(not that it matters at all what color he was, he could’ve been purple for all I care)
The intersectionality of my religion and my fight for justice
Those that know me probably know these two things: 1) I’m pro-Christ and 2) I’m pro-Black.
Recently, the combination of the two have been called into question several times. What I mean by this is that a lot of Black people feel that Christianity is the “white man’s religion” and that it is a crutch for progress in the fight for freedom.
Sidebar: How can Christianity be labeled as “the white man’s religion” when it originated in Africa?
A few weeks ago, I had a discussion with a man at a community event that I was volunteering at. We got into a testy debate about this topic (if you know me you also know that I will argue you down when I am passionate about something). I felt compelled to defend both intricate parts of my identity.
While I acknowledged his point that many people say things like “pray about it” without actually following that prayer up with some action, thus stalling progress, I countered this point with the fact that the bible specifically tells us that “PRAYER WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD.”
After leaving the event, I went on to discuss this notion that society says you can’t be pro-Black and a Christian with one of my professors, who is really big in the civil rights world (and he also happens to be a Quaker-dope huh?) He thought that this idea was absurd.
He made me feel so much better with 6 simple words “Jesus was a civil rights activist!” I marveled for a minute when he said it, and shortly after it all came together for me.
Think about it, Jesus literally died for what he believed in! He died for those that he loved, he died for a true cause. HE DIED FOR JUSTICE. But before his death, he encouraged love, despised the crooked rich, stood up for women, fed the hungry, clothed the poor, and the list goes on.
Furthermore, I would like to serve a gentle reminder of the fact that most great revolutionary movements by people of color started IN THE CHURCH! Hello! When something happened in our community, the church was both our safe-haven and our think tank. Now I will admit that we have strayed quite a bit from what we stood for as the church, but that’s a whole different topic for another day!
So if I could counter the idea with this question to Christians I would ask: What kind of Christian are you? The bible specifically calls us to activism. As Christians, we are literally put on this earth to be a voice for the voiceless, to feed the hungry, and to clothe the poor. We are called to speak up for marginalized communities. Like Moses, we have been called to rise up out of our own personal insecurities and lead the enslaved in pursuing justice. Are you fulfilling your purpose?
No, I’m not encouraging Christians to put their current professions on hold and go to law school. Nor am I pushing you to get out in the streets and protest. But I am encouraging you to find your fight! Craft your own personal form of resistance, just like Jesus did.
It is our duty to eradicate this absurd concept that you can’t be both faith-filled and pro-justice. Activism is not secular. The foundational principles of activism stem from biblical acts.
So I depart with my favorite scripture, the one that led me to my current career path.
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, ensure justice for those being crushed. (9) Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.”
As always, I would love to know your thoughts. Feel free to drop them in the comment section below.