Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, who also pastors a Baptist church, has posted Sunday’s sermon, which ranged from a Bible lesson to Game of Thrones to the 60th anniversary of the Little Rock school crisis, branded by the city as “reflections on progress.”
Griffen isn’t buying the PR plan. White supremacy led to the 1957 crisis, he says. Today?
It is good that the surviving eight members of the Little Rock 9 will be re-united next weekend. But prophetic people should, in the spirit of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, refuse to pay homage to the forces of re-segregation and worship the symbols of white supremacy associated with the Reflections of Progress hypocrisy planned for that reunion.
Like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, we should say, “we will not!”
· We will not dress up and attend events designed to portray Little Rock and Arkansas as a progressive city and state.
· We will not be charmed by the soulful singing of Mavis Staples into forgetting that agents of white supremacy on the Arkansas Board of Education dissolved the democratically-elected governing body of the Little Rock School District in 2015.
· We will not lend our moral authority to ceremonies designed to pimp the commitment of L.C. and Daisy Bates, the Little Rock 9 and their families, and the other prophetic revolutionaries who defied segregation and white supremacy when schools that serve black and brown neighborhoods in Little Rock are being closed.
· We will not pay lip service to “Reflections on Progress” when the current superintendent of the Little Rock School District and the Arkansas Commissioner of Education have apparently agreed to sell the former Garland Elementary School property to a charter school management affiliate of the Walton Family Foundation.
· We will not pay lip service to “Reflections on Progress” when students in Paul Lawrence Dunbar Magnet Middle School – where each of the Little Rock 9 attended junior high school – are now threatened with loss of their gifted and talented classes and instructors.
Instead of attending the “Reflections on Progress” events, let us draw on the example set by Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Let us take on a “we will not” posture. Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, let it be said of us that we loved God so much, trusted God so much, and remained true to our identity as followers of God so much that we will not serve re-segregation.
In God’s name, we will not stand on the side of oppression against the oppressed.
In God’s name, we will not be fooled.
In God’s name, we will not be bribed by trinkets, titles, jobs, photo opportunities, and perks.
In God’s name, we will not be pushed, pimped, or have our commitment to equality, liberty, justice, and love poisoned by ceremonies, songs, and speeches orchestrated by those who actively scheme against desegregation and equality.
In God’s name, we will not “bend the knee” to the heresy of re-segregation and idolatry of white supremacy.
This week is a Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego moment. What will you do?