I don’t have anything profound to say about African Americans who are deciding not to vote because “in the end Jesus is King.” But my friend Nick Peterson does. So I share it here.
Dear Black Christian Friends,
Please understand that your political indifference has come at a great price. I know you do not care who really wins the election because “Jesus is still King.” But please, bear with me one moment as we take a trip down memory lane.
Somewhere around 1623, the first group of enslaved Africans set foot on North American soil. When they arrived here as property, Jesus was still King. By the 18th century hundreds of trips had been made carrying the precious cargo. An untold number, during the Middle Passage, lost their lives at sea, yet Jesus was still King. In the late 18th century, the US constitution determined that Africans were only 3/5th’s human. Meanwhile, Jesus was still King. In the 19th century, slavery was abolished, nonetheless legalized racial discrimination flourished. While Jesus was still King, black bodies hung from trees, for after-church entertainment. Come the 20th century, thousands face violence and terrorism as they fight for civil rights, some lose their lives, other’s live with the wounds and scars of the struggle, lest we forget, Jesus was still King.
For the many thousands of Africans who came to believe in Jesus in the hell of their American experience, their hope was for salvation, freedom, redemption, and deliverance, believing that they were sojourners here yet longing for the will of God to be on earth as it was in heaven. For some, their understanding of Jesus as King did not resign them to passive indifference or political apathy, in fact it beckoned them to enter the fray of the political discourse and raise the conscience of the blind majority. Instead, they opted for the prophet voice called our society to its higher self. So for you to choose out of thoughtful political engagement, because Jesus is still King, causes me to question what Jesus you are talking about? Surely you aren’t talking about Soujourner Truth’s Jesus, or Martin’s Jesus, or Mary McCloud Bethune’s Jesus, or Harriet’s Jesus. BECAUSE JESUS IS STILL KING, I will speak out against injustice and will continue to raise prophetic voice in the tradition of my ancestors. In the words of James Weldon Johnson:
God of our weary years, God of our silent tears
thou who has brought us thus far on the way
thou who has by thy might led us into the light
keep us forever on the path we pray
lest our feet stray from the places oh god where we met thee
lest our heart drunk with the wine of the world we forget thee
shadowed beneath thy hand
may we forever stand
true to our God, true to our native land.
BECAUSE, Jesus is still King, I can and will stand true to my God and our native land.