Freedom of Speech

 Not to long ago, clips from a sermon that Barack Obama's pastor gave a number of years ago, and it has been used to try and divide the nation racially. It's sad that the press and the people who are putting the pastor and Obama down haven't listened to the entire sermon, and are clueless about Black Liberation Theology. If you listen what the pastor was saying prior to what has been broadcast, and think about what he was saying, then you will realize that he was talking about things that had happened in history with other empires, and trying to get people to understand that at some point the USA could go into the same direction. Another way of looking at his sermon is to call it “The Rise and Fall of the United States”.

 But I wonder if all of this hoopla would exist if the pastor had been John McCain's pastor? Would McCain have been associated with his pastor in the way that Obama has been? What if was Hillary's pastor? Would the GOP in North Carolina be using what that her pastor said in commercials?

 People talk about how wrong he was ,and have threaten him with death threats, but don't we have the freedom of speech in this country? It's amazing how some people can't handle the truth.

 After listening to Obama's pastor on a PBS interview, and some of the things that he has said, I realized again how little credit that we Blacks in this country get for things, and how things are just taken from us. Jazz, Blues, Rock, Rap, Hip-Hop, and so much more. I sat in a conference a few years ago where someone said that Blondie invented rap. Pat Boone's biggest hit was a piece of Black Music (his version sucks in my opinion.) A large amount of the Rock music in the 50s and 60s was rerecorded by Euros who made a fortune from it without giving credit to the Black performers and writers of the music.

  I was sitting a meeting a couple of years ago were we where planning an event. I was the only Black in the group, and it was decided that each culture would bring something into the event. I had to sit back and think as to what the Black Culture could “bring to the table”.

 Everything was put together, but I couldn't figure out what we Blacks could input into this event. Then it hit me, we didn't have any music in the program. I mentioned that this is what we had to offer, and the rest of the group thought that this was a good idea. I was asked about the use of one song, and I said that the song wasn't what had come to my mind, and named it. They thought that it was a good one to use, then suddenly they started inserting songs from other cultures. I started to say something to the fact that the music to be used would come from the Black Community, as that is what we had to offer, but I quickly realized that all that I would hear would be excuses as to why we needed to use this other music. Come the day of the event, the person criticized the use of the one Black song that I was able to have added. None of the other songs from the other cultures where criticized for being use, just the one from the Black Community was.

 But that's not the only time that I have had that type of experience in this diocese. In the congregation that I am in, I asked that we sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” each Sunday during Black History Month. I was told that it didn't fit in with any of the lessons during that month. I explained that at the congregation that I was at previously, we used it. Another excuse then came. A few years later I asked again. This time I was told this time that we could sing it after service was done. In other words, we as a congregation could not sing it together during a service, as the pastor knew that this would be played after everyone had left. I have found it interesting that when I have talked with others from other congregations, they sing it. I wanted to laugh this year when I was told that it was important that I play the national anthem of another country which some of our members are from because it was that nations Independence day.

 What is it that we as Blacks need to do not to have our culture taken away from us? We are told that we speak “bad English”, but yet they take our language and use it. Soul Food is a Black thing, but others have taken it away from us.

 In a way I also blame the press for this thing with Barack's pastor. I think that PBS is the only one not to take full blame, as they did give him the opportunity to explain himself, and they looked at more of his ministry than any of the other would of. With the program that they did, I saw a human being that is trying to make a huge difference in the world. He came into a congregation of about 87 people and turned it into a place with over 6,000 members. How many of the people who speak bad about him have done that? With the way things are in the Anglican Communion, we aren't doing a thing to try and raise how congregations to that level. The conservatives are spending their time talking about how bad the Episcopal Church is, but yet aren't doing a thing to grow their congregations. Oh they may claim that they are, but if they really were, don't you think that the rest of the Episcopal Churches would be following suit? A couple of years ago, my Bishop was arrested in an act of Civil Disobedience. I think that with his act he managed to bring more people into the Episcopal Church than all fo the conservatives combined.

 I really hope that you all will be willing to take a look at Barack Obama's  pastors interview on PBS (look for the show Journal on there website and you should find it,) and look at it with an open mind. But also remember the saying of Jesus our Lord and Saviour, “Let ye without sin cast the first stone.”

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