WARNING! SPOILERS FOR ASSASSIN’S CREED ORIGINS BELOW!
The Pledge of Allegiance, a document refined numerous times from its inception in 1892 to its final form in 1954, asserts that the United States delivers “liberty and justice for all.” This same general sentiment was expressed by the nation’s founders in the Declaration of Independence, which sought to ground the new nation on the “self-evident” truths that “all men are created equal, [and] that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” Clearly, many influential American thinkers throughout the centuries have considered justice and equality to be among the most important characteristics and guiding principles of their nation. However, in all too many instances, neither equality nor justice has been given to all people.
This world is full of different people. Each of us is unique in not only appearance but in our thought process and beliefs as well. People can be grouped based upon overarching physical characteristics, such as the nation or continent of one’s ancestry, to their beliefs, such as religion and political affiliation. Unfortunately, these groups have the potential to fight against each other and force people to remain loyal to that team. A prominent example of this can be found within the party system in United States politics. Republicans and Democrats have a set of ideals that they hold as key to the identity of the party. The members of these parties also tend to require people to keep to all of these tenets. These groups may ostracize members who hold differing views. Psychology gives a few reasons for this, including in-group biases and polarization. These psychological tendencies have the potential to cause different groups to become hostile towards one another, and even tear apart friendships and family bonds.
Issues of Racism
Injustices also stem from race or ancestry. Racism is still a real issue that our society faces. It has been an issue for all of recorded history. People throughout time have used the color of a person’s skin or their nation of origin as an excuse to treat them as less than human. In the United States we have dealt with numerous racist issues, the most egregious being against African Americans. Our early history was marred with the enslavement of African peoples and treating them horrendously at the hands of white people. Jim Crow laws continued to dehumanize African Americans well into the 1960’s, and racism still has not perished today in the United States. All of this was and still is morally wrong. People are not bad or good based upon who they vote for or their ancestry. They are bad or good based upon the choices that they make. Bayek of Siwa from Assassin’s Creed Origins understood this well.
The Siwan Medjay
Bayek is a Medjay, a type of officer that protects the Pharaoh of Egypt and the pharaoh’s people. This protection also includes all of the people who lived under the pharaoh’s rule. At this time in Egypt, about 49 BC, Ptolemy XIII rules Egypt after his sister Cleopatra was ousted from the throne. Cleopatra is attempting to retake the throne with the help of Rome and Egyptians loyal to her.
Justice for All
Bayek’s personality exudes a belief in justice. He consistently assists those in need and stops those performing evil deeds, even if these folks aren’t being directly hurt by or working for his primary foe, the Order of the Ancients. During this time in Egypt, there is a large Greek population, especially in the northern parts of the country near the city of Alexandria. While quite a few of these Greeks have befriended and even intermarried with the native Egyptian population, some Greeks view the Egyptians as lesser beings. They don’t like that the Egyptians worship other gods, nor did they care for their culture or skin color.
Despite the animosity held towards not only himself but the Egyptians as a whole, Bayek does not turn a blind eye to the plights of the Greeks. He resolves to help them, as they are people who live in Egypt, and they need his help. Bayek does not automatically assume that his Egyptian brethren are innocent and incapable of performing evil deeds. He regularly fights Egyptian bandits who terrorize innocent folks. Bayek consistently fights for justice, regardless of who he is helping. As the story progresses, Bayek continues to subvert the Order’s hold on Egypt.
Around the same time, the Greeks were treating Jewish folks with the same tension. Judaism and the Greek religion were at odds with each other and neither group looked upon the other favorably. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians about how in the Body of Christ, we are all equal and viewed with the same love from our Creator.
Bayek helping a Priest
“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” – Galatians 3:26-28
Paul wrote those words above in a letter to the people of Galatia. This verse states that everybody in the world, regardless of race, gender, social status, or anything else, is equal in the love of Jesus. It also alludes to the fact that the church has no room for prejudice or bigotry in its ranks. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ.
Jesus modeled this very well during his ministry on Earth. He did not show bigotry to anybody, and He was very accepting of all who came to Him. Jesus invited men of different walks of life into his fold. Among the apostles were working-class individuals, such as fishermen, and even individuals shunned from society. One such individual was Matthew, who was a tax collector. The population hated tax collectors in the time of Jesus for what they did. Jesus also regularly interacted with women, which was taboo for a male to do openly in Jewish custom during this period. He did not abandon any who needed his help.
Jesus fought for the justice of those around him. He prevented the stoning of a prostitute who the Pharisees caught in an extramarital affair. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, he showed that in His Kingdom, people would be willing to help others regardless of their race. In this story, a Jewish man was robbed and beaten on a pathway. Numerous Jewish elites passed by him and refused to help. A Samaritan, a person who was usually hated by the Jewish community, stopped to help the man. The Good Samaritan took the man to an inn and paid for the man’s stay until he healed up.
Our world today is like the world then. People still divide themselves into groups that devolve into hatred of folks outside that group. People in this mindset get so involved in whether their group is winning that they don’t stop to help the folks who need it, and even excuse the evil within their own ranks. Republicans vilify Democrats, and vice versa. Groups of white folks demonize, harass, and harm African Americans and expect other white people to do the same. This is not justice.
Christian’s Higher Calling
Jesus calls us to hold a higher allegiance and standard. As Paul wrote above, in Christ, we are all equal. Genesis 1:27 states that God created humankind in his image. Jesus told us in Mark 12:31 that the second greatest commandment was to love our neighbors as ourselves. He did not specify our Jewish neighbors or our white neighbors or our republican or democrat neighbors. He meant any neighbor. James wrote in James 2:1-6 that by judging folks based upon their worldly status leaves us “…judges with evil thoughts…” Finally, Peter in Acts 10:34-35 said, “… ’I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears Him and does what is right.”
My brothers and sisters in Christ, we need to help those in need regardless of who they are. Jesus commands us to be His hands and feet. If He does not discriminate, how can His hands and feet discriminate? We must resolve ourselves to help anyone who needs our help. Our help could be in raising awareness in the plights of our fellow man. It could be giving food or money to those less fortunate than us. We could be stop and assist a motorist on the side of the road if safe to do so. The possibilities are endless. However, our concerns should not stop there.
The Call to Action
We, as Christians, must also resolve to stand against evil deeds regardless of who is performing them. Evil is not a trait only found in the opposite group. Corruption is ubiquitous; it permeates every group on Earth. People of every race, political party, and religion—including Christianity— have committed wicked deeds. Making excuses for evil actions is not just. We must stand against evil and help those affected by it no matter who they are, much like Bayek, and much more like our ultimate role model Jesus, who Bayek reflects.
My brothers and sisters, I pray that you are staying well. The times we find ourselves in are tough, and I continue to pray that we all make it through. May we remember to help all those that we can, surround ourselves with the love of Christ, and do our best to be like Jesus every day.