By Vincent L. Hall
Everyone is wondering if their world will be different after this. No one really knows what the world will look like after COVID-19 is bound and gagged, but let me give you my perspective on where we need to go from here. After this pandemic is over, Black folks gotta get back to church. Nothing short of an oppression-fighting faith will suffice. You never believe me, so I got an opinion from a real intellectual. One of the most outstanding pastors of the history of this nation and this city, the late Dr. Manuel Scott, Sr., explained what church means to our struggle in one of the rare YouTube videos that bear his image.
“White folks…not all of them, but many of our oppressors made a big mistake. They kept us out of school and worked us in the fields. They kept us out of political office and out of good jobs. But they made a tactical mistake. They let us go to church! They let us meet Jesus. They let us read this Bible. And it looked like we as a people should have been out of business. But Jesus gave us survival strength. From Monday to Saturday, they would put a heavy load on us. But on Sunday morning, we sang,” I’m so glad that trouble don’t last always!”
After this, some of us will go to church regularly. “Work out your soul salvation.” The old Preacher says that, “If it’s right to be in the church, it’s wrong to be out.” Go to the Synagogues, Mosques, or wherever your spirit leads you; just go! How else can you cope with a week’s worth of bad news? The world has to watch out for this pandemic, we are forced to watch our backs.
We’ve watched the fallout of a young Black jogger who was lynched by “wannabe” cops in Georgia. His mother did not celebrate Mother’s Day because it was the very date she gave birth to him. In Indiana, two more of the “usual suspects” were killed by police. No dash cam working in “a shootout” between police and two Black men, one of them a former soldier. Somehow, they did get a detective on tape. He couldn’t hold his glee as he made it to the crime scene; “Looks like it’s going to be a closed casket homie.”
The coronavirus has killed its share, but they got a long way to go to catch up with the police departments in the U.S. You never have to leave Texas, for examples. A 48-year-old, well-known gospel artist died at the hands of the Houston PD. No word yet on what excuse or probable cause they will create. Prayers and sympathies to the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Dreasjon Reed, McHale Rose, and Adrian Medearis.
Artists who got us past the sorrows of our struggles died in a relentless spurt. Little Richard, Betty Wright, and Andre Harrell all filled the entertainment marquee for the last time. Coronavirus ain’t got shit on being Black in America. We need a place of solace and safety. After this is over, we need to return to the epicenter of our strength and success. We identified our talents and spiritual gifts at church. We learned business principles, politics, oratory skills, musical prowess, and the art and organization of civil rights protests in the church.
Prayer works, but the dream works better when the team works together. It is not my place or my point to force Christianity on anyone, but faith worked for us. Don’t get caught up in all those false equivalencies about jive-ass preachers and judgmental parishioners. The Lord will make a way for you to get to church after this. These troubles won’t last always. Happy Birthday, Bro!