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Reaching beyond racism

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

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Racial division and fears are not unique to the United States. As events in Rwanda and other parts of Africa have shown, rivalries between tribes, ethnic groups, or religions also keep people apart. Fear, which is so often at the heart of such differences, leads to devaluing individuals – no matter what their color – and classifying them as "other."

This outlook can't be accepted, especially when the world so needs everyone's talents. Everyone has a role in making peace, saving energy, providing honest leadership, healing ills. Instead of suppressing some individuals and reaping a harvest of frustration, hatred, and war, we can, with our prayers, help unleash their talents and lift off limitations imposed by popular thought.

Senator Barack Obama's expected victory in becoming the Democratic candidate in this year's campaign for US President has made history. It's one example of how longstanding limitations are being lifted. Many African-Americans see a role model whom the nation could elect to its highest office (The New York Times, June 5). But some people point to signs that blacks are still the object of hatred among other races, and some have voiced fears for Mr. Obama's safety.

Spiritual solutions offer help. While the cause of racism may often be identified as prejudice within certain groups, it can be traced back much further. The Bible records an illustration of what might be called the "First Separation." The serpent who tempted Eve promised her something good that was separate from God. The wrong choice to eat of the fruit from the tree of good and evil led, according to this account, to humanity's separation from Paradise, the fratricidal rivalry between Cain and Abel – and every mortal ill that followed.

These errors of perception present a false history, described in the second chapter of Genesis, which speaks of God creating Adam out of dust and then – while Adam was sleeping – making Eve, and everything else, from the same material substance. In this Adam-dream, rivalry and division are the norm.

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