Home Christian News Unity, Clarity, Justice, Victimhood–Evangelical Leaders Speak out During Black History Month

Unity, Clarity, Justice, Victimhood–Evangelical Leaders Speak out During Black History Month

Black History Month

Black History Month is a time to commemorate the unique contributions that African Americans have made to our society, their unique struggles, and the vision of hope they cast for the future. Yet while many use February to celebrate Black achievement and champion equal justice, some approach the month with suspicion, whether from seats in Congress or in local church pews.

More of the nation’s leaders in Congress are using social media to celebrate Black History Month than ever before. According to Pew Research, the percentage of congresspeople who mention Black history in the month of February rose from 29 percent to 64 percent over a six year period. 

Nevertheless, a closer look at the data reveals that enthusiasm about Black History Month is largely dependent on party affiliation, as the uptick in public celebration for Black History Month in recent years has occurred almost exclusively within the Democratic Party. 

According to Pew, a majority of congressional Democrats have spoken positively about Black History Month on social media every year since 2016. Conversely, less than half of Republicans have done so every year since 2015. This could likely be attributed to the fact that an overwhelming proportion of the Black members of Congress are Democrats, as well as the reality that a number of prominent Republicans have rallied their support bases around “anti-woke” rhetoric in recent years. 

A look at American evangelicalism seems to reveal a similar divide, not necessarily along party lines but rather by whether a leader or Christian community could be broadly categorized as “anti-woke” or “anti-racist.” 

For those who count themselves as “anti-woke,” more than merely disinterested in Black History Month, some evangelical leaders have actually seemed to express annoyance at it. 

For example, on February 7, Executive Director of Operations for G3 Ministries Virgil Walker tweeted, “Black History Month will ignore these names because they don’t promote victimhood. @RealBenCarson, Clarence Thomas, @ThomasSowell, @WinsomeSears, @cvpayne, @BobWoodson, @CondoleezzaRice, and @carolmswain.”

Listing Black public figures, a number of whom are highly respected in conservative circles, Walker seemed to imply that racial disparity is not a factor for those who don’t “promote victimhood.”

“Know them, not because they’re black but because they’re brilliant,” Walker went on to say. That same day, Walker also said, “Ensuring a particular ethnic makeup within your church so that groups feel comfortable is evidence of the lack of understanding that the church isn’t about you. Decisions based on ethnic symbolism within the Evangelical Church are further proof of Evangelicalism’s lostness.”

Two days later, Dean of Social Media for Grace To You Darrell B. Harrison sharply criticized Congresswoman Cori Bush after she shared on the floor of the House of Representatives about members of her family lineage being enslaved in America. Bush shared her story in response to public outcries about CRT in public schools, arguing that teaching students about American slavery, Jim Crow, lynchings, and racism is a vital part of helping them understand American history. 

“We don’t want a whitewashed history,” Bush said. “We want and deserve the truth.” 

“This is not a black history lesson. Any black history lesson that omits the role black Africans played in facilitating and profiting from slavery isn’t history, but a myth,” Harrison said in response. “Bush is propagating a subjective narrative of ‘black history’ because she wants to get paid reparations.”