Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it. -Edmund Burke
Why do we have Black History Month?
There are some who feel uncomfortable or even angry that there is a special time each year beginning February 1 thru March 1, we celebrate Black History Month in America. It began as a way of remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. It is celebrated in February in the United States and Canada, while in Ireland, and the United Kingdom it is observed in October.
A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots. -Marcus GarveyTweet
I believe that we can learn valuable insight from history. Just imagine if God had not given by inspiration of the Spirit for the writers to pen the Holy Scriptures, and the stories of faith in Hebrews 11. ” Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us (2 Timothy 3:16 MSG). Prophecy did not come from what a person wanted to say, but people led by the Holy Spirit spoke words from God (2 Peter 1:21).
History gives us the opportunity to learn the good from what others’ have done before us. It also gives us the opportunity to learn from others’ past mistakes. And helps us understand the many reasons why people may behave the way they do. As Robert Penn Warren said, “History cannot give us a program for the future, but it can give us a fuller understanding of ourselves, and of our common humanity, so that we can better face the future.”
Throughout my spiritual journey I have been inspired to journal as a means of capturing and retaining those special moments, thoughts, prayers and revelations from my encounters with the Holy Spirit. This year has been a little different for me because of the racial warring in America. I sensed the Holy Spirit’s inspiration to initiate a new podcast, Breaking Silence with Minister A. Francine Green podcast. The subject of race, religion and politics are “hot topics” today, and there are many opinions and ideas on both sides that are opposed to and incompatible with the purposes of God than we realize. In Breaking Silence I will be exploring the historical context of American democracy, race, religion, and politics impact on society from a prophetic perspective. You can listen to the podcast on Anchor or Spotify.
Albeit slaves were considered only three fifths of a person at the writing of the Constitution, the founding fathers understood the need to unify as a nation and establish a body of fundamental principles to govern the nation. Because slavery was legal and common, at least in the South, and the issue was a dividing line among the Constitution’s framers, they agreed that slaves would not to be counted as full citizens. Article one, section two of the Constitution of the United States declared that any person who was not free would be counted as three-fifths of a free individual for the purposes of determining congressional representation. The “Three-Fifths Clause” thus increased the political power of slaveholding states.
Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it. -Edmund BurkeTweet
The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776 states “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” Thomas Jefferson’s statement in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal” has been an axiom of American political thought, but it has by no means been a “truth” that was or is “self-evident” to all Americans. Racism has long been a glaring issue since the nation’s founding.
This may provide some insight into why so many states create voting rights laws that make it difficult for black or brown people to vote in state elections. It pretty much boils down to a power struggle among political parties. Not only that, government leaders are passing legislation that are overtly racist. Florida governor Ron DeSantis proposed a bill that would prohibit public schools and private businesses from inflicting “discomfort” on white people during lessons or training about discrimination that was approved by the state’s Senate Education Committee. 1 Are are Republicans/Floridians so sensitive that they can’t stand the idea of factually accurate conversations about race in this country that might paint white people in an uncomfortable light?
Scripture reveals that God is a God of order and justice, a God of grace and mercy. He endowed human beings with His good gifts of life, dignity. liberty and the ability to engage in rewarding work and enjoy purposeful relationships. In the perfect world that God created, human beings were meant to enjoy perfect communion with God and with one another. However, sin marred and defaced by man’s choice to reject God’s authority resulting in lost fellowship with God. From that moment of the fall in Genesis chapters 1-3, God in His infinite wisdom did not abandon man to himself and the ravages of sin. He sent His Son to redeem humanity from the ravages of sin. This is how God showed his love for humanity by sending his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. (Jn. 3:16; 1 Jn. 4:9),
God ordained human government as a means of maintaining order with God’s guidance. However, “A nation without God’s guidance is a nation without order. Happy are those who keep God’s law!” (Prov. 29:18 GNT). God did not give human government the right to pervert justice. Let’s take a look at the definition of the word pervert according to American Dictionary of the English Language:
- To turn from truth, propriety, or from its proper purpose; to distort from its true use or end; as, to pervert reason by misdirecting it; to pervert the laws by misinterpreting and misapplying them; to pervert justice; to pervert the meaning of an author; to pervert nature; to pervert truth.
2. To turn from the right; to corrupt.
The word “pervert” in Greek means: diastrepho- to be morally corrupt. metastrepho- to transmute; corrupt. Justice becomes perverted or morally corrupt whenever people in positions of power or authority abuse their influence to violate God’s moral or righteous norms. For example the Judaizers perverting the gospel of Christ (Gal. 1:7).
“You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous” (Deut. 16:19). “…. Evil people do not understand justice, But those who seek the Lord understand everything. Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity, Than a person who is crooked, though he is rich” (Prov. 28:4-6). “Perverted justice is poisonous, the fruit of righteousness becomes bitter as wormwood” (Amos 6:12).
“Whites, it must frankly be said, are not putting in a similar mass effort to reeducate themselves out of their racial ignorance. It is an aspect of their sense of superiority that the white people of America believe they have so little to learn.”Martin Luther King Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?
The Bible says that we were created from one blood (one man) Adam. “The God who made the world and everything that is in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made by hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might feel around for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His descendants.’ Therefore, since we are the descendants of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by human skill and thought. So having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now proclaiming to mankind that all people everywhere are to repent, because He has set a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all people by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:24-31). This is the only universal God, the One who makes all people whatever their nationality or culture or religion.
Apostle Paul also said Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Why was it necessary for Paul to say this? Galatians 3:28 shows that all Christians alike, no matter what their race, status, or sex, stand on the same footing of sonship before God. There should be a unity or solidarity in the Christian body. What is true of one is true of all. This verse also marks the immense stride made by Christianity in sweeping away the artificial perceptions that had been a cause of great distress or annoyance in the ancient world, and prevented any true feeling of brotherhood springing up in it. This is also true today, as many Black people feel that white people hate them and shun away from Christianity because of it. This should be of great concern to the church as we draw closer to the second coming of Christ. “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not willing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be discovered (2 Peter 3:9-10). The church should not be a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of anyone come to Christ (Rom. 14:13-3).
In Part 2, I’ll talk more about how justice is being perverted in America today when it comes to issues of race.
May the Lord’s blessing be with you. May He lay a firm foundation of the testimony of Jesus in your life!
Minister A. Francine Green
Notes: All Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.
- CBS News. (2022). Florida bill would bar businesses and schools from making anyone “feel discomfort” or “guilt” about race, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/florida-bill-whites-discomfort-critical-race-theory-desantis/
2. Brennan Center for Justice. (February 2022). Voting Laws Roundup. https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/voting-laws-roundup-february-2022