Few things make me cringe more than seeing my Black brothers and sisters fighting each other with a non-Black in the center of the argument. The recent Donald Trump debacle with Black pastors casting stones across social media lines over each other in support of Trump is beyond nauseating and hard to believe in the midst of so many pertinent issues within the Black community.
“They are the most powerful people there are, Black pastors,” Donald Trump said to a crowd talking about his sit down with a number of Black pastors in Richmond, VA.
The meeting to sway the Black community to support Donald Trump resulted in Black pastors on both sides tweeting slurs and spewing negativity at each other via interviews and social media platforms all in the name of supporting or not supporting the world’s most famously affluent White man. It felt very much like a throwback to the days of slavery when house Negroes were pitted against the field Negroes in an effort to keep the race divided. But certainly those tactics from the 1800’s aren’t plausible today? With an African American in currently in the White House and so many strides in education and political and social progression, surely our proud race can’t be reduced to fighting over the right to stand next to the rich White man?
I don’t mean to slight Trump because he is doing exactly what he should do. Studies have shown that the Black consumer is loyal to a fault and is emotionally motivated. Armed with this information, Trump went to the core of the Black community’s emotion; the Black church to gain the Black vote.
Several pastors including Pastor Darrell Scott and Dr. Steve Parson displayed an immediate almost aggressive allegiance to Trump. “People ask my ‘why are you endorsing Donald Trump?’ Well, in my opinion, he’s the best and the only one that can beat Hillary Clinton,” Parson said. “One thing about Donald Trump is that he’s a winner. He knows how to create wealth. As a Black minister, we’re right in the inner city and I’ll tell you, we need jobs, we need employment, we need businesses, and who better can help us help ourselves than Donald Trump?”
While Parson’s blind support sounded much like a slave waiting for the proverbial “great White hope” to save him, I don’t believe he should’ve been attacked publicly by his fellow clergymen.
Pastor Jamal Bryant, who coincidentally starred along with Donald Trump on reality star Omarosa’s dating show years ago, had quite a few negative things to say about the pastors who defended Trump. Bryant used Twitter to shame the Black Republican pastors and suggested they were “prostituting” themselves. In response, numerous pastors clapped back on Twitter and other social media platforms, defending their right to support Trump or their disgust at his use of the Black church as the portal to reach and sway Black voters.
This political manipulation affects the Black community more than we’d like to acknowledge. Since slavery our belief in God mixed with a strong sense of hope and spirituality has been both a strength and a weakness for the Black community. A pastoral appointment is looked upon as one of a higher calling, placing a burden of morality and spirituality on those that accept the call to preach. When political campaigns come calling, one has to wonder how the agenda is able to push past the basic responsibility of these leaders that are supposedly “called by God.” At what point does the leadership of the Black church become one that can be manipulated and used as a piece of a campaign strategy by another race?
With so many parishioners looking to their pastor or bishop to provide guidance influenced by their religious beliefs, it’s unfortunate to realize many leaders are basing their instruction on greed, posturing and a personal agenda. The Black church has historically been a place of refuge and safety for Black families; but Trump’s campaigning has caused yet another opportunity for division among a race that struggles with internal division while dealing with external genocide.
I wonder if at this time of racial tension, we can afford to have Black clergyman discrediting one another in the name of a White man who is famous simply because of his wealth. Trump’s financial success is the one thing that continues to elude the Black community as a collective; and it’s no surprise this would be something that attracts “prosperity pastors” to flock to his side. Unfortunately the Black community’s inability to support each other is one of the primary factors prohibiting our community from achieving wealth.
It is my hope that neither support for Trump among Black Republicans or support for Clinton among Black Democrats will work to separate the Black community even further on such a public platform. Perhaps we shouldn’t be mixing our religion or spirituality with our political aspirations in such a divisive way.
Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer.