Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Fables of the Reconstruction of the...

All-white church may hire black pastor

ASHLAND — First Baptist Church in Ashland may soon lay claim to a first: The all-white church is on track to hire a black minister full time.
The Good: My hometown has just modernized itself out of the 19th century!

The Bad: The newspaper has to run an article with such a headline. Why would the race of the pastoral candidate be worth more than a passing mention if the expectation wasn't that such outdated racism still would figure prominently in the church's decision making.
Towler said race wasn’t an issue in the church’s relationship with Moore, either in a positive or a negative way.

“It wasn’t an issue at all,” he said. “Although we don’t have black members now, we have had black members in the past. ...I can honestly tell you (race) was never an issue in any form or fashion. We think Harold is filled with the spirit and preaches the Bible and that’s what we’re looking for.”
Note to all: the church representative just used the "I'm not racist, I have black friends" argument.

The Ugly: The article ends on an uncomfortable Uncle Tom note:
“We’re just lifting up Jesus,” he said. “We’re not looking for current events, we’re just spreading the gospel.”
Be clear, I'm not criticizing Moore's statement or sentiment. Moore is saying a noble thing, that the Gospel should be studied apolitically. I'm criticizing the article's positioning and use of the quote, as if to say, "Don't worry, Mas'r! Uncle Tom be good, and won't go stirrin' up no troubles for da white folk." You can't end an article whose theme is institutional racism with a statement of submission without making folks like me shake our heads at how far race relations still have to go in the South.

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