Our friend Carloz recently seeded an article witten by Ms. Linda Harvey of Mission America ( http://carloz.newsvine.com/_news/2012/11/16/15219480-mission-americas-linda-harvey-doubts-christian-faith-of-african-americans-who-supported-obama?last=1353166756&threadId=3612339&sp=0&pc=25#last_1 ). She exercised the temerity of questioning the faith of black Christians because of our continuing support of President Obama. I note that she apparently does not question the Christianity of the 70%+ of Hispanics and Asians who also voted to re-elect the President. Though I responded in the Vine for that seed, I felt that there was more to say on the subject so I present an expanded response below.
Dear Ms. Harvey
As a practicing Christian who also happens to be African-American, I must forgive you for your highly offensive article. I don't believe, however, that your slander should go unaddressed. Religion and politics is always a potentially volatile mix and I am disappointed that you feel the need to add to that volatility by attacking fellow Christians on a racial level, particularly when that attack rests on a foundation of nescience that is apparently willful. No doubt most black Christians tend to be conservative. We recognize what the Bible says about the practice of homosexuality and we advocate that a woman carry a pregnancy to term. So the question of why black Christians don't vote with republicans - who seek government prohibitions on same sex marriage and abortion - is perhaps might seem like good question, but only on the surface.
For one of the answers, republicans need look no further than their own mirrors because, to be quite frank, most black people - Christian or otherwise - view republicans with attitudes that range from suspicion to contempt and for good reason. For the last half century, republicans have sought office by telling the weak-minded who to hate, who to resent, who to fear and who to begrudge. While anyone not white, Christian and hetero will do today, republicans have consistently held up black folks for contempt. From the failed "War on Drugs", to welfare, to the financial meltdown, republicans - including good Christians such as Rick Santorum - have made overt appeals to the lowest common denominator of societal thought both in seeking office and proposing policy. Further, we see the hypocrisy and duplicity of republican messages and evangelical republican messages in particular. You seek to insert the government into the protection of a child only up until the day that child is born. But republican policies with respect to education, health care, housing and other areas demonstrate the most callous of disregard for the ongoing life of that child if they have the misfortune of being born poor. Your politicians campaign on family values as they themselves commit both heterosexual and homosexual acts of adultery. Republicans just elected an anti-abortion congressman who compelled both his wife and his mistress to have abortions. The republican nominee for president trampled over the Ninth Commandment nearly every day for the last 12 months. Your pastors have directed their congregations to pray for President Obama's illness and death, even sharing Psalm 109 on t-shirts and in e-mails. Other false so-called Christian leaders have incited violence through the burning of the holy books of other faiths and through insulting depictions of their religious leaders. To be sure, evangelical Christians have consistently behaved in the most un-Christian of manners and have done more to turn people away from Christ than toward Him, bringing to mind Mahatma Ghandi's famous observation:
I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.
The reticence of black Christians toward embracing the politics of our white brothers and sisters does not end there. Over the course of some 200 years, black folks have prayed, marched, fought, bled and sometimes died in order to be treated as human beings and equal citizens under the law. Many of those who blocked my ancestors from rights that were supposed to be unalienable did so under the auspices of the Christian church. My Methodist denomination was founded after the last straw of black parishioners being pulled up from the altar while at prayer compelled the exodus of those black Christians from the Wesleyan church. I'm afraid that the white, evangelical, Christian community cannot tell black Christians anything about being patient, long-suffering and forgiving that we have not already learned long ago.
Perhaps black folks' multi-century quest for citizenship under our Constitution makes us much more sensitive and considerate of what it says. There is an Amendment in there (14th) that says all citizens should have equal protection under the law. It means that a citizen cannot be barred from doing what other citizens can do. There is no distinction regarding gender and scripture tells us to:
Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's...
Regardless of how we as Christians feel about same sex marriage, our Constitution does not mimic the Bible's prohibition thereof. Further, our Constitution gives everyone the right to practice whatever religion they wish including no religion at all. Marriage in the eyes of the State is not marriage in the eyes of God and the legal commitment that two people make to each other and to their community is different from the Christian rite of marriage. I encourage you to read Rev. Otis Moss, III's letter to his fellow clergy about the RITE of marriage in the church vs. the RIGHT of marriage under the law. Otherwise, see his sermon on it at ( http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FbdBTve1Hs0 ). You might learn something.
Finally and perhaps most importantly, our God does not force us to worship Him or to follow His Word. He gives us choice and He demonstrates patience, long-suffering and forgiveness as we exercise our will to embrace His Word or not. I am perplexed as to why we as Christians seek the government to force onto our fellow Americans that which God Himself does not force on anyone. I believe that the Christian cause is far better served through our witness, our charity and our constructive involvement in societal issues. If our faith is true, we should not tire of well-doing, confident that our consistent demonstrations of Christian love will be - through God's will - eventually compelling. The bottom line is that black people didn't vote for President Obama because of or in spite of his positions on abortion and same sex marriage perhaps recognizing that those decisions are between those individuals, their loved ones and their God, not between individuals and their government.
There is so much more I can say in response to your intellectually and scripturally specious assertions, Ms. Harvey, but I think any reader of this letter gets the point by now even if you don't. God calls us to Him through the work of the Saints who are supposed to be the earthly vessels of His patience, His grace and His mercy. I don't believe that your article meets that standard, nor do I find it compelling from a black Christian perspective.