- - Thursday, February 25, 2021

Black leadership needs to chart a new course for America, moving from “victimhood” to “victor-hood,” understanding that “victor-hood” is not an anomaly in the history of African America. In fact, our American experience provides the inspiration and the key to moving from the “realm of the problem” into the “realm of the solution.”

As we stand in a fearful and critical moment in American history, we are faced with an insidious movement, a God-denying force which seeks to justify behaviors and so-called new norms that corrupt our moral and ethical standards and undermine the codes of good conduct that have always undergirded America’s greatness.

We have to make critical decisions that will determine the fate of America: Whether the nation will fall or continue to stand. God is depending on religious leaders who can communicate this to our political and social leaders, so that they in turn will join forces in re-making America. Our nation must once again become the beacon of hope that will stand on the highest moral principles as the “city on the hill.” We must remember God’s purpose for America’s conception, and its destiny to positively influence the world.

Our country is the melting pot of the world and each ethnic group that landed on its shores has contributed tremendously to our potential to become an ever more perfect and vibrant union. As a Black community, it is time to stand up and embody our own providential role, taking up the mantle of being the “moral conscience of America.” 

Our aim is not to become a polarizing voice or movement, but one that has the potential to galvanize Americans’ collective strength, transcendent of race and color, for a purpose greater than ourselves. But as I speak to Black America, I call you to take up the arms of goodness which are the legacy of our 400-year history in this country. What is that history and onus? It is that of a suffering people who successfully surmounted tremendous odds and still rose to embrace the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.”

The fulfilment of America’s guiding ideals, from “building a more perfect union” and “upholding our inalienable rights,” to Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream and making this a land of true opportunity all depend on bringing America back to God. Like the founding of our country itself, we need to be guided by Christian principles. 

Yet today as I have said we are faced with a crisis. A formidable force is determined to tear down the moral fabric of America. Its aim is to foster the decline of moral and ethical values; its insidious structure is targeting us “we the people.” We are plagued by the rise of the cancel culture agenda and the “politically correct police” who aim to establish and enforce new norms in society. If we the people are the spiritual foundation of the nation and are the motivating reason for the U.S. Constitution itself, this threat means that America is now being undermined at its root.  

I believe that as Black leaders in this land divided left and right, we have a special role to play in formulating a unifying, resonant “alternative voice” to bridge that divide, as we readjust our mindset from victimhood to victor-hood, acknowledging and learning from African America’s accomplishments. It is time for us, in concert with all God-loving Americans, to join a crusade to reshape America. We can serve as a catalyst for the unity of all Americans. In fact, our moral role in this country has always been crucial. 

Some of us may talk left but deep down in the African soul breathes conservative values. I am not referring to a narrowly political sense, but to a spiritual and social stance, a core rooted in Africa that has been refined through the refining fire of slavery, a spiritual core long-evident in so many of us that has historically touched the heart of America, including “Big Momma and them,” who stood on the shores of righteousness and told of “how my soul got over.”

Sometime unacknowledged within the Black community lies that powerful core of conservative values. Let us regain our own God-given foundation, for therein lies power, therein lies the seed of the solution.

• Rev. Zagery J. Oliver is the president of the National Faith Based Empowerment Coalition and the vice president of the Universal Peace Federation.

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