This is an excerpt from the chapter entitled "A Revival of Racism":
A Revival of Racism
A revival is coming to America, but it’s not a revival like at Azusa. A revival is coming, and it’s not what you think. A revival is coming, and like any good revival, it’s being ushered in with the help of the Church. A revival is coming and has already started with fire. Not Holy Ghost fire but with the fire of hatred and racial division. I believe this fire started when the Church ignored candidate Donald Trump’s racist rants about immigrants and his veiled insinuations that Making America Great Again meant making her white again, and that taking “our” country back meant taking it from immigrants and black and brown people that don’t look and sound like us.
To revive something means to bring it back to life. Earlier in this book, I did a side by side comparison of the speeches of George Wallace and President Trump. They were remarkably similar. The president was merely reviving many of the same sentiments as Governor Wallace. Governors Orval Faubus and Ross Barnett were the governors of Arkansas and Mississippi, respectively, in 1965. I honestly didn’t know who they were until I started writing this book. But as I heard President Trump speak with fondness of the “beautiful monuments” and the great “heritage” of the South, I could hear the same spirit being revived in their words.
Every great revival stirs people to action. We can see that action increasingly by ardent President Trump supporters like the III Percenters, Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and white nationalists. We see it in droves of people with MAGA hats on heading off to cities already bustling with the revival of racial division that has already been stirred there.
The Church has compromised with the president’s overtures to the far-right militant groups and his racist rants and tweets in exchange for his continued pledge to end abortion and his stance on law and order regardless of its implementation and residual effect on African Americans. The consequences of continued disproportionate police brutality and death experienced by African Americans are part of the collateral damage, the acceptable losses by the white Church.
That may be the harshest thing that I have ever written in any of the sixteen books I have authored. But is it a new complaint or a revived one? The Bible says that there is “nothing new under the sun.” I’m saying the same thing that Dr. King said to the “white moderate” church leaders of his day as he sought help to combat the evils of racism. I thought Dr. King’s I have a dream speech was prophetic, but I can see that his “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” is too. We are in a revival of racism and the same thing that was needed then is the same thing that is needed now, unity and action.
“I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
But despite these notable exceptions, I must honestly reiterate that I have been disappointed with the church. I do not say this as one of those negative critics who can always find something wrong with the church. I say this as a minister of the gospel, who loves the church; who was nurtured in its bosom; who has been sustained by its spiritual blessings and who will remain true to it as long as the cord of life shall lengthen.
So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent-and often even vocal--sanction of things as they are.
But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.
Perhaps I have once again been too optimistic. Is organized religion too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world?” (King, 1963)
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