Pastor’s Pen_May 22, 2022

Just when we think we have seen it all, the right-wing, with its QAnon theories, discovers an insidious way to justify murdering Black people. It is called ‘replacement theory.’ Promoted by Tucker Carlson on Fox News, replacement theory has become the right wing’s dog whistle to motivate the Republican party’s far right conspiracy theory. Replacement theory is the idea that the population growth of black and brown people, promoted by the Democrats, ensures that white people will no longer be the majority in this nation. Carlson’s rhetoric falsely claims that native-born white people will be replaced by people of color and immigrants. Of course, we cannot forget our Jewish brothers and sisters who are not a threat to replace white people but remain high on the right wing’s hate list.


The egregious example of replacement theory that occurred last Saturday featured a racist who drove three hours from his home to a neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, to murder Black people. He targeted this community because of its large number of black citizens. So, he drove to Buffalo to kill total strangers intentionally and indiscriminately. He turned a marketplace into a shooting gallery and, in his wake, left 10 people dead and several wounded. He gleefully utilized his newly purchased automatic rifle and body armor like a child on Christmas morning playing war games. The body armor prevented him from being disabled by the security guard, who bravely returned fire, but the body armor protected the shooter and gave him the time to kill the guard.

What can we take away from this tragic account? Many of us have lamented for years that gun violence must end and that there is no need for automatic weapons on the streets of our nation. As much as we sing “Kumbaya” around the campfire and listen to Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, hatred is still alive and well. The nation is rife with venomous feelings that originated before the Civil War. We must not sleep through the right wing’s dog whistles of hidden racism. Although we develop political, social, and psychological strategies to combat this evil, when it’s all said and done, the words of the gospel song say it best, “If we ever needed the Lord before, we sure do need Him now.”

Pastor’s Pen_May 8, 2022

As the nation turns its thoughts to our mothers, we recall that women in the 21st century face extraordinary challenges. Women of color occupy the lowest rung of the economic ladder. Skyrocketing inflation, grocery bills, gas prices, and essential medical services are spiraling out of control. Add to that, rising costs of housing and childcare, and we witness the grim picture of what women experience at this moment in history.

What we celebrate on this Mother’s Day is the remarkable resilience of Black women. In the horrible days of slavery, Black women were whipped and brutalized alongside men. In the 19th century, when white women were placed on pedestals by a society that considered them too delicate and fragile for work, Black women worked the fields. If they were pregnant, they gave birth and were expected to return to the fields and resume their work the same day. When we consider all these factors, it is clear why Langston Hughes, in his poem, “Mother to a Son”: “Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair. It’s had tacks in it, and splinters, and boards torn up, and places with no carpet on the floor.”

For what our women endured and have accomplished, on this day, we say thank you to Black women everywhere.

Pastor’s Pen_May 1, 2022

As the weather will soon turn warm, I want to update you on the status of our air conditioner repairs. The work is underway; the piping is being replaced. Unfortunately, we recently received word that a computer chip, crucial to the operation of the air conditioner, is not available. This is due to a supply chain delay caused by skyrocketing demand, the pandemic and other factors.

We are developing contingency plans so that we will be prepared when the weather warms.  We intend to move our services to the Heritage Hall beginning the third Sunday in May. We will not return to the gymnasium during this period to protect the equipment. The constant moving of equipment, that has contributed to the quality of our worship services (in-house and virtually), causes damage.  Utilizing Heritage Hall will minimize these issues. We will continue to update you on the air conditioner repairs as information becomes available.

As the protocol requirements in this Covid era seem to change constantly, we want to ensure our membership is aware of our procedures. We will continue to require masks for all worship services. We also will require proof of vaccination. Please remember to always carry your card with you. This pandemic has worked a hardship on all of us. As your leaders—pastor, deacons, trustees—we will continue to make every effort to ensure the safety of all our members. We are aware that these protocols are challenging. Please remember that eventually, this will end. As Deacon Hall is fond of saying, “Let’s keep it all in God’s hands.”

Pastor’s Pen_April 24, 2022

A troubling phenomenon that grips our nation is gun violence. The Second Amendment is used in today’s culture as an excuse to bear all kinds of automatic or semi-automatic weapons. It is often stated that guns are used primarily for hunting and personal protection. Although there is some truth to these rationales, there are no recorded evidence to support them. No one shoots rabbits with automatic weapons, and a few uses automatic weapons for protection. Discharging AK47s for protection is ludicrous. When a rapid-fire gun is loaded and fired, an intruder would already have the upper hand.

No other nation in the developed world has a culture of gun violence like we have in the U.S. The Second Amendment protects the right of people to keep and bear arms.  It was authored when the colonists attempted to stave off the British Army from seizing weapons at random. That threat no longer exists. The overtly right-wing Republican gun lobbyists only care about their political agenda. It is time that our nation bring common sense to gun ownership. This world will never be safe until we “…beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks”, Isaiah 2:4 KJV. To the prophet, I exclaim a loud and hearty AMEN!

Pastor’s Pen_April 17, 2022

Christ the Lord is risen today, Hallelujah!

Two thousand and twenty-two years ago, something so astounding and inexplicable occurred that the world changed forever. Rationality and scientific methodology govern the world. The universe operates according to fixed beliefs. For instance, the law of gravity never alters because gravity holds our solar system together. The earth revolves around the sun, and in our orbit, as the third planet from the sun, our course never deviates. If it did, life as we know it could not survive.

Our modern minds look at the stories from the book of Joshua and read with bemusement about God answering Joshua’s prayer to cause the sun not to shine for a full day. In our present world, logic and order have replaced superstition to make sense of existence. Then comes the resurrection. It does not conform to any of the principles just mentioned. Yet, the eyewitness testimonies of the resurrected Jesus after the crucifixion are rock solid. Something happened on the misty morning of the first day of the week in Jerusalem. We cannot explain it; even the most theologically astute cannot adequately answer what occurred. The best scientific minds can only say, Christ the Lord is risen today, Hallelujah!

Pastor’s Pen_April 10, 2022

In 1619, the first Africans were brought forcibly to the world newly discovered by Europe. They settled into Hampton, Virginia, as enslaved people to be bought and sold by Europeans as those enslavers pleased. All the founding fathers owned enslaved people. Thomas Jefferson even kept one as his mistress and fathered some of her children.  However, even at his death he did free his slaves.

Slavery was the backbone of America’s agricultural society. On April 12, 1861, this nation began a Civil War that fought to keep slaveocracy intact. When the South lost the War, the Emancipation proclamation and the 13th Amendment gave enslaved people equality. Still, a century later, Reconstruction and Jim Crow segregation kept us as enslaved people without the name. But last Thursday, by a vote of 53 to 47, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed by the Senate to the United States Supreme Court. Millions of African Americans and people of faith never ceased praying, and the wind shifted. I am reminded of one of the favorite sayings of the African American church, “He may not come when you want Him, but He will be there right on time.” Hallelujah and Amen!

Pastor’s Pen_April 3, 2022

The Senate has set April 4 as the time to consider Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

Throughout the hearings, she presented herself as brilliant, calm, and incredibly patient with the inane questioning from the GOP Senators. They tried to paint her as soft in her sentencing of child pornographers and a stalking horse for Critical Race Theory. They all were obnoxious, but Ted Cruz was particularly objectionable in citing children’s books used at Georgetown Day, which he thought had a racial bias, and affirmed that Judge Jackson was a secret proponent of Critical Race Theory. It was evident that the Republicans were not questioning her fitness for the Supreme Court but pandering to Trump supporters in hopes of winning their next elections. This silly sham seems not to have paid off as at least one Republican, Senator Susan Collins, is prepared to vote for Judge Jackson’s elevation to the Court.

The only thing that will end this silliness is if the Trump supporters lose big in the primaries. In the meantime, African Americans and all people of goodwill have something to cheer about. The conclusion of Women’s History Month presented the nation that one brilliant Black sister bested the Lilliputians of lies–the GOP.

Pastor’s Pen_March 27, 2022

The continuing cat and mouse game between Russia and Ukraine presents a possible scenario the world has not witnessed since the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945. Hitler’s game was that his aggression was only against those countries he believed were wrongly taken from Germany after World War One. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain discovered that Hitler’s goals were not to restore Germany’s ancestral borders but to gain total control of Europe and then the world. Western powers like Great Britain, France, and the United States may have made German penalties for their aggression in the first world war too harsh, but the fact of the matter is that Hitler operated from a core of pure evil. No amount of death and destruction would deter him, and his thirst for power and domination was insatiable. The corruption, at his heart, would never end without his total destruction.

As we look at what is going on between Russia and Ukraine, the facts are eerily similar. Prime Minister Putin, a career KGB spy, never forgave the west for chipping away at the former Soviet Union. Mr. Putin may not prove to be someone of the magnitude of Adolf Hitler’s evil, but we must never overlook the human potential for destruction. These are indeed challenging times. The Russia-Ukraine conflict mirrors the hatred among political, racial, and cultural groups. These divisions seem to be worsening, not improving. That great theologian M. C. Hammer once sang, “We’ve got to pray just to make it today.” Professor Hammer was right. Christian people must not take wicked behavior lightly. With all that is going on in the world, we must take the words of Jesus literally and seriously. Hebrews 11:1 (KJV) state, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” As the world teeters ever closer to problem-solving with tanks, missiles, and aerial bombardment, we must remind ourselves what Jesus taught; that war is made through faith because faith, no bigger than a grain of mustard seed, has the power to transform the world.

Pastor’s Pen_March 13, 2022

The following is Part II of an article contributed by Atty. Ayanna D. Hawkins. In observance of Women’s History Month, again, I thank Atty. Hawkins for highlighting some of the qualifications and contributions of Black women in the legal profession in America.

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 BLACK WOMEN ARE QUALIFIED FOR ANY AND EVERY LEGAL POSITION!

The contention that affirmative action casts doubt on the accomplishments of potential recipients mischaracterizes how white women have benefitted more than members of every other historically marginalized racial or ethnic group. This has been illustrated twice with respect to past Supreme Court vacancies. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan tapped Sandra Day O’Connor to serve on the Court in fulfillment of a campaign pledge. In 2020, President Donald Trump explicitly nominated Justice Amy Coney Barrett in fulfillment of a similar pledge to appoint a qualified woman.

None of these three Senators withheld their support or raised any objections to Justice Barrett because of her race or gender. Furthermore, when then-candidate Trump released a list of potential nominees for the Supreme Court in May of 2016 (for the vacancy President Obama was prevented from filling upon the death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia), all of those named were white. President Trump nominated only two Black women to the federal bench of the 234 vacancies he filled; yet none of these Senators decried the lack of diversity in those selections.

Senators Cruz and Kennedy who both serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee, have typically voted against the nominees put forth by President Biden. Partisan and ideological differences are usually offered as the reason for opposing an otherwise qualified nominee. Senator Cruz, who went so far as to accuse President Biden of racism in his ideological opposition to the nomination of Judge Janice Rogers Brown in 2003, voted against all eleven of the Black women already confirmed. Additionally, at no point during the previous Administration did Cruz advocate for Judge Brown’s name to be considered for the Supreme Court.

It is not affirmative action that minimizes and marginalizes the accomplishments of Black women in the legal profession. It is racism and sexism. It is the inference that our career opportunities are somehow undeserved. It is ignoring the fact that each candidate under consideration for this vacancy will have similar qualifications and experience as the other current Justices on the Court. It is failing to acknowledge that until Thurgood Marshall’s nomination in 1967, most of the white male Justices were chosen for their political connections. Several justices served in all three branches of government, with the Court serving as the final career capstone: i.e., Chief Justice William Howard Taft (1857-1930), after serving as the 27th President of the United States; and Chief Justice Earl Warren (1891-1974), after serving as the 30th Governor of California and failing to secure his party’s nomination for President in 1948 and 1952.

When Pauli Murray wrote to President Richard Nixon and asked to be considered for the vacancy created by the retirement and death of Justice Hugo Black (1886-1971), it was probably ignored as incredulous. Until President Bill Clinton doubled the number of Black women chosen to serve on the federal bench, only three were appointed between 1981 and 1992. The issue has not been that Black women fail to qualify, but that those in power fail or refuse to consider Black women for available vacancies. A Black woman in that seat won’t undo historical atrocities or systemic racism, but she’ll have a vote. One vote can save our democracy. Her voice will speak to future generations and form the basis of how the law will be interpreted. Who knows what long-term impact she will have on the Court?