By Dr. Mark A. McCleary, Pastor and Adventist Peace Fellowship Advisory Board Member I'm deeply saddened by this tragedy (Charleston, SC), but also tragically not surprised. The evil spirit that has permeated the minds of "these folk" affirms Revelation's prediction: "[America] has become the hold of every foul and evil bird." Such villainy justifies the punditry of Elijah Muhammad who called them devils. The recent spate of police v. young Black male murders have aggravated old wounds within our community of White on Black brutality. However, the perpetrators, via media (i.e. O' Reilly, Hannity, Limbaugh) will not articulate nor are they sensitive to our pain and plight. Many of our own folk have elected to puppet the post-racial discourse, "I don't see color." That's a lie or at least an act of psychological denial and inhibition. To not see color is to not see reality or respect my true ontology. The real issue is whenever or whomever you see, treat them with respect and dignity— Shu/reciprocity/The Golden Rule or as MLK Jr eloquently stated, "...be judged by their character not by the color of their skin."
In the last few days, we have two White murderers who have been helped by a White female to escape prison and are still objects of a nationwide manhunt as I write this. Now we have a skinned-head, Aryan-type White young man who reminds me of Columbine, CO, mowing down helpless church folk inside a church during Prayer Meeting. What vicious inhumanity is this for Satan to move this possessed fellow to sit for an hour then open fire on unarmed Christians? This is why Black Muslims, non-Christians, and Afrocentrists point the finger at the hypocrisy of Americans who promote the propaganda of "This is a Christian nation." Paul said, "If they speak any other gospel, get away from them." It's time for White Christianity to speak out loud and long that this is unacceptable. When Blacks do something, the media will post it almost 24-7. The hideousness of this perpetrator, I hope, gets appropriate coverage, and I trust the justice system will reinforce that liberty and justice is for all people—the living and the dead. Furthermore, I pray that justice will roll down like water and righteousness as a mighty stream in this desert of America.
I am shouting at the White preachers, especially those centered around and among these entrenched pro-Aryan hideouts. "Stop being silent when you know these cowards lurk within your community." Dietrich Bonhoeffer indicted German Christians for what happened to the Jews because of their winking and nodding at Nazi violence against German Jews. Their example of not being their brother's keeper yields nominal and historic silence as well as tacit approval for these heartless punks to sneak up on unsuspecting folk without being called to account by community stakeholders. I'm waiting to hear some proactive response form my SDA leadership, but history says, we won't pray for newly elected President Obama in a 2008 NAD morning worship, we'll continue to be late to every urban tragedy since Emmitt Till. We, historically, have sought to be politically correct and socially agreeable. So I'm starting to speak here. I'm sending this to every outlet (i.e., SDA News, Spectrum, Facebook) and beyond. I am motivated to standup and say something that is helpful in a timely fashion.
Instead of AU students holding a forum on the relevance of Regional [Black] Conferences, or SDA's struggling over the Biblical validity of Women's ordination, a voice must be heard that challenges the spirit of White supremacy that holds our church community in its spell. Before I be a slave, I will speak out and speak up. RIP to my brothers and sisters who died on the battle field in SC yesterday night. They fought a good fight, they stood for the right, and justice will pronounce them victors one day. Free at last, Free at last, thank God almighty, we'll be free at last one day.
In His service,
Pastor Dr. Mark A. McCleary