I’m now writing my own not-so-famous “Letter from America’s Racist Police Brutality Hell” to put today’s Black church leaders “on blast” for traitorously failing to engage in or otherwise publicly support the necessarily illegal, mostly confrontational, and always nonviolent activism of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, Philadelphia Coalition for REAL Justice (PCRJ), and similar organizations in the cultural battle against racial injustice, specifically the police murders of unarmed Black women, men, and children. I must make it quite clear that I am not accusing all Black church leaders of betraying the Black cause, just those who are more concerned about their own personal “silver (i.e., collection plate) rights” than about the Black community’s civil rights.
In his letter, Dr. King pointed out that those White church leaders “deplore the demonstrations taking place… but… fail… to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations… It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place…, but it is even more unfortunate that the… white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative.” In my letter to today’s Black church leaders, I point out that they cowardly shy away from and often frown upon the demonstrations taking place and also fail to harshly condemn the murderous police brutality that brings about the demonstrations. And it is unfortunate that BLM, PCRJ, and other demonstrations are taking place, but it is even more unfortunate that murderous white cops leave the Black community with no alternative.
In his letter, Dr. King stated to those White church leaders that “(T)he purpose of… direct action… is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door… (to change)… the status quo.” He added that such change which leads to genuine “freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor. It must be demanded by the oppressed…” in order to stop the “hate-filled policemen (who) curse, kick, and even kill your Black brothers and sisters…” In my letter to today’s Black church leaders, I state they must use the very same strong language King used yesterday so they can accurately condemn today’s hate-filled white policemen who kill our unarmed and innocent Black brothers and sisters.
In his letter, Dr. King mentions that those White church leaders “express a great deal of anxiety over… (protesters’) willingness to break laws.” But he responds that “an unjust law is no law at all.” In my letter to today’s Black church leaders, I mention that they frequently criticize the lawbreaking demonstrations of the activists but ignore the ways the law is applied, actually misapplied, to allow prosecutors and grand juries to let cops literally get away with murder.
In his letter, Dr. King declares to those White church leaders that “I have been so greatly disappointed with the white church and its leadership. Of course, there are some notable exceptions.” In my letter to today’s Black church leaders, I declare that I am so greatly disappointed with today’s Black church and its leadership. Of course, there are some notable exceptions- but too few and far between.
Why haven’t the Black pastors (as well as the White pastors) of today’s top ten megachurches in the U.S. joined the protesters to publicly and loudly condemn the racist police murders of all unarmed Black people, including the 102 from just last year?
Where are Joel Osteen of Lakewood, Ed Young of Second Baptist, Andy Stanley of North Point Community, Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community, Craig Groeschel of Lifechurch.TV, Charles Blake of West Angeles Cathedral, Ed Young Jr. of Fellowship, Rick Warren of Saddleback, Bob Coy of Calvary Chapel, and T.D. Jakes of The Potter’s House and why aren’t they using their billions of dollars and vast political influence to publicly confront and expel racist police from the Black community for turning it into a den of murderers like Jesus did when he used his spiritual wealth and influence to publicly confront and expel the money changers from the temple for turning it into a den of thieves? And why hasn’t your local pastor in the Philadelphia region joined the protesters- if he or she hasn’t?
In his letter, Dr. King notes to those White church leaders that “I feel impelled to mention one other point… that has troubled me profoundly. You warmly commended the… police… for… preventing violence. I doubt that you would have so warmly commended the police… if you were to observe their ugly and inhumane treatment of Negroes… (and) if you were to see them slap and kick old men and young boys…. I cannot join you in your praise of the … police….” In my letter to today’s Black church leaders, I note that they gotta stop saying “All Police Lives Matter” and “All Lives Matter” until they help change racist white police officers’ refusal and racist white America’s refusal- at any time throughout American history beginning with slavery in 1619 up to and including the July 6 police murder of Philando Castile (as well as other recent murders)- to acknowledge that any Black life has ever mattered.
In paraphrasing Luke 12:36, I remind you, dear pastors of the megachurches, big churches, and medium-sized churches, that “To whom much is given, much is required.” Therefore, in the face of this current epidemic of white cops murdering unarmed Black folks, do what Dr. King would do. Even better, do what Jesus would do. Amen.
The words from David Walker’s Appeal, written in 1829, and the words of Christopher James Perry Sr., founder of the Tribune in 1884, are the inspiration for my “Freedom’s Journal” columns. In order to honor that pivotal nationalist abolitionist and that pioneering newspaper giant, as well as to inspire today’s Tribune readers, each column ends with Walker and Perry’s combined quote- along with my inserted voice- as follows: I ask all Blacks “to procure a copy of this… (weekly column) for it is designed… particularly for them” so they can “make progress… against (racist) injustice.”