I don’t even know why the Black Church continues to involve itself in what are basically conservative right-wing gripes like abortion and same sex marriage, when those same institutions are never around when Black Churches need help.
Like in Oakland, where the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church has publicly been declared a nuisance. According to local CBS affiliate KPIX 5:
“Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in West Oakland recently received a letter from the city threatening a $3,500 nuisance fee and a $500 a day fine unless it toned down its choir practice.
The letter states in part, “…this activity may constitute a public nuisance due to its impact to the use and quiet enjoyment of the surrounding community’s property.”
“Kind of hard to believe because we’ve been here about 65 years in the community and all of a sudden we get some concerns about the noise,” said Thomas A Harris III, the pastor at Pleasant Grove.
Church pastors who met Wednesday said the real issue is gentrification. The church sits in a neighborhood full of old Victorians being snapped up by affluent tech workers.”
According to KPIX, the church is working with a local affordable housing and local arts activist group called Oakland Creative Neighborhoods Coalition to help come up with solutions for everyone to work together including getting legislation through city council that would “protest Oakland churches.” Likewise, the NAACP has also stepped in and are “demanding more specifics from the city and criticizing its handling of the issue.”
That’s all nice and gravy, but you know who is not there helping those churches in their fight against gentrification?
Those White, conservative right wing churches. The same ones who are always declaring any attack on their doctrines and agendas as a so-called “War on Christianity.” That includes the time Fox News used the phrase after Dylann Roof shot and killed 9 African-Americans at a prominent Black AME church in South Carolina church.
The same folks who have roped quite a few Black churches and prominent Black leaders into being on the front lines of this fictitious war on Christianity by paying them to publicly to use the Bible to say regressive things about President Barack Obama, same-sex marriage and other gay rights.
Those folks are nowhere to be found during what can reasonably be justified as a battle on Christians. Not Glenn Beck who earlier this year organized thousands, including hundreds of Black pastors, for the “Never Again” protest in Birmingham, Alabama. A protest dubbed the “All Lives Matter” march. Or Donald Trump who had dozens of Black pastors pray over him and his racist campaign.
In spite of all of the cheerleading that the Black Churches have done for the political right, these churches in Oakland stand alone.
To be fair, I don’t know what kind of ministry being practiced at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church or any other Black church who now finds themselves threatened by gentrification. I really hope that it is sanctuary of love and peace as opposed to a den of fire and brimstone. But I do believe that the Black Church, particularly the ones who continue to side with the conservative right (most times at the expense of your own people), should take note of who your friends really are.