The Black Church for many decades trailing back to the 1800s has been the pivotal cornerstone and stronghold to promote, uplift and develop leaders in representing, advocating and providing strength and encouragement to the African-American race. I am a proud member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and our history is in some ways similar to the overall vision of establishing a church where Africans and African-Americans can be able to freely worship and praise God without being discriminated against.
Great men like Richard Allen, Absalom Jones, Henry M. Turner and William P. Quinn led a group of African Americans out of St. George's Methodist Episcopal Church to develop the AME Church. Other denominations that have become a part of the Black Church moment which includes Baptist, C.O.G.I.C, Pentecostal and Presbyterian have tilled the ground to help slaves escape to freedom, raise children and develop communities that would directly empower and embrace what it is to be an African-American as well as to receive the benefits and principles that the United States of America offers.
Here we are in 2015 and that final stronghold that is supposed to sustain our communities are not only eroding but are putting personal interest before the mission of Christ and the empowerment of the people who attend; all of this is the sole responsibility of the pastors and bishops who lead the congregations. The moment they put their own interests before the interests of the people and the work of Christ, it's no longer a church but a business of selling church.
On December 1st, over 100 "prominent" African-American pastors had a private meeting with GOP Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, to supposedly hear his vision of what he would do to provide upward mobility for the African-American community in the U.S. Now being a New Yorker all my life and having an understanding of politics since I was 7, I can say that Donald Trump has done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for the African-American communities here in the City of New York. One of the most prominent events I remember is when Trump launched a personal campaign to really destroy the lives of the Central Park 5 without knowing the full story behind the case. Now what I find very mind boggling is that there are over a dozen GOP presidential candidates that these "prominent" pastors could have met with: Cruz, Rubio, Pataki, Christie, Bush, Carson, Fiorina to name a few that I am very confident would have a realistic plan in addressing this issue, but Donald Trump? You pastors that met with him are a disgrace to the progress of our communities and to use the "calling" of the ministry to seek your own personal gains is not the work of God.
My question to those 100+ pastors is this: If you feel that the Obama administration has not been able to address the issues of the African-American community, what have you done in helping out the communities that your parishioners come from and represent at your church? What have you done to rally the community in teaching and empowering them to understand why it's important to vote on the local, city and state levels (which is far more important than the presidential election for their policies impact their neighborhoods directly)? What have you done to promote African-Americans to become homeowners, entrepreneurs or increase pressure on businesses to employ African-Americans? What have you done to encourage your congregation in creating policies to present to elected officials and to make sure that they provide funds to help our communities thrive?
If you haven't done anything but take the parishioners money to show off financial prosperity while your members are struggling; while your members have to go through appointments or levels of doors just to meet with you then YOU don't have the right to be a pastor. Pastor Jamal Bryant was absolutely right when he said that you will NOT find 100 Imams, Rabbis, and even White Clergy have a private meeting with Trump, so why must you do it? So before you stand up and endorse behind a man who truly doesn't care about our communities; before he pays for your extended garage or another jet plane or another house or car while your members are struggling, look at yourself in the mirror and get our house and soul in order.
To the members of these churches, I say this: just because one man or woman stands behind Trump, doesn't mean that you have to be obedient and follow them. Do you research and make your own decision in which you will vote to elect as President; and perhaps you may want to reconsider your house of worship if these individuals are not helping your community as well as work on your spiritual walk. The choice is yours. Your vote is very powerful, don't sell it to someone who will sell you out.