The focus here is on racism as it affects Blacks in the U.S.
Racism in other countries, or applied to other races, is just as ugly.
Racism is a huge issue in American society today, causing violent upheaval and untold misery.
Here, we consider racism from the point of view of the Bible and Catholic social teaching.
What did Jesus and the apostles tell us?
We are all one people, so when one suffers, all suffer.
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body -- Jews or Greeks, slaves or free.
1 Corinthians 12-13
So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
1 Corinthians 12:27
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.
We are here to love and care for each other.
"'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'"
He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, "Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all."
We will be judged on how well we care for each other.
'I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?' And the king will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.'
What does the Catholic Church say?
All people are created in God's image.
But any kind of social or cultural discrimination in basic personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language or religion, must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God's design.
Gaudium et Spes ("The Church in the Modern World"), Vatican II, 1965, #29.
Racism is a sin; a sin that divides the human family, blots out the image of God among specific members of that family, and violates the fundamental human dignity of those called to be children of the same Father. Racism is the sin that says some human beings are inherently superior and others essentially inferior because of races.
Brothers and Sisters to Us, U.S. Catholic Bishops, 1979.
Racism is a sin.
Faith in the one God, Creator and Redeemer of all humankind made in his image and likeness, constitutes the absolute and inescapable negation of any racist ideologies. It is still necessary to draw out all the consequences of this: "We cannot truly pray to God the Father of all if we treat any people in other than brotherly fashion, for all men are created in God's image."
The Church and Racism: Towards a More Fraternal Society, Pontifical Commission on Justice and Peace, 1988, #19.
The equality of men rests essentially on their dignity as persons and the rights that flow from it: Every form of social or cultural discrimination in fundamental personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language, or religion must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God's design.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, The Vatican, 1992, #1935.