I’m not surprised by the reaction to my meeting at the White House, but I am deeply grieved.
It seems that I am guilty of being a black man who accepted an invitation to the White House. It doesn’t matter that I did so to address important issues – prison reform and the inner cities. It doesn’t matter that President Trump responded when my appeals to President Obama fell on deaf ears. It doesn’t matter that, as Christians, we do not get to decide who can receive God’s grace and who cannot.
None of that matters to the people who want to sow division and hate in our country.
And that’s why I spent the weekend being called names that would have you cringing in disgust. Believe me when I say that “Uncle Tom” is one of the better ones. There were references to “massa.” the word “coon” was used. If any of these insults had come from a white person, he or she would be rightfully shunned for indulging in hateful and nasty speech.
But they didn’t. They came from other African Americans. Some even came from relatives.
Let me ask you a question…
Consider two groups of people. One is a group of faith leaders who are committed to improving the inner cities and addressing prison reform – two issues that deeply affect African Americans. This group has a variety of political viewpoints, but on being invited to the White House by a Republican president who has shown interest in their issues, they put aside politics and attend.
The other group is a collection of people so locked in to a political ideology that they automatically characterize the other side as evil. They do not care about changing the inner cities or helping those in prison as much as they care about hating the president. They would not dream of putting aside politics to work for a greater good and cannot envision that any progress could come from such cooperation. They would rather reject help than accept it from an “unapproved” channel.
Now you tell me – who is really being oppressed and subjugated here? I don’t think it’s the group at the White House. It’s the ones who are so beholden to political partisanship that they would hurt their own people rather than accept a different world view.
As the head of CAAP, I have never let my disagreement with the sitting president’s policies handicap my willingness to discuss the issues.
I strongly disagreed with President Obama’s marriage stance. However, before I came out publicly against his anti-family policy, I wrote him and his Attorney General a letter asking for a meeting. They didn’t meet with me and appeared to have no interest in discussion. So they left me no choice but to make a public statement in opposition of same sex marriage. Later, President Obama sent his press secretary to talk to me, but it was too late. Obama deceived the American people on the same sex marriage issue and I had a duty to speak about that in the public square.
I do not know if President Trump will come through on his promises to address the rot in the inner cities and enact prison reform. But I do know that he was willing to talk about it. And it was my duty to be there and put forth my perspective on the problem. I promise you that if he fails or deceives us on this issue, I won’t hesitate to call him out for it – just like I did with President Obama. But it is shortsighted and damaging to engage in vicious partisanship when you have a chance to make a difference.
After seeing some of the names I have been called in the last few days, I can’t help but feel that the contempt and hatred some Christians have for the president is unchristian and damaging to the soul.
But it has also left me more committed than ever to our campaign to educate voters ahead of the mid-term elections. We are currently raising funds to create new chapters in key cities, but we need your help.
Can you make an urgent donation of $100 or more today? We must continue to educate African American voters about why it’s time to leave the Democratic Party. If I’ve learned anything from this week, it’s that mindless partisanship is a poison to our people.
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We are making real inroads for change, but we have a lot of work ahead as we we fight to save the soul of our nation.