An Open Letter to the Evangelical Church Regarding the Election, From a Black Woman In Your Pew

Ilesha Graham
Ilesha Graham

Dear Evangelical Church,

For over 20 years, I have grown with you, gotten married with you, raised my kids with you, suffered loss and indescribable healing and restoration with you. I have witnessed miracles with you. I have gone on missions with you. I have saved souls with you. I love you. And it is because of this that I can (and must) write this letter to you.

I love you too much to not bring this to your attention.

I am a black, middle class woman. I am married to a black man who is a law enforcement officer. I am a Christian and an activist. I sit in the complicated intersection of being that seems to make you uncomfortable. I am both black lives matter and blue lives matter. I am both pro-life and pro-entire life.  I am both conservative with my views, but liberal with my love. And today I wonder if there is really room for those who are more like me than you in the church.

I know that for the conservative church, today is a day of celebration. You are waving the victory flag. But today, after the election of Donald Trump for president, is not the day to gloat. No, not today.

It’s not a day to tell your brothers and sisters how to feel. It’s not a day to tell them that they should not be afraid. They are afraid of a future that does not include them. They are afraid of a return to a time in our history where their civil rights were not protected. They are afraid for their safety and health and mental well-being.

Today is not the day to try and compare your feelings of eight years ago to their feelings today. Your life, your citizenship, your very existence was not minimized, marginalized or under attack; and it is not today.

In fact, if we’re honest (and this one is going to hurt a bit), not only was your existence never under attack, but your success has been stitched into the very fabric of this country and tied off on the backs of the black and brown people whose feelings you are downplaying today.

So, if your words today do not demonstrate love, compassion and kindness towards those who don’t experience life like you, then you should not be speaking to them today. Because in the absence of grace, your words ring hollow as the clanging cymbal of privilege.

Patronizing Patriotic posts from your position of power are not welcome here today. No, not today.

Because the truth of the matter is, while you may be claiming a win for the church, the church cannot win if the body is hemorrhaging. And the church cannot turn a blind eye to the needs (and feelings) of its poor, immigrant, disabled, brown and female members. Not today.

So, as you prepare for your mid-week bible studies and your Sunday morning sermons, I need to ask you something. I need to know. What will your first words be to us when you see us face-to-face? When you come from behind the screens and look into our eyes, what will you say?

Will you stand behind the safety of your pulpit and tell us all to pray? Will you talk about how truth and justice and Christian values prevailed?

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SOURCE: The Huffington Post – Ilesha Graham

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