How God Is Breaking Walls of Racism—in Europe

by | Jul 17, 2013 | Blogs, Fire in My Bones

Only the Holy Spirit can break a vile form of racism that has lasted for centuries.

I can’t communicate too well with my friend Dániel Kovács. He doesn’t speak much English, and I only know three phrases in Hungarian. But last week we sat beside each other in a worship conference and enjoyed fellowship with the help of a translator.

Dániel is my brother in Christ. But many people in Europe look down on him because he is a Gypsy. He faces huge obstacles because Gypsies—also known as the Roma people—have the highest rates of unemployment, illiteracy and poverty in Eastern Europe, along with the lowest life expectancy rates.

Dániel and the people in his village of Uszka, in northeast Hungary, suffer from what is known as antiziganism, the hatred of Gypsies. It is racial profiling at its worst. It has plagued Europe since the Roma people arrived from India in their caravans 600 years ago. The highest Gypsy populations are in Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Hungary, Slovakia and Spain, but Gypsies are scattered all over Europe and the Middle East—and many have come to North America.

Wherever they go, they experience discrimination.

Antiziganism reached its peak during the 1940s, when German Nazis murdered between 250,000 and 500,000 Gypsies in concentration camps. Like the Jews, many Gypsies were starved or gassed; others were sterilized. Scientists also used Gypsies as human guinea pigs for diabolical experiments because they felt their slightly darker skin made them racially inferior.

The Gypsy genocide in Europe was called “the devouring.” But even though Europeans eventually condemned what the Nazis did, antiziganist feelings have remained strong. Today, Gypsy children are still segregated in their own substandard schools, and Gypsy adults are denied work. Many Gypsies resort to crime in order to exist in this oppressed state, thus reinforcing the stereotype that they are all criminals.

Racism against Gypsies has been compared to what African-Americans suffered in the United States in the Jim Crow era or what blacks endured in the apartheid years in South Africa. Up until the 1960s in England, it was common to see signs in pubs that read “NO BLACKS, NO DOGS, NO GYPSIES.”

A poll in England just 10 years ago showed that a third of British people still have racist feelings toward Gypsies. These feelings are even stronger in Eastern Europe, where Gypsies are viewed as a public health threat. Some people fear serious violence could erupt in Hungary because anti-Gypsy sentiment is being fueled by right-wing politicians.

Zsolt Bayer, a Hungarian journalist who is now an elected official representing the Fidesz Party, grabbed headlines in January of this year when he made this shocking statement: “Most Gypsies are not suitable for cohabitation. They are not suitable for being among people. Most are animals and behave like animals. They shouldn’t be tolerated or understood but stamped out.”

Statements from leaders like Bayer have fueled suspicion of Gypsies, causing an increase in the number of racially motivated assaults of Gypsy people in Eastern Europe. Romanis have been attacked in their homes, in workplaces and in markets. The victims of these incidents of racial profiling include children and the elderly.

Yet amid the darkness of racism in Hungary, a bright light is shining among Pentecostal and charismatic Christians who have been building bridges of reconciliation and healing. Gypsy people have been open to the moving of the Holy Spirit for many years, and ethnic Hungarian churches are working in partnership with them.

When I preached at a worship conference last week in the city of Debrecen, I invited my friend Dániel; his father, who is a Gypsy pastor; and two other Gypsy guys to perform a popular Gypsy praise chorus for everyone. The audience cheered, not just because Dániel’s team performed so skillfully, but also because Hungarian Christians realize God is breaking down walls that man has not been able to dismantle for centuries.

And I know the same God who is tearing down the stronghold of antiziganism in Europe can break racism in America—even when the Trayvon Martin case in Florida seems to have reinforced racial divisions in our country.

The apostle Paul wrote, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28, NASB). That verse has broad application: to Native Americans who have suffered on our reservations; to Aborigines who have been marginalized in Australia; to warring tribes in Africa; to Gypsies in Europe; and to African-American men who feel they are labled criminals simply because of their skin color.

Racism is alive and well in the world today, and it will never be stopped by juries, street protests, riots or even legislation. Christ alone, through the power of the Holy Spirit, can give us the kind of love that looks beyond the outside to see the heart.

J. Lee Grady is the former editor of Charisma and the director of The Mordecai Project (themordecaiproject.org). You can follow him on Twitter at @leegrady. He is the author of The Holy Spirit Is Not for Sale and other books.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

COGIC Bishop Derrick Hutchins Sr. Dies at 65

COGIC Bishop Derrick Hutchins Sr. Dies at 65

Read Time: 1 Minute 59 Seconds Bishop J. Drew Sheard and the General Board of the Eastern Florida Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of the Church of God in Christ announced Tuesday the death of one of its most beloved leaders, Bishop Derrick Hutchins Sr. Hutchins was 65....

Don’t Criticize Charismatics

Don’t Criticize Charismatics

They are saying the charismatic movement is divisive. Whenever people get involved in the "new emphasis," there are disruptions in the status quo. Red flags go up. Lines are drawn. I would ask: What else could be expected? Any force as great as this is bound to make...

Jonathan Cahn Reveals the Mystery of the Molten Beast

Jonathan Cahn Reveals the Mystery of the Molten Beast

Read Time: 6 Minutes, 42 Seconds Is it possible that ancient entities known as "the gods" have returned to our world? Could these gods actually be the unseen movers and catalysts of what's happening in America and the world today? Could they lie behind the current...

Shining the Light of Jesus in Hollywood’s Darkness

Shining the Light of Jesus in Hollywood’s Darkness

Read Time: 3 Minutes 37 Seconds Most made-for-TV Christmas movies are like eggnog and sugar cookies—way too sweet, yet extremely addictive for a lot of viewers. But these Hallmark-style movies—the ones with predictable love stories that always end with jingling bells...

Prophecy: Goodness Is Following You, Turn and See

Prophecy: Goodness Is Following You, Turn and See

Read Time: 1 Minute 51 Seconds At a recent gathering where a member was struggling, I heard and declared by the Spirit of the Lord, “Goodness is following you, TURN and see; embrace His goodness in this moment and watch the shift!” There was an immediate shift and...

Man Who Spent 23 Minutes in Hell: You Came From God

Man Who Spent 23 Minutes in Hell: You Came From God

Read Time: 2 Minutes 25 Seconds If you search the phrase, “where does life come from?” the first explanation reads: “The origin of life is a result of a supernatural event—and readily arises from nonliving matter in short periods of time, today as in the past.” The...

RECENT ARTICLES

Raise Your Praise!

These are the days that may leave you feeling defeated. You may be wondering when these present trials will end or how can you strengthen your faith for the battle as you wrestle against powers and...
7 Elements Needed for Revival That Will Usher in Reformation

7 Elements Needed for Revival That Will Usher in Reformation

Read Time: 1 Minute 9 Seconds What will turn the nations around? What will restore the world to sanity? There have been revivals from Old Testament times up through the year 2000. Today we need both a revival and a reformation. Here are 7 elements needed to usher in...

Mario Murillo: An Era of Mass Soul Winning Has Begun

Mario Murillo: An Era of Mass Soul Winning Has Begun

Read Time: 4 Minutes, 27 Seconds From the very first tent stake we drove into California soil, until now, there has only been one dream. And, after two years, that dream came true in Roseville. Roseville is the victory we have yearned for. It confirms that an era of...

How You Can Flow in the River of Living Water

How You Can Flow in the River of Living Water

Read Time: 5 Minutes, 2 Seconds A river is a source of life. As it is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual. Jesus told His disciples that if we believe in Him, "rivers of living water" will flow out from within us, from our hearts. "Anyone who believes in me may...

Pin It on Pinterest