Friday, March 21, 2008

Understanding the Black Church

I haven't quite gotten my thoughts together about the recent flaps concerning Geraldine Ferrarro and Rev. Jeremiah Wright and the reactions to their comments. But, I came across this letter to the editor by a SNCC activist I thought I should share.

Dear Editor: The general White community does not understand that
Black people in general join the church and not enjoin the preacher.
I am 4th generation of my family church, Hutchinson Missionary Baptist
Church. Through the generations, my family has seen six
pastors. I, personally, have seen three ministers in the pulpit. I
am certain that there were congregants who disagreed with this or that
minister down through the years, especially during the height of the
modern Civil Rights Movement from World War II in the 1940s to the
Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Voting Rights Movement in the 1960-1970s.
Almost no congregant, particularly those with historical family ties, left
our church. Most Black churches have generational family members. We
must keep in mind the historical development of the Black church, which
came into being by fighting against de jure enslavement of our people and
then the de facto practices to continue discrimination, injustices
and institutionalized racism at the detriment of Black U.S.
citizens. In this current discussion of Black social-justice in accord
with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which I think is good in gaining
understanding and appreciation for our diverse religious cultures we
must remember: A preacher is not running for the presidency.
Sincerely yours, Gwendolyn M. Patton

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This isn't too complicated. If you disagree with me, I'm more than happy to have an honest discussion. I'm quite open to learning new facts and ideas. I'm dying for a conservative to explain their ideas in a sensible way.

But, I do have rules, and they also apply to those who agree with me. They just get the benefit of my already knowing the fact they'll be referring to.

So, here're the comment thread rules:

1 - Use facts.
2 - Refer to policy.
3 - Don't rely on theories and conjectures. Show me how, for example, a public health insurance option will lead to "rationing" of health care.
4 - No unfounded attacks on any entity.

If you break those rules, I will edit your comment to my own whimsical satisfaction.

Lastly, perhaps most importantly, I'm not going to entertain too much pro-white/racism-denying discussion. I want this to be a space to discuss strategies to fight racism, not space where I have to fight racism. I want anti-racists to be able to come here for a mental respite. If what you're interested in doing is attempting to demonstrate the fallacy of anti-racism by repeating the same ole comments and questions and accusations we hear all the time, please do that somewhere else.

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But Don't Jack My Genuis