I don’t have a problem with black clergy supporting a Republican for President. Political differences and party affiliation is an integral part of our democracy. I don’t expect, nor do I want ALL African Americans to belong to one political party. We are a diverse nation with a host of cultural, social, religious; and political differences. It would be silly to believe or desire for all of us to act and think the same. Heck, that would be boring.
Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump has received support from a host of black clergy, most of whom have very little standing in the Black community. I’ve wrestled with how I’d react if those same black clergy supported the other Republican candidates – especially when the field was crowded. Without question, I’d vehemently disagree with the policy positions of their candidate. I’d also argue why those positions are wrong for the country. But, I would wholeheartedly support the right to their choice. The support of Trump yields a different response – especially as it relates to bigotry, intolerance, prejudice and racism. If a candidate is intentionally stoking angst, division and fear for political gain, support of such candidate must be challenged and questioned. In the case of Donald Trump, it’s clear and provable that he’s engaged in the most despicable behavior that undermines the notion of being presidential. Trump’s rhetorical insults and slights against various swaths of the electorate makes him unworthy of the office. And it’s critical that black clergy supporting Trump be called to the carpet on these issues.
With respect to black clergy supporting Trump, there seems to be a willful ignorance of his bigotry. Trump is intentionally stoking anti-immigrant fervor, xenophobia, islamaphobia; racial and religious bigotry; and a misogyny that is massaged by ego and narcissism. It’s quite cynical for black clergy supporting Trump to feign ignorance of his very public statements. We’ve seen and heard Trump spew the most despicable and ugly things about immigrants, Muslims and women. He’s castigated an entire religion and insulting his way to the nomination. Additionally, his campaign rallies have fueled an angry and vile movement that is sure to help this fascist in disguise closer to winning the Republican nomination.
Black clergy supporting Trump have access to the same audio and news footage we’ve all seen. Yet, some of these black clergy act as if this stuff doesn’t exist or they willfully ignore it altogether. It’s really quite remarkable. Sadly, Trump has also knuckled the bottom of the political and social barrel by shrewdly cultivating support from hardened racists and white supremacists. And, he’s exploiting the anger of the Republican electorate for his own gain. For Darrell Scott and other black clergy to continue supporting a man that resorts to bigotry and intolerance to win an election, it’s a testament to how and why the business and institution of “church” has devolved.
Darrell Scott and his ilk are free to support whomever they choose. But they’ve forfeited their right to be honored as clergy when they willfully ignore an intentional effort to demonize, marginalize and scapegoat different people to win an election. We’re essentially witnessing how an authoritarian and fascist actually rise to political power.
Ron Holland is the host of the Public Affairs show, ‘COMMUNITY VOICES’ on WOSF – Old School 105.3 and WPZS -100.9, Charlotte. He’s also a Producer and Assistant Production Mgr. with both stations. Any thoughts on this week’s commentary, send Ron an email: firstname.lastname@example.org