|The Case for Crafting a New Religion for Black America
September 27, 2010
The Bishop Eddie Long affair brings two thoughts to mind. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”; and “There must be a flaw.”
On the first thought, we should not be surprised to hear about sexual misbehavior in our society. In fact, we should expect to see and hear about sexual misconduct because our society promulgates and wallows in high levels of sexual innuendo in media content and in everyday life. Sexually provocative attire and media presentations of sexually explicit materials are quite prevalent in our society. Because we respond to media by acting out what we hear and see, it is not unexpected that we should witness the continuation of sexual misbehavior.
Given the prevalence of sexual information, it is difficult for any individual to go through an entire life without experiencing some sexual misbehavior. We believe that you can begin with Presidents and go all the way down to young boys and girls and find that, somewhere in the course of their lives, there is likely to have been a sexual misstep.
On the second thought, we must realize that the Bishop Eddie Long affair is just the most recent of a long string of allegations of sexual misbehaviors that have filtered down through the Catholic and Protestant Churches. Although these are, in the main, misbehaviors by individuals, one must ask “Why do we continue to see a pattern of misbehavior by church leadership?” Is there a flaw in Christian teachings? Is there a flaw in the church’s organizational structure? Is there a flaw in some aspect of the church’s procedures, laws, and rules relative to the natural human capacity, which causes sexual misbehavior to be so prevalent and proliferating on an ongoing basis?
We began to ask these questions as we prepared a recently released book: Change: Black America’s Religion. In the book, we outlined “Seven Ugly” aspects of the Black Christian Church. Sexual misbehavior is just one of the “Uglies.”
The remaining six “Uglies” are:
1. The Black church as “gossip colony.”–Many Black churches are Peyton Places within our communities with much talk about problems and issues, and too little work to correct them.
2. Food gorgies and the related adverse health effects.—Meals and snacks laden with sugars and fats after church gatherings create obese and health impaired persons who serve as a drain on society—particularly the healthcare system.
3. Black preachers as pimps.—Many Black preachers have grown their congregations by wooing Black women with their singing or oratorical eloquence, and then used those women to bring their husbands into the fold. In some cases, the women are more connected with their preachers than they are with their husbands. They entice their husbands to tithe and otherwise support the congregation.
4. The church’s role in exacerbating Black income inequality.—It is often “Robin Hood in Reverse.” Poor members of the congregation are asked to contribute money that they don’t have for the upliftment of the preachers who already have.
5. Failure of the Black church to enhance Black Americans’ economic well-being.—Too many Black churches fail to facilitate the leveraging of the membership to produce self-sustaining businesses that create jobs and wealth for the community.
6. The ill-equipped nature of Black church leadership. Probably more than any other ethnic group in America, Black Americans need expert psychological, social, health, and financial and economic assistance to grow and develop properly. Too few Black church leaders have the knowledge or expertise to fulfill any of these needs.
Because of these Black church weaknesses, we advocate that Black America make a dramatic change. Because all religions are flawed in some way and because we have not benefited greatly from the current forms of certain religions, Black Americans should craft their own religion. We can selectively choose from all of the religions their most beneficial aspects, reject other aspects, and add new tenets, policies, rules, laws, and traditions to meet current-day and anticipated future requirements. We can, thereby, produce a religion that is most effective and beneficial for us.
We believe that, if we do this, then we can create a religion that may not be without flaws, but that will prevent—or at least minimize—the type of sexual deviancy that we have been hearing about in the Christian tradition for some time now.
Dr. B.B. Robinson is an economist and director of BlackEconomics.org, a resource for economic concepts, issues and policies affecting African-Americans.
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