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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Preachers and Politics: An American Tradition

This election season really has liberals off their game. In spite of all their efforts in Ferguson, Missouri, and all the time and energy spent defending women from the perpetual “war” waged against them by the big bad GOP, they’ve now stooped to what they so often accuse their republican opponents of doing: blaming the victim.

Mary Mitchell of the Chicago Sun-Times recently chronicled what she described as a “nasty incident involving the Rev. Corey Brooks.” Brooks is the pastor of New Beginnings Church on Chicago’s South Side. Last Saturday thieves broke into New Beginnings Church and stole $8,000 from a charity box that was sitting in the church’s lobby. The money was being collected to build a community center across the street from the church.

After the robbery, Brooks declared, “Nobody has ever stolen stuff from our church. We do a lot of work in the neighborhood, and no one has broken into our church. Never.” According to Mitchell, Brooks’ recent political activities “made him a target.” Evidently, in the liberal land of make-believe, a justifiable one.

Brooks, a black man, committed the cardinal political sin in liberal circles: he publicly endorsed a republican. The republican he endorsed is Bruce Rauner, the GOP candidate seeking to unseat Pat Quinn as governor of Illinois. Brooks went so far as to appear in a television ad for Rauner.

Just prior to the robbery, Brooks received many threats via telephone and social media that were the result of his involvement in Rauner’s campaign. After the robbery and the vile threats, Brooks has decided to relocate himself and his family while the threats are investigated. According to Mitchell, while no one should be threatening—and I would add robbing—Rev. Brooks “because of his political choices,” the good reverend has made himself a target because he let himself “get dragged into a street brawl.”

Mitchell also concludes that religious leaders such as Rev. Brooks—who have “brought politics into the pulpit” and whose “efforts to serve up the community to politicians”—explains why “there has been such a huge loss of respect for the black clergy.” Yet, Mitchell seems to have no problem granting respect to the race pimp and publicity prostitute known as the “Rev.” Jesse Jackson, whom she describes as “one of the remaining legends” of the civil rights era, whose “commitment to fighting for equality is evident.” She also gives props to Jackson’s pimpin’ partner, the “Rev.” Al Sharpton, who, as Mitchell glowingly notes, is the kind of “street activist who has sway over the brothers on the corner.”

Such dumbfounding duplicity by a modern liberal is unsurprising, but it is a bit surprising that a large American newspaper would run such drivel on its editorial page.

While setting up her blind critique of Rev. Brooks, Mitchell fondly recalls the glory days of the civil rights era and the strong respect commanded by black clergy, especially in the South, “where churches became sanctuaries for civil rights leaders.” It evidently escapes Ms. Mitchell what these civil rights leaders were doing behind their pulpits.

I doubt we’ll find a column by Ms. Mitchell or any of her comrades that bemoans the efforts of modern black clergy who “bravely” stand up for “marriage equality,” the “right” to healthcare, a “living wage,” contraception, open borders, abortion, and whatever other perverse cause modern liberals have embraced.

Mitchell ignores not only the efforts of today's liberals who operate behind pulpits, and the history of the civil rights era, but also the history of the very founding of this nation. From the Puritan ministers who, over a century prior to the American Revolution, established the first representative forms of government in America and gave us the first attempts at a written constitution and a bill of rights, to the firebrand preachers of the first Great Awakening who helped light the fires of revolution in America, to the abolitionists who preached the evils of slavery, the Christian clergy in the U.S., both black and white, have been instrumental in American history.

Written documents of governance from American ministers were the practice in virtually every colony founded in early America. Such practice laid the groundwork for the American Revolution. As my upcoming book notes, “for it was in the pulpits of American churches that the seeds of Revolution were sewn. The British certainly thought so, as they blamed what they derisively described as the ‘Black Robed Regiment’ for the thirst in the Colonies for American Independence. Modern historians have noted, ‘There is not a right asserted in the Declaration of Independence which had not been discussed by the New England clergy before 1763.’”

I don’t know if Ms. Mitchell claims to be a Christian, but her sad ideas of Christianity and what it means to be a Christian are very common these days. Whether it’s the Rev. Corey Brooks, Tim Tebow, Rick Warren, the pastors in Houston, or any other Christian today whose efforts run contrary to the modern liberal worldview, what liberals really want is silence.

As my pastor, who is also my father-in-law, often points out, when Christ truly comes into someone’s life, He is not simply a section of that life, as in a grapefruit. He is not something that we devote part of one day to and are supposed to keep separate from the rest of our lives—work, family, entertainment, politics, and so on.

Instead of a grapefruit, a person who has surrendered his or her life to Christ is more like a glass of milk that has had chocolate syrup squeezed into it. Once the chocolate and the milk are combined, it is impossible to separate one from the other. This certainly should be the case for those who occupy our pulpits. In fact, given the tragic state of morality in America today, we need more like Rev. Brooks who are willing to get into a “street brawl.”

Copyright 2014, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

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