What Are Black Conservatives Conserving?

It has always been a diversionary tactic of the oppressor to pit the oppressed against one another, but who would think that the educated oppressed would still fall prey to this antiquated tactic. However, such seemed to be the case with one of my former colleges in the city of Atlanta, Bishop Eddie L. Long. Bishop Long had organized a “anti-gay/pro-family” march in the city that I still consider a home and retreat to, the city my nephews and niece are being raised in, the city whose Churches my Mother plays organ for on Sunday morning.

I have had a number of debates with my mother, wherein I have tried to get her to understand not only the homophobic, but also the racist, classicist, and anti-choice, anti-woman agenda of the Christian right. In the midst of the Christian right bringing African-American conservatives such as Alvida King, Reggie White, Alan Keyes, and Pastors like Bishop Long to the forefront of their cause purely to penetrate the African-American Christian community. My mother has literally said to me “Thank God someone is bold enough to try and stop you guys.” to which I have responded to her “Do you not realize that after they have put us, Gays and Lesbians, in our place they will come for African-Americans next?”

I am convinced that these people will not stop until the world looks like them White, middle-class, and straight. Since when, have African-Americans become so trustful of these people who probably would have been the same people turning water hoses on COLORED people claiming integration was a sin? When did we as Black folk get the revelation of homosexuality as the new sin, and join forces with the same people who just yesterday wanted to keep their race pure and made interacial marriages illegal? Now they come to our churches, developed in part because we could not even sit next to them in their churches, spewing more divisive politics.

Since when do we release the attack dogs of our mouths with our pulpits serving as lynching gallows and feel privileged enough to say “you guys” as if we have gained a special status with our oppressor, when in fact Black conservatives are but a tool, a pawn helping to conserve the sentiments that cost so many Africans in America their lives.

When blacks side the Christian Right the struggles our ancestors, grandparents, and parents, went through become shallow. When Blacks side with the Christian right, they become negligent for the struggle they create for tomorrow. When Blacks side with the Christian Right, it says that we do not trust ourselves enough to formulate our own agenda, and self-determination. Therefore, we follow their agenda.

So what are Black conservatives conserving? A fundamentalist, shallow, irresponsible agenda that I doubt will even acknowledge their worth as a human being as inherently valuable as their own. The Christian Right does not see African-Americans as human beings but as a necessary pawn to forward their agenda. African-American conservatives must realize that the Christian Right is neither Christian nor are they right.

It grieves me to think that the streets that were once dedicated to crying out for justice and against injustice in the freedom marches of the 60’s will been used to call for oppression. I wish that Pastors like Bishop Long would use their platform to empower their congregations and focus on better schools in our communities, make sure that people of color have better access to health care, that there be more funding for HIV/AIDS (since heterosexual African American womyn are the highest rising statistic) instead of getting distracted by hate and predigest. Not to mention that instead of uniting a community (which I hope would be their intent) actions like these divide us as a community; for “those gay folks” are not strangers from without, but they are the members from within. I know this because I have had to Pastor gay and lesbian congregants because these Pastors do not, because they know not, and now amidst the alagations of sexual impratoiry with young boy’s against Bishop Long, we have to wonder if the trumpet of hate sounded off by Bishop Long was to drown out the cacophony of his own self hatred.

In truth, however the finger cannot be pointed solely at Pastors like Bishop Long. For those of us who support these intuitions in the secrecy of “don’t ask, don’t tell”. Those of us serving these intuitions with our time, talent, and our tithes that do not serve us are just as much to blame. Power concedes nothing without a demand. So I will tell my Brother’s and Sister’s worshiping in churches where they cannot worship openly and freely if the church you serve is not serving you then get a new one.

Continue to walk in the light, redefine your faith, and remember it’s all about the rhythm.

Bishop S.F. Makalani-MaHee is a Minister/Artist in the South Florida area. She is also the Founder/CEO for Black Gay Pride South Florida.

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