In a powerful editorial piece, and perhaps with a wink to Common’s brilliant 1994 song “I Used To Love H.E.R.,” Michael Harriot over at NegusWhoRead announced the death of the Black church last week.
“…the Black church was born before the founding of America during a time where her parishioners could be killed if the secret that they could read the Bible leaked outside her doors,” Harriot began.
Despite its humble beginnings, he wrote that the church stayed true to its enslaved people by playing a key part in gaining their freedom.
“She registered voters. She organized boycotts. As she got older, the Black Church met and married the love of her life, Civil Rights…She was our first teacher, biggest advocate and greatest consoler,” Harriot continued, mentioning civic contributions of great Black preachers of the prophetic tradition, like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.
Then, things somehow began to go horribly wrong as preachers morphed into vampires “sucking the faith and wealth out of Black communities,” in the form of the Creflo Dollars, Eddie Longs, Al Sharptons, and Jesse Jacksons (yes, he went there) of the world.
“By the time anyone recognized the symptoms it was too late. She had already changed by then, too weak to fight off the impending doom. She was too sick to make her presence known in Ferguson. She shucked and jived so bad in Baltimore that they ran her off,” Harriot alleged. “This once-noble institution that had sturdied the backbone of an entire race, handed down freedom and defeated Jim Crow was now a home for hucksters and charlatans…She was sucked dry of truth and dignity.”
Despite occasional efforts to revive the Black church, it recently became evident her sickness was terminal. Black church preachers endorsed the same candidate who forced Barack Obama to disavow a preacher of the same “liberation gospel” the Black church was founded upon. It happened so quickly that her opponent barely bothered paying the Black church a visit.
“By the time Black preachers had assembled to endorse Donald Trump, it was only a matter of time. On Saturday morning, when Trump’s main supporter, Mark Burns, was exposed as a liar and con artist during a CNN interview, the Black Church, hung its head in shame and went into a coma. Around the same time, people from the Detroit neighborhood protested while their local church banned them from attending for the sole purpose of spotlighting and lending Black credibility to a politician supported by the same church-shooting, slave-hunting constituency that put her on death’s door,” Harriot began his final pronouncement.
According to Harriot and many others based on the reaction to the editorial, the Black church as it has been known for centuries has been laid to rest.
“She is survived by the bastard megachurches and 501(c) 3, worship centers, too many to name here who have disassociated themselves from social justice, community unity or the fight for Black people,” he concluded.
What do you think? Is the Black church dead? If so, can it be revived?