The Chicago Phoenix reported that Reverend James Meeks, Salem Baptist Church, is leading a coalition of Black churches that have “recently threatened to take away their congregations’ support and even bar the lawmakers from attending their churches if they vote to approve gay and lesbian nuptials.” Now, before we go any further I’d like to share some statistics with you.
Among the 10 largest cities in America, Chicago has the third highest poverty rate, with 21.6 percent of residents living under the poverty level, according to 2009 data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Now, let’s dig a little deeper into those figures. When we look at poverty among the African-American community, the number rises even higher. Approximately one in three African-Americans in Chicago or 32 percent, are in poverty. Chicago’s African-American poverty rate is close to being the highest minority poverty rate in the nation.
Now, let’s move on to crime. In 2012, Chicago had a staggering 535 murders. As of January of 2013, the murder count had reached 40; and it continues to rise. In terms if education, only approximately 47% of African-American males graduate from high school; 53% for females. And the disparities don’t stop there! Chicago’s inner city is plagued with health issues such as obesity, respiratory illnesses, diabetes and more. The majority of residents don’t have access to quality hospitals, clinics or healthcare professionals. And let’s not forget the lack of nutritious and affordable, quality food.
While Rev. Meeks is certainly entitled to his opinion, after reading those very real statistics, one could certainly say that he has bigger issues to tackle? When asked about the violence in the city, Rev. Meeks had this to say:
“This might be one of the most boldest prayers that we have ever prayed. We didn’t have a month last year where under 14 people were killed. But I believe that God is going to do it. I believe that this is going to be the month – some things come only by fasting and praying.”
So, you mean to tell me that Rev. Meeks would rather fast and pray about the violence rather than campaign and organize against it? While I certainly believe in the power of prayer, doesn’t the bible say faith without works is dead? Are we supposed to pray the violence, poverty and lack of education away? Why isn’t he organizing, campaigning and rallying against the community’s ills just as hard as he is against gay marriage? This constant bigotry, lack of understanding and antiquated thinking is ridiculous. How is this uplifting the “kingdom” or serving? Why is it that the black church is so focused on this topic? Gay marriage isn’t the problem. Our pastors can gather their congregations to rally against the gays but won’t lift a finger to fight the issues that truly plague us. That’s the problem…a serious problem.
What are your thoughts?