Ricochet Member Recommended FeedRecommended by R> Members

Black Clergy, Government Dependency, and Black Responsibility

 

Prior to November’s election, a group of black clergy led by Jackie Rivers — of the Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies — delivered a letter to Hillary Clinton’s campaign headquarters.

The letter questioned how Clinton might have addressed various problems within black communities — like abortion, police brutality, and poor education and economic opportunities.

The letter concluded by requesting a meeting with Hillary Clinton during her first 100 days in office to discuss these issues in more detail.

There will be no meeting with the Clinton administration because there will be no Clinton administration. Donald Trump was elected as the 45th president of the United States.

In trying to persuade Democrats to take black concerns seriously, black leaders, religious or not, are perpetuating the habit of outsourcing black responsibility. They’re also reinforcing the preoccupation with — and dependence on — government to find solutions to black adversity.

Encouraging politicians to pass legislation addressing education and economic issues is fine. But black religious leaders are wrong to plead with politicians to resolve black moral dysfunction that can and must be principally challenged by local churches in their respective communities.

For example, the letter condemns high abortion rates among blacks. Addressing the impact of abortion, it noted that, “Blacks account for roughly 38% of all abortions in the country though we represent only 13% of the population.”

The letter affirms that people are “created in God’s image,” and innocent human life deserves protection against the “deliberate destruction … in its most vulnerable state.”

Hillary Clinton would’ve facilitated more black abortion. She was the recipient of an award named after racial eugenicist Margaret Sanger. Clinton enthusiastically supports abortion up to the point of birth. Democrats are religiously devoted to abortion and that’s not changing.

Black church leaders are much better positioned to confront the destructive effects of black abortion because it’s a moral problem, and because of their proximity to the problem. The women having these abortions are members of their local communities, churches and religious institutions. The problem and solution of reducing black abortion comes down to moral redemption and black responsibility, which starts with local church leaders redeeming theologies of life that flatly denounce sexually-destructive behaviors (including abortion as birth control) and encouraging productive ones; not government intervention.

The same goes for black criminality, which the letter correctly labeled a “calamity,” which encourages police presence in black neighborhoods. But the letter sought action and resolution from the wrong person, party, and medium.

Effective policing and commensurate sentencing for criminality are needed. But black churches must repeatedly rebuke the depravity of behaviors that seeks death and destruction, or more blacks — particularly the innocent — will suffer predictable consequences. Black churches must reject the tradition of silence when it comes to condemning or excusing black criminality, which condones the very community-destroying behaviors these black Christians were spotlighting.

Black churches must also strongly repudiate the cultural disorders and criminal stereotypes that draw the eye and ire of law enforcement. Black churches should re-emphasize a Christian temperament that includes family stability, fatherhood, self-respect, personal responsibility, and the love of neighbor to lessen black criminality and tension-filled police responses.

We’re obligated to control the things that are within our power to control. This includes admitting that some blacks are sabotaging black society, but also that blacks can restore black society, which would demonstrate real black empowerment, improving America in the process.

Black churches need to emphasize the gospel- and other resources that are instrumental in changing lives and overcoming the negative aspects of black culture.

Blacks must stop preserving the posture of weakness and helplessness, and depending on politics to save us.

Black faith leaders have been called and entrusted to bear witness to the transformative nature of the Christian gospel. Petitioning the altar of government for restoration implies that the gospel of Christ is pragmatically insufficient when compared to the gospel of big government.

We must remember — salvation is from God, not the government.

Published in Culture, Religion & Philosophy
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Members have made 25 comments.

  1. Profile photo of RyanFalcone Member

    Has this group reached out to Trump to meet with him during his first 100 days?

    If this country is to overcome the darkness that it is in, it must be through repentance and obedience to God. This isn’t possible for non-believers obviously but churches of all types need to do a much better job. Darkness doesn’t pierce light. Light pierces darkness. We got here because churches abdicated their role as Gods hand into a broken world. Government has just stepped into that void. Black, white and all other types of churches need to bring the gospel back instead of feel good, self help, social justice ministries in my opinion.

    • #1
    • January 10, 2017 at 10:02 am
    • LikeLike
  2. Profile photo of The King Prawn Member

    Derryck Green:Black faith leaders have been called and entrusted to bear witness to the transformative nature of the Christian gospel. Petitioning the altar of government for restoration implies that the gospel of Christ is pragmatically insufficient when compared to the gospel of big government.

    We must remember- salvation is from God, not the government.

    How is this made to happen when “Revs” Jackson and Sharpton command all the attention and preach the gospel of big government?

    • #2
    • January 10, 2017 at 10:05 am
    • LikeLike
  3. Profile photo of La Tapada Member

    What a positive post, Derrick! This is my prayer for the Black community.

    It has occurred to me lately that Black churches should send missionaries out into the cities, to carry the message that hope lies in the gospel and, as you say, in “family stability, fatherhood, self-respect, personal responsibility, and the love of neighbor.”

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see a strong revival in the church that would overflow into society in this way?

    • #3
    • January 10, 2017 at 10:27 am
    • LikeLike
  4. Profile photo of Derryck Green Member
    Derryck Green Post author

    RyanFalcone (View Comment):
    Has this group reached out to Trump to meet with him during his first 100 days?

    Nope. Which demonstrates just how confident they were in a Hillary win, but also how politically monolithic black group think, religious or not, continues to be. Progressive politics have been the crutches that have facilitated a high level of atrophy in the collective legs of black society.

    One would think that if these problems are grand enough to prompt a letter of concern, it would have been sent to both candidates.

    To your other point- this shows just how effective leftism has been in black communities. No longer is the biblical gospel the beacon of light, hope, and strength it once was. Now, in black society, the gospel of God < the gospel of government.

    • #4
    • January 10, 2017 at 10:28 am
    • LikeLike
  5. Profile photo of Derryck Green Member
    Derryck Green Post author

    La Tapada (View Comment):
    What a positive post, Derrick! This is my prayer for the Black community.

    It has occurred to me lately that Black churches should send missionaries out into the cities, to carry the message that hope lies in the gospel and, as you say, in “family stability, fatherhood, self-respect, personal responsibility, and the love of neighbor.”

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see a strong revival in the church that would overflow into society in this way?

    Thank you. I would love to see a strong revival in the black church, but it’s going to take a tremendous amount of humility from blacks to admit they were wrong about a number of things (asking for forgiveness for being wrong and leading folks astray), but also to extend a meaningful offer of forgiveness to people they’ve treated less than brothers- specifically white people. That’s a start.

    I’d like to see African Christians send missionaries into black communities as they, for the most part, still maintain strict fidelity to the Bible and haven’t given themselves over to liberal interpretations of scripture that allows for what goes on in black society.

    • #5
    • January 10, 2017 at 10:32 am
    • LikeLike
  6. Profile photo of Pilli Member

    I suggest that “black” churches partner with nearby “white” churches to do some socializing and fund raising together. A fundraising carnival in which both churches participate, for example. The funds can go to local needs like area clean up, house painting (they both can participate in this, too) donating to a local hospital etc. Something that benefits the people of both churches together. Get to know each other. It will go a long way to easing tensions and misunderstandings.

    • #6
    • January 10, 2017 at 10:38 am
    • LikeLike
  7. Profile photo of Derryck Green Member
    Derryck Green Post author

    The King Prawn (View Comment):

    Derryck Green:Black faith leaders have been called and entrusted to bear witness to the transformative nature of the Christian gospel. Petitioning the altar of government for restoration implies that the gospel of Christ is pragmatically insufficient when compared to the gospel of big government.

    We must remember- salvation is from God, not the government.

    How is this made to happen when “Revs” Jackson and Sharpton command all the attention and preach the gospel of big government?

    We must remember the warning in Matthew 7 (and John 10) about false teachers and thieves who come to destroy the congregation. Jack$on and $harpton are the worst of the worst, and they’re emblematic of prosperity preachers who use the church to advance the gospel of $self. Nevertheless, there are still good ministers who haven’t tarnished themselves or the gospel and they need to begin speaking up. One thing that prevents more blacks from speaking up is racial solidarity and what happens to blacks who speak the truth despite the racial implications. If they stood in solidarity with the Christ and his Church as opposed to race, they’d speak up and condemn such “preachers,” despite the consequences. IMO they haven’t made that leap yet due to (racial) self-preservation. Until they do, blacks will continue to lose more spiritual and political capital, maintaining the racial stigma that seems insurmountable in overturning.

    • #7
    • January 10, 2017 at 10:40 am
    • LikeLike
  8. Profile photo of Bob Thompson Member

    RyanFalcone (View Comment):
    Has this group reached out to Trump to meet with him during his first 100 days?

    Great post. Why wouldn’t they have delivered that same letter to both campaigns? Trump made numerous entreaties to blacks to engage with him before the election. I’m sure many individuals did. What is needed now is for some of these deeply rooted institutional groups to recognize where the potential for real advancement lies. This group should approach the Trump Administration with their issue paper.

    • #8
    • January 10, 2017 at 10:50 am
    • LikeLike
  9. Profile photo of Josh Coolidge

    Derryck Green (View Comment):

    Nevertheless, there are still good ministers who haven’t tarnished themselves or the gospel and they need to begin speaking up.

    Voddie Baucham & Fred Luter come to mind immediately. I know there are others out there, but those are two that have done quite well with the platform they were given.

    • #9
    • January 10, 2017 at 11:30 am
    • LikeLike
  10. Profile photo of Susan Quinn Contributor

    Excellent post, Derryck. You refer to churches and communities, but I think speaking specifically about families, the parents, is important to. They need to be drawn into this circle of redemption.

    • #10
    • January 10, 2017 at 12:18 pm
    • LikeLike
  11. Profile photo of Ryan M(cPherson) Listener

    Derryck Green: Encouraging politicians to pass legislation addressing education and economic issues is fine. But black religious leaders are wrong to plead with politicians to resolve black moral dysfunction that can and must be principally challenged by local churches in their respective communities.

    Yep.

    Derryck Green: The same goes for black criminality, which the letter correctly labeled a “calamity,” which encourages police presence in black neighborhoods.

    Not being a member of any sort of Black community, or really in the know, I can’t say one way or another… but I haven’t heard of much condemnation of things like BLM, protests over police shootings, propaganda from celebrities like Chris Rock, who say that criminality doesn’t cause a police action but that racism causes it. It is easy to say that every-day black citizens are the ones who suffer when racism is blamed for criminality, but at the same time, it seems to be commonly accepted knowledge, even in that group. Am I wrong about this? Is it perhaps a product of media and reporting that we aren’t exposed to the attitudes of everyday black Americans?

    • #11
    • January 10, 2017 at 12:52 pm
    • LikeLike
  12. Profile photo of Doug Watt Member

    Good essay Derryck. At one time I was probably what would be considered the “enemy” by Rev. Al and Rev. Jesse. I’m a former police officer. I have had many individuals of every race, color, creed, gender, or whatever the subjective classification of an individual that is used today to view human beings as a collective organism rather than an individual grace the backseat of a police car. I can assure you that color has nothing to do with character. Miscreants and ne’er do wells come in all colors, genders. The good news is that individuals that are good human beings come in all colors and genders.

    What is going on, especially in Chicago is inexcusable. I have no empathy for the city government of Chicago. My empathy is reserved for the victims caught in the crossfire.

    • #12
    • January 10, 2017 at 1:41 pm
    • LikeLike
  13. Profile photo of Front Seat Cat Member

    The King Prawn (View Comment):

    Derryck Green:Black faith leaders have been called and entrusted to bear witness to the transformative nature of the Christian gospel. Petitioning the altar of government for restoration implies that the gospel of Christ is pragmatically insufficient when compared to the gospel of big government.

    We must remember- salvation is from God, not the government.

    How is this made to happen when “Revs” Jackson and Sharpton command all the attention and preach the gospel of big government?

    Two of the worst people to ever happen to the black community –

    • #13
    • January 10, 2017 at 1:44 pm
    • LikeLike
  14. Profile photo of Front Seat Cat Member

    Very good post, and if they fail to go to Trump, I have a feeling he’ll come to them. Back when racism was really bad in the US, when growing infrastructure tore right through neighborhoods and communities with little regard to the families and their needs, it seemed the black community had to be much stronger in ways you describe and stuck together. They emphasized school work, faith, two parent homes even if both parents worked, helping around the house, respecting rules and laws, and home was a place discipline was expected and love could flourish. That is missing today, but it worked. It seems to be missing in many homes, regardless of race. Yet it’s more prevalent among immigrants from the Asian and Hispanic communities. There’s also a serious lack of good role models in society today across all races. I hope the new administration brings back the values that all Americans can benefit from, and once did.

    • #14
    • January 10, 2017 at 1:59 pm
    • LikeLike
  15. Profile photo of La Tapada Member

    Rod Dreher at The American Conservative has a thought-provoking post today about how capitalism without compassion or without the gospel affects black families. He is quoting a Black pastor:

    Working with the African American community, I have seen people work hard, invest, buy homes in stable neighborhoods, and try to advance themselves into the middle class. In the city where I live, for example, a huge section of town was made up of black and white families living in neighborhoods together. Home values were strong and middle class black families invested their money in home ownership. This was in the 1990s and 2000s. But, white flight ensued and local businesses began leaving – not because of crime and real problems, but because real estate speculators and developers were throwing up new neighborhoods on the east side of town. The newly refurbished mall (at a $70 million price tag) began to lose tenants and the “new” outdoor mall on the edge of town began to attract them. Within 10 years what was once a vibrant and solid part of town with 50,000+ people – both white and black – saw its businesses and people of wealth, mostly white, move to other parts of town or to bedroom communities. Home values collapsed, people lost their investments, and mortgages were upside down. Businesses were boarded up and by 2005, what was once a vibrant part of the city just 5 years before was in complete decline.

    It’s worth reading the whole thing.

    • #15
    • January 10, 2017 at 3:52 pm
    • LikeLike
  16. Profile photo of Derryck Green Member
    Derryck Green Post author

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Excellent post, Derryck. You refer to churches and communities, but I think speaking specifically about families, the parents, is important to. They need to be drawn into this circle of redemption.

    Susan- you’re right, specifically speaking. I hope people infer that particular point as well.

    • #16
    • January 10, 2017 at 5:37 pm
    • LikeLike
  17. Profile photo of Derryck Green Member
    Derryck Green Post author

    Ryan M

    You’re right. There isn’t much condemnation for BLM and the racialized propaganda. One, in growing segments of the black community, the politics of respectability is condemned. Black difficulty is always the consequences of external factors, rarely individual choices, etc. as it’s much easier to blame others than to engage the uncomfortable process of self-reflection. In other words, blaming racism > black responsibility.

    Secondly, racial solidarity continues to be a priority among blacks. Publicly speaking and telling the truth gets one branded a racial sell out, or labeled inauthentically black. This kind of superficial racial protectionism that supersedes honest talk has been an enemy to black progress. What makes it worse is that privately, many blacks acknowledge the sources of black pathology and frown upon it. But silent admission, due to fear, combined with no action, gets us to where we are today. Sadly.

    • #17
    • January 10, 2017 at 5:55 pm
    • LikeLike
  18. Profile photo of MJBubba Member

    (I am a white bubba, so I have no standing to criticize. I live in a purple suburb of a big blue city in my Southern red state. Our politics get tense.)

    We have a lot of cooperative ecumenical ministries where suburban white congregations help ministries that are oriented towards inner city neighborhoods. We have a Black Ministerial Association that has some unhelpful loudmouth pastors who are always looking for government programs to help their people; they drown out the voices of those who are busy in actual ministries. Our local Leftist newspaper loves to give voice to the most politically active representatives of this group, while ignoring the ones who are doing the most actual heavy lifting in rundown neighborhoods. The good guys cannot seem to gain any traction, while the Leftists act as enforcers to make sure nobody rocks the boat of local Democrat politics.

    I wonder if anyone can point me to a national organization for black pastors who are conservatives? I know a couple of local guys, but they feel really isolated.

    • #18
    • January 10, 2017 at 6:12 pm
    • LikeLike
  19. Profile photo of MJBubba Member

    Derryck Green (View Comment):
    Ryan M

    Secondly, racial solidarity continues to be a priority among blacks. Publicly speaking and telling the truth gets one branded a racial sell out, or labeled inauthentically black. This kind of superficial racial protectionism that supersedes honest talk has been an enemy to black progress. What makes it worse is that privately, many blacks acknowledge the sources of black pathology and frown upon it. But silent admission, due to fear, combined with no action, gets us to where we are today. Sadly.

    If you are talking about fear of criminal gangs, I can understand that. But there is also a political fear that stifles dissent.

    As an observer from outside, it appears that there are large divides in the black community. I think a majority of black males with full-time employment are pretty conservative guys. They keep their heads down. What gives the enforcers so much power in the black community?

    The only voices that get any attention are the Leftists who appeal to Leftist journalists. I understand why that is, but I would still expect some dissident voices. I do not hear them, and I am actively looking for them.

    • #19
    • January 10, 2017 at 7:54 pm
    • LikeLike
  20. Profile photo of MarciN Member

    Social pressure can be very intimidating. It is what has driven a lot of members to Ricochet because they can’t express their ideas about religion and politics to their friends or neighbors or coworkers.

    A private Ricochet-like website would be a tremendous asset in building a community.

    • #20
    • January 10, 2017 at 10:14 pm
    • LikeLike
  21. Profile photo of Chris Campion Thatcher

    La Tapada (View Comment):
    Rod Dreher at The American Conservative has a thought-provoking post today about how capitalism without compassion or without the gospel affects black families. He is quoting a Black pastor:

    Working with the African American community, I have seen people work hard, invest, buy homes in stable neighborhoods, and try to advance themselves into the middle class. In the city where I live, for example, a huge section of town was made up of black and white families living in neighborhoods together. Home values were strong and middle class black families invested their money in home ownership. This was in the 1990s and 2000s. But, white flight ensued and local businesses began leaving – not because of crime and real problems, but because real estate speculators and developers were throwing up new neighborhoods on the east side of town. The newly refurbished mall (at a $70 million price tag) began to lose tenants and the “new” outdoor mall on the edge of town began to attract them. Within 10 years what was once a vibrant and solid part of town with 50,000+ people – both white and black – saw its businesses and people of wealth, mostly white, move to other parts of town or to bedroom communities. Home values collapsed, people lost their investments, and mortgages were upside down. Businesses were boarded up and by 2005, what was once a vibrant part of the city just 5 years before was in complete decline.

    It’s worth reading the whole thing.

    But these things happen regardless of race. I grew up in Vermont, the whitest of states, and people with means will choose a newer home (because for most people, their home is their biggest investment, so why invest in something that’s already 50 years old) with better amenities, access, and schools. My tiny hometown is an old mill town, and it’s filled with houses a hundred years old that I wouldn’t keep if they were given to me. There’s maybe only a dozen or so people from my graduating high school class (52 students) that still live in that town (I’m 49).

    There’s a reason. There’s better opportunity in other places, whether its cross-town or in another state. Choice, in itself, is freedom. By essentially asking people to stay in ancient homes with depreciating values when they have the chance to live in a better home does not make logical sense. Why would someone, of any race, do that? Because it’s the “moral” thing to do?

    Then everyone can sit in their dilapidated homes and feel all moral together, while their maintenance costs go up, and their opportunities diminish. This isn’t about capitalism. It’s about logic.

    • #21
    • January 11, 2017 at 3:40 am
    • LikeLike
  22. Profile photo of WI Con Member

    MarciN (View Comment):
    Social pressure can be tremendous. It is what has driven a lot of members to Ricochet because they can’t express their ideas about religion and politics to their friends or neighbors or coworkers.

    A private Ricochet-like website would be a tremendous asset in building a community.

    That’s a great idea. I honestly think that Black Conservatives are some of the bravest people there are. I’d love to see Trump continue with outreach efforts. I think it would be a great idea to have an event at the White House, specifically celebrating Black Conservatives to kick off the effort: Tom Sowell, Walter Williams, Larry Elder, Shelby Steele, Ben Carson, Robert Woodson, Ken Blackwell, Angela McGowan, Deneen (can’t recall her last name but she’s great)…

    Celebrate and acknowledge these people. Trump can bring media coverage, as with everything he does and ,hopefully, get the word out forcefully that there are solutions in conservatism for the African American community and that there is a welcoming environment on ‘The Right’.

    • #22
    • January 11, 2017 at 6:31 am
    • LikeLike
  23. Profile photo of I Walton Member

    There is no role for government except education where there is no role for the Feds. Government should get out of the way and just fund kids so parents can choose. However, black leaders can’t ask for welfare and other community funding in all its forms to be cut off. What they can do is insist that these programs be moved to the communities without strings (eventually federal funding would end), where parents, local leaders, churches can shape them. With time some communities will figure out how to end dependency, others will follow, some will be corrupt and dysfunctional but that too ends with time. What we can know with certainty is that the Federal government will never get it right, even if they cared which they do not. It is simply impossible and after most of a century of not just failure, but destruction, we should know that. Then there’s the war on drugs. Another unhappy story of failure and destruction.

    • #23
    • January 11, 2017 at 6:37 am
    • LikeLike
  24. Profile photo of Preserved Killick Member

    Derryck Green (View Comment):
    I’d like to see African Christians send missionaries into black communities as they, for the most part, still maintain strict fidelity to the Bible and haven’t given themselves over to liberal interpretations of scripture that allows for what goes on in black society.

    In the Catholic church (at least in some dioceses) we have been receiving African priests for quite a while. And, in my experience, they are terrific. Men like Robert Cardinal Sara are becoming the bedrock of the Church. One of the most Holy priests I have ever met was from Tanzania. He was also an architect! That is common – there is such a need for new church buildings in Africa that the Church is getting a twofer – re-igniting faith in the US and getting architectural education for a new generation of pastors.

    • #24
    • January 11, 2017 at 8:44 am
    • LikeLike
  25. Profile photo of David Carroll Coolidge

    I want to float a principle here. I think the diversity agendas carry the seeds of disharmony. When the focus is on diversity, it is a focus on differences. Focusing on differences is divisive. Harmony is bred by focusing on our commonality. That is a unifying focus.

    I have attended many predominately black churches. With one sad exception, my wife and I felt very much welcomed. We were unified by our faith in Christ. And it showed in those churches.

    The sad exception is a church that clearly did not want too many white folks there. I have a friend who was the former pastor of that church. He was forced out, he told me, because he was baptizing too many white folks. That church was very much an exception.

    • #25
    • January 12, 2017 at 5:26 am
    • LikeLike