The Ruse of the Religious Right's Call for `Racial Reconciliation'
Bill Berkowitz printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Nov 03, 2011 at 10:34:58 AM EST
Over the years, the use of the term 'racial reconciliation' by the Religious Right has never been meant to promote social justice, advance the cause of civil rights or strengthen America's tattered social safety net. Instead, 'racial reconciliation' was incorporated into the agendas of various right wing religious/political organization as a marketing tool; an attempt to recruit African Americans to conservative politics.

As researcher and writer Rachel Tabachnick recently pointed out at Talk To Action, the New Apostolic Reformation's use of Reconciliation ceremonies "are not about pluralism, but about proselytizing - for both charismatic evangelical belief and right wing politics."

During their halcyon days of the late 1990s, the Promise Keepers men's movement made 'racial reconciliation' a focal point. These days, Lou Engle, a prominent player in the New Apostolic Reformation, is using 'racial reconciliation' to promote rallies that TheCall is organizing.

'Increasing the movement's political power'

"It's important to first understand that everything the Religious Right does is in the service of one goal and one goal only: increasing the movement's political power," Rob Boston, Senior Policy Analyst with Americans United, told me in an email. "Over the years, some Religious Right leaders have seen outreach to African Americans and Latinos as a step toward building a powerful voting bloc based on 'culture war' issues.

"The thinking is that since some black and Latino churches oppose gay rights and are wary of legal abortion, members of these communities can be drawn into the Religious Right's orbit. Thus, these sporadic attempts at 'racial reconciliation' have nothing to do with improving relations between the races, facilitating inter-racial dialogue or addressing past instances of injustice. They are merely efforts to add a new constituency to the Religious Right in the hopes of making the conservative movement (read: the Republican Party) more powerful."

'Racial reconciliation' Promise Keepers style

On October 4, 1997, the Promise Keepers ( movement reached its Pikes Peak-like pinnacle with its Stand in the Gap rally in Washington, D.C., where, depending on who was doing the counting, somewhere between 500,000 to one million men that gathered that day. The men's movement. founded in 1991 by then head football coach for the University of Colorado, Bill McCartney, was picking up steam and speed, and hoping to roll across the country.

As Religion Dispatches' J. Terry Todd pointed out in an August 2009 piece: "Understanding Promise Keepers, studying it, fighting it, or defending it became a kind of cottage industry among journalists, academics, and activists. Smackdowns were common, and sometimes ugly, pitting NOW, the Feminist Majority Foundation, and the Center for Democracy Studies against PK's supporters: Focus on the Family, Pat Robertson, and many other evangelical groups" ( promise_keepers_2.0%3A__women_and_jews_invited).

While the major focus of the organization was building a core of righteous evangelical men, one of the organization's focal points was a concept called "racial reconciliation." (It even developed a "reconciliation division" aimed at recruiting minorities.) PK's interpretation of "racial reconciliation" veered sharply from traditional civil rights organizations in that it wasn't so much a call for social justice, or to dismantle institutional racism, or to expand social safety net programs, but rather, it was aimed at recruiting African American pastors to the movement and convincing them to accept the organization's credo.

Within a few years, Promise Keepers collapsed; fundraising faltered, layoffs ensued, internal (read that leadership) problems developed, and the mainstream media, once enthralled by the PK stadium and arena gatherings, lost interest.

In 2009, PK mounted a comeback of sorts. Coach McCartney had rejoined the operation and there were some new and improved strategies being touted. As J. Terry Todd reported, "PK 2.0" included "the ladies ... a sign of the movement's reinvention," and it also included Messianic Jews. "Promise Keepers will remain a men's ministry, but it has placed 'reconciliation between men and women' at the 50-yard line."

In the intervening years, Promise Keepers has mounted a few unsuccessful comebacks, failing to regain its spot amongst the most powerful conservative organizations.

In a recent dust-up at the University of Colorado, McCartney, who was chosen by the university's homecoming committee to be grand marshal of the homecoming parade, decided to withdraw after a group called the Gender Justice Commission raised objections about his presence. The GJC reminded the community that speaking "from a CU podium in 1992, McCartney referred to homosexuality as 'an abomination against almighty God' in support of Amendment 2, which prohibited laws protecting gays from discrimination," the Denver Post reported.

Lou Engle's TheCall reaches out to African American churches

Lou Engle's organization TheCall, has scheduled a major event for Detroit on November 11: "Detroit was chosen," according to The Call's website,  "because it 'has become a microcosm of our national crisis - economic collapse, racial tension, the rising tide of the Islamic movement, and the shedding of innocent blood of our children in the streets and of our unborn,'" Rachel Tabachnick recently reported.

According to Tabachnick, "Preparations for TheCall Detroit have also included outreach to African American churches in the region, but the major focus of the event is what the organizers are describing as a spiritual battle against the 'demonic spirits' of freemasonry and Islam. By bringing together black and white believers in repentance and reconciliation, the leaders claim that demonic forces that cause the region's problems will be expelled, allowing for mass conversion of Michigan's Muslim population."

Although Engle is not a well-known figure to the general public, he is an important player in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement. He "has been a part of the inner circle of prophets of the NAR, called the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders, and is part of the apostolic network of Ché Ahn, a leading figure in the movement and co-founder of TheCall in 2000.

Although efforts to draw African Americans to the right has been going on for years, Boston said that those efforts "have not been very successful." According to Boston, "One of the problems is that the Religious Right has essentially signed on to the conservative economic agenda of a do-nothing, minimalist government that favors benign socialism for the rich and dog-eat-dog capitalism for everyone else.

"Religious Right groups have cast their lot with groups like the Heritage Foundation, which constantly attacks social service programs. Yet polls show that minority groups tend to favor a more activist government and believe the state has a role to play in helping everyone succeed. The economic portions of the Religious Right's agenda are very unattractive to most minority voters."


WWW Talk To Action

Cognitive Dissonance & Dominionism Denial
There is new research on why people are averse to hearing or learning about the views of ideological opponents. Based on evaluation of five......
By Frederick Clarkson (230 comments)
Will the Air Force Do Anything To Rein In Its Dynamic Duo of Gay-Bashing, Misogynistic Bloggers?
"I always get nervous when I see female pastors/chaplains. Here is why everyone should as well: "First, women are not called to be pastors,......
By Chris Rodda (72 comments)
The Legacy of Big Oil
The media is ablaze with the upcoming publication of David Grann's book, Killers of the Flower Moon. The shocking non fiction account of the......
By wilkyjr (40 comments)
Gimme That Old Time Dominionism Denial
Over the years, I have written a great deal here and in other venues about the explicitly theocratic movement called dominionism -- which has......
By Frederick Clarkson (44 comments)
History Advisor to Members of Congress Completely Twists Jefferson's Words to Support Muslim Ban
Pseudo-historian David Barton, best known for his misquoting of our country's founders to promote the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation,......
By Chris Rodda (46 comments)
"Christian Fighter Pilot" Calls First Lesbian Air Force Academy Commandant a Liar
In a new post on his "Christian Fighter Pilot" blog titled "BGen Kristin Goodwin and the USAFA Honor Code," Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan......
By Chris Rodda (60 comments)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors' -- UPDATED
Today, Donald Trump appointed C-FAM Executive Vice President Lisa Correnti to the US Delegation To UN Commission On Status Of Women. (C-FAM is a......
By Frederick Clarkson (58 comments)
Controlling Information
     Yesterday I listened to Russ Limbaugh.  Rush advised listeners it would be best that they not listen to CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS and......
By wilkyjr (45 comments)
Is Bannon Fifth-Columning the Pope?
In December 2016 I wrote about how White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who likes to flash his Catholic credentials when it comes to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (43 comments)
Ross Douthat's Hackery on the Seemingly Incongruous Alliance of Bannon & Burke
Conservative Catholic writer Ross Douthat has dissembled again. This time, in a February 15, 2017 New York Times op-ed titled The Trump Era's Catholic......
By Frank Cocozzelli (35 comments)
`So-Called Patriots' Attack The Rule Of Law
Every so often, right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan lurches out of the far-right fever swamp where he has resided for the past 50 years to......
By Rob Boston (46 comments)
Bad Faith from Focus on the Family
Here is one from the archives, Feb 12, 2011, that serves as a reminder of how deeply disingenuous people can be. Appeals to seek......
By Frederick Clarkson (85 comments)
The Legacy of George Wallace
"One need not accept any of those views to agree that they had appealed to real concerns of real people, not to mindless, unreasoning......
By wilkyjr (12 comments)
Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (33 comments)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (76 comments)

Respect for Others? or Political Correctness?
The term "political correctness" as used by Conservatives and Republicans has often puzzled me: what exactly do they mean by it? After reading Chip Berlin's piece here-- I thought about what he explained......
MTOLincoln (88 comments)
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (47 comments)
"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (44 comments)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (82 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (72 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (77 comments)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (74 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (42 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (50 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (54 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (41 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (64 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (44 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (51 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (44 comments)

More Diaries...

All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.