In the current climate of police shootings, protests that get out of hand, and growing racial tensions that sometimes are backed by political divides, you hear the term “civil rights” tossed around frequently. But does that term fit every situation that we see, especially when it is between the citizens and the government?
This is how the Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines civil rights:
the nonpolitical rights of a citizen; especially : the rights of personal liberty guaranteed to U.S. citizens by the 13th and 14th amendments to the Constitution and by acts of Congress.
While most in this country today believe the results of what happened during the Civil Rights Movement and the laws passed are civil rights, we’ll see in the definition that the non political rights of a person (especially) are true civil rights and then we see civil rights according to the passing of governmental creeds for certain citizens in the U.S..
As an African-American male I have been taught that my civil rights are something that have been given to me by the government as some type of revelation of the need for the fair treatment that my ethnic minority group along with all others should receive. Women, LGBT and certain immigrant groups fall within this same legal category.
We hear the term “white privilege” tossed around a lot as well. Let’s look at that a little more closely in context. This term really applies to white males because even their wives and sisters had their own campaign known as the Women’s Suffrage Movement in order to force their white male counterparts to treat them a little more fairly by coercing them to pass laws that ’til this day still hasn’t brought women to equal corporate and political power as white men.
The civil rights legislation never applied to white males because they already had these so-called rights that were given to them in the constitution of their fathers and they are the ones who have handed out these so-called rights to all the minority classes in the country so, in my opinion, they are still “the only” group in this country with any meaningful civil rights.
In the continual struggle that we see in society, especially across ethnic lines, white citizenry as a whole is not fighting for their civil rights but some of them are admirably choosing to stand with the still-oppressed minority classes to help them acquire not more rights, but simply a fulfilling of the so-called laws of freedom and equality that have been passed already, yet not kept in good faith by those who rule our society.
I want every minority to read and hear this clearly, the political rights given by the government will never be true civil rights because if they can be given to you then they can be taken from you and that is not true freedom. So as a Christian, I’m convinced more and more that it is going to take a truly redeemed heart in the powers that be for us to finally see what people are out here marching and in some cases, dying for—freedom, equality and justice for all. Unfortunately, these freedoms will never be given to us by the governments of men because they simply don’t have the power to give them without the entire global system doing a 180.
Some people may see this as pessimistic but I would beg to differ. On the contrary, I actually am optimistic that the words of God will come to pass just as He spoke and that His justice is coming. I’m not telling anyone to not walk in the rights that you believe you have, but to simply notice that if you are still protesting, then the reality is you never had those rights in the first place no matter what the Civil Rights Act claims.