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The Idolatry of Racial Politics

“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” ~ Luke 16:13

I recently attended the Tea Party Patriots American Policy Summit in Phoenix, Arizona, mainly to promote my book and the book of a sponsor who graciously funded my trip. I spent most of my time in the “Author’s Corner” so I didn’t see all the speeches or sit in the breakout sessions.

I did, however, have the opportunity to meet a lot of everyday Americans from across the country who stopped to look at the books on my table and speak with me. Many of them had the same question, and it’s one I’m asked often when I’m at a Tea Party event, whether it’s as a speaker, exhibitor or participant.

“Why aren’t there more black people here?”

Note that this isn’t a question born of malice, as it would be were it uttered by opponents of the Tea Party movement, who would take any opportunity to accuse the movement of racism. Frankly, the fact that Tea Party participants are asking the question exposes the liberals’ play of the race card to be a lie, because if they didn’t want black people there, they wouldn’t care enough to ask.

It really bothers them, because they don’t understand what it is about individual liberty, fiscal responsibility, economic opportunity and limited constitutional government that makes them anathema to black people.

I agree. I am involved in this movement because I believe in liberty, and I refuse to accept the notion that black people don’t love liberty, too. What in the world was 485 years of struggle all about if it wasn’t about liberty?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used the words “liberty” or “freedom” 23 times in his famous “I Have A Dream” speech. Frederick Douglass, the runaway slave who became one of America’s greatest orators, writers and warriors for liberty, condemned the U.S. in a speech given during a July 4th celebration, declaring, “The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not by me.”

Look at what great black people like Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Bridget “Biddie” Mason, Josiah Henson, and more were able to do with only a modicum of liberty. The history of black people in the 19th and early 20th century is filled with examples of men and woman who endured the chains and beatings of slavery but, once they achieved liberty, could not be stopped, even in a society that still regarded them as inferior to whites.

They didn’t ask to be loved, or to be sheltered, clothed, or fed. When well-meaning but condescending whites wrung their hands in despair over what to do about the newly freed black slaves, Frederick Douglass raised his commanding six-foot-plus, 200 pound plus frame, and thundered:

I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature’s plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! If you see him on his way to school, let him alone, don’t disturb him! If you see him going to the dinner table at a hotel, let him go! If you see him going to the ballot- box, let him alone, don’t disturb him! If you see him going into a work-shop, just let him alone–your interference is doing him a positive injury.

He said “I am not asking for sympathy at the hands of abolitionists, sympathy at the hands of any.” He just wanted liberty.

I’ve written in the past about the false liberty of material provision, characterized by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his 1941 speech, “The Four Freedoms,” creating a new “freedom,” the “freedom from want” that presumed a governmental obligation to provide a minimum standard of living for every human being. This utopian ideal has led us to surrender our self-sufficiency, our confidence, our liberty for the mediocrity and somnolence of dependence on the kindness of strangers in the far-off bureaucracies of government.

So one of the reasons black people don’t show up in large numbers at Tea Party events is because they don’t know the movement is about liberty above all else, and even if they knew, they’ve been told that liberty as we believe it to be is against their best interests, an excuse for white people to take away their security.

But there is something deeper that keeps blacks away from the Tea Party, and it goes straight to the soul.

Bob Parks, a long-time black conservative writer and commentator, suggested that any attempt to bring blacks into the conservative mainstream – while he speaks of the GOP, his comments could be applicable to any conservative or libertarian movement, of which the Tea Party is certainly one – requires “a kind of spiritual conversion.” He points out that black conservatives are subjected to condemnation and ridicule, saying, “If you become a Republican, you can (and will) be ostracized by friends and family and be called racist names by the political left with impunity.”

The bottom line is that, in Mr. Parks’ opinion, a black person turning from the utopian promises of liberalism to the liberty of conservatism is akin to the reversal Saul experienced on the road to Damascus, and that required the direct intervention of Christ himself.

As I considered his statement, the issue that still dogged me was that blacks are among the most devout Christians in America. I’ve heard it said that the most conservative venue in America on Sundays is the black church. Black voters were responsible for thwarting efforts to redefine marriage in two of the most liberal states in the nation, California in 2008 and Maryland in 2011. They are more pro-life than whites, which is appropriate since the impact of abortion weighs disproportionately on the black community.

Given the dominance of evangelical Christians in conservative organizations like the Republican Party and even the Tea Party, where eight in 10 Tea Party members call themselves Christians and 57 percent of those label themselves conservative Christians, one would think a natural alliance would exist between black American Christians and their white brothers and sisters.

Not so.

It seems that while 54 percent of blacks attend church every Sunday, 45 percent of them believe the Democrats are more friendly toward religion than the GOP, and only 23 percent of them believe the opposite.

How is this possible?

It’s quite apparent that liberals and their political standard-bearers, the Democratic Party, are hostile to issues that matter to millions of Christians, like the sanctity of human life and traditional marriage. They ridicule the overwhelming generosity of those who give more of their time, talent and treasure than liberals to private charity, including the church, by several orders of magnitude, proclaiming their personal sacrifices as morally inferior to the redistribution of wealth by government fiat. They marginalize Christians through their words and deeds, and secularism and moral relativism are the predominant moral philosophies they embrace, eschewing objective truth and the exclusivity of Christ as the only pathway to God. When they do evoke God, it’s usually cherry-picking to bolster a political position and, given their other actions, it is the height of hypocrisy.

I have always believed that what one places first in their lives governs everything else that follows. The Bible says that, “By their fruits, you shall know them,” so I can only conclude that black Christians have placed in their minds and hearts an idol above the God of the universe exemplified by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, perhaps without even realizing it.

That idol is racial politics.

How else do you explain the double-mindedness of black voters, who vote their Christian values when they are posed as separate referenda, but otherwise overwhelmingly vote for men and women who despise those values?

Whether you call it an “urban agenda,” “black issues,” “social justice,” or whatever euphemism you prefer, there is a platform of policies that the black orthodoxy and their liberal enablers have determined to be collectively desirable to the black community. Likewise, there are candidates that are perceived as friendly to that black platform, and therefore worthy of mass support from black voters.

If you embrace the black platform AND you are black, then you are practically unassailable politically. That’s how a community organizer (read: agitator) with limited political experience, virtually no management experience, and a mysterious past about which we know only what he wishes to expose, became president of the United States.

I’ve spoken in the past about being taken to task for not supporting a “brutha” in Barack Obama, upon which I usually remind my friends that they threw this “brutha” under the bus when he ran against a longtime white incumbent whose photo would fit comfortably in the cultural dictionary next to the phrase “good ol’ boy.” A lot of black candidates could recite the same chapter and verse about being disrespected by their own people in favor of hidebound white candidates who pay lip service to black voters and their platform, then ignore them after they take office.

Their crime, and mine? We don’t buy into the platform, because it kills and demeans black people.

Abortion has murdered over 16 million black children since Roe vs. Wade in 1973, and cost the black community over $4 billion of wealth that could have been used to create businesses, award scholarships, or provide health care to our communities. White supremacist groups celebrate our endorsement of our own destruction, as abortion kills more blacks in two days than the Klan and their sympathizers lynched in 86 years.

Resistance to expanded parental choice for education has robbed black children and their families more than any other demographic group, because they are the least likely to have the means to pursue alternatives. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus stand in front of the schoolhouse door like Governor George Wallace at the University of Alabama, preventing access and prompting one black child to ask a black adult advocate of parental choice after a debate on the floor of Congress, “Why don’t the congressmen who look like us want us to go to better schools?

Redefining the institution of marriage continues the de-legitimization of having a married mother and father to provide security for our children than began with the sexual revolution of the 1960s, leading to 72% of black children born out of wedlock and placed at an immediate disadvantage in life from the moment they emerge from the womb – if they get that chance.

“Comprehensive immigration reform” is most harmful to black males who are being pushed out of the market for jobs that could at least be the start of building a life and a legacy for themselves and their families. The Migration Policy Institute makes the following observations:

In particular, the stunning declines in recent decades in employment among less-educated young black men immediately raise questions about whether African-Americans have been hurt more by less-skilled immigrants than other groups of less-educated US-born workers…Indeed, there is some evidence that, where both groups are available for low wage and low-skill work, employers actually prefer the immigrants, and believe that they have a stronger work ethic and lower rates of turnover out of low-wage jobs. So perhaps native-born African-Americans have borne a disproportionately large share of the burden associated with unskilled immigration.

The death tax – euphemistically called the estate tax – hits black entrepreneurs the hardest because they are in the nascent stages of building generational wealth, which is critical for our community’s participation in the American Dream. The percentage of American wealth which resides in the black community hasn’t changed significantly since the Civil War, yet we’re forced to sell our businesses rather than pass them on as a legacy to our families because we  can’t afford the death tax.

Policies that encourage dependency on government and tell our people their problems are because of social structures outside of our control have taken away our confidence, the innate strength, persistence and courage that has been a characteristic of our people through generations of struggle, and relegated us to a state of bitterness and resentment that harms no one else but us.

Wait, you might ask – if race is their idol, then how could they support such destructive policies?

For one thing, we’ve been conditioned to believe that equality of outcome, the fundamental objective of modern liberalism, is the best possible solution to black America’s persistent problems, as opposed to equality of opportunity. We’ve been persuaded that the latter is impossible because of the innate racism of American society, therefore only the former, to be achieved by the destruction of the current order and its replacement with another, holds the promise of redemption.

Also, support of liberal policies gives those seeking power and influence a seat at the table and the mantle of leadership in the black community, however insubstantial both may be.

That is why the Congressional Black Caucus rails against Republicans for trying to drive a wedge between Hispanics and black people on the issue of immigration, even while black people on the street are losing jobs to illegal aliens.

That is why the Rev. Jesse Jackson, once an ardent defender of unborn life, who drew a powerful parallel between the dehumanization of unborn children by abortion supporters and the dehumanization of black slaves so that they could be treated as property rather than human, flipped on the issue and refuses to address this abandonment of principle on his part.

That is why a civil rights hero like Rep. James Clyburn gives up his number two position in the Democratic congressional leadership, and his dignity, to former House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and does so without a fight:

“After the Nov. 2 election, Clyburn had to move from the tony Majority Whip’s Capitol office, flush with ornate chandeliers, a fireplace and painted ceiling, to a considerably smaller and understated suite. His office as assistant Democratic leader is somewhat barren, with pale yellow walls and red carpet.” ~ The Post and Courier, “Scott & Clyburn: New and Old in SC Politics Converge,” March 20, 2011.

This hunger for power and access leads these men and women to persuade their own people that their best interests are represented by policies that, by any measure, haven’t budged the needle in the positive direction for the black community since the mid-1960s.

A black state legislator in my home state of Maryland once said, “Party trumps race,” and when a group of black county council members endorsed a black Republican candidate in 2006, constituents were outraged, and one made a statement I read in the Washington Post that I’ve never forgotten: “You don’t go against family.”

There you have it. Equating the amalgam of race and liberal politics with family illustrates how much this idolatry has penetrated the black community.

My past comments about Christians and race have apparently struck a nerve among liberals and the black orthodoxy, and even led to stupid headlines and articles bearing no resemblance whatsoever to my well-documented statements of belief. While I didn’t expect such a volatile reaction, I’ve no intention of backing away from my words.

I am not the determinant of who is or isn’t Christian. That is determined by the Bible as the authoritative Word of the Christian faith. If the Bible tells me that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, that unborn life is worthy of protection, that I shall not steal nor covet another’s possessions, that government role is to keep order and administer justice, and that it is my personal obligation to care for the poor and not outsource it, then am I being true to the Word if I support people that endorse and seek to enact policies in opposition to those positions?

If someone proclaims that there are many paths to God, when Christ himself says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”, am I being true to Christ if I remain mute? I can’t twist my conscience that way, and it was that realization that set me on the path to where I am today.

Christianity isn’t a cafeteria menu, and it’s not about the world’s standards. It’s all about what Christ says, and you’re either all in or all out. Christ sets the rules, not us, and He tells us we’re going to be hated for following Him, but that is a light burden to bear compared to His sacrifice for us, which gave us the gateway to salvation for eternity.

Full devotion to Christ requires not just my acknowledgment of Him one or two days a week, but my commitment to him in every single aspect of my life, including my politics. For me, the choice between idolizing the powers and principalities of the world and worshiping Christ is really no choice at all.

“Can your idols make such claims as these? Let them come and show what they can do!” says the LORD, the King of Israel. “Let them try to tell us what happened long ago or what the future holds. Yes, that’s it! If you are gods, tell what will occur in the days ahead. Or perform a mighty miracle that will fill us with amazement and fear. Do something, whether good or bad! But no! You are less than nothing and can do nothing at all.” ~ Isaiah 41:21-24

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About The Author

Ron On The Right

Ron Miller of Lynchburg, Virginia is an associate dean and assistant professor of government at Liberty University, a conservative commentator and author of the book, SELLOUT: Musings from Uncle Tom's Porch. The nine-year plus veteran of the U.S. Air Force and married father of three writes columns for several online sites and print publications, and his own website, RonOnTheRight.com. Join him on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Title and affiliation are provided for identification purposes only. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Liberty University.
 
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