Editor’s note: President Donald Trump met with African American pastors at the White House on Aug. 1, and many of the attendees applauded his administration. Pastor Darryl Scott of Ohio referred to Trump as the “the most pro-black President that we’ve had in our lifetime,” according to the White House transcript of the meeting. The following editorial is a response to the gathering.
There is great alarm about the recent meeting held with some “Black Church Leaders” and Mr. Donald Trump.
These concerns are rooted and grounded in the Presidents ongoing remarks and policies that are anti-African/Caribbean nations, anti-justice for Black/Brown people and anti-the needs of children, the sick, the elderly, women and the poor in America.
The verifiable lies and “false” statements that Mr. Trump makes to encourage his base to live in a fantasyland of white supremacy are divisive, deceitful and destructive to our democracy.
Moses did not meet with Pharaoh to praise him for being “pro-chosen people.” When Daniel refused to bow down to the king’s golden statue he didn’t thank him for being the biggest “pro” religious art king for the Jewish exiles.
The truth makes us free from the fear of powerful people who would use the power of lies to pass policies that work against the freedom, justice and equality of immigrants, Black and Brown voters, women and those who need affordable health care. We cannot call any politician “pro-black” whose policies seek to take away the vote, as well as, social, political and economic empowerment for all victims of white power policies.
The history of the Black Church started as an “invisible institution” that resisted the enslaving white supremacy teachings that falsely paraded itself around in the name of Christianity. Richard Allen, David Walker, Denmark Vesey, Daniel Alexander Payne, Sojourner Truth, Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and Henry McNeal Turner never thought about praising any powerful leader who used that power to hurt their people and nation.
In the 20th Century Black Church, the early servant-leaders of African American Empowerment, what some call the Black Social Gospel Movement, were Reverdy Cassius Ransom, Ida Wells Barnett, Mordecai Johnson, Vernon Johns, Howard Thurman, Benjamin Mays and Rosa Parks. Their most famous mentee was the Civil Rights martyr, Martin Luther King, Jr.
In the second half of the 20th Century Dr. James H. Cone became the “Father of Black Liberation Theology” when he published his first book, “Black Power and Black Theology.” Out of this movement, the Black Church reclaimed it historic legacy as the house of prayer, praise, power and liberation.
When Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm ran for president, Congresswoman, Barbara Jordan shined during the Watergate hearings and then gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention that shook the nation, they opened the door for Jesse Jackson’s phenomenal presidential runs in 1984 and 1988. Jacksons run opened the door for the election of the first African American president in history, Barack Hussein Obama.
The Black Church is not blind, deaf or dumb. We know who is for us and who is against us. Liberating words without deeds are dead.
It should be recognized that the Black Church is not monolithic. We would have hoped, however, that our colleagues in Christ would have included other voices, and key African American churchmen and women, so that there would have been a more inclusive perspective of the Black Church and its servant leaders