Tina Campbell pissed me off.
Here I am trying my damnedest not to curse because the niggas from church don’t like it, and the singer from Mary Mary takes her ass on The Real and informs the world that she thought it logically consistent to vote for a nigga who said he’s grabbing folks by the pussy because of her Christian values.
This dat bullshit.
In the 1980s, Focus on the Family and Jerry Falwell built an evangelical voting bloc aligned with conservatism by convincing Christians to become, largely, single-issue voters. They zeroed in on the one thing that united Catholics and Protestants: the question of abortion.
By building an entire political movement around that single issue, they convinced a number of black and brown folks to vote against their economic and existential interests. As a result, many people of color who identified as Christians began to align themselves with the Republican Party. The Trinity Broadcast Network was an important vehicle for this because it allowed religious leaders to advocate for “voting one’s values” in a way that is narrowly defined by issues in a white supremacist conceptual frame.
Little was said about the poverty that children saved from abortions would be born into. Nor was there a need to talk about providing people in poverty with proper health care or birth control. These white evangelicals discussed the issue as a moral question of when life begins but failed to ask questions about how to provide these children with an opportunity to thrive and self-actualize once they left the womb. In doing this, Falwell and other white evangelicals changed the political landscape of America—and many black churches bought into this way of thinking.
To be clear, there has never been a unified, holistic position taken by ALL black churches on the issue of civil rights OR on how best to actualize the collective potential of the black community. This is partly why I hesitate to use the phraseology of “the black church.” For example, there is a myth that “the black church” was unified during the civil rights movement. Every February we are told lies about how everyone supported Martin Luther King Jr. and how all members of black churches participated in the sit-ins and marches. This is just untrue.
There were many clergy that were critical of King and the actions of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. They thought King was moving too quickly and that he was interested only in publicity. There were also conservative parishioners in certain churches who did not want their middle-class existence put at risk by the actions of “radical” clergy. When King started to focus on the North and began asking hard questions about economic inequality and the war in Vietnam, divisions in the black community deepened further.
Yet what can be said is that there were black clergy who, operating in the black prophetic tradition, stood up and played a national role as leaders in social justice movements. However, when this push to enroll in the “moral majority” came in the 1980s, many black clergy were duped into thinking that voting conservatively was the same as voting morally. We now see that this is not true.
Our public education system is in shambles. Our health care is among the worst in the developed world. And black and brown people are being imprisoned at alarming rates. Voting with a narrow understanding of morality, with no regard for immoral systems of oppression, is a social death sentence for people of color—and that’s why Campbell pissed me the hell off.
She said she voted based on her faith. With that logic, Jesus is comfortable with racism, nationalism, misogyny, sexual assault, greed and a dude who called 2 Corinthians (pronounced “second” Corinthians) “two Corinthians.”
Tina Campbell has a right to vote for whomever she chooses, but I also have a right to say she is dumber than a bald-headed man wearing a do-rag for helping to put 45 in office.
Tina and people who think like her are why we cannot have nice things.