By Michael Ashcraft —
As Black Lives Matter organizer Melina Abdullah called out the names of blacks killed by police, she summoned the spirits of the dead by pouring out a drink offering on the hot pavement at a June march in Los Angeles.
“Our power comes not only from the people who are here but from the spirits that we cannot see,” said Abdullah, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. “When we say their name, we invoke their presence.”
In the 1960s, the top leaders of the Civil Rights movement were Christians. Today, the leaders pushing progress in race relations are of a completely different stripe: They are Marxists, queer and practitioners of hoodoo.
As the evangelical church weighs its response to racism and police brutality, it must filter through how to support a movement whose values are diametrically opposed to the Bible’s. Normally, when a Bible-believer wades into politics, he has to stomach a bitter pill or two. But just how much can Christians — who are sympathetic to reforming institutional sin — overlook?
“We speak their names. You kind of invoke that spirit, and then their spirits actually become present with you,” said Abdullah, a professor at California State University LA, as quoted by Christian News. “We summon those spirits that are still with us. We summon those people whose bodies have been stolen, but whose souls are still here,” Abdullah said. “We call on Wakiesha Wilson. We call on George Jackson … Eric Garner …”
Abdullah and her close associate Patrisse Cullors preside over a nationally influential los Angeles BLM chapter of 500 supporters.
“This is a movement led and envisioned and directed by Black women,” she said. “Many of us are queer, we’re moms, and we really started this work because we wanted to see our children survive. We’re laying the groundwork and foundation for a new world, not just for our descendants but for right now.”
“The movement for Black lives infuses a syncretic blend of African and indigenous cultures’ spiritual practices and beliefs, embracing ancestor worship; Ifa-based ritual such as chanting, dancing, and summoning deities; and healing practices such as acupuncture, reiki, therapeutic massage, and plant medicine in much of its work, including protest,” Cullors told the Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs.
Cullors identified herself as queer and Marxist.
BLM holds up the notable goals of social equality and justice amid a disturbing string of incidents of police excessive force. It started seven years ago when black man Trayvon Martin was killed when he tussled with George Zimmerman. It grew to 40 chapters nationwide in major cities through successive incidents of police use of force they felt was excessive: Mike Brown, Eric Garner and now Breonna Taylor.
But it was the tragic death of George Floyd, upon whose neck an officer knelt for nine minutes as he pleaded “I can’t breathe,” that galvanized massive national and international protests. Politicians, companies, professional sports leagues joined wholesale. Even churches got involved since the mission to bring righteousness to our nation can also be seen to include eradicating the sin of racism.
But have Christians taken a close look at the foundational tenets under-girding the movement? Is it acceptable to lend Christ’s name and prestige to support the backing philosophies of Marxism (essentially atheist and opposed to the Christian church), LBGTQ and demonic religious practices?
“I wasn’t raised with honoring ancestors. As I got older and started to feel like I was missing something, ancestral worship became really important,” Cullors said on Religion News.
If you thought BLM at its core was a fight for equality, Cullors clarifies: “At its core, BLM is a spiritual movement.”
Surely, the church will yearn for Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. who invoked God’s help in peaceful protest and exhorted the nation to live up to its Christian foundational ideals.
“The different things that have become common, like ‘say her name,’ she says they are summoning the spirits of the dead to empower them to do this justice work,” said Abraham Hamilton III, general counsel to the American Family Association. “People are running around saying, ‘say her name,” but the founders of this organization say they’re summoning their spirits of the dead in the tradition of the Yoruba religion.
“I don’t want to misconstrue the Yoruba religion with the ethnicity or the language, but the religious component of it includes an over-arching pagan deity, then under that a mid level of pagan gods and goddesses called Egun, and underneath them their are ancestors that they believe are gods,” says Hamilton, who himself is black. “The Lord warned the Israelites not to participate in these practices of these people. Among the things they were prohibited is summoning dead people.
“There are churches, large denominations that are demanding people support this organization and participate in these mantras and not really realizing what they are doing,” he adds. “As a Bible-believing Christian, I do not need a Marxist, anti-man, anti-Christ, ancestral worship purveyor to teach me how to love my neighbor.”
BLM has abandoned MLK’s peaceful protests that successfully shamed the South and outraged the nation through the new media of T.V. coverage. Arguably, what forced change were the video images of black men, offering no resistance, being beaten by whites. People were horrified by police dogs attacking women and children, along with marchers flattened by firefighters’ water hoses.
BLM draws more from the Black Power era of the 1970s and has given up on “respectability politics.” They camp out on public property, shut down freeways, target politician’s homes and confront diners at outdoor restaurants with intimidation tactics. Protests have degenerated into riots, looting, vandalism, statue-toppling and arson, though some caution the egregious acts have been perpetrated by infiltrators such as antifa regulars. Rapper YG includes BLM scenes in his video “FTP” (F— the Police).
BLM has won some victories. They’ve paid for independent autopsies when they think a county coroner has wrongly cleared cops of responsibility. They fought for body cameras on police and push to prosecute police who use unjustified violence, the LA Times says.
Thanks to BLM, the idea of defunding police has become mainstream in recent months. Adherents wish to re-allocate some resources to fund alternative community services that can help heal the social causes of crime in the community, they say.
BLM is “only seven years old and there are these massive protests all over the U.S., all over the globe in solidarity and raising questions about racism in their own local context,” said Brown University Professor Juliet Hooker. “That’s an enormous potential transformation in political consciousness.”
Perhaps in part because of BLM’s unsavory underpinnings, a parallel movement in Atlanta has started called One Race. Launched in 2017, One Race welcomes all races and founds its work on prayer, praise, preaching and education.
“We commit to faithfully proclaim this gospel of Jesus Christ, which espouses values of righteousness and justice for all people, the reconciliation of God and man and the reconciliation of man, one to another,” its webpage says. “We believe that all people are made in the image and likeness of God.”
If you want to know about a personal relationship with God, go here
To support his hobby of Christian journalism, Michael Ashcraft sells a bamboo steamer on Amazon.