A Message To Conservative Evangelical Christians. Your Racism Is Showing.

"I detest racialism, because I regard it as a barbaric thing, whether it comes from a black man or a white man."  Nelson Mandela

Allow me to start out by saying I abhor racism. Few things make me as angry as when people are discriminated against or attacked purely because of the color of their skin or where they were born. Racism is without a doubt the ugliest thing man has ever created.   I have many friends of different ethnicities and I don’t see one as being less or greater than the other. I loved them all.  Still, I won’t sit back and pretend racism doesn’t exist.  And I will not sit back and not address the problem of racism within the Conservative Evangelical Church in America, especially when that cancer has even shown the church I attended.

I am an African American male and a Christian.  These are the two things I identify with because I was born as one and chose to be the other.  Lately, I have been questioning not only the “American” part of African American but also identifying myself as a Christian.

We live in a society with very polarizing social and political views between Left-wing Liberalism and Right-wing Conservative.  In the 2016 Presidential election, both sides chose very radical and unpopular candidates, which reflected how polarizing that division is. After 16 years of far left Liberal rule, those on the Right decided they have had enough of being told they were evil homophobes and bigots while having things they vehemently disagreed with forced upon them. They needed a person that would stand up to liberal bullying and the typical politician wasn’t going to cut it. Because of this, Donald Trump was elected.

Unlike most African Americans I am not a Democrat or Liberal.  I have a deep sense of faith that I feel the Liberal Left is horribly lacking. I decided to align myself with the Conservative Right as it seemed we shared the same spiritual convictions. Well, apparently, I was wrong. While I will never be a Liberal Democrat, I can no longer side with Conservative Republicans either.

I opted not to vote in the 2016 election because I refuse to choose between the lesser of two of two evils. Trump’s behavior as the president doesn’t surprise me at all so I’m not disappointed over that.  My disappointment is with Conservative Evangelical Christians.  Where once they were too timid to share their beliefs, now they are far too willing to vocalize them. These views are often far from Christian; rather they are racist and hateful.  But if you ask them, they will say they are simply being Patriotic. People who I would have never thought of as racist are now showing their true colors and masking it as simply being “Patriotism”.

 

Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter.

In 2013 George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting of an unarmed African American teen named Trayvon Martin.  In response to Zimmerman’s acquittal, a group called Black Lives Matter was formed.  Over the next few years more unarmed African American men were killed at the hands of law enforcement and thus the protest escalated.

Now at first, I wasn’t sure I agreed with some of the tactics BLM members used.  I do, however, agree with the message.  I do agree with saying “Black Lives Matter” because historically Black Lives have not mattered. For centuries, the lives of my people, people of African descent, didn’t matter as much as those of European, Arab, or Asian descent in the United States or other “Western” cultures.  We were the most discriminated against and persecuted people purely because of the color of our skin. Africans had their homeland taken from them, history denied, millions of its people enslaved, men forced to fight and die in European wars for countries who continued to deny them equal rights and treated them as third-class citizens.  So I say no, Black Lives Have not mattered at all to the rest of the world and that is why I feel the need to say it.

Saying “Black Lives Matter” isn’t saying other lives do not.

One would think that people who claim to be “Christ-like “and serve a loving God would understand this and stand by those looking for justice.  They preach about helping “the least of those”, but this apparently only means going out to poor neighborhoods handing out bible tracks, school supplies, and hot dogs. Secretly, however, do they actually care about Blacks lives?  I know a few that I can honestly say do.  Nevertheless, there are also some who I thought did until I read their Facebook page.

In a reply to anyone saying, “Black Lives Matter”, most Conservative Evangelicals will respond with “All Lives Matter, or “Blue Lives Matter”, or anything else they can come up with. But never will they say, “Black Lives Matter”. Why is that so? Is it because they misinterpret what it stands for? Or is it because for many of them black lives aren’t as valued so they can’t bring themselves to understand it.

They make excuses by quoting the numbers of black on black crime, saying that “We don’t care for ourselves”. Many will find ANY excuse they can to say “See, we aren’t the problem, it’s their fault”. Instead of sympathizing with the plight of the African American community, as Christ would do, they are more than willing to wash their hands of it while saying “All Lives Matter” which is nothing more than the equivalent of throwing up the middle finger to African Americans.

Black Panther free breakfast program. This is the side the government won’t tell you about.

This is the problem. Any African American Organization that challenges society and its attack on our people is seen as racist or radical.  Look at the Black Panther Party. They formed because of the same reasons BLM did.  One of these reasons was they were tired of seeing our people murdered and harassed at the hands of law enforcement.

Many people allege they were terrorist, racist thugs because that is what the Government wants you to think. What many fail to see is that the Black Panther Party did the following because they knew the answer wasn’t waiting for a racist government to help the people. Not only did they protest a corrupt government, they also did the following.

  • Free breakfast programs.
  • Free health clinics.
  • Free community schools.
  • SAFE (Seniors Against a Fearful Environment) where they protected senior citizens from crimes and unsafe environments.
  • People’s Free Ambulance Service.
  • Free food program.
  • A Black Student Alliance that provided things like free books, childcare, supplies, and transportation to school.

If you ask me these things sound like things Evangelicals would applaud and institute in their own communities. However, since it’s a party for Justice and pride in the African American community, they’re called racist.  Maybe more “Christians” should look to them as examples of what to do.

The Hypocrisy of Free Speech.

 

Most Evangelical Christians are fanatical when it comes to the idea of sacrifice.  The idea of someone sacrificing themselves for God and country is the best thing any man can do right?  John 15:13 is a scripture that is especially shown in many churches on Veterans and Memorial Day.

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.”  John 15:13

We are told that people sacrificed themselves for our freedom and our right to free speech. Well, this is only half true at best.

Many African American men died in “Service to this country” because they were either drafted or believed if they fought for the country, maybe when they returned, they would finally stop being called “nigger” and “boy”. They didn’t fight out of any sense of honor to a nation that didn’t love them.  And once they were in the military, many still faced segregation. Some even said that they faced more hostility from their own countrymen than they did the enemy. But we are led to believe they died and served because they so loved the Red, White, and Blue.

Muhammad Ali had his title taken from him because he refused to fight in Vietnam. Free Speech?

Freedom of speech and freedom of religion. However, your freedom of speech only applies if what you are saying aligns with Conservative Christian beliefs. Enter Colin Kaepernick.

In 2016 Colin Kaepernick decided to exercise his right to “Free speech” by kneeling during the National Anthem.   When asked why he was kneeling, his reply was as follows.

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder"  Colin Kaepernick

Many Americans, including Conservative Evangelicals, went crazy over this.  How dare he show such disrespect to the country. But, it’s called “Free Speech” right?  However, since he chose to practice his right to free speech, the NFL has all but Black Balled him.  In response to this obvious discrimination, other players now follow Kaepernick’s example by kneeling during the anthem to show solidarity and support which infuriates many.

What irritates me about the response of many evangelicals is that they want us to show respect to a country that has disrespected us since its inception.  They claim people died for our freedom, when even this, as I explained above, isn’t totally true.  So, they value a flag over the right for a man to practice his right to free speech and over the lives of African Americans? And they wonder why we say BLM?

See, Free speech isn’t FREE if it cost you something.  Muhammad Ali was forbidden to box while in his prime because he opposed the Vietnam war.  Colin Kaepernick has been blackballed by the NFL because he decided to protest the killing of unarmed African American men by the police.  Not so “Free” is it?

Colin Kaepernick. Black balled by the NFL, hated by most Conservative Christians for protesting the killing of black men at the hands of police. Free Speech right?

The NFL has a fan base that is 75% white, while the players are 75% African American. None of the owners are African American. President Trump is telling the owners that any player that doesn’t stand for the national anthem should be fired, and most Evangelicals agree with him.  This is nothing but a Slave owner/Plantation mentality. In other words, Trump is telling the owners to “Get your niggers in line”.    Free speech is only free if Conservative America agrees with what you’re saying.  I don’t call this free speech, I call this hypocrisy.

Your History Doesn’t Matter So Get Over It.

We all know the history that was taught to us.  Evangelicals love to teach how the founding fathers were such great men of God that fought the evil British empire and overcame adversity to form what is now the United States of America.  Gives you the warm fuzzies, doesn’t it?  Knowing that these were such devout Christian men.  Yep, devout Christian men that owned, whipped, and raped slaves on the regular while also committing genocide on the aboriginal population.  That part is often left out cause… you know… they were such devout Christian group of men.

The Founding Fathers. Such moral and pure Christian men right? Think again.

Speaking of lies, often told by evangelicals about American history, let’s move on to Abraham Lincoln.  From 1861 to 1865 the United States was embroiled in a bitter Civil War.  The southern states decided that they wanted to keep practicing slavery and formed their own country called the Confederate States of America.  This new nation was an enemy of the United States (the Union), and thus a war was fought.

Today many will state you that the Union fought the Confederacy because they were so opposed Slavery that they were willing to fight and die to end it.  While this may have been true of a very few, this wasn’t the case for the majority, not even Abraham Lincoln.

First, Abraham Lincoln knew the Confederate economy depended on slave labor.  If he declared an end to slavery, he hoped the slaves themselves would rise and fight for the Union. Second, he desired the backing of Britain and France. France abolished slavery in 1794 and Britain in 1833.  Both the Confederacy and the Union wanted support from Britain and France. However, Lincoln knew they wouldn’t side with a nation that still openly supported slavery. His freeing of the slaves wasn’t because he felt it was improper. In fact, he said that if he could win the war without freeing the slaves he would. Freeing the slaves was a military decision, not a moral one.

Now there are some that believe African Americans should express gratitude for being released from bondage.  A respected member of my now ex-church posted the following picture on her Facebook page.

 

Really?  You want us to say “Thank you”?!  Thank you?!!  The country that instituted the system of slavery, and then Jim Crow, and still discriminates against African Americans today. We should say “Thank You”? Maybe it’s YOU who should be apologizing for the 246 years of slavery and the government-sanctioned Jim Crow laws that existed for 100 years after that. This country was built on and profited from the backs of my people and you want us to say, “Thank you”?  You have completely lost your mind?!

See, we are told that we should forget slavery and move on. That we are living in the past. This is very hypocritical coming from a country that prides itself on remembering and celebrating the past.  You want us to forget the millions that were forced into slavery. Forget the people who were lynched and roasted alive over fires. Forget Jim Crow, forget segregation because as you like to say “It’s in the past”.  Well, if that is the case I ask that you no longer celebrate Veterans Day and Memorial Day. I ask that you forget 9-11 and Pearl Harbor because as you tell us, it’s in the past so why hold on to it.

Conclusion

I don’t believe all Evangelical Christians have racist views, just as I don’t believe all Muslims are terrorist.  However, since Trump was elected President the stuff I’ve seen people post on social media and say openly in the name of “Patriotism” is disgusting. They have become less “Christian” and more “Trumpian”. His slogan may say “Make America Great Again”, but what I hear is “Make America White Again”. To tell me, a decedent of an oppressed people that I should forget my past. To tell me that I shouldn’t be offended by monuments built for men that enslaved my ancestors. To tell me that I can only practice free speech as long as it doesn’t “disrespect” a country that has disrespected us.  How dare you!  If this is now the philosophy of Conservative American Evangelicalism, I want no part of it.

I know many Christians will say “If you are in Christ you are a new creature and race doesn’t matter”. Well, say whatever you want to help you further ignore the issues facing my people. I am a Christian, I am an American, but I will always be African most of all.


 

Terrell Cotton Pic

Terrell Cotton is a motivational blogger and a full-time single father of two boys who are his heart and soul.  His blog, Terrellcotton.com, is dedicated to helping people become better versions of themselves by building on principles of mindfulness, self-love, and positive self-esteem. Know thyself, Love thyself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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