The Pastor’s Pen: June 3, 2018

The latest example of the egregious racism in our nation was the tweet of Roseanne Barr, star of Donald Trump’s favorite show, “Roseanne.” Barr, true to form, unjustifiably likened Valerie Jarrett, former advisor to President Obama, to a baby from a “Muslim Brotherhood and the Planet of the Apes.”  Thankfully, the ABC network took immediate action and canceled the show; no mean feat as this was ABC’s most popular offering and its cancellation could cost ABC millions of dollars. However, there is no cost too high in fighting the poisonous tentacles of racism.

Not surprisingly, the White House did not condemn the tweets but only commented that “the President also deserved an apology from ABC for the mean things that have been said about him on this network.” Donald Trump’s narcissistic abilities to turn every issue to himself would be laughable if the realities of Roseanne’s twitter storm were not so outrageous and dangerous. Racial violence has escalated since Trump took office. The confrontation between white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia and the Unite to Rally supporters led to the death of a young woman by a white supremacist who gunned his engine and plowed his car into a crowd.   This is but one example of a nationwide epidemic of angry whites venting their frustrations on Blacks and their allies. Listening to talk radio is like entering a parallel universe, one in which legitimate news is called fake, and at least one network (Fox) has become state-run television.

Although the far-right hated President Obama, his entire presidency was about bringing people together.  Early in Mr. Obama’s tenure, Dr. Henry Louis Gates, distinguished professor at Harvard, was arrested by the police as he attempted to enter his own home.  Mr. Obama invited Dr. Gates and the arresting officer to the White House to attempt to settle their grievances. We don’t know how effective it was, or lasting the results of that discussion, but Mr. Obama understood clearly, the first job of a leader is to bring folk together, not to drive them apart.

The Bible is clear, that there are dark and demonic forces within the human psyche that, once unleashed, can cause enormous suffering. The murder of 6 million Jews during World War II is indicative of how pervasive and dangerous evil can be when it goes unchecked. Closer to home, for Black Americans, is the nearly 100-year reign of terror known as Reconstruction which caused thousands to die brutally as lynchings went completely unchecked. To this day, it sickens me to see pictures of lynchings and mutilations of helpless Blacks, strung from a tree until their agonized bodies finally stopped kicking as death came as welcome relief.

If this nation and its political leadership do not aggressively end the racist hatred in this country, the results of hatred and division will become the roaring fire that consumes us. Hosea 8:7 states, “Those who have sown the wind, will reap the whirlwind.”