By Rev. Corey L. Brown
Western Christianity missed so many opportunities to get it right and failed miserably during the 2016 Presidential election campaign. Western Christianity had a chance to show its people and the world that it could be a force for good, that it was willing to live up to the ideals of the two greatest commandments. The legalistic Jews challenged Jesus’ authority by asking him what was the greatest commandment.
Aha! They had this “Christ” guy with the Messiah complex! But what these men and men today fail to understand is the compassionate, merciful, and loving components of G-d’s commands. The commandments were all rooted in love. Better yet, the commandments were rooted in a relational love. This love is not the same as the “love” status on Facebook or Instagram or on any other social media. Those “loves” do not require you to give anything of yourself, to sacrifice. Jesus’s commentary of the Ten Commandments was one of the few times he gave a simple answer, because he really did not want man to mess it up or get it twisted. He did not beat around the bush. He told us that loving G-d and loving our neighbor were the greatest commandments. I guess that’s why whites have been so obsessed with controlling who lives in their neighborhoods. These commandments are relational. There is the vertical relationship we have with G-d and the horizontal relationship we have with each other.
The Message translation of 1 John 4: 20-21 is much more relevant and easier to understand because just like Jesus, I don’t want you to screw it up. Listen to me Linda!
If anyone boast, “I love G-d and goes right on hating his Muslim brother or sister, his LGBT brother or sister, his Native American brother or sister, his Latinx brother or sister, his immigrant brother or sister, his refugee brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the G-d he can’t see? Maybe part of the problem is that you choose not to see me or the rest of the marginalized population. The command we have from Christ is plain and simple: Loving G-d is not independent of loving people. You have to love both.
I’m not gonna sugarcoat it; white American Christians, you failed, your faith is shallow and meaningless. You need to own your mess, your screw up. The violence, the hatred in the aftermath of this election is not Trump’s fault, it’s yours. You either stood behind this fascist rhetoric in the name of “conservatism” or you were silent and therefore complicit. There’s enough blame to share for the traditional conservative churches all the way to the contemporary megachurches. There were very few that stood in moral solidarity with the marginalized, with us. But you overwhelmingly ignored and continue to ignore the pain and the cries of the people in order to protect what you have accumulated. You can no longer be trusted. A covenantal relationship is rooted in sacrificial love. You have proved that you were never in covenant with humanity. We can see past the scapegoat, Donald Trump. Trump did not create the hate that resides in you, that you hide behind. And yes, we are still talking about the Western church. Throughout history, the Western church has had the power, the obligation, the opportunity to stand up for what is right and you have failed and failed miserably. From the decimation of the Native Americans to slavery to the vilification of Japanese Americans to the Holocaust to the Civil Rights movement to the Black Lives Matter. Stop telling me All Lives Matter when you are not willing to include people of color.
How can you sit in your pews week after week, claiming to worship the G-d that loves the world, yes that’s John 3:16 you love to say and put on your cars and billboards, while you deny the very human dignity that would allow you to love the marginalized?
As far as Black churches, you’re not off the hook. Your faith and understanding of anything Biblical is only as deep as being able to spout scripture that you’ve been told by master, it’s okay to remember. The Pauline letters you recite from were used to justify 400 years of slavery, beatings, and lynchings. You were not put here to obey man, but obey G-d. The black church chooses not to join the BLM movement, the LGBTQ movement, the fight for a fair working wage. You refuse to stand against Islamophobia, xenophobia, homophobia, all irrational fears but you are so quick to say that G-d has not given you a spirit of fear. You want to be seen by the white man as good little Christians. You definitely don’t want to be a troublemaker like that Dr. King guy or Malcolm X or Marcus Garvey, people who fought for the humanization of people of color, not just the good little Christians. Western Christianity, your time has passed, you are irrelevant. Jesus has returned in so many forms and you have denied her or him. I am not judging you, I am holding you accountable for your actions and inactions that have led to the state of America at this very hour. You white Evangelical pastor, I pray that you do not have peace, that you toss and turn at night over this because you have too comfortable for too long in your ivory edifices. G-d’s people, the fearless Christians, Muslims, Jews, LGBT, and Native Americans will stand against this evil and if you are complicit, we stand against the church. The best thing you can do now is shut your doors and re-open as the exclusive social clubs you really are. Western Christianity you are no longer a valid faith, you betrayed the people and broke the covenant with us and G-d. I pray that G-d has mercy on your poor soul.
People, it’s time. It’s time to make our voices heard. Leave the churches, fill the streets. Stop being consumers and take your rightful place as participants of your relationship with G-d and with each other. The powers that be need to share this pain. I am asking you, I am imploring you to use our buying power to show corporate America that they are complicit in this as well. Join us as we boycott, divest and sanction Amerikkka. We will continue until we are recognized as being fully human as your equal.
The first action is to boycott this holiday shopping season. From Black Friday on, retail corporate leadership has made money hand over fist, but those profits are never seen by the real workers. Our people need a fair working wage. Just because you are in charge of an organization, there is no justification for your exorbitant salary while those that work for you have to work a second job for another millionaire and still not be able to make ends meet in their households.
Join the Facebook group: Boycott, Divest, Sanction Amerikkka and join in on the virtual event: Don’t spend a damn dime: boycott Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Buy only what you need, trust me, our families don’t need all the things we buy. This is only the beginning; the revolution has begun. May G-d have mercy on us all.