The Pastor’s Pen: August 12, 2018

In another stunning example of the hatred that presently rages through our nation, the rally this weekend on the Mall displays the bitter divisions that exist in the US.

The unholy coalition of groups like the Neo-Nazis, the Klu Klux Klan, and various White Supremacist groups indicates the depth of the divisiveness to which we have come. We remember with horror the march and rally in Charlottesville, Virginia where the evening candlelight vigil that began the rally was eerily similar to the events in Nazi Germany that began Hitler’s rise to power. History witnesses to the devastating effects Hitler’s movement left on the world.  Millions around the world died as a result of their attempts at ethnic cleansing. What began as nighttime candle lit rallies went on to become the raging fires that torched England, Europe, and Russia. The Nazis, in collaboration with the Japanese, ignited a global war that led to unspeakable atrocities from which the international community still suffers.

For our government, through winks and nods, to tacitly support this coven of evil gathering on the Mall is unconscionable. Any moral government would condemn this assembly with the strongest terms. This rally is not a free speech issue. Dangerous and incendiary speech is never acceptable. It is not permissible to cry fire in a crowded theater and declare it was your right to do this as a free speech issue. Freedom of speech was always intended as freedom of responsible speech.

Seething and slithering underneath the surface of all societies is the potential for enormous harm. It has been well documented that the most mild-mannered clerks and librarians joined, with gusto, the lynch mobs that dragged Black folk out of their homes to mutilate them and then hang them until dead.

In Ephesians, the 4th through the 5th chapters, Paul describes the behaviors that lead to destruction: unchecked anger, irresponsible speech and shameless lies. All of these behaviors have been on display this weekend on the Mall.  What should people of faith do in response to this gathering of hate? Some believe we should join in counter-protests. That approach may have merit, but it also invites the kind of violence that right wing bigots are hoping for.

Whether we do or do not join in counter-protests, we certainly need to organize our churches to do several things that were emphasized at last week’s Progressive National Baptist Convention. One, we should inundate congressional offices with letters and emails of protest. Law makers operate under the premise that for every email, there are 100 others who have not emailed that support that sentiment. Two, we should organize as we never have before to vote in the upcoming elections. To vote, we must register, verify those registrations, and ensure that people get to the election places on election day.

Progressive National Baptist Churches will provide assistance in implementing these strategies. We will surely follow their lead. The third thing we must do is pray. Rather than seeing prayer as a bye and bye pie in the sky approach, let’s utilize prayer the way our ancestors did, as understanding, no evil can stand against the power of the Almighty God.