The Muzzling of Black Preachers is Bound to Fail!

This is my Letter to the Editor of The Commercial Appeal that was published in Early May! I grew so tired of reading so many hate-filled comments by some of the readers of this paper about Senator Barack Obama, and Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Many of these people who commented also wanted to give African-American Churches a virtual instruction manual on how and what black preachers can preach about. In response to some of these seething comments, I submitted this letter to the daily newspaper in Memphis,Tennessee!

Muzzling of preachers bound to fail

There are so many self-righteous people who are commenting in nearly every media outlet available about Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and other black preachers who speak out against injustice in our land. The assault on this type of black preacher since then has been incredible.

This whole thing started as a way to lessen what was perceived as the unstoppable presidential campaign of Barack Obama, but has gotten ridiculous since then. A black preacher better not speak out against the systems that be, or he or she will be portrayed as being divisive and un-American.

I have the following questions to pose to those who have attacked the right of black preachers to speak out against injustice. Where were your good mainstream Christian churches when slavery was an institution? Some of your churches are old enough to have been in existence then. How were your churches silent then?

Should an oppressed people have the same mindset as the majority culture? Were the original black preachers in this land wrong for praying for the emancipation of all slaves, while the majority culture’s preachers were praying earnestly for a healthy new crop of slaves?

While American pulpits and choir stands have proclaimed that God is love for hundreds of years, systemic and institutional racism has prevailed in our nation and our churches.

While the slave owners studied the Holy Writ, they brutally assaulted many of the initial African-American slaves. Were there prayer meetings before lynchings? Were there revivals before slave auctions?

Why was the mainstream church silent for so long on such a horrible practice as slavery? The black church was basically all that people of color possessed.

Should Moses have repented for having asked Pharaoh to let his people go? Let’s see, black preachers should just preach about love, and not speak out against oppression and racism?

Many in the mainstream culture are straining at the gnat of Wright’s speeches while swallowing the whole camel of condescension and racism.

Stephen F. Smith

Pastor, Sure House Church, Inc. Collierville

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