America a House Divided Against Itself?

America a House Divided Against Itself? The United States is a great land that many people all around the world long to come to. This country has many freedoms, and affords many luxuries that others in different lands can only dream of. We have led in the business world, the sports world, and without a doubt we have the world’s strongest military. God has shown this country so much favor over the years. Yet, I have great concerns over the spirit of division in our land that seems to be spreading at a breakneck pace. This Presidential Election has brought many of the vapors of our country’s racist past back to the forefront.

We are living in a day where we finally have a Black Presidential Nominee of a major political party. While many blacks are celebrating this day, there are those who are stating that blacks are voting for the black candidate just because he is black. Could we not say the same about those on the other side of the fence? Since we have only had a chance for the most part to vote for candidates who have been of a different hue, does that make blacks reprobates for being excited over the Presidential Prospects of a savvy black young man? We are so often told that if we were good Christians we would not vote based on race. Yet, I would humbly submit that many on the right vote based on race often.

The Political Conservatives of our land use their stances against gay marriage, and abortion to highlight how they are really the party of godly people. There are black churches all across America that also take bold stances against both of these practices, but why are Black Christians not voting along Conservatives Lines in this election? It is my belief that many Black Christians fell for the Karl Rove tactics of the last 2 Presidential Elections, and voted against, or sedately supported the Democratic Candidates for President in the last 2 Presidential Elections. Black Christians were told that if they really loved God, that they would vote Republican because Republicans champion those two issues, and after all don’t you people know that God votes Republican also? Why aren’t Black Christians listening to those issues this time around?

I would submit that many Black Christians aren’t listening to that message this time around, because of all the economic hardships that blacks in America are bearing. There is hardly an urban inner city area that is not suffering blight, or some form of economic devastation due to the loss of jobs, or industries. There are some blacks that can state that they are better off than they were 8 years ago, but I will boldly state that they are not the norm. There are so many conservatives that turn there noses up at our inner cities. The conservatives reply to inner city blight is usually highlighted by some referencing of pluck, ingenuity, or hard work as the virtues to change one’s community. While each of those virtues can be community changers, I am cognizant that those virtues alone can’t change the plight of our inner cities.

I am a clean cut usually neatly dressed black male, and I am still amazed that even when I am dressed like a Philadelphia Lawyer that my entry into a sparsely populated elevator still makes some afraid. It never ceases to amaze me the sheer number of tightly clutched purses that I encounter on a daily basis on elevators. Is it because I resemble the guy that was on the nightly news that committed a crime? Do these women even stop to think that I might be a preacher? Would they clutch their purses as tight if they knew this well dressed man actually prays for people? Could this man that they are so scared of, be the man that God ordained on that day to speak a word of encouragement to them? Are we hiding many of our racist tendencies behind the cross on each Sunday? Are so many against the Democratic Party’s Choice because of his policies, or because of his color? Will churches in both communities address the issues of race? There needs to be a meeting of mind in the Church Community on race! Will we ever see the God that we all preach about if we don’t? Will we seek God enough to care for our brothers and sisters of another hue?

I have strong feelings on this subject, and I might come across as a militant advocate of my people. I just might be guilty of those charges. I would submit that Blacks in America have been haunted by a couple of centuries of chattel slavery, and several centuries of institutional racism. Blacks in America inhabit 1 Percent of the political offices in America, make up for 1/2 of 1% of the wealth of this land, and we makeup the brunt of this nation’s prison populations. How can anyone in America not state that there is definitely something wrong with those statistics? How can any God fearing Church not speak out against such deplorable conditions. Blacks in America have been promised economic gains every four years, and we have usually been the ones that have least benefited from any economic largess that may come from an administration’s savvy economic policies.

Jesus said in the Gospel According to St. Matthew the 12th chapter and the 25 verse he said,”Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided aginst itself shall not stand.” Are we divided people in this nation? Well, I guess I don’t have to answer that one, but will we face up to the lingering spirit of racism that permeates our land. If Blacks in America are to forget slavery, institutional racism, systemic racism, and the fact that none of us has seen either the forty acres, nor that mule, then why would others begrudge us of the pride that comes from one of our own reaching the highest office in the land? Black Christians are told by the Conservatives that they shouldn’t vote for a candidate because he is of the same color, while these same Conservatives do just that in every election.

America is now experiencing the so called Browning Effect, where people of color-(Blacks,Hispanics, Those of Asian and Arab Descent) will outnumber the mainstream ethnicities by 2040. While that mainstream controls nearly all of the political power and nearly all of the economic power, will we have havoc in the days to come? Let’s pray that we can get past the divisions in our land. Division in our land will lead to desolation, and instability. Will we allow the scriptures to be a self-fulfilling prophecy for our country because of all the division in our land?

Respectfully Submitted,

Pastor Stephen F. Smith

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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

Racism in Our Land! Racism in the U. S.! Racism in America!

Racism seems to be permeating throughout the web and throughout our land. I would say at best, race relations in the last several years have become even more strained. Is this what God would desire for those who are his? Can the church be silent about this subject? Why would the church want to remain silent about a subject that is as vitally important as this? The Jena 6 case could be a powderkeg that further alienates many people. It is time for united prayer against The Spirit of Racism in Our Land! It is also time for the church to stop being silent when wrongdoing and injustice are thriving in our land!

Are we more concerned about being politically correct or prophetically correct? Do we care more about posturing than we do about attacking evil? God blessed the Prophets in the Scriptures for taking bold stances. What will he think of this day where few are bold enough to take a stand or a stance against the prevailing spirits of this age? Can we truly say we love God whom we have never seen, when many can’t find love for that brother or sister of another hue or ethnicity that they see every day?

Pastor Stephen F. Smith

Sure House Church, Inc.