Values and Ethics Conference

LC addresses racism in the 21st century during annual Values and Ethics Conference
By Alena Noakes, Wildcats Media
“God’s plan is to unite us as one, and you have the opportunity to be a part of that
That was the message of Gregory Bevels, a local physician and pastor, who was one of
the guest speakers at Louisiana College’s (LC) 5th annual Values and Ethics Conference on
Nov. 4. The two-session conference featured speakers from various backgrounds all
addressing the same critical issue in today’s culture, racism.
The first session featured Bevels, Louisiana Senator Katrina Jackson, author of the
Louisiana Right to Life amendment and equal rights proponent in the
legislature, and Joshua Joy Dara, Sr., dean of the department of human behavior and
associate vice president for student engagement and enrichment at LC. On Nov. 5, LC
welcomed keynote speaker, Chris Singleton, former pro-athlete and inspirational speaker,
via a Skype call to join in the discussion.
In a time of tense racial division in America, LC sought to provide Gospel-centered
perspectives on how to view and respond to these trials. The core point made by each
speaker is best summed up in one word, unity.
“I think this mission of unity that we have […] that’s Jesus’ mission,” said Singleton. “And I
think if we lead people, no matter where they’re from or what they look like […] if we lead
them to the Lord, I think that we’re doing our job as believers.”
Bevels emphasized God’s plan for unity through the design of the human race, referencing
Revelation 7 and 9 where many nations are unified together, showcasing God’s intentional
diversity in Creation.
“This same diversity that’s in this room today is going to be retained in eternity,” Bevels
said. “It will be this way in heaven. So, why is it that we can’t engage in that type of
fellowship now?”
Jackson considered the division evidenced today, noting the things which have led to so
much strife.
“I think that the enemy really perpetuates race as a division because it is the one thing we
see all the time,” Jackson said.
She stressed the importance of self-evaluation in overcoming this, addressing this aspect
first as believers. Self-evaluation helps believers to determine whether there are certain
prejudices they hold which prevent them from loving their neighbor as they love
themselves, the second commandment given in Matthew 22:39.
Each speaker also prioritized the aspect of forgiveness as a means to dealing with racism
“I think that it is so important as believers we realize since we are forgiven, then we should
then forgive,” Singleton said.
“Mistreatment of any kind will happen, some in ways big, some in ways small,” explained
Bevels. “But you have to forgive, and you have to recognize once again that you’re not
Perfect … I’m not perfect, neither are they.”
However, action does not stop at forgiveness, rather it is merely the first step.
In order to overcome racism today, people must be willing to act in more than just words.
Singleton pointed out that sharing experiences, being willing to be taught and to teach
others, checking your own heart, teaching your family to love, and simply loving your
neighbor must accompany forgiveness.
Jackson spoke on how believers should approach conversations about race, acknowledging
these conversations do not need to be awkward or negative because they are necessary.
“Race is not a difficult issue, it’s just something we make difficult because we are not willing
to face it in our own lives,” said Jackson. “So, we can’t face it in other people’s lives until we
face it in our own lives.”
Additionally, these discussions need to be had in churches today.
“Our churches have begun to stray away from teaching the truth of Scripture in those
difficult areas, and it’s really been a thorn in the side of our witness because we’re shying
away from stuff … we have to continue to teach the truth of Scripture … no holds barred,”
Bevels said.
Both Bevels and Jackson indicated this practice includes being led by the Holy Spirit, being
intentional in who you gather with and doing more to integrate different races and people
of various backgrounds into each other’s worship experiences.
Jackson cited the way to true reform in America, to any appropriate response to racial
injustice today, starts within the Church.
“Just laws start in the hearts of the people of God. Just actions start in the heart of the
people of God,” she said. “That means just resolution comes through the heart of the people
of God.”