He Has Been Raised!
In a deadly reversal of the good news of Easter, Jim Crow has been raised from the tomb! He’s marching out of Georgia and across the nation the way Sherman marched across Georgia to the sea.
We might have hoped that the racism Jim Crow symbolizes was laid in the tomb of history at Appomattox, with a stone rolled across the entrance known as the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments.
But that stone was rolled away after Reconstruction and the Satanic evil that arrived on our shores when the White Lion unloaded its first shipment of slaves in 1619 came storming out of the tomb in rigid anti-black laws and social customs named after a black-faced trickster from the minstrel shows. A central piece of the Jim Crow era was the suppression of black voters, often enforced by lynching.
We hoped Jim Crow had been put in his place in 1964 when a President from the South signed the Civil Rights Act into law.
But old Jim Crow is a sneaky trickster. Like a virulent virus that never goes away, he lurks in the shadows, infecting the American blood stream, percolating in the dark corners of the Internet, and birthing angry movements that feed on the grievances of white people who resent women, immigrants, and people of color who refuse to “stay where they belong” and are moving into positions of power.
Jim Crow in a Suit
Trump’s defeat in what has been proven to be a near flawless election was the last straw. The MAGA insurrection on January 6 was the resurrection of Jim Crow. Now he’s alive and at work in voter suppression laws that, having been signed into law in Georgia, are on the march to 43 states, including Florida.
Yesterday I drove through Ocoee, the site of the largest recorded episode of Election Day violence in U.S. history. The Ocoee Massacre began when a black man tried to vote in the 1920 Presidential election. It was Jim Crow on steroids. Today, the old Trickster is dressed up in the business suits of Florida legislators who are preparing to vote on their own new voter suppression laws. Orlando pastor, The Rev. Marcus McCoy, called Senate bill 90 “outright voter suppressive,” adding that the bill’s supporters are “trying to take us back to 1965 … This is racism at its highest and clearest point.”
I don’t know Pastor McCoy, but I’ve let my Representatives and Senators know that I stand with him. I hope you will, too.
It’s About the Cross.
So, what’s voter suppression got to do with the Jesus’ cross? If the Good Friday story has become a little too familiar to you, I encourage you to read The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James Cone. You can watch him speak about the book here. I’m confident that it will lead you (as it has led me) to a deeper understanding of what happened at the cross.
It’s About Baptism.
Every time I presided at a Baptism, I asked congregation and myself the baptismal vows that include:
Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms them present themselves?
Racism, sexism, and white superiority in whatever forms they present themselves are evil, unjust and oppressive. Baptized followers of the risen Christ are called to resist them in the assurance, “If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your human bodies also, through his Spirit that lives in you.” (Romans 8:11)
To hell with Jim Crow. That’s resurrection!
Grace, peace and power,