Tuesday, March 18, 2008

And This We Know

First let’s set the record straight. As far as I can remember not one republican presidential candidate whether he was conservative, moderate or rino ever thought to address the nation on the issue of race during his run for the White House. And as far as I can remember not one of my evangelical friends, their evangelical political leaders (e.g. James Dobson and others) or the well known evangelical pastors ever pushed for a republican candidate or sitting president to raise and address the issue of race and ethnicity in this country. I do know that when President Clinton encouraged a dialogue on race in the mid-nineties the religious right shot it down with all the fervor of the army’s conquest of Bagdad. I know this because I was apart of a white evangelical church in VA and constantly listened to white evangelicals tell me that race was not a problem, that black folks just need to get over slavery and segregation and that if we were really smart we’d ditched the donkey and pony up to the GOP.

I also know that Senator John McCain accepted the endorsement of John Hagee who claimed that Hurricane Katrina was God’s judgment on New Orleans.
Interesting isn’t it? I didn’t hear evangelicals calling for Senator McCain to repudiate that remark. So are we to believe that the black bodies who floated down the streets of New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina were the direct objects of God’s judgment? Is that what Senator McCain believes? If not should we question his judgment in accepting Hagee’s endorsement?

Now trust me folks, I’m pretty well aware that Senator Obama knew of Pastor Wright’s feelings toward white people and America.
And though you do not want to hear this many (not all) of pastor Wright’s views are held by a great majority of black people. Does that shock you? Probably and it’s more than likely because you have few relationships with black folks who will tell you the truth about our ambivalence as Americans. Look, most black people I know don’t tear up and get misty eyed when the national anthem is played as this country’s multi-billion dollar air force flies overhead including yours truly. Most of us treat July 4th as another day off and reason to cookout, not as a celebration of our freedom because the last time we checked General Washington’s black chattel were confined to the slave quarters when the declaration of independence was drafted.

Many of you may have seen the footage of Rev. Wright’s more controversial remarks. If not look at it again and don’t ask yourself why Senator Obama would have this man as his pastor, but ask why are those who were present reacting so enthusiastically to his remarks? These are the black people you and those in your congregation work with, pass by and smile at when they give you your change at the grocery store. Does that mean that I and others endorse or believe his remarks? No, it doesn’t. But we do identify with the feeling of alienation that generated such remarks. We do know that the only time America seems to want to affirm black men is when they’re driving to the hole or taking it to the house. We do know many white Americans (and almost all the white evangelicals I know) speak of the scourge of affirmative action and then whip themselves into a frenzy cheering for the black bodies who carry the rock for old state u during march madness.

And we do know this. Senator Barack Obama will give a speech on the issue of racial healing and national unity not too far from the very spot where people who looked like him served as lifelong slaves for the very people who began this land of liberty. And while I can’t say for sure I have the sinking feeling that a good many evangelicals will dismiss him and the speech, remain convinced that black people just don’t get it and pray for the day Senator John McCain takes the oath of office and leads the charge against abortion, Islamic fundamentalist, heterosexual marriage, lower taxes, less government, maximized gun rights, family values, school vouchers, privatized healthcare, social security reform, decreased business regulation, vociferous border enforcement and last but not least a strong military.

Pastor lance


Anonymous said...

Good Afternoon Sir,

I should be working, but I'm taking a moment to address the post, briefly. More like, ask questions: First, I remember when the Minneapolis bridge collapsed, Reverend Piper addressed it as GOD'S Judgment, according to Luke 13. Reverend Redmond did a piece on it seeming to confirm the position. There was some backlash, but minimally. Furthermore, for me, to see Reverend Redmond's affirming the position was part of my balancing accepting Piper's view. Why is it (this is a question in ignorance, I really don't know) problematic for Hagee to endorse McCain, with a statement that Katrina was GOD'S Judgment? (I know that's not the center of the contrast, but it is the issue when contrasted with Wright's remarks) On a different note, have you given any more thought to the "sit down" with some of our "brothers" that you and I discussed some time back?

Its nate SIR.

Lionel Woods said...

Hey Lance,

I was asking the same thing as it relates to Hagee. Now you know I am a Hagee basher but that is more for his dual covenantalism, word of faith babel, and association with some of the most devilish TV preachers this side of hell.

But as it relates to Katrina was it not God's judgment, not on poor blacks who do voodoo and and drink and dance of Fat Tuesdays but death and destruction and decay, and pain and loss, are all part of God's judgment on Sin (not sins) and what could have easily happened in New Orleans could happen in the most peaceful upper middle class white Suburban community with Christian schools on every corner.

Now if he was saying it was like a Soddom and Gomarrah then I am with you. Jesus says "are you more noble than they"? Heck no!!!

As it relates to Wright that brother scares me. I don't agree with his theology or his approach, or his pissy attitude for that matter, but I think I understand what you are saying. I would say that I would not want to be represented by him though. Yes we are frustrated, yes we are tired of proving that we are citizens and yes we hate "God bless America" songs, and 4th of July with the founding fathers Christian hogwash, and I don't even know the Star Spanggle Banner (spelling) as a matter of fact which is the National Anthem (sorry I really don't know, we use sing one of them in school).

But I would say that I enjoy the freedom (as unbalanced as it is) and the blessing of this great nation and I would easily protect it again (6 Years Combat Arms, Go Army). I would easily lose my life to protect its borders and to have a flag draped over my coffin and many of my ancestors through slavery and Jim Crow would also.

PS: I think I may have drank the McCain koolaid or no vote at all. I can't bring myself to vote for Barrack especially with the matter of fact attitude that I should vote for him because we are both black. I think we are a bit more complex than just being black.

Pastor Lance said...

yo, my brothers. nate good question re: hagee. the problem I have with his statement regarding katrina is that he wasn't casting it in terms of God's general judgment regarding sin. rather it was one more example of evangelicals declaring God's specific judgment on people who they don't particularly like. I'll drop you a note about the other issue.

Lionel (btw I hope to meet you when I'm in the Big D this June) you're right in saying that we don't agree with everything Wright says and we definitely don't hold to his theology. and yet most blacks I know (saved or not)believed that Barack's candidacy presented a unique opportunity for the country to make some much needed progress in race relations. it seems that if he loses and/or is dismissed as disingenuous that we'll lose this opportunity as neither Senators Clinton nor McCain plan to address it.


Rodney in PA said...

Hi Pastor Lance,
I think the difference between Hagee and Wright is that Wright is closely connected to Obama, while Hagee is not, You cannot help who well endorse you, Now don't get me wrong I feel that what Hagee said was wrong but for me and many its about the relationship.

The point about the GOP and White evangelical leaders was right on point.

I am Glad the this was put out there because we need the start the conversation, many white and black evangelicals ignore race issue. And that is a crying shame, who better to deal with this issue than the church of J.C?

BTW, I thought the speech was a good speech!

Lionel Woods said...

Pastor Lance,

Lionel (btw I hope to meet you when I'm in the Big D this June) you're right in saying that we don't agree with everything Wright says and we definitely don't hold to his theology. and yet most blacks I know (saved or not)believed that Barack's candidacy presented a unique opportunity for the country to make some much needed progress in race relations. it seems that if he loses and/or is dismissed as disingenuous that we'll lose this opportunity as neither Senators Clinton nor McCain plan to address it.

When are you going to be here? I will make sure we get up. I have been talking with Q (Quicy) and am trying to make it out that way. Redeemer is a little further than I would like to travel. Give me the date and time and breakfast (if you are available) is on me.

Ben Stevenson said...

I am not aware of a speech Mike Huckabee made about race directly related to his presidential bid, but his campaign website did highlight his 1997 speech to "the 40th Anniversary of the Central High School Integration Crisis"



Here is a quote:

"...Some have asked: how long are we going to deal with this Central crisis situation? Are we going to have to relive it every few years? And I know there were some who were frankly made to feel very uncomfortable about all of these activities because some felt that it would just resurrect feelings and anxieties.
Well, let me tell you how long we will deal with it -- until justice is the same for every human being whether he or she is black or white, we will deal with it. Until the same rules apply to get a bank loan for every person regardless of who he or she is, we will deal with it. As long as there are whites who turn around and see a black person coming and bring fear to their hearts, we will deal with it. And as long as there are blacks who look and see and have resentment toward a white person, we will deal with it. We will deal with it until the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King lives in all of our hearts, and that is that we will judge people by the character of their hearts and not by the color of their skin...."

Mike Huckabee was asked about Rec. Wright's comments in this video.

Pastor Lance said...

thanks for the comments brothers. Lord willing we may actually have a conversation about race instead of having a conversation about having a conversation about race which is what I heard on a radio program today.

Lionel I'll be in Dallas from June 10 to the 13 (though I'm leaving the morning of the 13th). My guess is that the PCA general assembly will be held at the Dallas convention center. We can do breakfast either wednesday or thursday. thanks for the invite.