Several recent events can remind us all of racism. Sadly, racial prejudice has never been totally confined to non-religious people.
Back in 1956, when my then husband, Barrie McMahon and I, created the first group in Australia to oppose the White Australia Policy, we experienced opposition from both religious and non-religious people. We won the battle in 1967, when the White Australia Policy was ended.
In fact, all religious people should recognise that our God created a world where there are people of many colours, cultures and histories.
When I worked in international aid, I travelled around 33 countries in the world and recognised that the people of each country almost always had something new to offer to me in understandings about God and that these led to pathways towards true community and interpretations of life in general.
Our God, in creating variety among people of the world, offers to us ways of relating which can enrich our life in many ways.
In our country, we still have a long way to go in ending racism. The fact that we managed, after all this time, to change one word in our national anthem – from “new” to “one” tells us that. I must say, I would love to lay our present national anthem aside and take on the song we hear lately, “We are one, but we are many. And from all the lands on earth we come”.
As people of any faith, we could encourage each other to challenge any racism we hear or see, especially that which relates to the First People of our land who cared for this country so well over many thousands of years. They were kinder to God’s country than we have ever been and we could have deeper dialogues with them about that.
This action could bear witness to a more loving and creative God than most people imagine exists. It would also add to our life together and possibly show other countries what may sustain the creation into the future. So, let us work to end racism here, for the good of all people.