Thursday, June 11, 2009

Home Is Where The Hate Is, Part 1: Black Religious-Inspired Bigotry In Place of Godliness

I've been stunned into befuddled silence by the recent outbreaks of right-wing violence. From the assassination of a doctor who offered abortion services to the murder of a guard at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

I was even more stunned when I pondered how African-Americans' religious-inspired bigotry helps create the atmosphere that makes these slayings possible. We love to engage in hateful, hypocritical, bigoted talk.

Our fake "holiness talk" isn't about love of God. It's about the pleasure of cracking the whip on other people. We revel in verbally stepping on people who are engaged in sexual activities that we have no interest in participating in, such as the gays. Meanwhile, the majority of our births are out of wedlock. Despite all of our "We want forced births to be the law of the land" rhetoric, we are avid consumers of abortion services.

We are hateful bigots.

We are shameless hypocrites.

We are self-destructive fools.

By our bigoted statements and actions, we are ultimately supporting White, racist politicians who will turn back the clock on all of our (already extremely fragile) advancements.

This is what happened when many confused African-Americans voted for Pres. Bush to have a second term in office. I had many arguments with many confused Blacks who told me that they were voting for Bush because of so-called "moral issues" (translation: their opposition to gays having rights). Many of the Black folks saying these things were shacked up and had illegitimate children. [Translation: "By stepping on gays, I get to feel a rush of holiness without having to engage in any sort of self-discipline."] I noticed that some of this "moral issues" talk dried up after Pres. Bush did a "heckuva job" of ignoring the Black deaths and suffering caused by Hurricane Katrina.

By our bigoted statements and actions, we are ultimately supporting White, racist extremists who will turn their guns on US.

Even worse, I believe that our fake religiosity (which takes the form of bigoted statements and actions) is pushing us further and further away from God! The proof is in our ever-declining collective quality of life.

The Gaudy Carnival of Modern Black Fake Religiosity

All of this has brought to mind some earlier conversations that Pioneer Valley Woman has hosted at her excellent blog Episcopalienne (which is listed on my side blog roll). Through her blog, Pioneer Valley Woman is providing one of the few safe spaces where we can seriously discuss Black religious issues. Thank you, Pioneer Valley Woman!

As I've mentioned in other conversations, I've spent much of my career doing indigent defense (after barely tolerating working as a prosecutor---but that's a tale for another day). In addition to criminal rotations, I did rotations in my area's child welfare and child support courtrooms. It has been extremely eye-opening in many ways.

Friends at work and I have talked about our observations and we can't figure out if the patterns reflect class issues in terms of different denominations or church/mosque misleadership issues. I'm beginning to think that both class issues and religious misleadership are creating these patterns.

I apologize in advance to anyone that I inadvertently offend; but this is what we've seen in our large metropolitan area's criminal, delinquency, child welfare, and child support courtrooms:

The vast majority of the criminal, delinquency, and child-welfare defendants and child support litigants are African-Americans. No surprises there. Public aid requires female recipients to name the "baby daddies" involved in order to recoup some of the welfare money from these men. [Please note that my jurisdiction makes a distinction between child support in the context of divorce, and out-of-wedlock child support. Before the local legal aid society's federal lawsuit, the out of wedlock child support cases were heard in criminal courtrooms housed in police station complexes. There are still separate courtrooms in different types of buildings allocated for these two contexts.]

Among the Black defendants and child support litigants who claim any religious affiliation at all, the VAST majority of them seem to come from "sanctified," "holy roller" churches. Specifically, the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) is well-represented among the criminal defendant/out-of-wedlock child-support litigant population. My Black co-workers and I have seen VERY FEW Black Catholics, Lutherans, or Episcopalians over the years.

Over the years, I've listened to a lot of clients engage in a lot of talk (lip service) about "anointing," "spirits," etc. The COGIC clients often make a big show of being angry when my Black Christian colleagues won't "touch hands" and pray with them before court appearances. They hear my Muslim name upon introduction, and thankfully don't approach me with that "let's pray" stuff. One child welfare defendant/mother is still angry with her attorney (who, unknown to her, is also a COGIC member) because of this!

There is a large population of what I call "jailhouse" Muslims. The jailhouse Muslims typically have better Arabic pronunciation of religious expressions than me! A client explained to me that he accepted Islam in prison because he didn't have gang affiliations to protect him; and the prison Muslims will fight to defend each other from assault (similar to the protection offered by prison gang membership). From what I've seen, they claim Islam only while in prison. Once released, they get back to their previous (criminal) pursuits.

There is a small, but noticeable, subsection of Negro Muslims among the out of wedlock child support litigants. These are the foolish, usually hijab-wearing colored girls who call themselves involved in plural marriages. Of course, they are on welfare and their "husbands" dutifully collect the proceeds from these public aid checks.

These are the Negro Muslim male clients that I had the most heated exchanges with. I don't wear hijab, and some of these fools thought they were going to "check" me about that. They were shocked when I put them on blast about how it was impossible to distinguish their activities from those of a pimp and his stable of prostitutes.

A noticeable percentage of our Latino coworkers (attorneys and support staff) have become Protestants. Meanwhile, the Latino defendants retain at least nominal affiliation with the Catholic Church. These patterns only become noticeable when you see people in the huge volume that we do at work.

It Wasn't Always Like This

To further set the stage, let me describe the 2 main coworkers I've been discussing this with over the past few years:

Coworker #1 is a COGIC member in her early 50s. Her grandfather founded one of the largest and oldest COGIC churches in the area. She's horrified at all the "Let's pray for Sister So and So's son, who was just sentenced to 80 years!" appeals at her grandfather's church. It wasn't like this when she was growing up. She can't quite pinpoint when the congregation turned into a different sort of population. This is a source of great concern to her.

Coworker #2 is in her early 40s, is originally from a small Black town outside of Macon, Georgia (I can't quite imitate her Southern accent *Smile*), and grew up in the COGIC. Her father is a high-ranking official (bishop?) in the South, and her childhood was filled with attending tent-revivals. She joined the Episcopal church as an adult.

Both of these coworkers are true and sincere "church ladies" that I greatly admire and respect. They actually ARE what many of the clients like to pretend to be. Curiously, they don't run around using religious phrases like "I'm blessed and highly favored" etc. They actually practice their values by their actions. It's quite a contrast from the clients (and I may add some of our coworkers) whose lifestyles have no connection whatsoever to their overt "church jargon."

The same pattern applies to the jailhouse Muslims and other corrupt Muslims I've observed. Prison Muslims love to insert Arabic phrases and words into their speech. Even non-religious words like saying "akhi" instead of "brother."

It seems to me that the worst people are usually the ones who flamboyantly insert religious jargon and slogans into everyday conversations.

Anyway, Coworker #2 has noticed that there are a lot of West Indians and a sprinkling of Africans in her church. They seem to have "inherited" participation in these denominations from "back home." During an earlier conversation at her blog, Pioneer Valley Woman pointed out that class has some connection to all of this. I believe that she's right about this.

Most African-American Catholics, Lutherans, Episcopalians that I've met are middle class. And grew up in the middle class. However, I think there's something in addition to class and ethnic affiliations going on.

Coworker #2's church is one of the area's oldest Black Episcopal churches. It's located in the middle of what was the city's Black belt when Blacks of all classes were segregated together. The church's neighborhood is now mainly composed of poor African-Americans. Coworker #2's church members are very zealous and sincere in their efforts to assist and do outreach among the local poor residents. But the locals are not responding.

Let me be blunt: I think they're not responding based on their antipathy to: (1) serious church doctrine and (2) the emotional styles of these non-sanctified churches.

I haven't fully formed these thoughts, but here are my half-formed impressions from talking to my coworkers about this. One concern that I heard expressed with these storefront-type churches is the lack of accountability regarding doctrine. For all anybody knows, they could be preaching anything in these places. [In my uninformed opinion, the lack of firm doctrine in a lot of the majority-Black denominations has helped the spread of "prosperity ministries" in the Black community. My coworkers and I feel that these prosperity ministries have really damaged Black spirituality.]

I have no clue what the problem is within the COGIC. Coworker #1 says that it wasn't previously filled with the Black underclass. I can't tell if the problem is that COGIC members in other demographics migrated to other denominations, or what. I just don't know.

The other factor is that the client population is NOT attracted to the emotional climate in the non-"sanctified" denominations. To be candid: the Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopal churches are perceived as "too" cerebral by this population. Another attorney coworker who attends a storefront-type church explained to me point blank that "Black people want to be entertained in church." [!!!]

The client population can tolerate Islam (which is also "lacking" in entertainment value) because it offers physical perks---physical protection while one is in prison, and extra wives when one is out of prison.

It Doesn't Have To Be Like This

Something has gone horribly wrong in a lot of African-American houses of worship. We have more churches and mosques per capita than almost anybody else, and yet are collectively living worse than the people my grandmother used to call "heathens." From my vantage point, there is no longer any ethical center in the African-American community. This ethical core has been replaced with slogans: "I'm blessed & highly favored!" "Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatullah!" [I won't bother to translate---since it's often (mostly?) insincere it doesn't matter what it "officially" means].

In Part 2 of this series, we'll talk about solutions.

55 comments:

Foxycleopatra said...

Hi Khadija.

I've been off for more than a month now cos of exams. missed this blog.

any way, i've just checked and I have about 2 pages of posts to go through (gosh!) so i'll be off.

will add my two cents along the way (if any of the comments sections are still open).

see ya.

roslynholcomb said...

Whew! You've thrown down the gauntlet on this one. As I've said before, I'm a recovering Baptist. I was raised in the southern Black Baptist Church, I have a passing familiarity with COGIC, but I don't know it as well as I do the Baptists.

Interestingly enough, one of the many reasons I escaped from the Baptist church at 17 was the unrelenting heterosexism accompanied by a huge dose of hypocrisy. Back then, girls who got pregnant OOW had to stand in front of the congregation and apologize for their transgression, but the boys did not. That used to enrage me, and was only ONE of the many such sexist moments I had to deal with on the regular.

I found the Baptist church anti-intellectual and unrelentingly close-minded. I became a member of the Episcopal Church when I got married. My father-in-law was a priest. I must say, after having not attended services for almost 20 years, it was a breath of fresh air to go to an Episcopal service. I'm still hesitant to call myself a 'Christian,' because I really don't like all the baggage that carries, but I will call myself an Episcopalian.

From my observation the black church is both a destructive and irrelevant force in the black community today. Quoi? How can something be both destructive AND irrelevant?

People use religion to excuse bad behavior. The Bible tells us not to judge, they'll say when they're laying up with some criminal with 15 baby mamas. And don't even get me started on all the quotes from Leviticus. As my mama used to say, "Leviticus only applies to you if you're a Levite."

As for being irrelevant, I can say this because I worked in adoptions for several years. We all know there are tons of black children in the foster care system. Oftentimes black folks moan and yell about the lack of outreach into black communities. Well, I can tell you, I spent years going to black churches trying to recruit foster/adoptive families. It's strange, these people think nothing of giving their pastor a $50k 'love offering,' but in all my years I rarely got anyone willing to take a child.

So, what it comes down to is this; the black church is an epic fail on two fronts, it fails to provide a moral foundation AND it fails to support and nurture the children who are the predictable product of their failure.

roslynholcomb said...

Sorry, I promise I only have a little more to say. People also use religion as a crutch, to keep from doing any type of critical thinking or reflection on their own. I used to be a trainer for Job Corps. I would do workshops to teach the various instructors on teaching social skills to the kids in the program. Every time we'd do role-playing they'd whip out some Scripture or quote an Apostle. You wouldn't believe the brouhaha that ensued when I pointed out that as a FEDERAL program we couldn't be proselytizing to the kids! They labeled me an 'atheist' and a 'heathen.' (I've been called worse. My fave is heretic.)

These people were fundamentally unable to come up with an original thought or means to instruct on something as basic as social skills. This was even with us giving them a 300 page handbook to work from! It absolutely blew my mind, but it was quite instructive. Many people seek out religion as an out. They don't want to think or develop their own ideas. This is absolutely maddening and ultimately destructive. If you're not capable of critical thought you're barely human. You might as well be a chimpanzee performing tricks for peanuts.

Khadija said...

Foxycleopatra,

Welcome back from the exam zone! That's one part of my school years that I don't miss. LOL!

Please feel free to add your input to any post at any time. There's no "expiration date" for the issues that are discussed here. Unless I've closed a comment section for a specific reason (which is rare), folks are always welcome to add comments to previous discussions.
_________________________

Roslyn,

Please don't feel like you have to limit your input here. I welcome thougtful, substantive comments like the ones you've blessed these conversations with. I want folks to think and talk through these issues. I learn a lot from the readers' comments.

I come to all of this from a mostly "outsider's" perspective. I'm not familiar with the routines of "typcial" Black Protestant churches.

First of all, I grew up in the Catholic church, so I didn't see any stereotypical "Black" Protestant church services as a child. I was shocked the first time I saw people running up and down the aisles and "falling out" when visiting Black Protestant churches as an adult. [I recall thinking "Maybe this aisle seat wasn't such a good idea after all..."]

Second, even though my (mother's) family is Catholic, religion was never shoved down my throat as a child. Despite her DEEP faith, my mother has always maintained a certain, shall we say, emotional distance from any and all Popes and priests. She never handed her brain over to the priests or the Pope.

So, I wasn't raised within a suffocating sort of family church culture. I was free to read various books about various religions and denominations. I was free to ask questions of the priests. I was free to think for myself.

My parents raised us to engage in rational, logical, critical thinking.

I was an agnostic all the way through college. I accepted Islam toward the end of college. And that was after reading a book called The Bible, The Quran And Science by Maurice Bucaille.

I was never a member of the NOI. The mosque I did join had an imam who was "old school" in ways that were extremely protective of the interests of women and children. Negroes weren't so quick to join his mosque because he did NOT tolerate the exploitation or abuse of women. He did NOT tolerate unreformed jailbirds. He was NOT taking orders from immigrant Muslims. He was NOT into any of the destructive pursuits of most Sunni Muslim Negroes.

I'm saying all of this to explain why these crazy forms of Black religion are totally unfamiliar to me. To explain why most AAs' religious-inspired bigoted and/or crazy talk is so strange to me. I didn't grow up hearing this type of talk.

In any event, this madness is a large part of what is killing us as a people. We can't afford to persist in this sort of confused thinking.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Khadija said...

Roslyn,

You said, "As my mama used to say, "Leviticus only applies to you if you're a Levite."-

{gales of laugher} About the oppressive readings of scripture:

What the tyrants & their followers refuse to understand is that these scriptures were revealed to extremely primitive people over 1,000 years ago. These scriptures were revealed to the equivalent of cavemen.

The social practices mentioned in the scriptures [that were prevalent in the "caveman" societies that were the recipients of revelation] weren't meant to be continued forever. Usually, the scriptures served to minimize the harmful effects of caveman social practices---all the while encouraging the eventual end of these practices.

This is what I tell the people who come at me saying that the Quran mentions "so and so practice." I also ask them: "The Quran also mentions slavery. Does that mean we should reinstate slavery?" *Sound of crickets chirping*

It's always fascinating to watch [mostly] men pick & choose their favorite "caveman" practices from the scriptures---they unerringly pick the ones that gratify their own character flaws.

Organized religion is the ONLY institution left standing in the former Black community. Everything else was either crushed under foot by outside aggression [the FBI's COINTELPRO program, etc.] or abandoned by the Black community.

We CANNOT abandon the concept of faith to the most backwards among us. Making this type of surrender would mark the final & complete death of our people.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

geekgrl said...

Another attorney coworker who attends a storefront-type church explained to me point blank that "Black people want to be entertained in church." [!!!]”

I HATE that. I was baptized Catholic, but my family weren’t big church goers. When we went, we’d go to a Catholic Church. I’m used to quiet services, a little piano in the beginning, but generally very calm. Sometimes, my mother would palm us kids off on the Baptist neighbors, so we’d get some religion. It was loud, too much partying in the aisles, reminiscent of being next to a trick out loud car. Not my kind of thing.


"Leviticus only applies to you if you're a Levite."

I love that. I going to start using it.

Khadija said...

Geekgrl,

My issue isn't the entertainment in those sorts of houses of worship. My issue is with the entertainment being the central focus of the services. INSTEAD of the focus being sound, life-enhancing doctrine.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Muse said...

Khadija,

First and foremost please don’t EVER apologize for speaking the truth. Your post exposes the hypocrisy and double-talk that many so called religious people spew. The irony is that none of these holy rollers want to acknowledge their own flaws or address the dysfunctional behavior going on in their own backyard. Being a Christian isn’t about having a routine of going to church every Sunday or allocating your time to various committees, but to have a PERSONAL relationship with God. Many of these ignorant people have rotten souls and wouldn’t know the first thing about living a godly life.

My parents taught me if you really want to know if someone truly has a personal relationship with God, look at the fruits of their life. If their life is nothing but chaos and foulness then there is your answer. Granted I recognize that we all encounter hardships and challenges along the way, but what distinguishes people is how they approach their problems. Are they constantly making the same mistakes and excuses for their incompetence and rotten behavior or are these individuals actively working towards solutions and leaning on the Lord for guidance? God made human beings to use their critical thinking skills and avoid behavior that would cause harm to yourself and others. However many Blacks in church passively go through life allowing toxic behavior and individuals to take over.

Growing up, I attended non-denominational, multi-cultural Christian churches so I never had to endure the dysfunctional behavior that goes on in the Black church. The only time I really was exposed to Black churches was through my Grandmother who is Pentecostal and most of the members of her church were affluent Blacks from the Caribbean. Needless to say they had zero tolerance for any type of ignorant behavior. Young men and women were held accountable for their behavior and were expected do well for themselves. In fact if you are a young person and weren’t in school or didn’t have a career, you were considered incompetent.

zoopath said...

I'm glad some had the courage to say this. I'm Methodist and I like the music of black congregations but the simple sermons and excessive praise and worship turn me off. I often have to go to university affiliated predominantly white churches to get a sermon with substance.

Muse said...

Furthermore the Black Church has lost it’s credibility in many areas. Some of the worst human conditions from poverty to sexual abuse are all prevalent in the Black church. Back in the day, the Black church was a place where people are uplifted. Black people could lean on the church for genuine support. People were encouraged to get an education and elevate their lives while fighting against oppression and inequality. Somewhere down the line some greedy person decided that they can profit from being in the church business. The Black church turned from being a place where people can find salvation and improve their lives to a money ministry. Pulpit pimps started having their own ministries where they exploited people out of their money for empty promises. There was one time I went to church with an associate and I was horrified that the preacher was talking about the fast road to riches and treating God as if he was a Genie. There was no scriptural basis to his message but by the way everyone was reacting, you would think Jesus himself came down and turned wine into water.

Sadly many of these Black church going Christians who don’t have a holistic understanding of the bible and twist a few scriptures to avoid accountability. For example if you want to correct someone of their dysfunctional behavior, they love to say: "Judge not, that ye be not judged" (Matthew 7:1). Yet they don’t want to acknowledge that the Bible clearly states that God’s people are expected to correct, rebuke and be bold to those who are sinning from a position of love and genuine concern. Since I know my word, I love to come back with James 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. Romans 14: 1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. 1 Corinthians 6: 1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? 2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? 4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. 5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?"

You get the picture…..

The bottom line is that the church and so called religious people are cowardly. They make a lot of noise but there is no substance behind the words. Being brave is addressing your own flaws and overcoming your hardships so that you can serve as a testimony to others. The Black Church is demonic in my eyes. The black church lacks true deliverance and there is a lack of testimony concerning how God has allowed the person to overcome their challenges so that they can be a light to the world. As a Christian I do understand why most of the world is turning away from religion and God in general because the fruits of those institutions are rotten. My pastor as a joke that when someone gets saved, he advises them to stop going to church LOL. Now I get the joke.

Muse said...

Khadija Said: It's always fascinating to watch [mostly] men pick & choose their favorite "caveman" practices from the scriptures---they unerringly pick the ones that gratify their own character flaws.


Are we encountering the same folks Khadija!? LOL.

Seriously I love how some pig-headed men like to use women as a foot stool and use biblical scripture to justify their chauvinistic behavior. They will glow miscellaneous scriptures about women being submissive but ignore the other aspects of the bible where women stood up, were valued for their knowledge, or how it was a woman who stood by Jesus when he was crucified while the other men denied him. When someone doesn’t use good critical thinking skills or have a decent understanding of the bible and how they applied to the times, I don’t even bother to engage those individuals. Most of those types of men need to put down another human being so they can feel elevated.

Muse said...

Sorry Khadija you have me fired up girl! I have more to add LOL. Church should be a is a place where individuals can to obtain more knowledge about God and his purpose for mankind, not to shake your tail feather to the music! Generally speaking I have a low tolerance for churches that spend most of the time getting their booty shake on and not on scripture. If I wanted to go to a concert, I’ll look up my favorite musicians and attend their performance.

This is the problem; people in the church aren’t disciplined. No one is really concerned about learning the word and applying the positive lessons to life. No one is telling these people get old testament and stop eating shellfish or sacrifice animals. Human beings are lacking the BASICS these days. What happened to basic principles about not hurting yourself and others? Treating your neighbor with love, respect, and kindness? Or even money management? I bet you Black churches aren’t talking about how debt is a sin. Folks can’t even get the BASICS down! When I see people unable to handle basics, I hardly expect them to evolve to the next level as a human being.

But God forbid if a gay person wants to get married. To be completely honest, I may not understand homosexuality but if I had to make a list of priorities, fighting against gay marriage isn’t on the top of my lists. The last thing on the Black community’s mind shouldn’t be whether or not gays should be married. If they made as much noise about homosexuality as they did about poverty, criminal behavior, and children being born out of wedlock, we might get somewhere as a “community.”

Khadija said...

Muse,

You said, "Granted I recognize that we all encounter hardships and challenges along the way, but what distinguishes people is how they approach their problems. Are they constantly making the same mistakes and excuses for their incompetence and rotten behavior or are these individuals actively working towards solutions and leaning on the Lord for guidance?"-

In the case of Black Sunni Muslims, the phrase would be "are they constantly making the same CRIMES and excuses for their incompetence and rotten behavior..."! And then multiply the REPEATED, HABITUAL crimes/mistakes by millions of African-Americans.

Has it occurred to AAs to notice that we are collectively living WORSE than people who don't even believe in the God of Moses, Jesus and Muhammad? Compare the quality of life statistics of AAs with those of South Koreans or the Japanese. [Even though South Korea has caught the Christian evangelical fever, if I remember correctly about half the population is still Buddhist.]

It's quite apparent that this fake religious stuff that we talk (regardless of faith tradition or denomination within any particular faith tradition) has NO connection whatsoever to what the masses of us do in our lives. However, the hypocritical, bigoted crazy talk DOES have an impact on our lives. A negative one.

It encourages us to refrain from handling our sexual lives in a responsible manner. Which is the origin of the rampant OOWs and STDs among us. With said OOWs being the origin of most of the negative statistics that describe our collective condition.

It encourages us to verbally, emotionally, and physically bash gays and lesbians. Which helps foster "down low" subcultures. And then we blame AA gays and lesbians for hiding their orientation from the rest of us. As if we straight Black folks had nothing to do with creating an atmosphere that causes "down low" and and other types of closeted behaviors to flourish.

At the end of the day, the leadership is only a reflection of the followers. Not only is there obviously a grave problem with our religious leadership, but there's also a grave problem with most of US as "believers."
____________________

Zoopath,

You said, "I'm glad some had the courage to say this."-

I'm also obnoxious. Obnoxious enough to say certain things out loud. LOL!

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

JS said...

I think another Christian denomination (or more accurately sect) that can ruin critical thought and encourage separatist behavior is the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Jehovah’s Witnesses doctrine teaches that they are the only true religion and all other religions including other Christian denominations are displeasing to God. You cannot approach God or worship him properly if you are a non-Witness. Another important part of their doctrine is their preaching work and Armageddon. According to Jehovah’s Witnesses during Armageddon Jesus will destroy all those who oppose Jehovah God. Who are opposing Jehovah? Practically everyone who is not a Jehovah Witness, which includes president Barack Obama, the creator and readers of this blog, and over 98% of humanity. They tried to soften their doctrine by saying that ultimately God will make the decision who is saved and who isn’t. Nevertheless, his pardons will be few and far between.

There are many black folks who are Witnesses waiting for “paradise” to come and solve their problems, which include depression, poverty, and loneliness among other problems. My mother is one and she is always mentioning the things she wants to do in the “new” world. I try to encourage her to do some of those activities she wants to do now. Too many of them believe that if you become a Witness it will be a panacea for all of your problems. My mother’s suggestion to most of all of my concerns is to become a Jehovah’s Witness.

Evia said...

Khadija, I agree with you and all of your commenters about the sorry state of these black churches and these characters in these churches pimping the membership, but unfortunately the black church is ALL many AA women will ever have. The church. That's about as good as it's going to get for many AA women.

This is why so many AA women are all up under these holy roller churches. It's a class issue to an extent, but in the last few years, it has cut across the lines. This is one of the biggest reasons why so many bw invest so much in the black church. It medicates them and helps them to deal with the sordid lack of quality in their lives. They KNOW it's the only viable thing in their lives.

Although, I certainly have major issues with the black church, I recognize that it's the ONLY thing that checks the behavior of a lot of DBR black folks. It doesn't do much, but if not for the black church, things would be a LOT worse for these younger bw and their children.It's the ONLY place many AA women can go to and expect to get a sliver of support or protection--at least for a little while.


It's the only system still in place in the bc for many AA folks as you've mentioned. It's the closest thing most AAs have to a culture. Things would be a LOT worse for AA women, if not for the black church.

That being said, the black church is still the LAST place I want to be on any Sunday. LOL! It's really depressing going to church. The praying is so mournful and the manipulation is unmerciful. Going to church has become the lowest point of my week.

And one thing I know for sure is that if not for the black church, the dam would break totally and that Rwanda situation you talk about would happen a lot faster.

CW said...

Very insightful post! I stopped going to all those churches that do the whooping and hollering...Just wasn't for me...It is scary to think that many need a 24/7 entertainement center to worship....

@Muse...ITA...

I often cringe when hearing that "Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged" tagline used a reasoning for EVERY sin/situation...Sometimes you have to call a spade a spade then cast out some demons!

...For example if you want to correct someone of their dysfunctional behavior, they love to say: "Judge not, that ye be not judged" (Matthew 7:1). Yet they don’t want to acknowledge that the Bible clearly states that God’s people are expected to correct, rebuke and be bold to those who are sinning from a position of love and genuine concern....

@Roslyn

You know darn well those girls got preggers all by themselves!

"Back then, girls who got pregnant OOW had to stand in front of the congregation and apologize for their transgression, but the boys did not. That used to enrage me, and was only ONE of the many such sexist moments I had to deal with on the regular."

Khadija said...

JS,

You said, "I think another Christian denomination (or more accurately sect) that can ruin critical thought and encourage separatist behavior is the Jehovah’s Witnesses."-

Let's try to be careful and precise in our language. I am NOT in any way attacking particular Black Protestant denominations. The same way I was not attacking Sunni Islam in my previous posts.-

I take issue with the effects of what is being taught and emphasized by Black clergy. What backwards, confused Black clergy are preaching is NOT necessarily synonymous (or even congruent) with the historical teachings of their denomination(s).

I am NOT saying that particular denominations destroy critical thinking. I'm saying that what's currently being taught in a plurality/majority of Black churches/mosques within certain denominations is destroying people.-

From my coworkers' descriptions, the COGIC was not always populated by large numbers of Black underclass criminals and welfare queens. Something has changed. Or a combination of somethings have changed. I suspect that either (1) the teaching have changed over the past few decades; or (2) the emphasis given on certain teaching have changed over the past few decades.

Similar to the way the that the way AA imams present Sunni Islam has changed over the past few decades. In some cases, what is being preached has changed both in terms of overt content and in terms of what is emphasized to the congregation(s).

The "us in our bunker against the outer world" mindset can take hold within members of ANY denomination or secular group. Although, I will note that certain types of beliefs more easily lend themselves to a "bunker" mentality.

A blogger named Sara Robinson did several excellent posts about this in the context of violent right wing groups. There's a series of mental steps along the road that lead up to Waco-type situations. Unfortunately, one can find similar mental/perceptual steps being taken in many Black houses of worship. I think I'll link to her post in a future discussion.
____________________

Muse,

Here's my 2 cents about the gay marriage thing: I'm beginning to feel that this issue shows that perhaps the government needs to get out of the marriage business altogether. It might be better for the government to give both straight and gay/lesbian couples civil registration licenses, and leave "marriage" to various houses of worship.

I also think that at some point, gays/lesbians will have to (for their own mental health) get in touch with the reality that most "mainstream" interpretations of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism WON'T give the religious "seal of approval" to their partnerships. Full stop. Period.
___________________

Evia,

You said, "And one thing I know for sure is that if not for the black church, the dam would break totally and that Rwanda situation you talk about would happen a lot faster."-

Hmmm...I don't know. What I do see is that the "norm" for AA houses of worship is getting worse and worse with each year that passes. I would call what the Black church is doing a slow-motion transformation into Rwanda.

There was at least one Black African priest, and maybe some African nuns, in Rwanda who were complicit in the genocide. I can't remember if they personally hacked people to death; or "simply" let the genocidaires know where people were hiding so that they could be killed.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Khadija said...

CW,

Thank you for your kind words about the post. I truly appreciate it.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Muse said...

Evia Said: Although, I certainly have major issues with the black church, I recognize that it's the ONLY thing that checks the behavior of a lot of DBR black folks. It doesn't do much, but if not for the black church, things would be a LOT worse for these younger bw and their children. It's the ONLY place many AA women can go to and expect to get a sliver of support or protection--at least for a little while.

Evia I totally adore your blog and how bold you are about confronting dysfunctional behavior within the Black community and how Black women can elevate their lives…I don’t mean to kill your optimism but generally speaking many Black churches do not check the behavior of DBRs which is why instances of sexual abuse and children born out of wedlock are chronic issues within Black churches, especially in impoverished areas. If anything women are publically humiliated and condemned for their behavior while the men are often given a pass for their short comings

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Thanks for the shout out, Khadija! I'm glad to provide the forum.

I agree with much of what was posted here.

I never was attracted to churches without an established doctrine that can be looked out, taken apart and thought over. In most Episcopal churches, there are copies of the prayer book at each pew, for people to read along with at the service. In the back are sections on church doctrine. Everything is open and accessible.

The Episcopal church attracted me, and especially the continuing education programs I am participating in, because of its long standing intellectual tradition.

Regarding Muse's points, the misogynists who don't know anything else, but that God told women to submit, in my mind, are truly ridiculous.

They are forgetting that there were other messages about men's responsibilities to women and children, ie., to love God and their families. This is what makes them men worthy of leadership, ie., that others might submit to them.

It is so funny, Khadija, what you spoke of regarding a faith for people living the equivalent of cave men times, and its evolution to today.

We were talking about that in one of my classes recently, the issues that many mainstream Protestants have with the literalists, and the message we spoke of was similar to what you are describing.

We don't live in the barbaric times of cavemen, so do we want to embrace all their practices? As you mentioned, some of what we do today (rampant out of wedlock pregnancies) would never have been followed by those people back then who were supposedly more barbaric than us!

Thinking about gay rights and tolerant churches, I visited a UCC church recently, and it is one of the mainline Protestant churches that is very supportive of gay rights. Their predecessors were the folks who landed at Plymouth Rock.

As for the gay marriage thing, I used to tell my students, religious leaders can not not required to marry gays if it is against their faith, so there is no church-state conflict. Gays having the right to marry does not affect them. It is about the civil magistrates--they are the ones who can't deny marriage to gays.

ActsofFaithBlog said...

All I know is one of the biggest fights my mother and I ever had was when I was 16 over my not wanting to attend one of the local Baptist churches. I noticed the women whispering loud enough to be heard as they gossiped and talked about what we wore one Sunday. I noticed the emotional theatrics of the preacher.

The three-hour service and the collection plate being passed around 8 times. I said I would NEVER go back there and that God had nothing to do with any of that. I used to pretend to go and sneak in the park to read my Bible and I thought it was crazy that I had to do that but wild horses would not get me to set foot in a place like that again.

I also attended a Pentecostal service where people were speaking in tongues and falling out. Considering I used to attend a Lutheran church by myself for years w/neither parent attending anything I found it ironic how all of a sudden I was "holy" enough.

Anyway...I went from that experience to an actual no-denominational multi-racial uber strict church cult when I went off to college but that's another story. Suffice it to say I don't attend now, don't feel "resolved" about it but have thus far been unsatisfied.

Someone pointed out to me that churches have all of the same dysfunction as the real world. I'd been hoping for an enlightening place of refuge and upliftment - with the appropriate challenges of course.

I don't want to have to be in conflict with people who are not like-minded even amongst this setting. So I just don't participate.

Khadija said...

PioneerValleyWoman,

You said, "Thanks for the shout out, Khadija! I'm glad to provide the forum."-

You're welcome! And again, thank you for providing a safe place to discuss these sorts of issues.

You said, "I never was attracted to churches without an established doctrine that can be looked out, taken apart and thought over. In most Episcopal churches, there are copies of the prayer book at each pew, for people to read along with at the service. In the back are sections on church doctrine. Everything is open and accessible."-

Well, that's one of the critical differences between what you're doing and what the masses of Black believers do. It's quite apparent that folks are NOT reading their various scriptures. Instead, they are depending upon the clergy to spoonfeed interpretations of scriptures to them.

Another problem is that, for the most part, Black folks are NOT doing their own theological thinking. There are very few Black religious scholars who are writing Quran or Bible commentaries. We're busy reading commentaries written by White men; or in the case of Black Muslims, commentaries written by Pakistani and Arab men. We also generally fail to read and compare multiple translations of our scriptures.

Again, we take the lazy way out of letting the pastor/imam spoonfeed us his "take" on the scriptures.
_____________________

Faith,

You said, "Someone pointed out to me that churches have all of the same dysfunction as the real world. I'd been hoping for an enlightening place of refuge and upliftment - with the appropriate challenges of course. I don't want to have to be in conflict with people who are not like-minded even amongst this setting. So I just don't participate."-

Faith, what troubles me so much about what you're describing (and why I haven't found a mosque to join YEARS after my imam retired) is that most of our smartest people are OUTSIDE of our houses of worship!

It's interesting. A while back, a few people were encouraging me to start a support group for Black Muslim women. I considered and researched the idea, but ultimately passed on it. [Liability issues, time investment, etc.] Instead, I started this blog.

As some of my friends pointed out, there are probably MANY AA Muslims who are disgruntled with what is currently available. We need some new mosques. Well, after discovering blogs such as the 2 Muslim blogs listed on my sidebar, I see that there IS a lot of discontent. The problem is that we're scattered.

Well, I know that I'm not up to the challenge of trying to start a mosque. But I do try to reach out to other disgruntled Muslims. I've been considering the idea of starting a small online study circle, where those of who are looking for relevant, healthy, productive interpretations of Islam can discuss religious issues.

Faith, perhaps you can do the same thing in the context of your own faith tradition.

There was an effort about 4 years ago where progressive (mostly immigrant) Muslims were making headway in providing an alternative. They were sponsoring some local meet-ups. And had even managed to sponsor an historic instance of Friday jum'ah prayers being led by a woman. [An AA Muslimah scholar named Dr. Amina Wadud.]

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Evia said...

I don’t mean to kill your optimism but generally speaking many Black churches do not check the behavior of DBRs which is why instances of sexual abuse and children born out of wedlock are chronic issues within Black churches, especially in impoverished areas.

Muse, if my positive outlook on life could be killed, it would've been destroyed a LONG time ago.People disagreeing with me on the internet is nothing. LOL!

I guess I should have elaborated. My point was that we have to be careful not to think in an ABSOLUTE manner about some of this. We shouldn't 'throw out the baby with the bath water.' This is what SOME AAs tend to do with practically every issue: marriage, parenting, politics, IR dating, the black church, etc.

IMO, we ought to look at these issues in a more nuanced, reasonable manner to see what we need to keep and what we need to throw away. What I'm talking about here is critical thought and not just knee-jerk thinking and making decisions on the fly.

This is what I said:

"it's the ONLY thing that checks the behavior of a lot of DBR black folks. It doesn't do much, but if not for the black church, things would be a LOT worse for these younger bw and their children. It's the ONLY place many AA women can go to and expect to get a sliver of support or protection--at least for a little while."

Remember that I look at things from a cultural standpoint. From that standpoint, I don't see ANYTHING else that is effectively checking aspects of DBR behavior as effectively as SOME of the black churches are doing.

Remember that AAs are in a state of devolving totally, and notice that I didn't say ALL DBR behavior.
I also didn't say that the black church ALWAYS checks DBR behavior. It is not doing much, but when many of these women are dealing with NOTHING around them that offers ANY structure, sanity,support, protection or compass--as MANY AA women experience in some of the hell hole residential areas they live in, SOME of the black churches make a lil bit of difference for SOME of them.

Now this is not a commercial for the black churches. LOL! However, in SOME of the churches (and I've experienced various ones of them over a wide area of the eastern part of the country) DO urge parents to ACT like parents. SOME of the black churches DO encourage bm to marry their babymamas. SOME of the black churches DO point out the trifling behavior of bm towards bw and black children. SOME of the black churches do urge black children to behave like normal people. SOME of these black churches do try to organize efforts to drive drug dealers and other nefarious elements from these terrorized areas.

Now, I know this is not nearly enough to satisfy us and these may be episodic events in SOME of these churches, but to SOME of the "trapped" bw in these areas, it makes a difference for THEM.

These may be minor things to us, but if those churches were not there, life would be a lot sorrier for those bw and children.

I have definitely slammed the black church in several of my essays. The typical black church message does nothing for me, spiritually or otherwise, because I don't need any of that stuff they peddle. I don't need anything else from them either. I, too, am looking for an alternative, but for some of these down and out sistas, it's ALL they have. It's sad, but that's the reality.

And I believe that if all of those black churches vanished tomorrow, things would become much more savage in those communities for the women, children, for the elderly, and for the weaker men.

Evia said...

Hmmm...I don't know. What I do see is that the "norm" for AA houses of worship is getting worse and worse with each year that passes. I would call what the Black church is doing a slow-motion transformation into Rwanda.

Khadija, I think this is why some black folks accuse the so-called "Talented Tenth" (TT) of AAs of having abandoned the masses of AAs. We're seeing this slide toward outright chaos right in front of our eyes. But I think the TTs are just tired of fighting with the hordes of backward elements among black folks.

Now, I'm not saying the TTs are blameless or unflawed themselves, but the TTs are doing a heck of a lot better than the masses of black folks. No matter what, the TTs are ALWAYS going to be relatively comfortable or they will thrive.

There was at least one Black African priest, and maybe some African nuns, in Rwanda who were complicit in the genocide. I can't remember if they personally hacked people to death; or "simply" let the genocidaires know where people were hiding so that they could be killed.

I'd bet there were more than one or even more than a few of the black clergy that were complicit, but once again, I think we have to be careful NOT to 'throw out the baby with the bath water.' If we could even manage to demolish the black churches as they're presently operating, I, you, and some other AAs would be okay, but SOME among the masses of AA women would be even moreso, as the saying goes: "up the creek without a paddle."

For ex., it's very clear to me that for many, many AA women, the black church is their "MAN." I'm not saying these women are sexing the minister, but I've heard these women talk about how when they're lonely, sexually frustrated, full of despair, don't have anywhere else to turn, etc. they look forward to coming to church to "lay down their burdens." Now, if we took the black church totally away from these women, they really wouldn't have ANYWHERE to lay down or share that burden. A lot of bw go to church and invest in it, in part, to cure loneliness, to feel connected to something that has structure or a body, to get a "physical release" in the arms of the church. It's a verrrrry interesting situation. LOL!

And re cults, many of these so-called black communities operate just like a cult. They keep these women thinking that it's not safe outside the bc and that nobody outside will ever love them or accept them. There are MANY AA women who really believe that. It's not enough to tell them they can come out and that they will find love and acceptance on the outside. They've been indoctrinated to stay there, suffer, sacrifice themselves and die there "in the arms of those who love them." Yeah, Right! So, they need to be yanked out and de-programmed.

This is why I do the work I do online, pointing these women towards ONE viable alternative out of that cult: Quality men in the global village. I see Quality men of whatever hue as being just ONE viable alternative out.

Khadija said...

Evia,

You said, "Remember that AAs are in a state of devolving totally, and notice that I didn't say ALL DBR behavior.
I also didn't say that the black church ALWAYS checks DBR behavior. It is not doing much, but when many of these women are dealing with NOTHING around them that offers ANY structure, sanity,support, protection or compass--as MANY AA women experience in some of the hell hole residential areas they live in, SOME of the black churches make a lil bit of difference for SOME of them."
-

This is true.

You said, "Khadija, I think this is why some black folks accuse the so-called "Talented Tenth" (TT) of AAs of having abandoned the masses of AAs. We're seeing this slide toward outright chaos right in front of our eyes. But I think the TTs are just tired of fighting with the hordes of backward elements among black folks.

Now, I'm not saying the TTs are blameless or unflawed themselves, but the TTs are doing a heck of a lot better than the masses of black folks. No matter what, the TTs are ALWAYS going to be relatively comfortable or they will thrive."
-

I should have been more precise in my replies. When I'm talking about various issues, I'm really addressing the TTs among us and NOT the masses. I'm talking to us. These days, I don't invest much energy into trying to tell the masses anything; I think most of them are beyond being helped at this point.

My first priority is that many of us aren't as healthy as we could (and deserve to) be. Many of us have never considered finding alternatives to either having no spiritual fellowship at all, or attending houses of worship that are slowly poisoning us.

Yes, we can withstand more doses of arsenic than the BW who are totally down and out (emotionally, physically, spiritually, etc.). And yes, most TTs will be more or less okay no matter what happens. But many of us are functioning while wounded. I want our lives as TTs to be OPTIMAL! LOL! Along every dimension.

So, no, I'm not looking to demolish the Black church. [Although I'll be relieved to see the federal government demolish the Black Sunni mosques. And I'll be relieved for the reasons I outlined in an earlier post when saying that AA Muslimahs need to flee these mosques.]

I'm looking to encourage more TTs to reconsider some of the hateful, bigoted right-wing-violence supporting doctrines that some of us have bought into. It amazes me that some of us are talking the same crazy talk as those White nuts who support the murder of doctors who provide abortion services. It amazes me that some of us are talking the same crazy talk as those White nuts who to be able to vote on whether or not other people get to have rights.

Those of us who are saying these things don't seem to have noticed that this sort of talk could quickly be turned upon US as a group.

Those of us who are saying these things haven't thought through what would happen to US if forced births became the law of the land. If the AA collective is suffocating under the weight of the collective problems created by unplanned and unwanted OOW pregnancies now, what would happen to us if forced births were mandated?

Those of us who are rabidly looking to clamp down on gays haven't thought through the BAD precedent of the public voting on whether or not various minorities (be they ethnic, racial, religious, or sexual orientation minorities) get to have rights. Hasn't it occurred to us that there are plenty of racists looking to vote away the things that made our advances possible?

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Sister Seeking said...

Salaam Alaikum Khadija,

While, I have never been a Christian ( my parents are Catholic, and my grand parents belong to the AME and Southern Baptist denominations)as an adult, I personally believe the situation is worse in the sunni/shia/sufi black American Muslim population.

1- Current statistics on black women suggest that:
*The majority of us have acquired college degrees or vocational training.
*Out number black men on college campuses and in the workforce.
*Are working in middle to senior level positions in the workforce.
* Are home owners.

All of these factors make it easy for BW who are Christian to sustain or maintain their religious communities because they have the financial, social, and political capital to do so.

2- I know that anti-intellectualism is a problem for our population as a whole, but I personally believe it’s worse in the black American Muslim population. My exception here is the Warith Deen Muhammad community, although, many BAM’s don’t consider that Muslim community “Muslim.”

* Many BAM’s under the age of 35, have either dropped out of college/trade school because they were receiving public/private loans in order to cover the cost of their tuitition. Ribba is “harram”. Therefore, because they don’t have parents who could pay; didn’t join the military; or receive scholarship--they can’t go to college. Also, with some cults and movements the only knowledge is the knowledge in the Qur’an.

* Many BAM’s under the age of 35 have been improperly home-schooled, socialized, and trained. Many females were deliberately given inferior education to that of their male relatives in order to prepare them for home making so that they could marry early (12-16 years of age). Because these women married earlier, and were often taught birth control is harram they have large family sizes, and were unable to complete any higher education.

* Again Riba is harram ( never mind the sheik’s preaching this live in million dollar homes and have six children in college) so home ownership or borrowing money to open a business is out of the question.

* All Muslim families are usually large, at least 4 to six children. Many BAM’s are on the 6 to 12 range. There does come a point when you have so many children you can’t afford the child care, and educational expenses that enable one to work.


3-Domestic violence, child abuse and neglect aside, our communities have the burden of fending off foreign terrorist organizations, and terrorist sympathizers from within our community. BAM women are getting hit from all sides, unlike Christian women. That’s my opinion.

I’m reading Evia’s comments, and I wish I could say that the BAM females had those same resources or built in mechanisms in our mosque but we don’t. We may have them in small pockets scattered across the U.S. but not in the same manner as the Christian community.

This is why I remain firm on my *belief* that black women and girls should divest from the community until we can create our space where we are safe because in addition to domestic violence etc we are now being monitored by the government, and truth be told other governments ( thanks to BAM men who ran to Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Senegal, Tanzania, and Madagascar) It’s NOT pretty being interviewed by ATF and FBI agents.

Salaam

Enigma said...

This is a large part of the reason that I stopped attending church. The hypocrisy and the need for folks to blindly follow - that is NOT for me. I wanted questions answered that no one wanted to pursue. At any rate, to me the set up in church was to make sure that women understood that they were inferior and the problem of man. It also is preached that the award will be money and riches while you are here or when you get to heaven so you should give of your finances, yourself, etc. until you can give no more - almost like THAT would make you ok with God. True blashpemy. I could not stomach it. In addition, the church talks incesstantly to women about being clothed correctly and about how women tempt men, but no one addresses the men who come specifically to church to sexually prey on women who desperately want relationships/ to get married. It is ridiculous. I got out of the church scene in a hurry.

Now, I do NOT expect any group to be perfect however I do expect growth. There is a serious lack of growth or consideration in the church and that too causes harm. I asked folks several times about the teaching of Jewish history because I know that it will clear up a lot of confusion that we have with understanding the Bible and that too is met with hostility. God's word stands true through the test of time no matter how many times it is tested or how many facts presented so WHAT is the issue with learning about Judaism or Jewish history? My parents did not attend church and felt it was more important to follow the teachings of the Bible daily than to report to church on a given day and worship. I too have this attitude, though I am beginning to look for a church community. I am considering a recently planted church by Pastor Shaun King in GA called Courageous Church. The congregation is mixed and the push is to courageously follow God with programs to assist the Atlanta community.

ak said...

I grew in the Anglican church in Britain, when my Mom moved to the US I grew up in the Episcopalian church, a white church.

I went with a friend and her older brothers to a Jehovah's Witness meeting in a large stadium when I was a teen once in a while.


Essence magazine mentioned the sexism within black churches in an article back in the 90s and they mentioned the hypocrisy of pregnant teens having to stand up in church and confess their 'sins' while the man or boy who got her pregnant never had to do that.

I used to like Run DMC but not since Rev Run has been setting up with his church with his partner there and basically preaching 'God as a Genie' practices. He and another preacher were on TV flaunting their big houses and many cars and talking about 'getting paid and rich through Christ'.


I dislike that black preachers milk the tithing to buy many cars but then the law comes to shut down the church after the church's rent or mortgage hasn't been paid.


Thanks again Khadijah for mentioning black peoples hypocrisy regarding their homophobia but lax view of OOW birth rates within the black community.

Tracy said...

Evia said:

For ex., it's very clear to me that for many, many AA women, the black church is their "MAN." I'm not saying these women are sexing the minister, but I've heard these women talk about how when they're lonely, sexually frustrated, full of despair, don't have anywhere else to turn, etc. they look forward to coming to church to "lay down their burdens." Now, if we took the black church totally away from these women, they really wouldn't have ANYWHERE to lay down or share that burden. A lot of bw go to church and invest in it, in part, to cure loneliness, to feel connected to something that has structure or a body, to get a "physical release" in the arms of the church. It's a verrrrry interesting situation. LOL!

You took the words right out of my mouth! After almost 15 years of Black Church Boogie I went back to being Catholic.

I am a total geek, so getting up a shouting and dancing and "tongues" wasn't my thing. But every Sunday, for up to two hours, there the ladies were, shouting and dancing like there was prize money for the best one. In the back of my mind, I thought that there had to be a connection between the holy dance and sexual tension. Especially since most had been brainwashed into the old "God will send you a man, be pure, be holy" mess.

After years of being told by elders, mothers and "the passa" that I was rebellious and I kicked against the pricks, I was a little fox that killed the vine (where did that come from) and basically a heathen that God would surely punish, I left and never looked back. Meanwhile, one church closed, and one was rocked by a pastor/wife/church secretary sex scandal.

But little sinful,Catholic,statue worshipping me is doing just fine....

Tracy said...

Khadija said:

In my uninformed opinion, the lack of firm doctrine in a lot of the majority-Black denominations has helped the spread of "prosperity ministries" in the Black community. My coworkers and I feel that these prosperity ministries have really damaged Black spirituality.]

There are actually two ministries in COGIC and Black Churches: Prosperity and Gloom and Doom. Both ministries prey on followers to pay their way into success and/or forgiveness from God's wrath.

Prosperity encourages the follower to cheerfully give and give and it will all be given back to you, ten and twenty fold......eventually. The followers give because of other's testiphoneys about how the gave their rent money to the church and God blessed them with a new car, or the light company gave them another extension and didn't shut them off. I had yet to see anyone really prosper by just giving alone - except the pastor. They were all pretty much staying Negro rich.

Gloom and doom follows the same concept except that followers are constantly verbally beaten up and told that they are basically scum in God's eyes because they are robbing Him by not paying their tithes. In some cases, the leader puts him/herself in a God like position and becomes a type of Miss Cleo, prophe - lying about the pain and misery that will await if follwers continue to rebell and not pay.

Of course the families that sacrifice and pay always get a good reading (new car, job, husband on the way)because they have been "obedient" to "God's" word.

Khadija said...

SisterSeeking/Miriam,

Wa Alaikum As Salaam!

I'm still always amazed hearing that certain Sunni Negroes don't consider Warithudeen Muhammad's community to be truly "Muslim." I guess he wasn't sufficiently influenced/controlled by Arabs/Pakistanis to suit their tastes. Hmmmph!

[*Audience Note: I was never a member of one of Warithudeen Muhammad's mosques. My (now-retired) former imam had been in the old NOI, followed Warithudeen Muhammad when he led the NOI into conventional Islam, and then later left from following Imam Warithudeen's leadership.]

At this point, I believe that almost all Black Muslim mosques, except the NOI and those Sunni Black Muslims who followed Imam Warithudeen Muhammad's leadership, should be dismantled.
_________________

Enigma,

You said, "In addition, the church talks incesstantly to women about being clothed correctly and about how women tempt men, but no one addresses the men who come specifically to church to sexually prey on women who desperately want relationships/ to get married. It is ridiculous."-

Yes, the male predators have figured out that many churches/mosques are PRIME hunting grounds for victims. Coworker #2 has told me about several churches that had to institute a "no dating each other" rule regarding the members of these churches' singles ministries.

Also, an extremely funny (and vulgar) video blogger, Alexyss of "Ask Alexyss" did a series of videos about these male church predators. As she mentioned, these predators know women's weaknesses better than the women know themselves. The predators KNOW that many women let their guards down in church. They figure that the men in church are God-conscious and "God-sent." {sigh}

I hope you're able to find a healthy, productive church community!
____________________

AK,

You said, "Thanks again Khadijah for mentioning black peoples hypocrisy regarding their homophobia but lax view of OOW birth rates within the black community."-

You're welcome! And THANK YOU for your input and participation. I learn a lot from the readers.
____________________

Tracy,

You said, "But every Sunday, for up to two hours, there the ladies were, shouting and dancing like there was prize money for the best one. In the back of my mind, I thought that there had to be a connection between the holy dance and sexual tension. Especially since most had been brainwashed into the old "God will send you a man, be pure, be holy" mess."-

My friend who's grandfather founded one the largest local COGIC churches feels subtle pressure from some of the other congregants because she has never danced or fallen out in church. It's as if they are subtly questioning her faith because she's never run up and down the aisles, danced, or fell out in church. [Need I mention that these other women have an undercurrent of jealousy toward the church founder's descendants? The church bears my friend's maiden name.]

Interestingly, her grandmother who was the First Lady of that church(the wife of the church's founder) never danced or fell out. The other women in her family never danced like that or fell out. But then again, from what she's described of her family history, her older female relatives weren't living stressed-out, downtrodden lives. Not at all.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

anna said...

I'm not much for group activities, and so have no practical advice on how to achieve this:

It might be helpful to have more women's social groups or collectives(non-denominational) so that women could have that feeling of community, w/o the possible diversion of their greater interests (referring to Evia's comment.)

Aphrodite said...

Hello Khadija,

Again another thoughtful post. I appreciate all the work you do in bringing all these issues to the fore.



I was raised Southern Missionary Baptist- meaning we had to "evangelize" either in other countries or to people right here in the neighborhood.


A lot was forced on me:

I was baptized because they told me that no one would bury me if I died without being baptized.


I could never relate to the shouting and getting happy. I am very sensitive about people touching my face, forehead, crown of my head or being doused in oil. but I suppose if it works for some...


I can understand what you mean by teaching. I always had questions and wondered why I never got anything that I could translate to real life and I was told you have to bring something to church to get something- whatever that means.

In church it was mostly "suffering" - hold on just a little while longer- we are filthy rags... etc..



The interesting thing is that I see many of dysfunctions that you mention her manifesting within my religion as well.

Evia said...

Khadija, the following points of yours need to be expanded and explored, so I'll pull out some threads.

I should have been more precise in my replies. When I'm talking about various issues, I'm really addressing the TTs among us and NOT the masses. I'm talking to us.

It ***IS*** confusing sometimes to know WHO exactly we're talking about and I realize there is much shifting, depending on the topic. But it is important to be specific sometimes because the different tiers, classes, or demographics of AA women have starkly different issues and interests in SOME cases. I think one reason the TTs tend to be fuzzy is because they are virtually stoned to death if they declare that they're focusing on promoting and protecting THEIR own interests. My position on this is that I believe that people should share with those who ask for help and SHOW that they appreciate the help/assistance, but I do NOT believe in arguing and fighting with people to help them. That goes against nature. When I need or want help from others, I certainly know better than to argue and fight with them or act arrogant. I know how to smile, say "thank you," defer to my helpers and even kiss some butt, if necessary. I'm NOT too proud to beg. I'm willing to stoop to conquer. Just because I may temporarily beg or stoop doesn't make me a beggar or a stooper. On the contrary, it makes it easier to reach my goal. To me, that's my intelligence in action because I'm a relentlessly goal-oriented person. So I expect others to know this or learn these skills too. That is, IF they expect for me to help them.


These days, I don't invest much energy into trying to tell the masses anything; I think most of them are beyond being helped at this point.


I AGREE, but that gives so many of the "save alla our people" AA women a virtual coronary to hear that. LOL! And because that causes them pain, some of those same AA women will try to take YOU out. I have learned to be very wary of AA women who have not come to realize that it's basically too late for large chunks of the masses of adult AA people. These women aren't anywhere near divesting, though some of them may talk like they have. Since they're merely giving lip service to divesting, they, on some level, have a level of spite towards an AA woman who HAS divested or is serious about doing so. This is another wrinkle that needs to be explored because infighting will often occur between those AA women who are fully divested, or are seeking full divestment, and those who are merely disenchanted.

Evia said...

Part 2

My first priority is that many of us aren't as healthy as we could (and deserve to) be. Many of us have never considered finding alternatives to either having no spiritual fellowship at all, or attending houses of worship that are slowly poisoning us.


Yep, I'm certainly looking for an alternative. About 2 months ago, I stopped going to the black church I joined here. It just became too hard and depressing to go. I've been dissatisfied for a while at that church, but 2 months ago, I had a falling out with the minister on this issue of tithing.

I don't tithe and I told him that, so he was THROUGH with me! LOL! I contribute CHUNKS of money, but I don't tithe and he told me that wasn't good enough. He said he needed to be able to count on a steady supply of money coming in. I told him that the constant pressure on bw (90% of those in the congregation who give and do the work) for more and more and more money just didn't set well with me. I told him that the church should have a business, or a bunch of snack machines, and/or that there should be fund raisers, etc. He indignantly told me that he was not going to start selling fried fish and chicken sandwiches to raise money. He believes that bw should be giving the money they spend on nails, shoes, hairdos to the church. I even heard him tell a woman, with several children, that if she gave her rent money to the church, she would be blessed over and over. This was after she said: "Suppose I can't afford to tithe." It was just unbelievable!

I've written out big fat checks to that church in the past, to help out programs that are supposed to help bw there, but enough is enough, so I don't like going there anymore for those and other reasons. It's just not progressive. No matter how much money they get, there won't be progress because the folks there don't think in a creative, progressive way.

Yes, we can withstand more doses of arsenic than the BW who are totally down and out (emotionally, physically, spiritually, etc.). And yes, most TTs will be more or less okay no matter what happens. But many of us are functioning while wounded. I want our lives as TTs to be OPTIMAL! LOL! Along every dimension.

And for that, the TTs are going to have to organize well-functioning associations for THEMSELVES. But these associations cannot be publicized because the masses will become furious and try to destroy them, just as some of the commenters here are furious at the black middle, upper middle, and wealthy classes of AAs who won't let them in. This is the major reason that associations like Jack n' Jill and other so-called bougie clubs and organizations are still going strong on the DL--though they're not as exclusive anymore.

The bottom line is that if people are not likeminded and are not willing to swallow their arrogance and follow the rules of the class or association to which they aspire, they need to go their own separate way.

ak said...

I also disagree with some black and white Christians in the US who have the view of 'Only WE can be saved [the Christians]' and no one else.

I don't believe that a just, good and loving God will punish and send to hell just, honest good people who prove that they are good by their own deeds just because they're Shintoist, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, atheist, agnostic, pagan etc.

If that were true then atheism may as well be the only way then there's no God at all

LaJane Galt said...

I've held myself back from this discussion b/c I don't want to be perceived as "bashing". But I will say...it's good to know that I'm not crazy. I'm from an Episcopalian, AME Zion family (atheist now) and have noted the differences in denominations and behavior (in church & out).

It might be helpful to have more women's social groups or collectives(non-denominational) so that women could have that feeling of community, w/o the possible diversion of their greater interests (referring to Evia's comment.)

My college (Spelman) had a non-denominational church. I had classmates who attended worship at Morehouse b/c it was more to their taste (Baptist, emotive).

Khadija said...

Part 1

Anna,

I believe the more HEALTHY connections people have to others, the better off they are. Across the board. This is part of what I was trying to encourage during the True Fellowship series of posts, particularly Part 2: Breaking Bread.
______________________

Aphrodite,

Thank you for your kind words about the post. I truly appreciate it.

You said, "The interesting thing is that I see many of dysfunctions that you mention her manifesting within my religion as well."-

People bring their dysfunctions with them wherever they go.
___________________

Evia,

You said, "I think one reason the TTs tend to be fuzzy is because they are virtually stoned to death if they declare that they're focusing on promoting and protecting THEIR own interests."-

There is that. There is also the (semi-arrogant) assumption that TTs often make---the assumption that we're somehow automatically in a position to help "the masses." What I'm trying to emphasize during these conversations is that many of US (myself included) are struggling with some things. Things that are hindering us from having an OPTIMAL lifestyle.

For example, I know that it's NOT optimal that I don't have a mosque to attend or other local, HEALTHY Muslims to fellowship with. However, for now finding such resources is further down on my list of priorities. Once I get my (passive income) business fully operational, I'll have more time available for seeking out such things.

Also, most TTs are so accustomed to using down-and-out Black folks as our point of reference, that we don't notice how far away from OPTIMAL many aspects of our lives are. We're conditioned to think in terms of "How far away from the gutter am I?" as opposed to "How far away from the stars am I? After all, I was crowned in starlight, and born to rule!" This is one result of us normalizing the ghetto as Black folks' general station in life.

You said, "My position on this is that I believe that people should share with those who ask for help and SHOW that they appreciate the help/assistance, but I do NOT believe in arguing and fighting with people to help them. That goes against nature. When I need or want help from others, I certainly know better than to argue and fight with them or act arrogant. I know how to smile, say "thank you," defer to my helpers and even kiss some butt, if necessary. I'm NOT too proud to beg. I'm willing to stoop to conquer.

Just because I may temporarily beg or stoop doesn't make me a beggar or a stooper. On the contrary, it makes it easier to reach my goal. To me, that's my intelligence in action because I'm a relentlessly goal-oriented person. So I expect others to know this or learn these skills too. That is, IF they expect for me to help them."
-

100% co-sign. One of the most important lessons my parents taught us is how to be an efficient, cheerful, and pleasant subordinate/underling to those who are helping us.

Khadija said...

Part 2

One of the worst things a person can do is make people regret trying to help them! This is an unfortunate habit that the modern Black poor and underclass like to engage in. Which is a large part of the reason why others won't be bothered with trying to help them. It's just too stressful.

Insecure people, such as most AAs, turn being a subordinate into some sort of ego-quashing drama, when it doesn't have to be like that. For example, most effective business/professional organizations have clear chains of command/authority. Such as the corporations and law firms.

This extends down to the level of doing trials. If there's more than one attorney involved, there's almost always a "1st chair" or LEAD attorney for each side involved in a trial. And the buck stops with that 1st chair. The 2nd chair and others defer to the 1st chair in making decisions about the case.

It's really simple. There's no time for internal dominance battles in the middle of a trial. Anybody who is unwilling to defer to the 1st chair needs to remove themselves (or be removed) from working on that trial.

There's nothing wrong with being a 2nd chair. In fact, it's a good way to get experience without having to shoulder the lion's share of responsibility and stress for cases. Whenever I started a new rotation in a previously unfamiliar area of the law (transferring from criminal defense to say, child support cases) I immediately volunteered to 2nd chair as many trials as possible to get up to speed as quickly as possible.

Sometimes serving as an underling/subordinate is the best (and safest) way to learn things.

You said, "I AGREE, but that gives so many of the "save alla our people" AA women a virtual coronary to hear that. LOL! And because that causes them pain, some of those same AA women will try to take YOU out.

...These women aren't anywhere near divesting, though some of them may talk like they have. Since they're merely giving lip service to divesting, they, on some level, have a level of spite towards an AA woman who HAS divested or is serious about doing so. This is another wrinkle that needs to be explored because infighting will often occur between those AA women who are fully divested, or are seeking full divestment, and those who are merely disenchanted."
-

Very true. I understand and try to make allowances for the fact that these are some difficult realities to face. Especially since we've been so thoroughly programmed as AA women to put "mass" interests before our own. I respect folks' right to exercise their free will to allow themselves to drown in the rising flood waters.

However, my tolerance stops at the point when I see that somebody is trying to block OTHER BW from the lifeboats into better lives. It's extremely unpleasant, but I have no problem with putting such obstructionists "on blast" and knocking them out of the way.

You said, "And for that, the TTs are going to have to organize well-functioning associations for THEMSELVES. But these associations cannot be publicized because the masses will become furious and try to destroy them, just as some of the commenters here are furious at the black middle, upper middle, and wealthy classes of AAs who won't let them in.

...The bottom line is that if people are not likeminded and are not willing to swallow their arrogance and follow the rules of the class or association to which they aspire, they need to go their own separate way."
-

I agree.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Khadija said...

AK,

You said, "I also disagree with some black and white Christians in the US who have the view of 'Only WE can be saved [the Christians]' and no one else."-

In terms of the 3 Abrahamic faith traditions (Islam, Christianity, Judaism), the ALL feel that they are on the correct path; and that others are in error. The difference between various denominations within each faith is a matter of how narrowly they want to draw the circle of salvation.

There's a wide range of attitudes towards outsiders between various denominations within each faith. The attitudes can range from "I believe that you're in error, but as long as you lead a decent life you'll be okay in the afterlife" to "Anybody who doesn't believe EXACTLY as I believe will be in the hellfire."

For example, within Islam, the Salafi/Wahhabi sect condemn non-Salafi/Wahhabi Muslims to the hellfire. And they're quite vocal and aggressive about it. In fact, when the Wahhabis helped (future) "King" Abdul Aziz ibn Saud conquer what became "Saudi" Arabia, they slaughtered the other Muslims around them who weren't Salafis/Wahhabis as "infidels"!

[Note that this Arab warlord renamed the country after him family. It's the equivalent of having something called "Kennedy Ireland." Hmmph.]
_____________________

LaJane Galt,

You said, "I've held myself back from this discussion b/c I don't want to be perceived as "bashing". But I will say...it's good to know that I'm not crazy. I'm from an Episcopalian, AME Zion family (atheist now) and have noted the differences in denominations and behavior (in church & out)."-

I'm trying to be very careful to NOT sound as if I'm bashing. I'm not. The SENSIBLE people within each denomination are extremely distressed by the things that are happening. Like I said earlier, something has changed. It wasn't always like this.

My friend who's granfather founded the church is still a member of the COGIC. She didn't change; and the women in her family didn't change. She grew up with other SENSIBLE, productive people in that church. The demographics within that particular denomination changed. The points of emphasis regarding what's being taught has changed.

The same thing happened with Black Sunni Islam over the past couple of decades. I'm still a Sunni Muslimah. I wasn't aware of the mass shift into madness because I was blessed to find a series of safe spaces to practice my faith. I didn't find out until a few years ago that these safe spaces were actually islands in a sea of madness.

Let me repeat: It's NOT the particular denominations per se that are a problem. These all used to be more or less healthy and productive denominations. It's the shift inside many of the churches/mosques within these denominations that's creating the problem.-

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Aphrodite said...

Hello Khadija,


Re: church dysfunctions

You know this reminds me of two stories of events I have witnessed in my life. When I was a little girl I think, and this is in hindsight, that the church my mom and dad went to was headed by a DBRBM preacher. I can't remember the details bc I was so young maybe 2-4. But I remember one Sunday going to church with my parents and just before the minister got up to deliver his sermon all the deacons got up, my father included and surrounded the pulpit. They stopped him and said something and asked/told him to get down - I think step down from the pulpit of the church period. I remeber them listing all the things he had done - stolen money etc.. whatever it was it was pretty bad bc all the deacons, my dad included, had guns. For the most part the parishioners were calm, but the Rev was having a fit. I can't remember if they had him put in jail or chased him out of town or both. I know this was extreme and I don't know why they chose those particular actions, but in my mind - it kind of shows how very little tolerance back then people had for certain things. And it showed something you rarely see nowadys- a cohesive group of BM who were protectors.



@Evia,

"I'm willing to stoop to conquer. Just because I may temporarily beg or stoop doesn't make me a beggar or a stooper."


You know I have seen my mother do this a few times and each time it would make me cringe, but I recently employed this tactic for myself - where someone else was abusing power and it worked.




Re: Fellowship - that is one of the things I miss greatly about not belonging to a ille within my religion. I have tried to connect with some others but after I share information on my beliefs about BW, gender issues, or my education level I am immediately banned/excommunicated without reason.



Re: Turning back the clock


"By our bigoted statements and actions, we are ultimately supporting White, racist politicians who will turn back the clock on all of our (already extremely fragile) advancements."

This is somewhat related. Much prayer needs to go out to gen Y - especially the females. I am doing a research paper on Gen Y's attitudes towards gender discrimination and in compiling scholarly articles and studies - I forsee a bleak and troublesome future. I am shaking from the things I found. I am just shocked.

Basically GenY is overly optimistic about gender parity and that doesn't match up with the current reality. Gen Y ers were more likely to attribute a woman's pay inequity - same job/same qualifications/lower pay- to a woman's greater committment to family life.

Across the board the studies and articles all say that Gen Y is not only unable to "see" gender discrimination when it happens, but they all stated that both genders hold attitudes that contribute to it. In one study almost 80% said they would not work for a woman and that men are more capable and have more advantages.

I don't know what the breakdown is according to race - but I am thinking if this is constant across races then I am overwhelemed at what this could mean.

It is bad enough with the "hipster racism" and then your comments regarding what some BW support in the name of moral issues.


I am thinking nightmare. Maybe forced births are not that far off.

Aphrodite said...

Oh I forgot my second incident. This one happened when I was a teen at a different church.

To make a long story short the minster, who used to try and get into my pants- I was in hs at the time- impregnated another young woman who was in college. The woman confronted him in church with the baby in front of his wife and the entire congregation. They put her out and called security on her!

To make a long story short he left the church, but not after he stole all the building fund money - several thousand dollars - and walks around town like nothing happened. No deacons paid him a visit, no one pressed charges. Nothing.

Lots of he is a man of God- judge not - he who is without sin etc...

Khadija said...

Aphrodite,

What you're describing with Generation Y is similar to an earlier conversation thread about Black conservatives. Basically, there are a LOT of folks enjoying the quality of life created by movements that they oppose! These people don't understand where the "butter on their biscuits" came from.

To repeat: All of the things that make modern, educated, prosperous AAs possible came from INTRUSIVE, BIG federal government; with the help of excess government programs such as Head Start, etc.

All of the things that make our modern working lives possible (40 hour work weeks, paid vacation and sick time, etc.) came from the labor movement.

All of the things that make our lives and choices as modern women possible came from the women's movement.

Many of us have lost sight of where our modern freedoms and lifestyles came from. NONE of this came from conservative ideologies. NONE of this came from reactionary theologies.

If it's left up to them, a lot of confused, fake holy Blacks will have us ALL trapped in the world similar to the one described by the book The Handmaid's Tale. And similar to the current "lockdown" lifestyles of BW in Africa and the Middle East. I DON'T want to live like that.

I've read interviews with abortion providers who had provided abortion services to women who were forced birth activists. The self-justifications and hypocrisy of these women were amazing.

Their abortions were always justified, necessary and the absolute last resort. Unlike those of everybody else that they condemned. When they were in crisis, these forced birth activist women temporarily found out why there was a need for these services. Of course, many of them went back to their self-righteous protesting and harassment of abortion clinics after they had their abortions.

I don't want a similar thing happening at MY expense. I don't want these dim-witted, fake holy Black folks learning the hard way ***at MY expense*** why:

1-It's a good thing to keep church/mosque and state separate;
2-It's NOT a good thing to allow folks to vote on whether or not other people get to have rights;
3-It's a necessary thing to keep abortion services legal, above ground and available for those who need them;
4-Organized labor is a good thing to have;
5-It's good to keep the government OUT of the bedrooms of consenting adults;
6-It's good to recognize that, unless and until gender discrimination ends, women have their own separate interests;
7-Etc., etc.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Miriam said...

"I had many arguments with many confused Blacks who told me that they were voting for Bush because of so-called "moral issues""

I sometimes go to "right wing" blogs to hear their take on things and they are usually religious so I expect some thing moral.

But they just end up sounding so full of hate!

"By our bigoted statements and actions, we are ultimately supporting White, racist extremists who will turn their guns on US."

I agree 100%

***************
At times I feel that BF are being gutted from the inside out.

And I strongly agree about the taking the lazy way out. There is such a treasure house of knowledge and teachings if one would take the time to learn.

And I think there's always going to be a class of people who aren't so cerebral, but who wants to jump and dance and use that as service. I don't think there is anything wrong with that-- in fact I think there is holiness in dancing, in clapping the hands, etc. But is the doer truthful? Does he/she really feel something or is it an act or show?? Is it for self arousal or Entertainment?

Khadija said...

Miriam,

You said, " sometimes go to "right wing" blogs to hear their take on things and they are usually religious so I expect some thing moral. But they just end up sounding so full of hate!"-

That's the thing I find most repellent about about the faux religious: the mean spirits and evil intentions underlying most of their "holy" rhetoric. They don't just sound full of hate. They ARE full of hate.

The ones that aren't hateful are involved in a LOT of careless, unintentional cruelty. They tend to be extremely callous about the unintended effects of their public holy talk.

An example from work:

A friend and former courtroom partner of mine is a religiously conservative AA Protestant. We had many debates over Bush, "family values," and "moral issues." We almost lost friendship because I would pointedly call her loudly stated views about gays "bigoted" and "vicious." [If I see somebody being rough in their treatment of other people, I feel that it's appropriate for me to be rough when talking to them about it.]

Like so many AA anti-gay bigots, she was NOT used to being called on her statements. Not at all. When challenged, she would talk about how she "loved" her gay relative. However, until challenged, she couldn't see the contradiction between this so-called "love" and her penchant for running around volunteering her opinion about how she "disagrees with homosexuality."

Being the obnoxious person I can be, I asked her the following questions:

1-Do you go around volunteering this opinion in public around strangers that you don't even know? It's one thing to say this stuff to me, because you know that I'm straight. It's something else to unnecessarily toss this out into strangers' faces.

2-How do you think it makes our (unknown to you) gay coworkers feel to hear a barrage of that type of talk?

3-Who are you to think that anybody cares whether or not you "disagree" with their orientation? Why do YOU feel the need to repeatedly put that particular view out there in the world? What's up with that?

4-Do you say this stuff at family gatherings in the presence of this gay relative that you looove so much? If so, how do you think it makes him feel to listen to that type of talk?

Did it ever occur to you that he might feel like he's under attack? Even in family settings that are supposed to be safe places? After spending a lifetime out in the world listening to random Negroes' and colored girls' fake pious denigration of him?

5-Let's contrast this behavior with how you "do" in terms of the druggies around us. Do you go around volunteering the opinion that you "disagree" with substance abuse? Do you say that in the presence of druggie/dope fiend/alcoholic relatives? Or coworkers?

Or do you only make a point of being vocal about your pious opposition to certain things when it comes to gays/lesbians? Why is that? What's that about?

What I found fascinating is that it never occurred to her how hurtful her behavior might have been to the many, unknown, closeted gays/lesbians that are around us all (without us knowing it). She had also NEVER mentally tried to walk a few steps in her "beloved" gay relatives shoes at these family gatherings where all these "loving" relatives make a point of singling people like him out for vocal disapproval.

Until we went through this argument point by point, she was so focused on earning her holy "brownie points" with pious talk that she never considered the unintended cruelty of some of her statements. Absolutely amazing for people who have a self-image of being "loving." [At least most Muslims acknowledge that we are harsh and MEAN. We generally don't even pretend to be "loving."]

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Khadija said...

For clarity, let me note that the coworker in the previous example is NOT either of the previous "church lady" coworkers I mentioned in the post. She's a much younger woman who is from the South (like Coworker #2).

Interestingly, I've NEVER heard the two other church ladies (Coworkers #1 #2) say anything disparaging about gays/lesbians. They don't feel any need to go around condemning gays.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Khadija:

I don't want a similar thing happening at MY expense. I don't want these dim-witted, fake holy Black folks learning the hard way ***at MY expense*** why:

1-It's a good thing to keep church/mosque and state separate;
2-It's NOT a good thing to allow folks to vote on whether or not other people get to have rights;
3-It's a necessary thing to keep abortion services legal, above ground and available for those who need them;
4-Organized labor is a good thing to have;
5-It's good to keep the government OUT of the bedrooms of consenting adults;
6-It's good to recognize that, unless and until gender discrimination ends, women have their own separate interests;
7-Etc., etc.

My reply:

And I don't want these unsophisticated, dim-witted thinkers affecting my rights and those of other people.

Here is the issues I have with some of my coreligionists.

1. In their world of moral absolutes, there is no room for the difficult middle ground, the places where moral absolutes must give way to a balancing, ie., that sometimes we must make difficult choices.

Who is to make that difficult choice? So for example, in the abortion context, should it be a woman making a choice in consultation with her doctor? This is what Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton determined.

In the pre Roe v. Wade/Doe v. Bolton world, it was the government that made those determinations, or doctors who had their own prejudices and who refused to respect women's autonomy. The legal attacks against abortion rights have in some jurisdictions, literally brought back the pre Roe v. Wade/Doe v. Bolton world, because of restrictions permitted by the Supreme Court and the grassroots efforts of the anti-abortion activists.

Do they really want the government and doctors making choices? They say, yes, they do. Of course, some of them will never (they hope) have to rely on "the kindness of strangers" when faced with difficulties. Some though, feel free to exercise their choices when they need to, because they have resources. They just don't want others to have access to the resources they have.

But of course, in their stark world of moral absolutes, you noticed that some of them sure can see the middle ground when it is about their interests: "end all abortions, except for when I want or need one..."

2. There is nothing wrong with thinking morally about political positions, but it is important that in a pluralistic society of people who adhere to different views, the law ought to reflect that pluralism. Thus, as I mentioned earlier, in the gay marriage context, no one is saying their local minister must marry gays. It is exclusively about secular clerks conducting civil marriages.

Now I live in New England, and a good number of states, starting with Massachusetts, have begun authorizing gay marriages. The sky hasn't fallen yet, I must note. Straight people are not saying, marriage is meaningless because gay can now marry.

The gay couples I know are just like everyone else. No one notices anything different about them. Straight people are not affected in any way by gay people's marriages.

Khadija said...

PioneerValleyWoman,

You said, "Do they really want the government and doctors making choices? They say, yes, they do. Of course, some of them will never (they hope) have to rely on "the kindness of strangers" when faced with difficulties. Some though, feel free to exercise their choices when they need to, because they have resources. They just don't want others to have access to the resources they have.

But of course, in their stark world of moral absolutes, you noticed that some of them sure can see the middle ground when it is about their interests: "end all abortions, except for when I want or need one..."
-

But that's the thing about these "holy" Negroes/colored girls. I could seriously entertain their statements if they were actually practicing what they are preaching. I have to give the Arabs and Pakistanis some credit: At least most of them are willing to actually live under the hellish conditions that they want to impose on everybody else in their societies.

Not the "holy" Negroes/colored girls. Harsh rules and consequences are for everybody else.

Another example from work: The BF coworker I mentioned in the post who told me point blank that "Black folks want to be entertained in church" prefers to attend reactionary churches. She was one of the main fools talking about voting for Bush because "he's a Christian man with Christian values."

At the time, this broad was shacked up with her no-working Negro boyfriend and their bastard child! At the same time that she was saying the above and ragging on the gays, she was angry with her reactionary church because the pastor refused to baptize her bastard child in the same area used for baptizing legitimate children.

She whined about how her church was treating her baby "like a 2d class citizen." I asked her the following, "But he IS a 2nd class person according to the rules of that church. What's the problem? Didn't you say you wanted a church that followed God's word? What? You didn't think they would apply the rules to YOU?" You see, all that harsh, crack the whip, holy talk felt good to her. Up until the point where she was on the wrong side of the holy talk.

It would be good if there was a way to put all these wanna-be theocrats together in a couple of states. And lock them in there to suffer the consequences of their political positions. And leave the rest of us (who want to breathe free) alone.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Evia said...

Straight people are not affected in any way by gay people's marriages.

I KNOW I'm not! Let's be real. Gay people are just another target group to unleash hate on or look down on or complain about. I think that looking down on those so-called "nasty gays" gives SOME black people joy to share this particular intolerance with intolerant whites. It's a bonding type of intolerance/hate and makes those blacks feel closer to whites. They may not have anything else in common with whites, but they sure can hate the gays just like whites. SMH

Coming from a professional background where I had to be attuned to group dynamics, I watch how people interact with each other. For ex. hate is often used as a bonding agent. It bonds people together around a common hate target and helps some people to make friends with others who they previously had nothing in common with, or at least it expands their network of associates.

For ex. I used to work as a staff analyst in a place where there were blue-collar bm and wm who steered clear of each other EXCEPT for when it came to looking at nudie pics of women and complaining about women. I guess that reminded all of these men that no matter what, they were still men. I'd overhear them say things like: "Women! You can't live with them and you can't live without them." They would then burst out laughing and slapping each other on the back. Some of the women at this location complained and it was stopped but I thought it was interesting how the men used the bonding agent of their insecurities about women to come closer together to work on various job tasks.

Likewise, many whites who are hell bent on protecting their privileges also use the concept of intolerance/hate of the "Others" to bond with other whites. The "others" are, of course, anyone who is not white. In other words, IF all of the "others" were to disappear, these whites would lose a very powerful bonding agent. It wouldn't be long before they would turn on each other and find a new group of "others" among themselves. This is why some groups and societies deliberately ***create*** "others" because they're very necessary for group cohesiveness, privileges, and stability. This is what the originators of "racism" did. Therefore, "black" people will always be "black" as long as we are discernibly "black" AND as long as there are any worthwhile privileges for whites to maintain.

Racism is about ***privileges.*** This is why colorist black people are on my s%$tlist. They FEED racism because they ***give*** more and more privileges to lighter-whiter people on the simple basis of lightness and whiteness. They prop up racism and are some of racism's chief supporters.

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Another issue occurred to me regarding thinking for themselves and just following blindly, especially for women. Not only do they not read/think for themselves, but they only read/think/listen to the perspectives of the men who come out of their religious traditions, who have had their long standing misogynistic biases.

Are women in their traditions free to become theologians and ministers? As for the women who are theologians, are they just following the "same old, same old," and not thinking outside the box?

ak said...

Khadija:

Basically, there are a LOT of folks enjoying the quality of life created by movements that they oppose! These people don't understand where the "butter on their biscuits" came from.

To repeat: All of the things that make modern, educated, prosperous AAs possible came from INTRUSIVE, BIG federal government; with the help of excess government programs such as Head Start, etc.

All of the things that make our modern working lives possible (40 hour work weeks, paid vacation and sick time, etc.) came from the labor movement.

All of the things that make our lives and choices as modern women possible came from the women's movement.

Many of us have lost sight of where our modern freedoms and lifestyles came from. NONE of this came from conservative ideologies. NONE of this came from reactionary theologies.


Hi Khadijah and thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for saying all of this! A lot of black people and even some white 'post-feminist age' women have forgotten what exactly has given them the freedom that they now have.

Even in the 1970s or 1980s laws about things like a husband raping his wife, actually rape on a whole were still a bit sketchy and not at all optimal as far as a woman who was victimized fully getting her due and getting the law on her side. Also sexual harassment in the work place was only starting too be placed in check the laws against that weren't even properly set up yet so that a woman could sue her workplace back 25 to 30+ years ago. And let's not start on women even getting certain sort of positions in the first place!

But now 'post-feminist age' women, usually the white ones, think nothing of putting down the movement and the ways of thinking that gave them the freedoms their grandmothers didn't receive.

And bout that last message you posted about your frightfully pious former co-worker with the OOW child OUCH Khadija OUCH LOL!

I think even I hurt for her, even though I know I shouldn't! I wouldn't have liked to have seen HER face when you just brought up the truth!

You and Rev Lisa (you'd kick me for saying this but...) you nneed you're own talk shws so you can bring truth to the whole world!

Southland Diva said...

To my mind there is a reason COINTELPRO and other programs like it did not destroy the black church (or any church)....the church can be used as a means of control. Let's not automatically assume the Christian church (ancient or modern) and the Jesus Movement were/are the same thing. Prosperity gospel?????!!!!!!

A personal relationship with God means just that, a personal relationship. Personally, I do not want a pastor, priest, bishop, cardinal or pope (I am a retired Catholic) to do for me what I can do for myself. I was blessed to have a wonderful priest (retired 4 years ago) who was progressive, open-minded and most importantly, a critical thinker. When I find a church that encourages intellectual effort, self-reflection and critical thought, I just might attend on a regular basis.

Will the church evolve beyond ‘traditional’ doctrine? Is the prosperity gospel an evolution of 'traditional' doctirne? Of course, all evolution isn’t positive: ref. Cro Magnon man.

{blink, blink}

Peace

Khadija said...

Evia,

You said, "Coming from a professional background where I had to be attuned to group dynamics, I watch how people interact with each other. For ex. hate is often used as a bonding agent."-

You're right. I've also watched guys bond over sexism, sports and porn.

There's another psychological quirk/pattern with the fake religious anti-gay bigots: their peculiar fixation on gay sexual acts. Which I've always found strange. If it's happening between consenting adults, and NOT happening in my bed, then I don't care about it. But I've noticed that many of these religious-inspired bigots work themselves into a lather discussing what they've heard are some of the sexual practices engaged in by some gays/lesbians.

During our debates, Coworker #4 (the fool with the OOW child) would always start talking about various sexual practices that her gay cousin told her he engaged in. She would make a big show of being disgusted.

It angered her that everytime she brought up one of these practices, I would respond by saying: Ar-ruh Kelly pissed on a girl and you weren't this disgusted. You weren't hysterical about the urination in the course of child molestation. But you're hysterical about what some consenting, GROWN folks are doing with each other. What's up with that?

And while we're talking about this, why are you so fixated on what gays/lesbians are doing in bed? Do you spend this much mental energy envisioning what other straight couples are doing in bed? What's THAT about?"
- Craziness.

Evia, you said, "In other words, IF all of the "others" were to disappear, these whites would lose a very powerful bonding agent. It wouldn't be long before they would turn on each other and find a new group of "others" among themselves."-

Very true. Whites will have their own "Rwandas" among themselves when we're not around. [See the former Yugoslavia, see Nazi Germany.]
_________________________

PioneerValleyWoman,

I don't think this can be blamed on male religious leadership. A lot of these BF bigots LIKE having a shortcut to feeling holy by stepping on others.
__________________________

AK,

You said, "Hi Khadijah and thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for saying all of this! A lot of black people and even some white 'post-feminist age' women have forgotten what exactly has given them the freedom that they now have."-

You're welcome! Well, I've watched some of these same amnesiacs start scrambling around looking for help from a civil rights organization or NOW when they get burned by racism/sexism.

You said, "And bout that last message you posted about your frightfully pious former co-worker with the OOW child OUCH Khadija OUCH LOL!

I think even I hurt for her, even though I know I shouldn't! I wouldn't have liked to have seen HER face when you just brought up the truth!"
-

Oh, guurl, it was crazy. Like I said earlier, if I see somebody being rough in their treatment of other people, I feel that it's appropriate for me to be rough when talking to them about it. This same person made a point of repeatedly bringing up "gay" sexual practices and curling her lip in disgust while repeating that "it's a moral issue."-

She didn't have an answer when I asked: "What does ___________ sexual practice between consenting adults have to do with having rights? Do you mean to say that ___________ GROWN, straight couple who engage in _________ sexual practice shouldn't have rights?"-

After she said for the 3rd or 4th time that "it's a moral issue" is when I brought up her shacking and OOW child. And her continuing choice to do all of this while NOT being married. Her mouth dropped open, and then she got quiet. Hmmph!

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Khadija said...

Southland Diva,

You said, "To my mind there is a reason COINTELPRO and other programs like it did not destroy the black church (or any church)....the church can be used as a means of control."-

Very true, that could be the reason why they left the Black church/mosque alive to stumble forward into the future.

You said, "Let's not automatically assume the Christian church (ancient or modern) and the Jesus Movement were/are the same thing. Prosperity gospel?????!!!!!!"-

This is my main point---there's been a drift in terms of doctrine and in terms of points of emphasis. And the drift has been for the worse.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

ak said...

Khadija

I'm just speaking about me personally and Rev. Lisa's, Evia's and your blog really have helped me with introspection I have needed on my life and the foolish decisions I have made and need to correct before I die. And this blog and Rev. Lisa's have helped me to make a decision to go for therapy once I move back to the States; I'd personally go to any therapist that Rev. Lisa would recommend because I need healing and then action over some issues.

But this is all why I feel no desire and no need to judge other peoples lifestyles, in the way your co-worker did, while I am not flawless yet at all. I came close to being a 'TT' woman but I threw it away, so I need to claim it back.

But of course like you, whether I feel like being outspoken or feel like staying quiet on a certain day, I do see repugnant behaviours from destructive, damaged states of mind that I do not need to follow and try to stay away from. I now refuse to fall victim and thank God I haven't had children yet. I cannot in good conscious have any OOW children because they and I don't deserve the struggles.