The Pastor’s Pen: September 2, 2018

A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.” – Saul Bellow

Bellow was correct. Our nation is moving toward turning illusion into reality. Trump lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, recently told Meet the Press host Chuck Todd that “truth isn’t truth,” one of the most absurd statements to ever come out of the mouth of our country’s so-called leadership. However, lest we assume these people are a harmless gang that simply couldn’t shoot straight, we witness the dark under belly of this not so funny farce.

In last Tuesday’s primary election, the Mayor of Tallahassee, Andrew Gillum, captured a stunning Democratic win over a group of much better-funded opponents. On the Republican side, Trump clone Ron DeSantis, took that party’s nomination and the race baiting began. DeSantis said in a Fox and Friends morning interview that “the last thing Floridians need to do is ‘monkey this up’ by electing Gillum.” Although he will surely deny the racial implications, if pushed, he was sending a strong “dog whistle” message to white supremacists that Florida cannot be turned over to a Black man.

This happened on the same day that the President, at a gathering of white evangelicals, warned that there will be “violence” if the Republicans lose their majority in Congress as a result of the 2018 midterms. Trump and his followers are not bumbling idiots. They know exactly what they are doing. Their goal is to turn back the clock on all the civil rights gains of the last 50 years. The violence fomenting is not perpetrated by Blacks and browns, but by angry white males, for example, who will plow a car into a crowd of peaceful demonstrators to make their hate-filled point, as happened in Charlottesville, Virginia a year ago.

The question is often asked, what can we do about all this? The obvious answer is what our younger Black sisters and brothers have taught us: “Stay woke.” Every morning when I read TheWashington Post, I am struck by the masthead, “Democracy dies in darkness.” Those who are steering our country into the abyss are counting on our indifference and lethargy to achieve their goals. We must not be duped by feigned smiles and aw-shucks apologies. Nothing going on right now is accidental; what we are witnessing are purposeful attempts to usher in a new era of race hatred. History has shown that when these kinds of sentiments go unchecked, lynchings and other horrendous crimes against humanity are not far behind.

The second thing we must do is turn to God for deliverance, not in a passive way but in the way Dr. King taught us, speaking truth to power and refusing to cooperate with evil.

2 Chronicles 7:14 states it best, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Lord knows this land is desperately in need of healing!