Sunday, March 3, 2019

Not African at All - By Randolph Parrish

We are all familiar with the track record of African-Americans in voting for the Democratic Party. In many elections the ratio is comfortably above ninety percent. If the Episcopal Church was once described as "The Republican Party at prayer", certainly the African-American church for the last fifty years could be described as "The Democratic Party at prayer."
In practical terms, what this means is that the black community has marched in lock-step with the agenda of that party: abortion, same-sex marriage, normalizing transgenderism, secularized education, and the like.
The results of this dogmatic one-sided commitment to the progressive vision: one-third of African-American children will be aborted; seventy percent of African-American children are born out of wedlock; only 15-20 percent will reach their teenage years in two-parent families.
But here is where it gets ironic: blacks are the most church-attending ethnic group in America.  
Something is terribly out of sync. Either the churches are devout but have no influence, or else they have compromised their message so as to render it compatible with a rigid political agenda.
In that regard, black Americans have been much like the German Christians of the 1930s, who got the autobahn, a robust economic recovery, jobs for all, and reinforcement of racial identity. Meanwhile, the infirm, mentally challenged, and Jews were being marked out, their business closed and seized, and they were eventually taken away to be gassed. 
But with a few honorable exceptions,  the German church did not stir. There were too many earthly benefits which could be put at risk, too many positions to be lost, too much security to be threatened. And besides, what happened outside their own tightly-knit local community wasn't their business. They could look the other way. It didn't affect them. 
What black pastor today could oppose the agenda of the Democratic Party and not put at risk his position and status in his own community? 
I mourn the loss of over 15 million black boys and girls that have been sacrificed on the altar of abortion and the cultural acceptance that it has earned within the black community and also, the black church.
But here is the voice of a real African, speaking for the African (not the "African-American") church:  Dr. Jerry P. Kulah (Dean of Gbarnga School of Theology, United Methodist University in Liberia) to a Methodist Conference in St. Louis last week, which met to consider the adoption of liberal leftist views on sexual identity:
... please hear me when I say as graciously as I can: we Africans are not children in need of western enlightenment when it comes to the church’s sexual ethics. We do not need to hear a progressive U.S. bishop lecture us about our need to “grow up.”
We stand with farmers in Zambia, tech workers in Nairobi, Sunday School teachers in Nigeria, biblical scholars in Liberia, pastors in the Congo, United Methodist Women in Cote d’Ivoire, and thousands of other United Methodists all across Africa who have heard no compelling reasons for changing our sexual ethics, our teachings on marriage, and our ordination standards!
Africans all.
I hope and pray, for your sake, that you will walk down that road with us. We would warmly welcome you as our traveling companions, but if you choose another road, we Africans cannot go with you.
That is, we cannot go along with the liberal positions so blithely accepted by, among others, the African-American churches in the USA. 
And in truth, we think many people in the U.S. and in parts of Europe could learn a great deal from us. 
The African churches may one day rise to rebuke those in Europe and the USA for their lack of fidelity to the gospel; what role does the African-American church envision for itself?
Please understand me when I say the vast majority of African United Methodists will never, ever trade Jesus and the truth of the Bible for money.
Recall when Africa said No to the Obama administration: Ghana refuses to grant gays' rights despite aid threat.
We will walk alone if necessary.
Have the African-American churches ever bolted from the Democratic platform on a single issue?  Have they ever confessed a red line they cannot cross? Or are they so conformed to the image of left-wing politics that they are unwilling to even consider change? 
How is it that what conveys strength in abundance [church attendance] does not benefit marriage in the black family and does not yield the fruits of chastity and stable marriage in the black community?
I long for the American black church, so wrongly mislabeled as the "African-American" church, to follow in the tradition of genuine African Christianity and put the gospel ahead of material considerations. But if the past is any indicator, its pastors will not join that walk. Like the German Christians they will count the cost and decide to turn back.  
Renouncing the agenda of the Democratic Party would mean a rupture with current "African-American" culture and its history for the past half-century. It will force a radical turn into another direction. It might mean becoming a loner. And unfortunately, when choosing between their continued security and position, most pastors will, like the German Christians, have to ponder what this would cost them personally. And it seems most would prefer to retain the gloss of this world and its black silken robes rather than the raiment of the Kingdom.