Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Lion, the Ostrich & the 2012 Election

Get out your Googler and look up the town of Tomahawk, KY, which by all standards is a normal and friendly Christian Community. Now, zoom in on the name of a peculiar little Baptist Church, the Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church; membership about 40.  I will name this little dark smudge on the face of humanity, the most racist Church in America.

You see, dear reader, they have banned interracial couples in their church. A portion of the congregation slunk out the back door and to the hidden valleys of southern fried chicken, black-eyed peas and mashed potatoes.  The “make me feel good” southern Sunday food that allows church members to forget that one was too cowardly to stand up to an issue that should have been thrown out in the trash decades ago. To get an idea of just how many members opted to be silent and not voice their opinion on this sensitive issue; the policy was pass by a vote of 9 to 6 with 25 members abstaining.

Those members who left without voting could have and should have stayed and made their voices known.  This is truly one of those you either are or you aren’t for these issue moments and let me go one step further and say that Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church is the entire argument for atheism.  If banning the very people to whom you are charged with caring is going to be a “policy”, then why have Christianity as a religion in the first place? What is the point—to get that free pass into heaven?  Let me know how that plan works out for you.

But now the back-story:  Stella Harville, a Masters student in optical engineering, sang a song “I Will Surrender All” with her fiancĂ©, Ticha Chikuni at the church. Stella is white and Ticha hails from Zimbabwe.  Now please note that Stella’s father is a church official who was NOT opposed to the presence of interracial couples. To his innocent credit, he assumed that it was not an issue until former Pastor Melvin Thompson made it clear that the couple would not be welcome back and that they would not be singing at the church again.  Honestly, God needs to do performance reviews of his staff.

Thompson’s most ironic comment was made on a local radio show "I do not believe in interracial marriages, and I do not believe this (ban) will give our church a black eye at all." (Source: Reuters)

Here’s the rub:  I am not angry at the blatant racism that took place at this church. The refreshing thing about racism, whether you agree with it or not, is that at the very least one knows exactly where one stands. Racism does not take sides. It’s an idea stamped plainly in black and white or should I say black versus white. It’s clear, crisp and to the point; no hidden meanings here.

I am angry with the rest of the members of the church, the slinkers, who could have, should have but did not. They chose to hide and lead the decision to crucify Stella and Ticha at the hands of these nine members with 25 abstaining.

Christianity is certainly an interesting religion because it’s built on the idea of universal acceptance. Early Christians were a Jewish sect and were content to remain a part of Judaism but there was one lingering problem and that was the charge that was spelled out for Christians. Their mission: to go and spread the good news (Gospel) of Jesus Christ and that meant talking to everyone man, woman and child be they Jewish or Gentile.  Universal Acceptance. What a radical concept for their time.

The other issue was food.  In order for new members to be culled from the Gentile community, there has to a allowance for the dietary practices of that group and this means the eating of the misaligned pork and other unacceptable by Jewish law foods.  It was a dream by Paul that spells out that it was now ok to eat such foods.  Again, the concept of Universal Acceptance rings loud and Christian clear for all to hear.  It’s a great concept and it is what sets Christianity apart from other religions.

Let me put this out to you in the most topical manner: the members who passed this policy are bullies and the rest of the church are a group of cowards who should have, could have, but didn’t.  Even if the entire congregation had stood firm and voted for the anti interracial couple policy, it would have been better then just running away and letting the someone else do the dirty work.

Obviously someone has to kill the pork for the rest to eat the pig.

It’s not the voting for which I, as a Christian, am embarrassed. It’s the unwillingness of members to stand up and be heard at the casting of a single vote with a collective and considerably larger and fairer voice. If this issue was not important enough for members to stay and cast a vote why have the vote at all? 

This incident is just a small splinter in the skin of the American people. It’s one of those flare ups that will eventually go away. But this incident, this occurrence, this minor irritation is a major illustration of what is wrong with America today.  You see, the core issue here is not Christianity nor is it bigotry: 

It’s Apathy.

It’s the admission to one’s self that its safer to be an ostrich then a lion.  We are coming upon an election year. I think this one is going to be a bitter and aggressive tussle between party lines because a lot of things too many to mention here are at risk.  What will certainly tip the scale are not the independents but the “undependents” those people who bury their head in the sand and do nothing except to allow others think for them.

So, dear readers, I am asking you:  Is the 2012 election going to be a 9 to 6 vote?

I’m just sayin….

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