Augustinians Celebrate March 21: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

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Augustinians of the Midwest are encouraged mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, March 21, 2018, with prayer, reflection, witness and action individually, in their communities and in their ministries. The Augustinians invite all who identify with Augustinian spirituality and traditions to do likewise.

The United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, adopted in 1963, states:

Discrimination between human beings on the grounds of race, color or ethnic origin is an offense to human dignity and shall be condemned as a denial of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, as a violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as an obstacle to friendly and peaceful relations among nations and as a fact capable of disturbing peace and security among nations.”

Discrimination is contrary to the example and teaching of Jesus Christ, who frequently associated with those whom the society of his time rejected (--Matthew 8: 1ss; 9: 11ss; 11: 19; Mark 2: 15ss; Luke 5: 27ss; 7: 21ss; John 8: 3ss) and told us that we would be judged on our treatment of others (Matthew 25: 31-46).

Theme for 2018

The timely theme for 2018 is  "Promoting Tolerance, Inclusion, Unity and Respect for Diversity."

The Catholic Church, including official teachers of Christian morality like Pope Francis and the Catholic Bishops' Conferences of the United States and Canada, has been a strong promoter of inclusion, unity and respect for all human beings.
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What Can I Do?

Here are some simple actions you can take to reduce racial, ethnic and religious discrimination.

  • Pray for an end to racism and discrimination.  Select your prayer from these sample prayers.  
  • Speak out against misconceptions which give rise to racism and discrimination when you hear them expressed in your conversations: "10 Myths about Immigration"            
  • Ask your Pastor how you and other members of your Church can help to "Welcome the Stranger Among Us."       


Additional Resources

Click these links for more informational on the Church teachings related to Tolerance, Inclusion, Unity and Respect for Diversity:

St. Augustine on Discrimination

St. Augustine, in his City of God and Rule, provides a model of non-discrimination. St. Augustine condemns all forms of discrimination, whether it is based on race, economic conditions, or physical appearances.

  • Sinful human beings hate the equality of all peoples under God and, as though they themselves were God, love to impose their power on their fellow men and women. They hate the peace of God, which is just, and prefer their own peace, which is unjust.” - City of God 19, 12
     
  • So long, then, as the heavenly City is journeying on Earth, she invites citizens from all nations and all tongues, and unites them into a single pilgrim band. She takes no issue with that diversity of laws and traditions, whereby human peace is sought and maintained. Instead of nulllifying or tearing down, she preserves and appropriates whatever in the diversities of different races is aimed at one and the same objective of human peace, provided only that they do not stand in the way of the faith and worship of the one supreme and true God." - City of God 19, 17
     
  • What is true for a Christian beyond the shadow of doubt is that every real human being, that is, every mortal animal that is rational, however unusual to us may be the shape of his/her body, or the color of his/her skin, or the way he/she walks, or the sound of his/her voice, and whatever the strength, portion or quality of his/her natural endowments, is descended from the single first-created human being.” - City of God 16, 8
     
  • "Let all of you then live together in oneness of mind and heart, mutually honoring in yourselves the God whose temples you have become." - Rule of St. Augustine, Chapter 1

What practical steps can we take as individuals and as a community to eradicate racism? Is there something we can do to help provide effective measures of prevention, education and protection? How can we encourage our political leaders to mobilize the political will to combat racial discrimination?

The Augustinians of the Midwest invite you to join us in prayer, reflection, witness and action on these questions.