Rev. Bill Owens, president of the Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP), says racial tensions have not improved in America because the true civil rights movement has been “hijacked” by politicians who are using black Americans as “a pathway to power.”
In comments to Breitbart News on the violent riots in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of police in Minneapolis, Owens and his wife, Dr. Deborah Owens, said politicians “of all races” are still using black issues to gain power.
“I remember being a college student and saying, ‘If only we had a black mayor, (or black congressman or governor), things would be different,’” Owens, the author of A Dream Derailed, said. “Decades later, we’ve seen black men and women at all levels of power — even a black president — but racial tensions haven’t improved.”
The faith leader said one of the primary reasons the tensions still exist is because of the policies that have torn apart the fabric of black families.
“We’ve seen decades of policies that helped destroy the black family and the black community,” Owens explained. “But finding leaders who are willing to tell the truth about what is happening is like looking for a needle in a haystack.”
Owens said American cities are sorely lacking in leadership.
“As I look around at the violence in our cities, I keep asking, ‘Where are the leaders?’” he continued. “On both sides, where are the leaders? The rioting and looting are a disgrace, but some politicians are so lacking in principle that they’re willing to excuse the rioters or pacify them — and all for political gain.”
“African American voters are taken for granted by one party and, until President Trump, were largely ignored by the other,” Owens said as he condemned the violence and looting.
“This is a nation of laws, and we need strong leaders to restore order,” he asserted. “We need to confront the issue of race head-on — not with hand-wringing and meaningless ‘mea culpas’ from leftists who think that’s what black people want to hear. But we need to confront these issues with love, understanding, and a belief in something bigger than ourselves.”
Owens dismissed what he views as elementary complaints about “systemic racism” that the mainstream media have lavished with attention.
“Those complaints may be of comfort to those who merely look for an excuse to burn down and destroy what they have deemed unworthy of existence,” he said, adding:
But I believe in America with all of its flaws and problems. I believe that the solution to this problem lies in our country’s character. We are a country that is founded on freedom and equality. It is in our DNA. And even when we fall short, those principles are still there for us, like a beacon to bring us home.
The Owenses said they “stand with the peaceful protesters,” and observed that was the way of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as well.
The leaders also called upon all Americans to pray and have faith in God.
“We know that something is broken,” Owens said. “We know that there is frustration, resentment, and fear in our cities. However, destruction and division will only deepen these problems, not solve them.”
“I call on my brothers and sisters around the country to turn away from the anger, chaos, and disorder,” he urged. “Instead, let’s work to get back to the point where we find healing and common cause. Let us remember what is great about America and restore the belief in our most cherished values.”