it has been weaponized. Racist behaviors and rhetoric should not be tolerated from anyone.
Question 3: Future generations will look at the past and see horrible things we have done to other races; what do think of the removal of statues or monuments and histories that affect other races?
Mr. Wiegand: Throughout history and across the world there have been atrocities done committed against people of many ethnicities and faiths. The U.S. is not blameless in this area. However, if we examine history, we see that the U.S. has corrected more mistakes and defended the human rights of more ethnicities and faiths than any other country on the globe. We can do better though. We can have amenable discussions within the US that lead to reasonable solutions. We should not align ourselves with governments that continue to violate human rights, and we should speak out against these occurrences. In some cases we should impose economic sanctions against violators.
The removal of historic memorials just for the sake of removal is inappropriate. We have more civilized methods of removing offensive figures. Historical commissions, city councils, and state governments have responded to requests moved through the proper channels. Unruly mobs having no idea of the historical significance of a monument do not need to make these decisions.
Question 4: Right now, in the US, the BLM movement has been popular after the death of George Floyd. What do you think about it and How will the effect of the movement shape the future?
It has been popular with some and has received a lot of notice in the media. People have lost their jobs and businesses for their answers to this question. The slogan “black lives matter” has been co-opted by organizations that have roots in Marxism and anarchy, (Antifa). Most funds being raised are going to politicians who do not necessarily support black lives. A stated goal is the disruption of the Western family structure. Black lives definitely matter. If you do your research you will find that the organization is not exactly what the slogan implies.
How will the effect of the movement shape the future? Only time will tell. History has shown that organizations who do not work by peaceful means to enact change within the system of government become revolutionists. Revolution may enact change but take a look at Cuba and Venezuela. How has that worked?
Question 5: Cancel culture has also been popular along with the BLM “protests”, what do you think about defunding the police? What do you think of this “cancel culture”?
Defunding police will lead to increased crime in the neighborhoods that need protection the most. Many of these neighborhoods are black neighborhoods. The cancel culture erases history. Erasing history dooms us to repeat it. Protests are fine and they are protected. Riots are unlawful and cause the destruction of people’s property.
Question 6. Society always has “Oh no, he’s joking about black people so he is a racist.” What do you think about that?
Offensive racial epithets or jokes have no place in society.
Question 7: Are white people, in general, being condemned for the color of their skin? In some instances.
I think some are stereotyped or condemned for what others have done. If so, how? All people of a certain ethnicity are not alike, and should not be unfairly compared. There are epithets used against white people. Some examples are jokes or nicknames used on Irish, Italian, or Jewish people.
Question 8: If so, does the Bible support condemning anyone based on their skin color or sin?
Sin is sin. It is the same as other sinful behaviors.
Question 9: What did Jesus’ blood on the cross and resurrection do regarding this issue?
As with any other sin, if we repent and change, we can be forgiven because Jesus died for our sins.
Question 10: What is the root of racism? What is the root of sin?
Temptation and giving in to wicked thoughts.
Question 11: Who is behind racism?
Like most evil, Satan or his divisive agents.
Question 12: How can we reflect Jesus regarding this issue?
By being servant leaders and showing grace and mercy. By living in harmony and unity. He has commanded us to love one another.
Question 13: How can all lives matter if black lives don’t?
Who says they do not and why would I listen to them?
Question 14: If Christians are brother and sisters under the same God, why do you think it is that on Sunday our churches are so segregated naturally.
Good question. I have seen some integrated churches. I have seen racism within a church, but I do not believe it exists within real Christian fellowships. I have attended black churches for celebrations or funerals. Their services are full of praise and worship and usually run longer than services in white churches. It may be a matter of preference in style. I don’t have a solid answer to your question. What can you do to change this?
Question 15: What is the definition of systemic racism?
Institutional racism is racism embedded as normal practice within a society, organization, or business.
Check back for answers to more student questions in our next blog installment!