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Black Lives Matter and the Black Church: Generational, Political Divides Keep them … Divided

*You would think they would be working together since they have the same goal in mind: putting a spotlight on police misconduct. But the reality is that in Los Angeles, as well as other cities, traditional clergy and the new Black Lives Matter movement are simply not working together for the benefit of the community.

Basically, church leaders aren’t feeling the in-your-face tactics of Black Lives Matter. Ministers attack the problem from the pulpit, whereas, Black Lives Matter organizers have turned to street protests and social media to get their message out rather than relying on the pulpit, reports Angel Jennings for the LA Times.

Pastor J. Edgar Boyd of First African Methodist Episcopal Church — the oldest black congregation in L.A. — said Black Lives Matter “is a tremendous force that is … lacking of the kind of direction that it needs to have.”

He cited protesters who confronted Mayor Eric Garcetti last year at Holman United Methodist Church. More recently, Black Lives Matter protesters staged a sit-in outside City Hall to demand the removal of L.A. Police Chief Charlie Beck.

“The black church, or at least the faith-based community, has not embraced Black Lives Matter because it doesn’t seem to have that central direction where people of responsibility can make the decisions and 99% can follow that,” Boyd said.

James I. Jones Jr., known as the Rev. JJ, heads Gangstas for Christ and is the facilitator of the Watts Gang Task Force. He said he supports the Black Lives Matter movement but disagrees with the L.A. chapter’s mission to fire Beck and remove Matt Johnson as the president of the Police Commission.

”We’ve come a long way,” Jones added. “Right now, in L.A. I would be more concerned with my grandson getting dressed to go to a party and somebody who looks like him from a different area ask him ‘What set you from?’ than worrying about if police are going to kill my grandson.”

Meanwhile, Robin D.G. Kelley, a UCLA history professor, says Black Lives Matter has “taken a conscious stance against what they call ‘respectability politics,’ which is associated with mainstream political organizations and churches. They boldly challenge conservative views on sexuality, embrace LGBTQ communities and don’t care about ruffling feathers.”

The Reporter Newspaper
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