The Resurrection of Jim Crow

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,

Jim

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10 thoughts on “The Resurrection of Jim Crow

  1. Thanks for your perspective. Now if we can just get message into the heads of those who are trying to keep citizens from exercising their rights.

    Sent from my iPhone

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  2. Stephen Bauman2 March 26, 2021 — 9:14 pm

    yes indeed!

    >

  3. Thank you for your words…I feel as if I don’t know this world in which we live sometimes. There is much work to be done to protect our democracy and to live into our call as followers of Christ. Peace and blessings

  4. The march you refer to in 43 states is about fair elections, where the votes cast are by living US citizens, able to demonstrate that through legitimate identification. Your treatise is no more than a summary of CNN propaganda with no basis in fact. I expect better from you, than leading your flock astray. Jim Crow is long gone. So is Trump. But Easter is only a week away. Why not focus on the Good News?

  5. And, a postscript… Where is your outrage about the thousands of minor children in cages at the border? Or the hundreds of Covid-positive illegals released into the population? Or the 6000 migrants illegally entering the country every day? Or the funding of abortion here and throughout the world? Or allowing biological males to compete against biological females? I could go on and on. Your outrage is strangely selective.

  6. Bernard Lieving, Jr. March 27, 2021 — 12:15 am

    Thank you, Brother. I am afraid that Georgia’s action is, as you indicated, just the beginning of such legislative action across our nation.

  7. Yes! Amen. Thank you, Jim.

  8. well said.I agree with every word.keep these coming.

  9. Warm greetings, Jim. I have fond memories of our years at Asbury.
    I know your heart is in the right place with this article, but I agree with all of David Kessler’s comments.
    Racism and bigotry have no place in a just society and should be condemned when exhibited. However, to me, accusing your opponents as racist at every turn to promote a liberal agenda intended to turn America into a socialist utopia (i.e. disaster) is just as vile and is so intellectually dishonest. I am afraid my friend that you have bought into the CNN propaganda that demonizes every reasonable, rational thought that does not promote socialism. Protecting voting integrity is vital to trust in our elections!! How is that racist? It applies to all citizens equally and to suggest otherwise is duplicitous.
    My father served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church for his entire adult life and I love my UMC heritage. However, were he alive today, he would lovingly try to put the focus on loving people (the Good News) and not promoting a false narrative of victimhood that seeks to exploit for raw political gain and does a disservice to real victims. And it detracts from the real mission of the church. With all due respect.

  10. Well said. Thanks. I am going to try and forward it. John

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