I have often wondered what it would have been like to be a pastor in the United States in the early 1900’s when men, dressed in white robes, with hooded masks over their faces, would burn crosses on black people’s lawns, or perhaps, lynch a black man on Saturday night, and then appear in a church pew on Sunday morning. Knowing full well what was going on; what would the pastor included in his Sunday sermon?
What would it have been like to be a pastor in the 1930’s when nationalism was sweeping Germany? Soon this nationalism would morph into the “supremacy of the Arian nation”, you know, the supremacy of all us white folk, and one of the most evil forces in the 20th century, which resulted in the murder of millions of Jewish people, was released upon earth. It would take millions of soldiers, my dad being one of them, to stop Hitler’s nationalism, racism and authoritarian blood-bath. On a Sunday morning, as the stench of smoke from the crematory in the Dachau Concentration Camp, drifted through the open windows of a nearby church, I wonder what was included in the pastor’s sermon.
When white supremacists marched under a Nazi flag last year in Charlottesville, North Carolina, the President of the United States of America proclaimed: “There were good people on both sides”. He should go to Arlington cemetery and tell that to our World War II heroes who died fighting: “The good people on the other side”.
“Fake news” we hear, “You can’t trust the free press”, he says, “Everyone is lying except me.”
“You Son-of-bitch", he said, "You stand for that anthem when I say so boy.”
Quietness rested over the assembly, and from the pulpit she read: “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry (of money), hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, mercy, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:19-24
Then the choir sang: “He’s been sent from God to save us.”
“Did you find the oracle?”
“Yes”, Reason replied. “It was engraved on a stone tablet and reads: When Fascism comes to America, it will be in the form of a cross wrapped in a flag.”
“Sixty billion more for the military”, he said, “And cut sixty billion from those poor bastards on food stamps. Repeal all environmental regulations; and while you’re at it, ban all refugees and immigrants from those black shit-hole countries.”
And his followers shouted “Amen!”
Then the choir director announced: “All together now everybody, join us on the refrain: “He was sent from God to save us”.
“I will tell them plainly”, Jesus said, “I never knew you, away from me you evildoers.” Matthew 7:23