The hurt we all caused

by: Rev. Gary Marcelin

Part 1

 Well… The chickens have come home to roost!

What do I mean by “the chickens have come home to roost”? I know most people don’t use this phrase anymore, but I figure if the church can continue to use old antiquated dogma, doctrine and theology, this old millennial can use the phrase, “The chickens have come home to roost!”

Here is the back story for those who are not familiar with The United Methodist Church (UMC) and General Conference. The UMC is a global church which means elected delegates from around the world have voting power for the denomination at large. Just a few weeks ago, during a Special Session of the General Conference the delegates voted to keep a traditional prohibition against homosexuality. The majority of members in the United States are in favor of the One Church Plan, which provides inclusion of those in the LGBTQ+ community.

I believe the UMC have just lived through what will be written about in American church history books for generations. The UMC was privileged to have front row seats on the global stage on what I believe to be a defining moment for the future Church, but it must first deal with the effects from a global theological warfare; in particularly, on the continent of Africa (This does not exclude the black church in America).

The global presence amongst the 12-million-member denomination had more influence over what the majority of American Methodist wanted. The traditional plan around homosexuality prevailed.  Roughly 41% of the global delegates voted for the traditional plan, 30% of whom were from Africa. What we are seeing in the UMC is just a small sample size of Christianity in general. We are witnessing the number of Christians decrease in the U.S. and increasing around the world.

The global Church is something or should I say was something the UMC was so proud of.

How did we get to this point?

This is how…

After the majority of European countries deemed the slave trade as inhumane, in other words, no longer profitable; a new structure of power needed to be established. That new structure would take place in religion, better yet, “Christianity.” Christianity was and continues to be the perfect mechanism to hold power. So, the chains around their feet, neck and hands were substituted for religion, a religion contrary to the culture or beliefs of the people.

How would the Europeans who only controlled 10% of Africa in 1870 move to control 90% by 1914?? It started with the Berlin Conference of 1884-85 also known as, “The Scramble for Africa” (Dana Robert).

The Berlin Conference was a conference to discuss how the Europeans would divide Africa for what was called the 3 C’s—Commerce, Christianity and Civilization. I believe the key to their success were missionaries with a savior complex.  Let’s save the African people.  

Colonization and the Church have always had an intrinsic connection from the inception; a forever bond.  The translation of the 3 C’s were—killing of indigenous people, plundering of their natural resources and sending missionaries to indoctrinate them with religion in the attempt to pacify, subdue and exploit. The 3 C’s + killing, plundering and indoctrination = White Supremacy.

The Church told indigenous people, who from the beginning of time have always had a deep spiritual connection with God and who saw the Creator in all things and understood they were connected to this Oneness.  They were told that their understanding of God was demonic and evil. The only way to know God is to know God exactly like them.

So white supremacy, under the banner of Christianity forced the African people to deny they ever knew God and was given RELIGION. A Religion that was built on stripping the African’s of their spirituality and implanted a religion based on control and submission.

The religion you gave them was all wrong about God. Your theology said that God was angry with them and they were all sinners and should be afraid of God. Your doctrine claimed to have power and dominion over them. You told them that sickness and poverty were put there by this same God. The God that love them but at the same time will torture them if they don’t adhere to the dogma in your religion. If they followed all the laws and repent, one day in the future; when they die. They would be with God. White Supremacy said the best way to please God was to be absolutely submissive to the God that looks just like you. Most black Christians, I would say most Christians in general are waiting for a blond hair, blue eye Jesus to come from the sky to save them. All this is false, completely false! We cannot free ourselves from our troubles if we do not speak against these erroneous beliefs about God and about ourselves.

As a Haitian American, I have had firsthand experience how this thwarted view of God is directly connected to how many African Christians, African descendants from the Caribbean islands and African-Americans, view homosexuality.

I would like to share my experience with you. It won’t be flowery. I share with you because I believe both sides of this debate around homosexuality need to take onus of the role played.

And now the chickens have come home to roost.