The following pages are civil rights era reflections on the church and race in the American South. The author of the following two passages, Will D. Campbell, served on the National Council of Churches as a race relations consultant and worked closely with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis and Andrew Young.

Of course the segregationist will say: "But I can love the member of the minority group, I can have his welfare at heart, I can do all good things one Christian might be expected to do for another and still insist that he stay in a separate neighborhood, school and church."

Two things must be said in answer to this. First of all Christ has left us no such freedom. The nature of the church denies us such a privilege. As members of the corporate body of Christ, we may not classify or categorize. "The eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you... On the contrary, the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are indispensable." (I Corinthians 12:21-22.) Thus, even if one could prove that a racial group or any other human category is inferior, low in morals, lazy, shiftless, lower in intelligence, given to various weaknesses of character, the New Testament tells us that these are all excellent reasons for that group to be included.

The second thing that must be said to the segregationist who insists that he can love his brother and still restrict his freedom through a system of segregation is that this is simply not true. Who, having two children, can claim to love them equally if he puts one in a room-- which he himslef selects-- gives that child the same toys, clothes, food and medical care as the other child whom he has not restricted to an assigned room but has given the freedom of the house and grounds, including even the room assigned to the first child? The segregationist is often honest and sincere in his belief that he loves the minority person whom he restricts, but we may well question whether he really knows the meaning of love.

We must say, then, frankly recognizing the danger of such a position, that at some point, some very fine but very real point, it is possible for the church to cease to be the church, and that at that point it should identify itself by some other name.

Will D. Campbell, Race and the Renewal of the Church, 1962

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