The leader of the black pastors organization that was born during the Civil Rights Movement led by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. says the radical Black Lives Matter movement has failed to educate its members about the “real” Civil Rights Movement and is spewing a “twisted view of Christianity.”
Reflecting on a recent NBC News op-ed by Brooke Obie, senior digital editor for Guideposts.org, Rev. Bill Owens, president of the Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP) tells Breitbart News that Black Lives Matter leaders are a “radical and uninformed group,” that will ultimately press those black youth who join the movement into a life of violence.
“The Black Lives Matter movement has served to inflame communities and put young people at risk,” Owens says. “They have done nothing positive to help black youth and, sadly, have set our young people up to fail.”
Describing the leadership of Black Lives Matter as “thuggish,” the faith leader explains that young black people now think it is acceptable “to disrupt meetings by grabbing mikes and taking over events to spew their false information.”
The comments of both Owens and Obie suggest a schism between those who follow the teachings of King – who urged peaceful civil disobedience for racial justice – and the current Black Lives Matter followers who, according to Obie, reject the “sanitized and romanticized caricature [King] is often reduced to in death.”
In her op-ed about the contrast, Obie points to the words, “This aint yo mama’s civil rights movement,” that were “emblazoned” on the shirt of Black Lives Matter “activist and public theologian” Rahiel Tesfamariam, who was arrested in Ferguson, Missouri during protests marking the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown’s shooting death.
Unlike the leaders of the 1960s, who dismissed victims like teenage mom Claudette Colvin in order to champion the cause of the more sympathetic victim Rosa Parks, the Black Lives Matter movement seeks to highlight, defend and affirm all black lives. At the forefront of this movement, standing shoulder-to-shoulder, are radical activists at every intersection of blackness—including the two queer women and one Nigerian American woman who together founded #BlackLivesMatter, celebrities like singer Janelle Monáe and trans activist and MSNBC host Janet Mock.
Though Obie attempts to provide a vision of “Christian ties” between Owens’ black pastors’ coalition and Black Lives Matter, the image of some form of unity is undone by her reference to Owens’ group of faith leaders as a “right-wing” group “that vowed civil disobedience in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the constitutionality of marriage equality.”
The statement points to a coalition between Black Lives Matter and the radical and militant LGBT agenda, forming a movement that promotes Marxist ideology and the Alinsky political strategy of community agitation.
“[C]hristians in the black liberation movement are informed by an understanding of Christ as a table-turning, women-empowering, government-overthrowing, freedom-loving, social justice radical,” Obie writes, adding that Rev. Osagyefo Sekou, “an ordained elder in the Church of God in Christ [COGIC] and a self-described ‘queer ally’ would certainly count himself among that number.”
Owens, however, describes Black Lives Matter protests as “loud, angry, rude and intentionally inconvenient for the beneficiaries of institutionalized racism,” and notes the movement’s methods of “shutting down highways and interrupting everything from political rallies to brunch.”
“If our youth follows these leaders, they will risk being killed or going to prison,” he asserts. “Their methods will not bring about healing in America or in any way serve the black community.”
Owens observes he is “the very first person to agree that racism exists in America.”
“There are white racists, black racists and Latinos/Hispanic racists,” he continues. “We can’t deny that racism is found in many communities and cultures around America and the world. However, I still say that racism is a heart issue. It’s evil. Pure and simple.”
Owens asserts Black Lives Matter should first demand that blacks stop killing their own people. “That should be a priority,” he states.
He questions the leadership:
Further, I wonder who this so-called elder in the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) is and to whose jurisdiction in COGIC he belongs. Who is Reverend Osagyefo Sekou? Who is his bishop? I am a life-long member of the Church of God in Christ and was fortunate to have been born when my mother was a member of Bishop Mason’s church. Bishop C.H. Mason founded the Church of God in Christ, and our world headquarters, Mason Temple, is named in his honor. Mason Temple is the church where Dr. King gave his last speech the night before he was assassinated. So, I can tell you that whoever this preacher is that claims he is a member of COGIC is not in good standing and should not use or make references to COGIC in his activities.
Owens goes so far as to say that some leaders in the Black Lives Matter movement are teaching a theology that is essentially heresy.
“They are misleading our young people and misinterpreting Scriptures to support their twisted agenda,” he explains. “We need our partners to stand with us as we stand against all evil. Whether it’s same-sex marriage, corrupt politicians, racism, abortion, or many of the ills that face us as Americans.”
CAAP has launched a new initiative called RISE, an exclusive grassroots network uniting people of every race, creed, culture, and background.
“We will not back down nor will we be used by any group – political or not, Republican or Democrat –to further an agenda that does not align with the word of God,” Owens continues. “We will continue to stand for what is right and just. We stand for truth, period! I say, all lives matter to God! All lives matter to me. All lives should matter to each of us.”