aside Rev. Dr. Barber Explains White Evangelicals Southern History Of Racism

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One of my favorite Evangelicals is the Rev. William J. Barber II, a moderator of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in North Carolina and president of Repairers of the Breach. He is also co-founder of the Moral Mondays movement, progressive activist vigils held in North Carolina’s capital, Raleigh. 

According to a statement published in May 2017 at the state chapter’s website, Rev. Barber will join the leadership of the Poor People’s Campaign Call for a National Moral Revival. The New Poor People’s Campaign (marks) the 50th anniversary of King’s 1967-68 Poor People’s Campaign and will focus on 25 states and Washington, D.C.

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POPE FRANCIS/ REV. BARBER

He has been a fan of Pope Francis to where he accepted an invitation to visit the Vatican during the 2017 Thanksgiving holidays.

As per a 11/20/17 News Observer report, “It’s a deep honor and humbling,” Barber said in a telephone interview on Monday. “The pope has been on the forefront of declaring that poverty in our current world is a scandal and its eradication should be a top priority. He has called on government and moral leaders to adjust our policies to address the issues of systemic poverty.”

“Barber stepped down as president of the state NAACP last month to focus on his new role as president of Repairers of the Breach, a new and growing social justice organization working to highlight problems across the country when all don’t have access to living wages, decent housing, health care and education.”

“The pope, Barber said, should be credited for “saying to the world what true evangelism should be saying.”

“If any theology is going to line up with the theology of Jesus Christ, it must begin declaring good news to the poor who have been made poor by systems of economic exploitation,” Barber added.”

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“While at the Vatican, Barber will spend several days at a conference that opens with Ghanian Cardinal Peter Turkson discussing labor and the workers’ movement. The meeting with the pope is scheduled to happen at the end of the conference.”

“For me, it’s not so much meeting the pope as meeting a pope who has been so consistent on meeting the challenges of and pastoring to the poor,” Barber said. “He’s been clear that the church theologically has to deal with poverty, that you have to deal with the moral issues of living wages, inadequate housing and more.”

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Lately, he has been challenging the 80% of White Evangelicals moral compass as they continue to support and not hold accountable, the actions of the republican President Donald Trump who has a history of providing cover for racist hate groups, a braggart who openly admitted his penchant for grabbing women by their private parts with impunity, a congenital liar, a man who walks, talks and acts like a Russian asset, a person who turned his back on American citizens living in Puerto Rico in their time of need, and the list goes on.

Rev. Barber told Vox., “We’re really talking about, in a sense, political murder. I know that’s a strong term, but it comes out of the Bible. “The Bible talks about it in Ezekiel 22, when politicians become like wolves devouring the people and do not care for the needy.”

Here’s the rest of the story…These are his comments before the August 2017 Charlottesville, Va rally instigated by White Supremacists groups and where violence broke out. This is when president dared to ascribe a level of equivalency between the neo-Nazis racist protesters and those who opposed them.

On November 23, 2016, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II  penned the following op-ed piece for the Washington Post, “The racist history of Southern white evangelicalism and the rise of Donald Trump.”

“Two weeks after electing Donald Trump to the highest office in the land, America pauses this week for a day of Thanksgiving. No doubt, many dinner tables will be as divided as the election results — as contentious as our anxious streets. But if we listen closely to the prayers of those who are jubilant in this season, we may discern the false religion that blessed Trump’s reactionary campaign. Such discernment is necessary, as we have learned through our cross-racial Moral Mondays movement, before we can experience the moral revival that offers the only way forward together for American democracy.”

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“Franklin Graham, the son of our home state’s most famous preacher, Billy Graham, celebrated Trump’s election with this prayer of thanksgiving: “Political pundits are stunned. Many thought the Trump-Pence ticket didn’t have a chance. None of them understand the God factor. . . . While the media scratches their heads and tries to understand how this happened, I believe that God’s hand intervened.”

“While many progressives scoff at neo-Nazi and Klan celebrations of Trump’s victory, they often fail to comprehend the deep wound race has inflicted on white religion in America. To Franklin Graham, overt racism is anathema. But he thanks God for the same triumph that the white nationalists of the alt-right celebrate because Graham inherited a religion that accommodated itself to slavery in America and has morphed over and again for 150 years to fuel every backlash against progress toward racial justice in American history.”

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“We cannot make sense of Graham’s proclamation of triumph without recognizing its roots in the Lost Cause Southern apologist religion of the 19th century. Following the Civil War, black and white ministers like ourselves worked together throughout the South to proclaim “good news to the poor” through coalitions that supported public education, economic empowerment and equal protection under the law. These men (and a few women) were evangelical preachers contributing to the work of America’s Reconstruction. But they were viciously attacked as “political religionists” by a plantation caste that perverted theology to frame their backlash against “Negro rule.” Proposed changes to the Southern way of life were branded “immoral,” and reactionary politicians euphemistically used the term “Redemption” to rally a resistance.”

“Even in the violent campaign of 1876, when black votes were suppressed through vicious Klan attacks, the Redemptionists never officially endorsed violence. They always called for peace and a restoration of order. But their false religion worked hand in glove with lynch mobs to inaugurate the reign of Jim Crow.”

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“Heirs of this movement wrote the theology textbooks and published the Schofield reference Bibles that taught America’s Bible-believing Christians to separate their faith from politics, in an attempt to take the edge off biblical demands for justice. When, following the Great Depression, a Social Gospel movement arose to challenge this division and write biblical notions of economic justice into public policy, the industrial barons who were the heirs of plantation capitalism fought hard against progress toward justice. But they were smart. As Kevin Kruse has shown in his book “One Nation Under God,” they knew they did not have the moral authority to wage a successful crusade against the Social Gospel. So they hired James Fifield to teach 19,000 preachers a gospel that could warm the heart while damping the fire of justice at the heart of biblical faith.”

“This is the true story of faith in America. It has not always been on the side of truth. In every era, reactionary forces have exploited faith to push back against the very progress that God requires of us.”

“God did not intervene on Trump’s behalf in this year’s election, but the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association did. Organizing prayer rallies in all 50 state capitols, Franklin Graham spent $10 million in 2016 to rally a backlash against President Obama in God’s name. It was a strategic investment. Eighty-one percent of evangelicals voted for Trump. Just weeks before Election Day, when Graham concluded his national tour here in North Carolina, he stood on the steps of our old state capitol and told thousands of faithful followers that they needed to know the true name for those of us who call ourselves progressives: atheists.”

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“Sadly, our brother Franklin believes that a god who does not bless white America’s fear and nostalgia is no god at all. But right here on the very capital grounds where Graham uttered his heresy, we have witnessed the power of God to unite a diverse coalition of people committed to justice and mercy through Moral Mondays. That movement, which produced the nation’s largest-ever state-government-focused civil disobedience in 2013, spread to 32 other states through this year’s Moral Revival. And while Trumpism swept the South with Graham’s blessing, North Carolina’s Pat McCrory is on the verge of becoming the only Republican incumbent in the nation to lose the governor’s office.”

“As ministers who grew up on opposite sides of the color line in NC, we know the power of religion to divide and conquer the heart of democracy. But we have also witnessed the power of “moral fusion,” or organizing across racial and class lines to build a coalition for progress in 21st-century America. Just as North Carolina saw a hard turn to the right in 2012, America has experienced a backlash against our first African American president in 2016. The months and years ahead will not be easy, but right here in North Carolina we have seen a Moral Movement that can overcome Trump’s extremism. As the false gods of our past are exposed, every knee must bow to the God of justice. We hold out hope that even brother Franklin Graham will see the light and join the Moral Movement. Together, following the Second Reconstruction of the civil rights movement, we can look forward to a Third Reconstruction of racial justice and healing in America.”

[Why some fear this election will do lasting damage to American Christianity]

7 comments

    • Dear Suzanne,

      Thank goodness for the likes of Rev. Dr. Barber II.

      The reason that I have been focusing on the 81% of the White Evangelicals who voted for President Trump with a critical eye, is that their numbers add up to a significant segment of the president’s and the republican party’s base to where they wield a disproportionate amount of power. In addition, they have a champion in Vice President Mike Pence who is happy to curry their favor.

      Their influence helps to explain policies being enacted by this White House which appear to make no sense whatsoever to any sane outside observer, like trans-genders not being able to serve in the military; the USA withdrawing from the 2015 Paris Climate Change Accord; and then the president announcing to the world that the US agrees that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel without having an Israel and Palestine peace agreement in hand.

      More often than naught, the answer rests with our fellow Evangelical brothers and sisters.

      Thanks a million times over for all of your support and for this reblog.

      Hugs, Gronda

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  1. Gronda, great post. Two comments. I have attended two Moral Monday protests, one in Raleigh and one in Charlotte. He is a man of conviction and is a true leader to help those whose voice is quiet. He started here in NC since our GOP led General Assembly passed a few laws that promoted discrimination.

    As for Franklin Graham, for all the good his Samaritan’s Purse organization does, he harms their efforts with his bigoted remarks over time which date back several years. He did not learn the lesson of his father who was chagrined by his association with Richard Nixon and the remarks the fallen President made on tape to Graham which were racist and anti-Semitic. Graham spoke of the early 1980s warning Christians to be wary of political parties using them. Right now, too many have lost sight of WWJD supporting a man who does not bring them honor. Keith

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  2. Dear Kith,

    If and when i manage to visit NC, i will follow in your footsteps by attending a “moral Monday protest.

    What is truly sad about Rev. Graham Jr. is that he is not following his own Dad’s teachings.

    This is what his Dad preached on as late as May 2011:

    There is something Jesus said that I want you to think about. Jesus said to those who followed Him: “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

    That verse of Scripture is tremendously important at this hour in American history. In another part of the Bible we find the same thing stated by John: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:7-10).

    The Bible declares that we who follow Jesus Christ should be just as much in love with each other as God was in love with us when He sent His Son to die on the cross. I want you to see what it means to love as God loves, because the Bible says, “God is love” (1 John 4:16).

    Rev. Billy Graham continues:

    In 1 Corinthians 13, we have first a description of a man who does not possess love. The Apostle Paul says, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1).

    In other words, suppose I could speak with the oratory of a William Jennings Bryan. Suppose I could speak with cryptic language like Churchill. Suppose I could speak with the power of Roosevelt, in which he used to sway an entire nation. Suppose I could sing opera like Enrico Caruso. Suppose I had a thousand tongues that could speak a thousand languages at the same time. The Bible says all that is nothing, and I am nothing, unless I have this divine, supernatural love that God gives.

    The apostle goes on to write, “Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge … but have not love, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2). I could be a man of tremendous knowledge; I could understand all the mysteries and all of history, and be able to put all the patterns together. I could know the Bible from one end to the other; memorize thousands of verses of Scripture. I could be a great Bible teacher; I could even be a preacher from the pulpit–and have not love. I know people in this country who are conservative in their theology–people who would die contending for the inspiration of the Bible–and yet there is so little love. I might know the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, but if I had not love, it would mean absolutely nothing in the sight of God.

    I might be a man of great faith. The Bible says that I might have faith so that I could move mountains, but if I have not love, it is nothing. Suppose I could stand here today and say to that mountain, “Move into the sea,” and it would move! You would say, “Well, Billy Graham is certainly a man of tremendous faith to pray a mountain into the sea.” The Bible says that is absolutely nothing unless my faith is tempered with love.I could be a man of great charity. The Bible says, “though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor … it profits me nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:3) unless I have this divine love that God gives. I could give everything I have to charity, but if the motive were not divine love, it means nothing in the sight of almighty God.

    Here in this country we give billions of dollars away, but sometimes I wonder if our motive is not selfish. We are always asking the other nations and the other people, “What return is America going to get?” The motive of all giving and all charity should be love.I could also be a man of consuming zeal. Paul continues, “though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:3). Suppose I were like many Korean pastors during the Korean War. Seventeen hundred Korean pastors paid with their blood for their faith in Jesus Christ. Suppose I died at a stake or was shot for my faith in Jesus Christ. You would say, “Billy Graham is a man of consuming zeal. He died as a martyr.” God says it is nothing, unless I am filled with the love of God.

    What a brilliant life this man lived–this mythical man the Bible describes. He was a man of eloquence, knowledge, power, charity, zeal, but the Bible says he was absolutely nothing without love.

    What a powerful thing love must be! How much stock God puts in love.

    You say, “Well, Billy, what do you mean by love? What is a demonstration of love?” We have it demonstrated in 1 Corinthians 13. This might cut some of us to the heart. It is going to probe down deep, because one thing that the church of Christ in America lacks is the demonstration of love, and Jesus said, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

    This love that the Bible is talking about in 1 Corinthians 13 “suffers long” (verse 5). In other words, it is patient. It is kind. It “does not envy.” There is no jealousy in this divine love that God gives. It “does not parade itself.” It is “not puffed up,” gives itself no airs. It is a love that demands humility. It never pushes itself to the top, never tries to promote itself, never tries to advertise itself. It is always in the background, truly humble. The thing that we need in the church today is genuine, old-fashioned humility.

    Then, again in 1 Corinthians 13:5, the Bible says love “does not behave rudely.” It is always courteous and gracious at every turn. It “seeks not its own,” is never selfish. God looks after you, and you are to look after others, the Bible says. It is not easily provoked–not touchy or irritable. If people have to handle you with kid gloves, have to watch out what they say to you, you don’t know anything about this love that God is talking about.

    Love “thinks no evil” (1 Corinthians 13:5). It never holds a grudge–never has malice. It rejoices not in iniquity, but in the truth (1 Corinthians 13:6). It is never glad when another falls. I know so many Christians today who, when they hear that another Christian has fallen, say, “Isn’t that too bad?” but they don’t mean it! They are happy that the other Christian has fallen because that places them just a little higher on the ladder of estimation in other people’s eyes.

    Then the Bible says that this love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7). It is slow to expose the evils and faults in others. It is eager to believe the best, and it is always hopeful and optimistic concerning the future. The Bible teaches that love is greater than faith and hope (1 Corinthians 13:13). Love is the greatest thing in all the world.

    There appears to be a great divide between Father and Son.

    Hugs, Gronda

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    • Gronda, you have offered up wonderful passages live by. I have to tell you a quick story. After one of Franklin’s tirades against Muslims, a letter I wrote to the editor was published. In essence, I wrote what I did above that Graham detracts from all the good he does when makes bigoted remarks. Well, I got a phone call and the man was offended that I would attack such a fine man, not seeing my point that I recognized the good work he does. He then brought up a minister who does excellent work as if I was attacking all religious leaders. I told him I knew that minister personally and he does walk the talk and is a fine man. Click.

      My point is people think when you share concerns, you are indicting the person. I just wish Franklin would focus on the good works he does, which are apolitical. Keith

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      • Dear Keith,

        Good for you!

        Since when is a servant of God not open to genuine constructive feedback.

        The passages that I referred ti in above comments were spoken by his own Dad, Rev. Billy Graham in 2011.

        Hugs, Gronda

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