CHICAGO (Christian Examiner) – Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan is again stoking racial division, but this time his primary target isn't white Americans.
In several social media posts and a "private video" for black "street organizations" in Charleston, S.C., Farrakhan chastises black Christian leaders for being too close "to their former slave masters" and being fearful of gangs.
Farrakhan had intended to travel to Charleston to promote his upcoming "Justice, or Else!" rally in Washington, D.C., on the National Mall, Oct. 10. He found, however, that black Christian pastors in the city were not interested in his message of racial discord after the shooting of nine black church members by a white gunman at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June.
We should never be so quick to forgive when a murderer is not even seeking it. We should not use our religion for – we want to show that we are true followers of Jesus Christ who said, 'Father forgive them for they know not what they do.' But in reality these are people who know what they are doing because we've been here 460 years and they're still doing the same thing they are doing 460 years ago.
In a speech at a Cleveland church Sept. 3, Farrakhan claimed (at 1 hour, 27 minutes into the video linked here) he was "supposed to speak at Mother Emanuel, but they rejected me. And then we went to another church to speak and they rejected me as well. Went to three churches and then one church was willing to let me come, but they said, 'You got to sign a paper that you not gonna say nothing controversial. I wonder, the poor bishop, who he had to bring the paper to. See, if God calls you, what do you gotta go to the white man and get a license for?"
Trident Technical College, which had agreed to host an event featuring Farrakhan, also posted an announcement to its Facebook page that said "the agreement to rent space to the MMM20 [Million Man March 20th Anniversary] for its event on Sept. 15 with speaker Louis Farrakhan has been cancelled. This event was not planned, sponsored, or endorsed by Trident Technical College."
On his Facebook page, two recent posts targeted black Christian ministers who sought to bring reconciliation between whites and blacks after the shooting in Charleston. On Sept. 21, Farrakhan wrote that black elders in the church "are the products of Pharaoh and they speak like that which would please the former slave master."
"Young people don't want to hear that kind of leader, that kind of talk. So the Pharaoh people, the people that want to integrate, the people that want to be close to their former slave masters, the people that want a pat on the back from White people, you are finished with young Black people. We don't want you because you are the enemy inside of a Black face."
On Sept. 22, Farrakhan also wrote that a "scared-to-death preacher can't boast in Christ."
"A preacher that fears the powers that are contemporary, and dismisses The Power of Him Who is Eternally in Power, is not fit to stand before The People of God. This is a Day when all false men and women will be sat down. We cannot use the name of the righteous prophets and servants of God as a cover to shield our dirty practice. Jesus was no man like that."
Farrakhan claims to believe Jesus was a prophet from God, but he regards God as having visited black people in the person of Fard Muhammad. Jesus is not "Messiah" in the Nation of Islam, either. That title belongs to the black leader and Farrakhan's mentor, Elijah Muhammad, who taught black people lived on Mars. Farrakhan believes Elijah Muhammad will return to save black people on a "mother wheel," or a UFO.
Since he could not visit Charleston, Farrakhan sent an hour-long video greeting to the "street organizations that the enemy calls gangs" in the city.
"I wanted to be in Charleston where nine of our brothers and sisters were murdered by a young Caucasian who was so filled with hatred of that institution – that church – that he went there specifically with the thought in mind of killing the minister and in his mind starting a race war. He killed nine people including the pastor. ... I wanted to come and pay my respects and lay a wreath there in honor of those beautiful human beings," Farrakhan said.
But respect for the slain was not the only message Farrakhan wanted to convey. He said the church and other black ministers in the city had made a grave error by promoting forgiveness in the wake of the shooting.
"We should never be so quick to forgive when a murderer is not even seeking it. We should not use our religion for – we want to show that we are true followers of Jesus Christ who said, 'Father forgive them for they know not what they do.' But in reality these are people who know what they are doing because we've been here 460 years and they're still doing the same thing they were doing 460 years ago," Farrakhan.
Unlike earlier videos where Farrakhan has claimed the law of retaliation in the Quran is in effect and those who kill should be killed, he stopped short of calling for more killing. He said gangs should seek to make peace on the streets of Charleston and blacks should stop killing blacks, "sometimes over nothing."
"The only ones who can stop it are we who live in the black community who are a part of the problem," Farrakhan said in the video.
During the video, Farrakhan also answered questions from some of his followers. One asked with how the black community should "respond to the black ministers who refused to work with the Nation of Islam and other black nationalist organizations who support Farrakhan in 10.10.15," the date of the national "Justice, or Else!" rally.
"Many of our people, to my young brothers who are pastors, they have been ill-affected by the propaganda of the enemy of them and you and me. And unfortunately, many of them are very afraid to make a stand on behalf of justice for themselves and even the members of their congregations. They are not going to join us until fear is removed from them, but you should not worry about them," Farrakhan said.
Preachers are even afraid, he said, to come out of the church and talk to gang members as they talk to the "so-called saved" in the church.
"You should be peacemakers in the city of Charleston. And if you are peacemakers with all of the institutions that are called gangs, you will all get together and make peace among yourselves. And once you make peace among yourselves, don't let the enemy come in and destroy that peace. ... You have to be aware of the peace breaker and the mischief maker who thrives on the fact that we are harming one another."
Farrakhan is not alone in his criticism of black ministers in Charleston. One writer, Mo Barnes, wrote at RollingOut.com:
"It seems that some Black clergy in Charleston are more willing to offer up forgiveness to unrepentant racist killer Dylann Roof than allow Farrakhan to speak. This twisted mindset evokes the memory of scared Blacks who cower at the site of white robed Klansmen and don't want to upset the White power structure. This mindset is a one that continues to retard the emancipation of Black thought and Black unity."