Can light dwell together with darkness? 2 Cor. 6:14 How can two walk together except they be agreed? Amos 3:3
Which scripture is the better suit? The curious case of Christian and Islam has come to a head in light of Jamal Bryant’s open door for Minister Louis Farrakhan. Can the two achieve anything together while their world’s are at war with each other?
Jamal Harrison Bryant of Empowerment Temple hosted Minister Louis Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam at his church and on the Word network. Path MEGAzine reports an outcry from gospel artist Vicki Yohe and Pastor Clint brown complaining that the ownership of the Word network or Pastor Bryant cannot be Christian. They even surmise that a clandestine agenda is to blame in hosting Minister Farrakhan. While they do have a point decrying Minister Farrakhan’s presence at Empowerment Temple and on the Word Network, there is a greater point that painfully absent from the conversation.
Do You Hear What I Hear?
Who in the church or in the gospel music industry is speaking as loudly and publicly as Minister Farrakhan regarding black people and the rise of criminal activity on police forces across America? Whites in gospel music bear the burden of their socially under-served audience. For gospel artists, it’s more than riffs, runs and heavy vibrato. In the gospel ministry, it’s about more than cross-country speaking engagements and lifting offerings. Shamefully so, black artists and ministers pale in comparison to Farrakhan’s incessant commentary on the state of black affairs in today’s America.
Put up, or shut up…!
It remains to be seen the day white artists are as vocal as their black counterparts concerning issues that plague their direct audience. In hip-hop “appropriation” artists like Macklemore and Iggy Azalea have been ostracized due to their failure to take up the accompanying cause. Hip-Hop is more than rap, it’s culture.
While it does make sense for a Christian television network to only air shows of Christian interest, the ecumenical egression of Pastor Bryant and Minister Farrakhan has opened the floor for conversation across religious borders regarding blacks in America.
What’s old is new again
Racial tensions are again on the rise and today’s blacks are looking for a new leader. Long gone are the days where the black community turns to the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton. Bryant was vocal during the Freddie Gray aftermath. And it was Bryant and his church that served as a command center for citizens looking to quell the rioting and looting in the aftermath of Gray’s death. This thrust him into the lede as he fearlessly called out Baltimore’s civil leadership also catapulting him to the forefront of religious activism.
I’m not my brother’s keeper
Many believers will be unsettled by a striking similarity though. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X spent much time in their latter years discussing each other’s methodology. Dr. King, steadfast in his non-violence approach may have even had a breakthrough to the ”By any means necessary” activist before he was gunned down in a meeting sparked by Farrakhan’s fiery rhetoric against his Islam brother.
Christians don’t have the monopoly on social justice in America. If that is so, Christians are failing miserably as their deafening silence accompanies increasing crimes against American citizens. Quiet as a church mouse: perhaps political affiliation is to blame as the nation’s President and his family are continually battered with a racial slurs and disregarded by the people he is sworn to represent.
What can be said about Christian oppression in America? The Ku Klux Klan, one of the nation’s largest hate group asserts that it is a Christian organization.
It’s implausible to assume that Christians would ever want to hear about the ‘beauty of Islam’, but it accompanies Farrakhan’s undeviating presence in the absence of many of his Christian counterparts.
If there is no room in American Christian society to talk about social issues and social injustice, Christians will be guilty of perpetuating injustice by omission. Guilty of being unwilling to make room in present day Christianity for it.
Catholic priest, Father Michael Pfleger has berated violence in his largely black Chicago parish. As a white priest serving a largely black congregation, Pfleger has chosen to serve their direct needs and fight for their causes. He has fought hard to end gang and gun violence, drug trafficking and many other issues that blight his immediate cultural surroundings.
Jesus came to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. -Pastor Velva Waites
Did Jesus speak out on these matters? Why is it that Christians are loudest about things that threaten their security? Why do believers remain silent on issues that don’t concern them or threaten them like race or income equality? Are we no longer our brother’s keeper?
Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream. Amos 5:23, 24
Believers can easily unite and cross the denominational borders when issues arise that threaten the fabric of their faith, yet still remain unbothered by social injustice poured out on brothers and sisters not of the same face…er,faith.