In anticipation of the release of Justice Calls (you can pre-order it here), I’m sharing an excerpt a day. Today’s is from Alton B. Pollard III, Dean and Professor of Religion and Culture at Howard University School of Divinity.
“As a once disinherited people, we have known something about searing brands and burning flesh, iron chains and fetters and being locked away. We have known what it is to be sold downriver and sold out, about plantations and overseers, slave drivers and patty-rollers, the KKK and Citizens’ Councils, untold rapings and lynchings, and Jane and Jim Crow. We are also acquainted with far more recent cruelties, with official policies, customs, and institutions that work to subdue us behind concrete walls and iron bars and glass ceilings and railroad tracks and tracking systems and media lynchings and gentrification and gerrymandering and annexation and the annihilation of our humanity. We know about police crackdowns and crack houses and roadblocks and cell blocks and lockdowns and indecency and detention and ‘law and order’ and profiling and the New Jim Crow assault on our communities. But we have also come to know far more than we are willing to admit, and more than we care to discuss, about other equally painful realities, powerful prejudices, searing hatreds, legal pogroms, social indignities, moral revulsions, derisive fears directed at persons and groups solely or largely for reasons of sexuality and/or gender. We know about patriarchy and misogyny and emotional and physical humiliation and sexual harassment in the workplace and sexual violence in the home and sexual impropriety from the pulpit to the pew to the public square. We know about hierarchies of power and ‘special rights’ polemics and sexism and heterosexism and homophobia and hate crimes and gay-bashing and lesbian-bashing and opposition to marriage equality and HIV disease, dis-ease and death. We know about the suffering and rejection and alienation and exclusion and subordination and condemnation and devaluation and discrimination of those who live on the margins of the marginalized, who are the very oppressed of the oppressed, who are the sexually battered and abused and sick and dying, who are lesbian and gay and bisexual and transgender and questioning and queer and straight, who are our sisters and brothers and beloved partners and friends, who are we ourselves. We know, we know, we know because we who claim to be the church have betrayed them.”