Selling Their Birthright to the GOP : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

[From Thursday's Los Angeles Times],1,7188652.story

By Madison Shockley and Kelvin Calloway, Madison Shockley is the minister at the Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Carlsbad. Kelvin Calloway is the pastor of the Second AME Church in Los Angeles.

It is a sad beginning to Black History Month when a group of black preachers have so forgotten the past that they agree to be tutored in "moral values" by Republican operatives in sheep's clothing.

Don't get us wrong: Some of our best friends are Republicans. But the recent invasion by Karl Rove's minions into the heart of black communities and black churches across the country most recently on Tuesday at the Crenshaw Christian Center, one of Los Angeles' biggest churches has been downright offensive.

Seventy pastors apparently turned out for Tuesday's meeting, which was supposedly organized by conservative black ministers who had backed George W. Bush in November and who are seeking to promote what they say is a new agenda for the black community.

Are they doing it with programs that bring jobs, education and opportunity? Nooooooooooooo. They are doing it with a campaign against gay marriage. They are unveiling a "black contract with America on moral values." That's right, Newt Gingrich is back and he's black! And in case you didn't know, gay marriage, not gang violence, gay marriage, not hyper-unemployment and undereducation, is what has destroyed our jobs, closed our schools and forfeited our opportunities.

That the ideological descendants of the architects of Jim Crow would be setting up shop in inner cities to structure a solution to the problems of being black in America is beyond ludicrous.

And the focus on gay marriage is a fundamental betrayal of the civil rights movement in this country. If these people have their way, it will be the first time since Jim Crow that discrimination against a group of people is written into law. Everywhere you see the phrase "gay marriage," just remember the word "miscegenation." Listen to the arguments they're making: It's unnatural. It's against God's plan for humanity. Haven't we heard that before?

These ministers also claim a deep concern for the "unborn" who are aborted. OK. We all want to reduce the number of abortions. But this is best done through economic empowerment to support a family and through contraception for effective family planning. The fact is that abortions have increased in some states under President Bush, according to a study from Fuller Theological Seminary, after both teen pregnancy and abortions declined under President Clinton.

The saddest part is that these ministers, who have inherited a legacy of respect, leadership and authority, would squander their profound birthright for a bowl of faith-based porridge. The underbelly of this Republican initiative is the promise of funding for church programs. That's a true sellout.

The black church has always stood with the oppressed and never the oppressor. It has not been in the forefront of the "pro-life" movement because it recognized that prohibiting abortions leads to the maiming and death of thousands of poor, often black, women. It has not been in the forefront of the movement against gay marriage because it doesn't adhere to the biblical literalism of many fundamentalist churches and looks more to the compassion of Jesus than to conservative legalism.

If the black church took the Bible literally we would still be "slaves obey[ing] your masters" (Ephesians 6:5). The gospel of freedom that has been the hope and strength of the black church is still a powerful and meaningful message to millions who are weekly inspired to struggle harder, study longer and love so fervently that hate, discrimination and prejudice wilt under its persistent presence.

-- Anonymous, February 04, 2005


It's haaappening, and I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Members of the traditional black church are finding common ground with other Bible believers, also known as evangelicals. Well, Pastor Paris has reminded us more than once that the African-American church is not a monolith. I've pointed out how 70% in this board's 2000 poll voted for Al Gore and that looks monolithic, but wait! Whither the 30%? They...EXIST!!!!

Is there still a ways to go? Sure but as I've said before, as people grow in the Lord they agree on more and more. The most mature Christians I know agree on most everything regardless of their label.

I'll state it again for those who haven't heard it. Jesus only has one view - the right one. If we look at a pyramid consider the topmost point as Jesus view on everything. At the broad base is the entire collection of human thought and opinion.

As people grow in the Lord they cast off error as the Holy Spirit teaches them. They get closer and closer to Jesus' views, and as an added benefit closer to others at their level. Really mature believers have very little disagreement up there close to Jesus.

This is very encouraging, and not only for political reasons. A couple of things are going on. First, the Democrats have gotten so looney left that some Bible believers in the black church are finally saying, "we have to draw the line somewhere." Expect more African-American Christians to cross over to the Republican party, or at least give it a hearing.

Why? For the same reason white, Hispanic, and Asian evangelicals did long ago: Many positions of the left are simply incompatible with Scripture. While everyone agrees the poor need to be aided and we need a good economy, the debate lies in the "how".

What's not debateable are the homosexual and abortion issues. They have been the litmus test for evangelical votes for a long time, and as black Bible believers look objectively at the situation, it'll be their litmus test too. Scripturally, there is no other choice.

Second, it shows there really is racial progress being made as more and more people find common ground with those of other races even while being condemned as traitors by their peers. Progress has always taken courage. Kind of reminds me of the millions of brave Iraqis who voted while other Iraqis tried to kill them. They're heroes.

-- Anonymous, February 04, 2005

Not only that but these "new" republicans are trying to sell the Bush Social Security Program to Blacks, by telling them since they die younger, the new program will allow them to get something out. Why not address the problems that lead to the lower life expectancies.

-- Anonymous, February 05, 2005

As I've stated before, most of the issues addressed in the political sphere are debateable and not addressed in Scripture. Social Security, the economy, jobs, foreign policy, even the war, we all agree these need to be addressed. How to best handle these issues is not addressed in Scripture except maybe indirectly. So one person's guess is as good as another's. I'll cut some slack there.

However homosexuality and abortion ARE addressed directly in Scripture. One simply cannot dodge these issues as a Christian though it has happened repeatedly on this board when I've brought it up.

Me: "How can you as Christians vote this way?"

Certain AME's: "You're just a racist! If you're not black you can't understand!"

The clergy noted in this article realize these issues cannot be avoided any longer because certain elements on the left are becoming quite aggressive in promoting them now. Witness the push for gay marriage in the courts with victories in some places. They know it's only the next step in a downward spiral to becoming like Sodom and Gomorrah, and now they're talking to the politician who stands against this.

-- Anonymous, February 05, 2005

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