Black churches are no longer ground zero for civil rights activism

Print More
Members of Miles Memorial Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., join in prayer as the church observed "Black Lives Matter" Sunday on Dec. 14, 2014. RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks

Members of Miles Memorial Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., join in prayer as the church observed "Black Lives Matter" Sunday on Dec. 14, 2014. RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks

Active RNS subscribers and members can view this content by logging-in here.

(RNS) “The church is jumping in to lend its support -- not to lead it -- which is a different place from where the black church has been historically," said Baltimore pastor Jamal-Harrison Bryant.

  • Pingback: Black churches are no longer ground zero for civil rights activism - Black Politics on the Web()

  • Pingback: Black Church Clergy Admit Their Sanctuaries Are No Longer Ground Zero for the Civil Rights Movement | BCNN1 WP()

  • Pingback: BCNN2 » Blog Archive » Black Church Clergy Admit Their Sanctuaries Are No Longer Ground Zero for the Civil Rights Movement()

  • Pingback: Black churches leadership have been deceived and hijacked by radical white socialists | Laodicean Report()

  • ““Black LGBT bodies must matter, too!” said a statement from Many Voices, a pro-LGBT church group.”

    Yes.
    And if “Black Lives Matter” what good is it to
    walk into a church where you are told to be a slave for Jesus?

    “You are … ENSLAVED TO GOD” – Romans 6:22

    Reminder: There is a price for this religious nonsense.

    Black Lives Do MATTER.
    So what do we need the churches for?
    Churches make people feel good for a little while. But the price is too high.

    Churches sell servitude and surrender.
    They do not offer DIGNITY. That is something one must find on his own.

  • Ben in Oakland

    “Black churches are no longer ground zero for civil rights activism.”

    But that’s all right. They still have the time to beat up on gay people, while doing nothing about astronomical rates of illegitimacy and fatherless children.

  • Pingback: Selected News Stories from Around the World* — Friday, Dec. 19 | The BibleMesh Blog()

  • Pingback: 50 Years After the Civil Rights Movement, Black Churches Are Finding New Ways for Activism | BCNN1 WP()

  • Pingback: Mere Links 12.22.14 - Mere Comments()

  • “Churches sell servitude and surrender.
    They do not offer DIGNITY. That is something one must find on his own.”

    Atheist Max, I do not think you understand Christianity well enough to reject it. The secular world is never — and I mean never — going to recognize the dignity of a person unless that person first produces something of material value. A person cannot go out and “find his own” dignity until he first produces something of value the secular world wants. At that point, a person’s dignity might be recognized, but only briefly in this “what have you done for me lately?” society of ours.

    Christians are taught in church to recognize the dignity of every human being because we were created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). My recommendation to anyone who wants to know about dignity is to go to a Bible-believing, Christ-centered church and pay attention.

  • Larry

    “Christians are taught in church to recognize the dignity of every human being because we were created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27).”

    Unless they are of a different sect than yourself, atheists, gay or some form of church you do not consider truly, “Bible-believing, Christ-centered church”. All of those people are unworthy of consideration, expected to be attacked in the name of Jesus, and must face torment denying basic human dignity for all eternity.

  • Larry,

    If you spent a few minutes with Mr. Google, you could have learned a few facts before posting your comment. The Catholic Church, for example, teaches “moral viewpoint is founded on human reason illumined by faith and is consciously motivated by the desire to do the will of God our Father.” (Letter To The Bishops Of The Catholic Church On The Pastoral Care Of Homosexual Persons) Specifically, the Church sees a distinction between a person and the acts committed by that person. (As do many other Christian denominations as well.)

    Let’s say this again differently: the Church affirms my dignity as a person made in the image of God. The Church does not and ought not and cannot affirm or encourage the sins that I commit. Whether my sin is popular or unpopular in my society makes no difference. It is still a sin.

    Temptation to sin is not a sin. (cf. Matt. 4:1-11) Regarding homosexuality, that Pastoral Letter states clearly, “Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.”

    To recap: From conception to death, the Catholic Church affirms the dignity of every person. People are not sins and sins are not people. Inclination to sin (temptation) is not a sin.

    If you have a rebuttal, please cite specific facts.

  • @Spambot,

    “The secular world is never — and I mean never — going to recognize the dignity of a person unless that person first produces something of material value.”

    Nonsense and Garbage!

    An Atheist mother does not love and recognize her daughter unconditionally?
    An Atheist Father does not recognize and love his son unconditionally?
    An Atheist Son does not recognize and love his Atheist father?

    An Atheist like Warren Buffett does not recognize the dignity of the millions of children he has helped through his donations of millions of dollars in charity?

    An Atheist like Paul Newman did not recognize the dignity and value of the millions of children he helped when he donated all the proceeds of “Newman’s Own” ($370 Million Dollars).

    An Atheist like Jacques Yves Cousteau did not recognize the value and dignity of the beautiful oceans and try to save them from pollution?

    An Atheist like Oscar Schindler did not recognize the value and dignity of thousands of Jews as he saved them from Hitler’s Catholic Aryan Dictatorship?

    An Atheist like Dr. Seuss did not recognize the dignity and value of children when he wrote his masterpieces of children’s literature?

    Atheists and Secularists like Oxfam International, The Red Cross and Doctors without Borders PUT NO DIGNITY OR VALUE ON HUMANITY AS THEY SACRIFICE THEIR LIVES TO SAVE DYING PEOPLE EVERYWHERE ON EARTH??

    HOW IGNORANT can a person be?

    _____
    AM
    For Peace, Love and The Separation of Church and State

  • Spambot,

    “From conception to death, the Catholic Church affirms the dignity of every person…..If you have a rebuttal, please cite specific facts.”

    Nonsense!

    The Rwandan Genocide alone was a thoroughly Catholic murderous enterprise in the most Catholic country in Africa. The slaughter of 800,000 innocent people can be pinned entirely on the Catholic Priests and Nuns who carried machetes and lured innocent families into churches to slaughter them.

    Father Anatole Serromba is only one such case of the thousands of Catholics who murdered innocents – which was catalogued by the International Tribunal.

    Father Serromba killed 2000 innocent people by himself but there were thousands who killed 100’s of people – Father Serromba was protected by the Vatican even after the Pope knew he was a mass murderer. The Church has always protected its evil doers in the same way the Mafia protects its hit men.

    Shame on you for not knowing these things.

    _____
    AM
    For Peace, Atheism and The Separation of Church and State

  • Atheist Max,

    For someone who prides himself as a rigorous scientist, you have fallen for the logical fallacy presuming that something is true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some part of the whole. If one atheist is a callous murderer, does that mean all atheist are callous murderers? If one atheist donates money, does that mean secular society as a whole recognize the dignity of every person?

    Without God, you don’t even have a reference for the terms ‘good’ and ‘evil’ other than the shifting and baseless definitions that society itself comes up with! An unborn baby isn’t wanted? Put her in the dump. “Choice is good.” I’m sick and there is no cure for my condition? Put me in the dump, too. “Death with dignity is good.”

    This is radical autonomy. This is the society that secularism is giving us. These are the fruits of atheism, which as the Catholic Church rightly recognized: “Atheism is often based on a false conception of human autonomy, exaggerated to the point of refusing any dependence on God.” A few examples of wealthy atheists giving some of their money away is not going to change that.

  • Atheist Max,

    You are going to have to pull this conversation back to Ms. Banks’ original post if you want a lengthy response. Suffice to say that spending a few quality minutes with Mr. Google will provide better insight into the Rwandan genocide than you provided.

    You compound your off-topic comment with the logical fallacy of looking at the views and actions of one individual — who is a member of many diverse groups — and imputing those views and actions on an entire group. A better scientist would look at the beliefs of the group and assess whether an individual’s actions are consistent or inconsistent with those beliefs.

    If you insist, then look to the views and actions of the many Christians who have helped Rwanda heal after the genocide and impute those views and actions on Christians as a whole.

  • Larry

    LMAO!! The Catholic Church (and others) by your standards makes a phony distinction based on ignorance/deliberate misinformation to make excuses for attacking the basic human dignity of people.

    You couldn’t even pretend to abide by your previous statement, that all people are deserving of dignity just on the basis of being human. You had to qualify it with nonsense about “affirming sin”. If all people are worthy of human dignity, that means ALL people. Sinners and saints alike. There would never be an excuse to attack the dignity of others.

    “To recap: From conception to death, the Catholic Church affirms the dignity of every person. People are not sins and sins are not people. Inclination to sin (temptation) is not a sin.”

    To recap you said the Catholic Church affirms the dignity of every person who is not mired in what it considers sin. To treat such people with dignity is considered “affirming their sins” and therefore is to be discouraged.

    Your church gives you excuses for your behavior. Even the things which are hateful and anti-social. Your respect for the dignity of others is dependent entirely on arbitrary and capricious conditions.

    “Let’s say this again differently: the Church affirms my dignity as a person made in the image of God. The Church does not and ought not and cannot affirm or encourage the sins that I commit”

    Now you are in agreement with me. Your church DOES NOT affirm the dignity of ALL people as made in the image of God. In your own words, such dignity is conditional on the compliance with arbitrary and capricious elements of its sectarian dogma.

    All people who fail to follow such rules or belong to a sect other than yours are unworthy of being considered with human dignity. We may all be created in God’s image, but according to your church, not all people deserve to be treated as such.

    “If you have a rebuttal, please cite specific facts.”

    Your own words support my statements. If respect for the dignity of others is universal for all people, as made in God’s image, it can’t be conditional. Being human would be the only requirement for such treatment. Obviously you do not believe that to be true. Neither does your church.

  • Larry

    That is a steaming load of crap.

    Obviously with God, you think that attacking the dignity of others is perfectly fine because he said so.

    You have no notion of morality because you do not make moral decisions. Morality is weighing your actions against their consequences to other people. Religious morality has nothing to that effect. Religious notions of morality, especially Christian versions of it amount to nothing more than self-interest and deference to arbitrary outside authority. Acting in a socially acceptable way out of divine rewards and punishments like a child who can’t make their own decisions.

    Religious morality is slippery and relative to the point of being non-existent. ANY act is excusable if one claims to be doing it on God’s behalf, even human sacrifice (how Christians view Abraham’s attempted murder of his only son). Religion has always given excuses for atrocity and bad behavior.

    People know right and wrong because they are human beings. Ones who understand their actions have consequences to other human beings. You do not harm others because one does not want to be harmed in kind. You also understand how it feels to be harmed and don’t want that to happen to others.

    If you needed God to tell you that harming others is wrong, you are nothing more than a psychopath on a divine leash. Seek professional help immediately.

  • Larry,

    The distinction between people and the actions they commit is as simple and clear and the distinction between nouns and verbs. There is nothing “arbitrary” or “capricious” about it as you insist.

    Two other quick points: We are all sinners. (cf. Romans 3:23) This is a fundamental tenet of Christianity, so there is no basis for your claim that the Church teaches that “dignity is conditional on the compliance” with certain rules. Second, when Christians do good actions, there is nothing for us to boast about (see 2 Corinthians 11:16-33, for example). Doing good does not merit us salvation or any sort of exemption from the sins we commit.

    I hope this helps.

  • Larry

    “There is nothing “arbitrary” or “capricious” about it as you insist.”

    Of course there is. You follow certain rules because it is commanded in your scripture (or the best interpretation of it that you feel like accepting). No thought given as to why it must be followed or what purpose it serves beyond personal effect of “salvation”. Following rules out of fear of punishment or desire for reward. That leads to acceptance of all things arbitrary and capricious.

    “We are all sinners.”

    But some sinners are not worthy of basic dignity, as compared to others. The behavior and dogma of your church and many others demonstrate that perfectly. Treating everyone with dignity would be considered “affirming the sins” of some of them.

    If sinners are denied dignity out of the notion of “affirming sin” and “we are all sinners”, then nobody is granted dignity on the basis of being in the image of God. Those unworthy of salvation in your eyes are unworthy of being treated with dignity. Your initial statement has always been PR. Nothing more than a lie to cover what is obvious. Dignity and love of thy neighbor is based on following your sect’s rules.

    The problem is you and your church don’t actually believe the statement that all people are treated with dignity as being made in God’s image. You repeat it because it sounds socially acceptable, but everything about your belief opposes such notions. You keep making conditions to dignity which supposedly is inherent to all people.

    The fact that one believes Hell exists for those who are sinful means that dignity is stripped in the ultimate fashion. All despite being made in the image of God. Dignity of all people as made in the image of God flies in the face of talk of damnation and “affirmation of sin”. Any aspiration to love of mankind is mired in trying to act holier than thou and blind obedience to arbitrary authority.

  • Concerned

    LOL! Being a slave to God is a GREAT thing. Biblical slavery is not the same as antebellum south slavery. The greatest dignity is to be a child of THE GREAT I AM :).

  • Larry,

    Your entire comment is incorrect, but I will focus on your last paragraph because that may be the specific location where you went off the tracks. You started with two (unstated) bad premises which resulted in a bad conclusion. Your first bad premise was that Christians are equipped with the capability of discerning who is going to hell. Your second bad premise is that people who are going to hell are permitted to be treated by faithful Christians without dignity in this life. You bad conclusion is your final paragraph:

    “The fact that one believes Hell exists for those who are sinful means that dignity is stripped in the ultimate fashion. All despite being made in the image of God. Dignity of all people as made in the image of God flies in the face of talk of damnation and ‘affirmation of sin’. Any aspiration to love of mankind is mired in trying to act holier than thou and blind obedience to arbitrary authority.”

    I believe in everlasting life, and because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, I may use my free will to follow him and be saved. I may also abuse my free will a choose a destructive path to hell (cf. Matthew 25:31-46). Thing is though, I can always change my mind anytime up until my last breath. So even if someone says they reject Jesus, we do not know if that will be their final position on the matter.

    Second, Jesus himself commanded us to pray for God to “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” In my previous comment I stated that we are all sinners and I mean it and every Christian means it. Knowing that, we must forgive others so that we may be forgiven. No condemnation from me unless I want to be condemned.

    With these two bad premises out of the way, your conclusion that Christianity teaches us to deny the dignity of sinners falls apart. (And that’s good thing, right?)

  • “Being a slave to God is a GREAT thing.”

    Agree. We can be a slave “of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God” (as in Romans 1:1), or we can be slave of our sinful passions (as in Romans 7:5). We have a free will and the choice is ours. We can indulge in the material world and be a slave to it (as in Romans 1:24), or we can be free through a healthy spiritual life (as in Romans 6:17).

    Atheist Max quoted part of Romans 6:22, so here is the whole passage: “But now that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit that you have leads to sanctification, and its end is eternal life.” (New American Bible)

  • Pingback: Marquette Bans Pro-Marriage Prof, Ukraine’s Catholics Going Back Underground? Islamists Warn Indonesian Christians | Aleteia()