Stop pretending! Clergy respond to Black preachers visit to the White House

Rev. Michael Wilson


Rev. Tyree Anderson

By Rev. Tyree Anderson and Rev. Michael Wilson
Special to the Outlook

I was rereading DuBois the other day and he was discussing the special role of the Black Preacher in 20th century as community’s most educated and political savvy spokesperson for the people. Looking at this assembly of Black preachers fawning over #45 makes me realize that in the 21st century, our churches are filled with entertainment minded stooges with a lack of political acumen. Our communities are ravaged by poverty, failing schools, plummeting property values, and a multiplicity of violence and these pastors (most are entertainers) sit around like legitimate spokes persons for people they have no interactions with. It’s almost as bad as having a table full of Rev. Mark Burns’ representing those who are marginalized while thanking Mr. Trump for being a modern-day savior for people of color. DuBois might have seen potential, but Carter G. Woodson saw through the veil of shallowness that existed in pulpits. He didn’t see the talented tenth when looking at the Black pulpit. Instead, Woodson saw the shucksters, jive-turkeys, and hustlers who worked to take advantage of those who were the most vulnerable. This is what was witnessed around the table of Baal –  to not really address Returning Citizens and the plight of those returning through work-release programs is nefarious and reprehensible. This was nothing more than a photo-op for a President who remains tough against citizens, silent on injustice, and afraid of noted adversaries whom he hero-worships.

Our communities are decimated by a legal system that egregiously incarcerates and imprisons us while stripping us of our voting rights. Add to this the importance of jobs for returning citizens is to our communities, how can we be served by this group praise seeking pastors being highlighted by the current White House. They sit silently by and refuse to challenge him on locking up Brown and Black children? Some mention Mr. Trumps compassion, but ignore children locked in for profit mini-prisons. I wonder did they discuss the tax cut and increased military spending while cutting social programs? Of course not! They were all just jubilant for chance to sit at a table and be recognized. The overall question that must be raised is do they have experience serving the incarcerated, imprisoned, and their families?  What type of programs have they developed on real criminal justice reform? Are they involved with these and other issues locally?

I think the answer is that #45 summoned a few big name Black preachers and entertainers for a press opportunity to deflect from his administration’s racist and corrupt actions. This is what should have been addressed at the table, but like the Helsinki Meeting, the Black community will never know for sure what was discussed. Don’t mess up potential White House dinners, government funding, for preaching engagements. The reality is that those who need to be at the table are not there. There was no Dr. Harold Dean Trulear, Dr. Lee A. Earl, Dr. Tyree A. Anderson, and other practitioners of Reentry with proven records to reduce recidivism. Instead, television stars masking as preachers sit as experts on the issue. It makes no sense, but this is what has become normal in this administration.

Rev. Dr. Tyree Anderson, is the Pastor of First Baptist Church of Ensley in Birmingham, AL. Rev. Michael Wilson is the Pastor of Christian Education at Mt. Salvation Baptist Church in Arlington, VA.