“But I figure if the king tells you to go conquer the hinterlands one day, and tells you to shoe his horse the next day, you should do them both without slacking. He is the king.” ~ Andrée Seu, Christian author I have a bone to pick with the Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton - not like that’s anything new for me, mind you. But this time I think they’re going too far, and it has everything to do with the “Rev.” prefix they both carry. That designation carries with it a sacred obligation to uphold the word of God and lead by example and, in at least one of their many campaigns against a perceived problem, they are violating that obligation by essentially telling their “flock” to ignore the word of God.
Liberals have been frustrated in recent years by the attraction of evangelical Christians to the Republican Party, and they’ve been throwing against the wall all kinds of ideas on how to lure some of that constituency to their side, hoping that something will stick. I find it amusing and annoying at the same time. It’s funny because the movement of evangelicals to the GOP was initally motivated by deeply held spiritual concerns about the direction our society was taking, while this has all the earmarks of a cynical attempt at political gamesmanship (”maybe if we say ‘God’ seven times in this speech, those nutty right-wing Christians will think we’re one of them”). It’s aggravating because it shows how little respect many of them have for the issues that concern evangelicals. That lack of respect is evident in the Revs. Jackson and Sharpton’s latest campaign among black churches.
The reverends were alarmed at the trends they’ve been seeing in places like Ohio, where President Bush essentially won re-election in 2004. One of the interesting and critical sidebars to his Ohio victory was the increased percentage of the black vote he received in that state. When a Republican’s percentage of the black vote reaches double digits, in this case 16%, when the national trends for decades have the GOP struggling to reach 10%, you’re bound to get somebody’s attention. In fact, the total number of black votes cast for the president in Ohio increased by more than 100 percent over his numbers in 2000.
How did the GOP manage it? In general terms, I’d sum it up this way - committed black Christians believe in the sanctity of human life and traditional marriage just as committed white Christians, maybe even more so, and in Ohio they decided to vote their beliefs. This alignment of conscience with action alarmed the reverends, who began to see their “flock” showing signs of reflection and thought independent from their own. They decided to strike back, and this is where they crossed the line.
They began a campaign across the country to “refocus” the black churches on the real ills that plague black society — poverty and social injustice, to be exact. That’s OK - good people of all races are concerned about these issues, although I don’t like the approach the reverends take when addressing them. They confront these issues by creating bogeymen, building walls and dividing people, which is a page straight out of the Democratic Party playbook, “How to Keep ‘Em Mad and On Our Side,” rather than building bridges and uniting them. Here’s what got the hairs on the back of my neck standing up, however. They stated that issues like abortion and same-sex marriage weren’t relevant to the black faith community and we should ignore them because they distract us from the real problem (presumably Republicans).
Say what? Did God rewrite the Bible and forget to tell us? Did He change his mind on the sanctity of human life, which He created in His image, or traditional marriage, which He created to raise, protect and nurture children? Of course He didn’t. The reverends go on to say that most black people don’t know someone in a same-sex marriage or who’s had an abortion, but they know plenty of people who are poor or victimized by social injustice. They and their liberal friends, in fact, love to point out how many more references there are in the Bible to caring for the poor and advocating justice than to abortion or homosexuality, so God must think those are much more important. That’s such a human way of thinking, and even well-meaning conservative Christians tend to put God’s words on a scale to emphasize a favored position on a particular issue.
Here is what I believe; if God said it, then He means it - period. It doesn’t matter how many times He said it. The very second He uttered the words, they came imbued with all the authority of the Creator of the Universe and as Christians, we have only one response - to obey.
As to their statements that the taking of unborn human life and the breakdown of traditional marriage aren’t important to the black community, I have to ask them, “Are you mad?” Seventy percent of black births are to women who can’t or won’t get married, and there’s a straight line from the staggering numbers of births out of wedlock to the struggles of our young black men who didn’t have the love or modeling of a devoted father in their homes. Because they don’t know how to be men, they behave as boys except they are bigger and carry more dangerous toys, they leave much bigger messes behind for someone else to clean up, and they hurt people when they play rough.
As for abortion, black women are over three times more likely to get an abortion than any other demographic in America. Since 1973, approximately 13 million black babies have been aborted at a cost to black people of $4 billion (!). Seventy eight percent of Planned Parenthood’s abortion clinics are located in minority communities, and their school-based clinics target black, minority or ethnic schools. In Louisiana, Planned Parenthood proposed placing its school-based clinics in predominantly black schools only. When a black state legislator suggested they place them in predominantly white schools as well, the proposal was dropped. Given what I’ve learned about Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, who advocated population control of the “unfit,” I’m convinced she would approve of their actions today. I believe the same disregard for human life promoted in the black community by the abortion industry is what leads to ninety-four percent of blacks murdered in the U.S. being killed by other blacks.
In 1977, a black leader declared, “Abortion is black genocide,” and he stated:
“That is why the Constitution called us three-fifths human and then whites further dehumanized us by calling us ‘niggers’. It was part of the dehumanizing process. The first step was to distort the image of us as human beings in order to justify that which they wanted to do and not even feel like they had done anything wrong. Those advocates of taking life prior to birth do not call it killing or murder, they call it abortion. They further never talk about aborting a baby because that would imply something human. Rather they talk about aborting the fetus. Fetus sounds less than human and therefore abortion can be justified.”
These powerful words came from the same black leader who today is calling on the black church to ignore abortion as an issue. Rev. Jackson, what happened?