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Response to Recent Police and Civilian Killings, Part Nine

August 19, 2016 by Herbert Daughtry

“Tension Among the Religionists: Understanding the Role of Contemporary Clergy in a Historical Context of the Priest and the Prophet” (continued) **

The prophets know that those who express anger in a righteous cause or on behalf of others who are hurting, exploited, or oppressed are Godlike. The Scripture says, “God is angry with the wicked every day. He hath bent His bow, and made it ready.” (Psalm 7:11 & 12)

People tend to become angry and/or involved when they are directly affected. But to be angry because of the treatment others are receiving, reveals divine qualities. Moreover, because of the prophets’ confronting, challenging, criticizing, and uncompromising styles, they are not widely loved, except by the oppressed.

They do not win popularity contests among the rulers and bourgeoisie; and, most of the time, they are misunderstood. Thus, they become the targets of ridicule, ostracism, threats, and death. Even their families are not exempt. They bear the pain and threats. And, then, when the prophets are dead or too old to pose a threat (which would be most unusual; ordinarily, prophets didn’t live long), they are venerated and monuments are raised to their memory.

Those in power are quick to recognize the prophet and know their world is going to be challenged. So, they bring their considerable influence over institutions, wealth, and people, including priests, to stop the prophets by any means necessary. Moreover, not only does the priest interfere with the strategy of the activist-prophet by ill-timed and inappropriate words, but also ill-timed, uncoordinated acts.

When Rev. H.W. carried his flock to One Police Plaza, being outside the loop, unwilling to touch base with the prophets, he unknowingly disrupted the plans of a mass action with thousands in attendance, in which many clergy and churches would be involved. It was contemplated that it would be the biggest crowd of church people the city had ever seen.

Then, there is Rev. C.B., whose bizarre Lone Ranger style, makes it difficult to determine whether he is a priest, prophet, or politician, or all of the above; or, none of the above. On Monday, February 15, 1999, he conducted a memorial service for Amadou Diallo. Because Rev. C.B. he had no personal face-to-face meeting with the family or Rev. Al Sharpton, the family representative, he had no way of knowing future plans of the family.

He did not know there were plans to have a ceremony to coincide with the burial of Amadou in Guinea. This ceremony was arranged with the family and Rev. Sharpton before their departure to Guinea, and it was held at The House of the Lord Church on Wednesday, February 17, 1999. While the ceremony was deeply moving and well-attended, it could have been better if there was one event shared by everybody involved in organizing around the death of Amadou.

The theme of Rev. C.B.’s ceremony was “healing, reconciliation, and loving everybody.” In addition, on Tuesday, February 16, 1999, at 10 a.m., while the prophets and/or activists were meeting at Canaan Baptist Church, pastored by Rev. Wyatt T. Walker, to plan future events, including the rally in front of the Bronx Courthouse later in the day at 12 noon, Rev. C.B. was holding a press conference at Abyssinian Baptist Church.

During his press conference, he announced a citywide rally at City Hall to be planned for Monday, February 22, 1999. Then, on the eve of the Wall Street rally and civil disobedience, on March 3rd, Rev. C. B. was prepared to announce an Easter Day Boycott but was persuaded not to do so. (Later, Rev. C.B. did have his Easter Boycott. It was an ignominious fiasco.)

After the Bronx Courthouse Rally on February 16, 1999, there was a very important meeting at Abyssinian Baptist Church. Concerns began to arise regarding the many activists related to Diallo and that unless we formed some kind of unity among those who were so engaged, we would have serious conflict or make ourselves vulnerable to our enemies designs. The meeting was initiated by Reverends Diaz, Marshall, Walker, Minister Ben Muhammad (a former Christian minister now turned Muslim in the Nation of Islam); my assistant, Minister Linwood Smith; Mr. Charles Barron, the C.E.O. of Dynamics of Leadership; and, myself. The meeting was frank but cordial. We agreed that what had happened in the past was over and what had already been structured for the immediate future couldn’t be changed although invitations to participate would be extended; and, from that point on, we would work at unity and attempt to move together, at least keeping each other abreast of future plans. We agreed that this was a great opportunity to seize the opportunity to make significant social and political changes.

… to be continued.