Darrell B. Harrison | Atlanta, Georgia | May 15, 2012 |
As I continue to study the reactions of black Christian pastors, and their congregants, to President Obama’s pronouncement earlier this month in support for same-sex marriage, I become more convinced of something I’ve feared for quite some time now – that within the “black church” there exists a doctrinal chasm the size of which you would be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in Protestant Christianity.
To get right to the point (as I’ve been known to do from time-to-time), I’m disheartened, to say the least, at the relative ease at which those within the black evangelical community have decided to lay aside their so-called Christian “beliefs” in order to facilitate the agenda of a man whose position on same-sex marriage could not be more antithetical to the very tenets which these same so-called “Christians” profess to espouse. For years now, I have made no secret of my disappointment at the fact that although there is no shortage of emontion-based “preaching” going on within the walls of these churches, there is very little, if any, theology or doctrine being taught. That President Obama would think for even a moment that “reaching out” to black pastors on this issue would somehow prove successful should give us all pause, because what such a gesture actually conveys is that even the President himself realizes that there is a distinctly racial component that comprises the level of allegiance afforded him by the vast majority of these men.
We need to be intellectually honest about this. Otherwise, what other explanation could there possibly be for the President to even contemplate the notion of approaching a group of “Christian” pastors to solicit their support for a policy that is so clearly and decidedly un-Christian? The very tactic itself on the part of President begs the question, “What are black Christians to be above all else: Black or Christian?” Ideally, this question of “black” or “Christian” should not be an either/or proposition. However, the President’s stance on same-sex marriage – and the myriad of biblical loopholes being proffered by black pastors in support of it – has made it so. But, here’s the thing. This tactic on the part of President Obama isn’t new, folks. It’s been tried before – and rather successfully, I might add – by none other than one Margaret Sanger, eugenicist and founder of Planned Parenthood who, in an effort to propagate her false message of “family planning”, said the following in a letter dated December 19, 1939 to Dr. Clarence Gamble:
“We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population. And the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”
Sanger’s comment is what I like to refer to as her personal “Elmer Fudd Doctrine“. You know, “Be vewy, vewy kwyet; I’m hunting wabbit. Well, not really. I just don’t want the word to get out that we want to exterminate the Negro popuwation.” Just take a minute and let that sink in. Notice the words “colored ministers“, “religious appeal” and “the minister is the man who…”
Think about it. Of what benefit is it to profess to be a Christian, which is a matter of the heart, if something as superficial as race can so easily trump the teachings of Christ whenever the situation presents itself?
Belief is usually accompanied by conviction.
Christ demonstrated this Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane as He struggled with what lay before Him – the cross – when He said to His disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death…” (Matthew 26:38). And yet, in spite of what was facing Him, He offered Himself up anyway. Through it all, Christ remained true to His divine mission and purpose, which was rooted in His conviction that His death was absolutely necessary so that you and I might have the opportunity to be reconciled to God. Trust me on this, my friend. If you surrender your convictions once, you’ll do it again. Yes, you will. It’s only a matter of when the next opportunity to do so will come around.
Remember, Peter denied three times that he even knew Jesus. To call one’s self a Christian is to realize that it is more than just a label, it is an attitude; a way of life. And that way of life is not meant to be compartmentalized or selectively applied in one’s life. A husband is not a husband only when he is with his wife, is he? No! He is a husband 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He doesn’t set aside that role simply because he might be apart from his wife at a given moment.
The black church is being played yet again; first by Margaret Sanger and now by Barack Obama.
If all that’s required is a simple phone call from the President to get these pastors and their church members to turn their backs on what they “say” they believe, then, we are most pitiable indeed. It is sad to see that Christianity has been “Facebooked”. These long-held truths which, from the days of slavery, have served as the cornerstone of the black church and family, have been reduced to simply clicking the “Like” button (or not). We like the love of God, but we don’t like that this same God has placed prohibitions on certain behaviors, such as homosexuality. Look, if you’re going to believe something, then, believe it, even if you’re wrong. But don’t be a situation-ethicist, a wave tossed in the wind, whose “beliefs” can and will change depending on the setting. The only thing that kind of person has conviction about is that they have no conviction.
Regardless of race, Christians should take a stand for the Truth based on principle, not pigmentation. It’s high time for we who declare ourselves Christian to stop acquiescing to what the world demands of us. If you profess to be a Christian, then, be one by daring to practice what you preach, regardless of what it may cost you. Lord knows this world has enough sycophants as it is.
Bio: Native of Atlanta, GA, and currently resides in Covington, GA. Member of First Baptist Covington (GA) serving as an ordained deacon (Feb. 2012) and expository Bible study/Sunday School teacher. Prior to 2009, a member for 23 years at First Baptist Atlanta under Dr. Charles Stanley where he led a Bible study class exclusively for single-mothers/fathers. Currently enrolled at Liberty University studying Psychology with a specialization in Christian Counseling. Was certified as a Marriage Mentor by the Association of Christian Counselors on 5/9/2012. Currently pursuing counseling certification by the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors (NANC). Works as a merger integration consultant for a Southeast-based regional financial institution.