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‘Trumpet call from the podium’: Black faith leaders vow to resist

The Rev. Herbert Daughtry introduces his daughter, the Rev. Leah Daughtry, at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference on Feb. 21, 2017. RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks

RICHMOND, Va. (RNS) The Rev. Leah Daughtry stood in front of fellow black Christian leaders and told them they will need to work harder for social justice.

“If you’ve been feeding them, now clothe them,” said the Pentecostal pastor and 2016 CEO of the Democratic National Convention Committee at a conference this week. “If you’ve been clothing them, now console them. If you’ve been at a march, now lead the march. If you’ve been at a rally, now organize the rally.”

“This calls for more. We can’t keep doing what we’ve been doing,” she added.

The Rev. Leah Daughtry speaks at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference in Richmond, Va., on Feb. 21, 2017. RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks

A month after the inauguration of President Trump, African-American faith leaders who were concerned about the election outcome are now strategizing about their next steps.

Some have already been marching and rallying. Others have offered tips and ideas to help groups that they fear will be hurt by the new administration.

At the conference, which ended Thursday (Feb. 23), Lisa Sharon Harper, chief church engagement officer at Sojourners, said African-American faith leaders are looking at Trump’s cabinet appointments and the executive orders and concluding they must act.

Lisa Sharon Harper, chief engagement officer of Sojourners, on Feb. 22, 2017. RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks

“This administration has positioned itself in diametric opposition to God and therefore there is a trumpet call from the podium to resist,” she said in an interview.

“Where one resists and how one resists is up to the individual call to that person,” she added. “But to collaborate with evil is to become evil.”

On Wednesday, Sojourners joined leaders of African-American and Hispanic groups to launch the Matthew 25 Pledge. Endorsed by 100 faith leaders and signed by more than 20,000 people, it reads, “I pledge to protect and defend vulnerable people in the name of Jesus.”

The pledge signers agreed to “stand with African-Americans and other people of color threatened by racial policing” as well as undocumented immigrants fearing deportation and Muslims threatened with bans.

“Even though the crisis is today around deportations and Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, black parents and pastors and clergy leaders across the country are sitting in fear that open season against young blacks is just around the corner,” said the Rev. Barbara Williams-Skinner, co-chair of the National African American Clergy Network, on a media conference call about the pledge.

The website for the pledge includes a 16-page booklet that features best practices to improve community relations with the police.

Daughtry had ticked off a number of to-dos for the hundreds meeting at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference in a Richmond hotel, including showing up and “getting in the way” as well as using social media.

“This struggle will require more than keyboard warriors,” she said. “It will require us to get our hands dirty in the hand-to-hand combat of relationship building, community organizing and personal engagement.”

Theology professor Ben Sanders of Eden Theological Seminary on Feb. 22, 2017. RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks

Shannon Dycus, a black pastor at First Mennonite Church in Indianapolis, said her predominantly white congregation is considering becoming a sanctuary church, not solely for Latino immigrants but also LGBT people and African-Americans who may feel vulnerable: “Everyone who will be impacted by an increase in force by our government.”

But some say this should always be the focus.

“I want to balance the need to remain focused and the need to double down but also the reminder that this is what we should always be about whether we have a president that we like in the White House or not,” said Ben Sanders, a professor of theology and ethics at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis.

“The rise of Trump affirms for any of us who may have gotten too comfortable with Obama,” he said, “that this work is always needed, that there is no offseason.”

About the author

Adelle M. Banks

Adelle M. Banks, production editor and a national reporter, joined RNS in 1995. An award-winning journalist, she previously was the religion reporter at the Orlando Sentinel and a reporter at The Providence Journal and newspapers in the upstate New York communities of Syracuse and Binghamton.

22 Comments

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  • Open season from just this one article? The likely scenario is that she was shot because she was the police officer who encountered him. Anything else is conjecture.

  • Three female “pastors” cited, and three good reasons why the Lord taught that women should not be pastors. The church is to teach the Word of God – not to involve itself in politics. This is satan sneaking into the church and the women are letting him do so.

  • Well, you’re partially right Jim. I forgot that it’s open season on white policewomen too.

    https://www.rt.com/usa/260845-omaha-officer-orozco-killed/

    http://cjonline.com/news/2016-11-29/i-felt-my-life-was-danger-topeka-police-officer-testifies-about-dangling-moving-suv

    You see, it’s actually open season on ALL officers. As a direct result of “Black Lives Matter” words & deeds, Americans (including many blacks but NOT limited to them), think it’s OK to do mess on Black, Hispanic, Asian, and White officers. You can find hunted cops under all those labels. (Gender too; who cares if the woman cop has her children waiting at home?) And don’t even bring up the evil Dallas murders.

    Yet you see Radio Silence coming from Sojourners, NAACN, BLM, etc. They don’t wanna come clean on this gig. So I confess to you Jim, that I honestly yell a little bit louder on it. The war against police — of all races, male & female — must stop.

  • Cjonline? The same Kansas paper which published a creationist op ed that you tried to fob off earlier this week?

    RT.com is the online version of Vladimir Putin’s official propaganda department. Even Russians don’t take it seriously as a,news source.

    Do you have something that isn’t coming from wingnuts and professional liars?

  • The closest thing to a war on cops was in Texas by a black man. This was followed by several other incidents clearly targeting cops. It’s difficult to tell what the motivations are. It could be hatred of cops or just removing obstacles to their freedom.

  • “Removing obstacles to their freedom,” what precisely does that mean? Is that an attempt to justify such actions since no one ought to be impeded in the freedom of their actions regardless of outcome?

  • Yes Spuddie, Cjonline. And rt.com. But here’s what I am noticing:

    You are totally unable to rationally address a Cjonline news story about a serious criminal-involved event happening to a local policewoman. No rebuttal.

    Just as you are totally unable to rationally address a Cjonine opinion piece about evolution-versus-intelligent design. No rebuttal.

    Just as you cannot address the shooting death of a policewoman whose baby was about to be released from the hospital, a story carried by rt.com (among other outlets). No rebuttal.

  • I deny you have used credible sources in the first place. No need to deny what isn’t established as true yet. You are perhaps the only person reading RT.com who actually took it at face value.

  • Sorry, “obstacles to their freedom” means they kill the cop confronting them so they don’t get arrested.

  • Oh to be so rich as the church lady! lol…..Satan gets a lot of freebies by Christians, I’m sure,
    1 Timothy 4:1 – Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” A female preacher is unscriptural to begin with. Secondly, who else, but satan, would want to hurt the church, making his platform on a lie? Who else would want the focus to not be on Christ – the purpose of the church?

  • Thanks for the clarification, in strictly technical terms related to the rules of semantics (to the degree they are codified), the comment makes complete sense, but the concept it expresses is both coldblooded and chilling, not to say that your sentiments are such.

  • Just looked at FBI data on police shootings. First, line of duty shooting deaths are declining. Generally, the offenders are balanced by race. So am not sure BLM has anything to do with being specifically responsible for all line of duty deaths. There are bad black guys and bad white guys. Inaccurate narrative to claim a war on police but one that is part of traditional police culture. Certainly way before BLM.

    There were more officers accidentally killed in 2015 than there were officer shooting deaths.

  • Three things to note – one is the proliferation of guns/US gun culture – even though bad guys have guns elsewhere, the rate of officer fatalities in the US is much, much higher than elsewhere.
    Secondly, criminals are not exactly the sharpest nail in the toolbox. So their assessment of a situation is likely different – particularly if they know that should they make it over the state line, they get off basically scott free – minimal extradition between states. Until they commit another crime in the new location.
    Third, certain officer conduct variables have been found to increase and conversely decrease the risk of violence in an arrest situation – although gets more complicated if the offender is mentally ill or high.

  • Kudos to those churches for doing the right thing. The Matthew 25 pledge is simple, and the heart of Jesus’ gospel.

  • Reasonable concerns can be raised, however, about that “policing kit” of theirs. I’ll do that in the other thread (“Dangerous perversion of religion and politics” by Rabbi Rudin).

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