01 Nov 2001 Weak Preachers Want bin Laden “Safe and Saved”, Not “Dead or Alive,” by Jesse Peterson
There’s never been a shortage of weak preachers. I’m sorry to say this is particularly true in the black community.
In our communities, it seems there’s a church on every corner. I’ve often said many black preachers are not called by God as much as they are by their mommas: “Boy, you’re gonna be a preacher one day…” Often, they are no different than the dysfunctional community they save.
In peacetime, these preachers are a nuisance. In wartime, following their advice can get people killed. Since September 11, I’ve noted many dumb acts by our preachers. Reverend Graylan Hagler of the Plymouth Congregation Church protested President Bush’s actions before we began retaliating militarily. When Fox New Channel’s Bill O’Reilly asked Hagler if he was even against the FBI hunting terrorist murderers, Hagler refused to respond. Dr. E.V. Hill, senior pastor of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Los Angeles, disagrees with President Bush’s “dead or alive” bounty on terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. Instead, he wants bin Laden “safe and saved.”
How can these preachers be so devoid of sense? It took our military response to save the young Christian women in Afghanistan who allegedly mentioned Jesus’ teachings.
These preachers typically claim the Bible instructs them. Is this the same Bible I’m reading? In the Book of Genesis, it is written: “And when Abram heard his brother has taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, bynight, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus” (Genesis 14: 14-15). This is the same Abram (Abraham) who was the apple of God’s eye, and the father of both Judaism and Islam.
What about Moses? “And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them” (Exodus 14: 27-28). God essentially drowned the Egyptians. Harsh? Tell God.
Some peacenik Christians will say that was the Old Testament. But things didn’t change in the New Testament. Here’s Jesus quoted in Luke: “Then he said unto them. But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no swords, let him sell his garment and buy one” (Luke 22: 36). “And out of his mount goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Revelations 19:15). So much for Jesus, the peace activist.
Jesus said he did not come to change the law, but to fulfill it. But preachers like Dr. Hill tell us that we can save bin Laden. How arrogant, when one realizes that even Jesus could not save both men who hung next to him on the cross – just the one with the repentant heart.
The Bible tells us, “Greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world.” Yet it is sometimes impossible to tell the difference between “Christians” and the world. Nowhere in the Bible does Christ or any man of God exhort the people to be weak. Instead, we are exhorted to endure. To stand. And when we’ve done all we can, to stand some more.
There are many passages in the New Testament that speak of seeking peace, but never at the expense of principle. These preachers are standing without principle.
The God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament and is the God of today. Truth doesn’t change. The proper way to deal with killers hasn’t changed in thousands of years, and man cannot change it now. It is time to support President Bush in his efforts to destroy our enemies. Christians should support this effort even more, as they are supposed to have superior vision to see the right way.
It is often said to “lead, follow or get out of the way.” It is now time for weak preachers to step aside, so that Americans can do what God would have us do: seek some serious justice, Biblical-style.
(The Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson is a member of the national advisory council of the African-American leadership network Project 21 and the founder and president of the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny. Comments may be sent to [email protected].)
Note: New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21.