Would Christ wash Afro-Americans’ feet on Black Maidan?
During the riots in the US, white people can be seen kneeling before black people and washing their feet. What is it? A sign of humility and repentance or manipulation?
In recent weeks, the attention of the whole world has been riveted to the events in the United States, where large-scale protests continue unabated. For many residents of our planet, the abbreviation "USA" is associated with freedom of speech, democracy and liberal values. However, since May 25, 2020, when the African American George Floyd died during the arrest, everything that we see in the United States has nothing to do with democratic values and even mere civilization. Over the past few weeks, 89 policemen have been killed in the country, the centers of many cities have been almost completely destroyed, thousands of shops have been looted and burned, and many innocent people have suffered from the hands of street gangsters. Rampant gangsterism and sudden transformation of a huge number of yesterday’s law-abiding civilized citizens into savages is amazing. Mass protests, which the world media call "peaceful", swept not only almost all US states but also many European democracies.
George Floyd, previously convicted of possession and distribution of drugs, a man who had several criminal convictions and served time in American prisons, is buried in a way that even the most prominent scholars, philanthropists and statesmen would envy. A gilded coffin over which the Minneapolis mayor is crying, the weeping wife of the murdered criminal, whom he had not seen for the last six years and who he had once abandoned with a three-month-old child, 13 million dollars collected for the family of the deceased, hundreds of thousands of people who sincerely express their grief, and thousands of representatives of the white race who kneel before African Americans with a plea for “forgiveness” – all these pictures went viral in the world media in no time. Moreover, it has recently become known that the University of Massachusetts established a George Floyd Fellowship. Floyd himself is portrayed with a halo and angel wings, which clearly implies he could be considered a saint.
With all this, no one recalls that this man during the last armed robbery held a pregnant woman with one hand by her throat, the other putting a gun to her stomach and demanding money. That is why a careful observer cannot help thinking about the absurdity of the developments – why is this being done and what is it all about?
Are African Americans oppressed?
One of the striking features of the current "Black Maidan" in the United States is mass kneeling of whites in front of blacks. The lead in this kneeling was taken by Donald Trump's main rival in the upcoming presidential election – Joe Biden. On June 9, 2020, most of the representatives of his party and he himself knelt in front of African-Americans.
It is hard to argue that the black US population has been used as slaves for hundreds of years. But is it still the case?
According to statistics released by Washington Post, the police of the United States killed 1003 criminals in 2019. Of these, there were 249 black ones, while 405 were white, i.e. almost twice as many! So, even the facts that lie on the surface suggest that there are no grounds for such large-scale riots.
This may mean that mass rallies in the United States have slightly different goals than those voiced by their organizers. From the point of view of politics, everything is clear – elections. But, besides this, the protesters are seeking certain preferences for themselves. In effect, this is not about rights and racial equality; it is about plain robberies and the desire to avoid responsibility for their actions. Basically, a certain technology is provided for it.
According to statistics released by the Washington Post, the police of the United States killed 1003 criminals in 2019. Of these, there were 249 black ones, while 405 were white, i.e. almost twice as many!
“Rob what was robbed” or “collective guilt” ideology
Now in the USA robberies, violence and lawlessness are elevated to the rank of completely “regular” things and receive acquittals from the lips of those who manipulate public opinion. For example, the American journalist Vicki Ostervale wrote back in 2014 about the pogroms in Fergusson: “The person looting might be someone who has to hustle everyday to get by, someone who, by grabbing something of value, can afford to spend the rest of the week “non-violently” protesting. They might be feeding their family, or older people in their community who barely survive on Social Security and can’t work (or loot) themselves. They might just be expropriating what they would otherwise buy—liquor, for example—but it still represents a material way that riots and protests help the community: by providing a way for people to solve some of the immediate problems of poverty and by creating a space for people to freely reproduce their lives rather than doing so through wage labor…” (The New Inquiry. In Defense of Looting. August, 21, 2014).
In other words, white citizens are convinced that they are guilty of the injustices of their ancestors in relation to the black population, and therefore are obliged to somehow make up for it. The Russian thinker Boris Yakemenko writes about it this way: “Putting yourself in the hands of the winners, surrender on any terms, willingness to repent even for what they did not commit. After that, it is impossible to make the chances equal – this kneeling will remain forever as a sign of total loss of dignity due to the global defeat of the vanquished and will usher in an era of racism turned inside out.”
“Collective guilt” ideology
This ideology is not new at all, its central message being to force those who have not committed any crimes to believe in their guilt, and thereby obtain the moral right to do any violence against them. The ideologists of the Black Maidan, accusing the white population of the sins of their fathers or imposing a complex of collective guilt on them, want to justify their own robberies and crimes, presenting them as "restoration of historical justice".
Historically, based on this ideology, the Nazis justified the Jewish pogroms in Lviv, Vienna and Krakow; it served to justify the existence of concentration camps. Using the same ideology, the Bolsheviks justified the destruction of the Russian elite and landlords in the period after the 1917 revolution. At the same time, one can notice that the idea of “collective guilt” works without fail regardless of time and place. For example, we could observe similar acts of moral flagellation and humiliation during the Euromaidan period, when beaten law enforcement officers were driven along Khreschatyk, brought on their knees and made to repent.
A central message of the “collective guilt” ideology is to force those who have not committed any crimes to believe in their guilt, and thereby obtain the moral right to do any violence against them.
Christian repentance versus Maidan repentance
Naturally, such “repentant” acts, with their external similarity, have nothing to do with Christianity. First, true repentance can never involve violence. The very meaning of the word “repentance” (in Greek – “metanoia”) speaks of a change of mind. It is impossible to force a person to change the worldview paradigm by bringing him to his knees – this can only humiliate him. Repentance is an expression of freedom, it is an inner desire to become better, to abandon past sins and change your life. But the main thing is that repentance is the pursuit of God. Therefore, one must repent, first of all, before God.
This means that we can only ask for forgiveness from another person if we have already asked for it from the Lord. Otherwise, the act of repentance will turn into an exchange of emotions, unable to influence the inner, spiritual life. For example, a drunken husband may ask forgiveness from his wife and children at any time and continue to drink and row. And only after asking God for forgiveness, turning to Him, he can count on a change in himself and a change in his life (by the way, in Hebrew, the term “repentance” literally means “change of mind”).
If it were about true repentance, a modern civilized society would remember not so much about the "oppression" of Afro-American criminals in the USA, but about starving children in Africa who die by tens of thousands. After all, they are also "black", and their lives should also “matter”, right?
In this sense, the entire modern American kneeling flash mob has nothing to do with real repentance. Because if it were about true repentance (the desire to change something in the life of a suffering black population), a modern civilized society would remember not so much about the "oppression" of Afro-American criminals in the USA, but about starving children in Africa, who really die by tens of thousands. After all, they are also black, and their lives should also “matter”, right?
In addition, repentance in Christianity does not imply any “collective guilt” or responsibility of children for the sins of their fathers.
Let’s read the prophet Ezekiel: The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, ‘the fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? As I live, declares the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel ... The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” (Ezek. 18: 1-3, 20).
The Prophet Jeremiah echoed to him: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and the seed of beast. And it shall come to pass that as I have watched over them to pluck up and break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring harm, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, declares the LORD. In those days they shall no longer say: ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.’ But everyone shall die for his own iniquity. Each man who eats sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge” (Jer. 31: 27-30).
And the book of Deuteronomy says: “Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin” (Deut. 24: 16). In addition, in the Fourth Book of Kings, we find a story about the king of Judah, Amasiah, who slew his enemies but did not harm their children: “After the kingdom was firmly in his grasp, he executed the officials who had murdered his father the king. Yet he did not put the children of the assassins to death, in accordance with what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses where the LORD commanded: ‘Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin’” (2 Kings 14: 5–6).
Thus, as we see, the Holy Scripture clearly speaks of each person’s personal responsibility for their sins. The concept of “collective guilt” and “collective responsibility” is alien to Christianity and speaks only of the desire to manipulate people, but not the desire to change them for the better.
Therefore, repentance cannot be “knobstick" or simply because "everyone does it". It is always associated with aspiration to God, with free will and with the desire to change one’s life and turn away from one’s evil deeds.
Washing feet and Christian humility
Kneeling and “collective repentance” are not the only quasi-religious attributes of what is happening in modern America. Black citizens’ foot washing has been added to the list.
In fact, a group of policemen in the US state of North Carolina washed the legs of black pastors, kneeling in front of them. In a video published on ABC11, two African-Americans are sitting on a bench – a man and a woman. A man reads a prayer, and then law enforcement officers wash the black Americans’ feet. It would seem that this action should cause affection or some kind of empathy. But, actually, it causes only bewilderment. What did the cops want to say with this ritual? That they are humble representatives of power and serve those with black skin? How about the "Latinos", representatives of the Asian continent or the indigenous peoples of the same America? Why don't they wash their feet too? What’s the point?
It is clear that the act of washing the feet used in this case has biblical roots. From the Gospel, we remember that before the Last Supper Christ washed His disciples' feet. According to the Holy Fathers, this act of Christ has several implications.
Saint John Chrysostom views it as a prelude to the whole history of the Passion, in which the love of Jesus Christ to "His being in the world" was manifested in the most ultimate way. Also, by washing the feet of His disciples, the Lord showed a true example of humility, which consists in the desire to serve one’s neighbor regardless of his position in society. Through this action, “being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross” (Phil. 2: 7-8). Thus, His washing of the feet pointed to the atoning and purifying sense of the crucifixion and at the same time to the necessity of purifying the spiritual life of the apostles themselves, without which they could not become partakers of the atoning feat.
Therefore, we can safely say that there is a huge difference between the act of Christ and the act of those who do “hype-washing” of the feet of certain groups of the population.
Speculating on this subject, one cannot but recall the practice of washing the feet of Muslim migrants, which has been carried out for several years by the “viceroy of God on earth” Pope Francis. For most Christians, this action of the pope remained a mystery. If he performs this out og humility, then why under camera flashes? If out of love, why don't we know about helping these people? If the pope symbolically indicates the need for migrants to join the atoning feat of Christ, then why does he do that in relation to Muslims?
It seems that the nature of washing feet by the pope and white cops on the Black Maidan is of the same ilk. All this hardly bears any similarity to Christian humility, which cannot be demonstrative by definition, but rather a manifestation of political technology.
It’s not so much regrettable that such technologies exploit religion. It is more regrettable that every time there are people who take all these pseudo-religious manipulations at face value. After all, nothing good comes from such manipulations in the long run.
A person who uses religion to achieve his own mercantile goals will ultimately end up being empty-handed. Having stepped over the shrine, viewing sacred things only as weapons and means for manipulation, such a person with a clear conscience will violate not only heavenly laws, but also earthly ones. Under this scenario, criminals will be elevated to the rank of saints, while sins will be considered the norm.
In this case, we can only carefully watch all the current developments and, according to the Apostle John the Theologian, should be able to distinguish between the spirits of this world and the Spirit of God: “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4: 1). After all, being too gullible and taking on the lies and falsehood of modern hypocrites, we not only lose the ability to think soberly, but also fall into the networks of the evil one, from which may the Lord deliver us!