The Gantt Report
By Lucius Gantt
I’ve been writing editorial and opinion columns for most of my life. My writing longevity has endured because I’m smart enough to know to stay away from writing about “hair” and “religion”.
Well, today I’ll try to give readers an impartial view on Christianity, Islam and Black people.
First, let me say I have always been interested in worship and religion. As a child, Sunday School was enjoyable to me. Bible stories intrigued me.
In college, I majored in Journalism but people don’t know I also had enough credits to have a major in Philosophy where I focused my studies on theology and ethics.
In my professional career, I worked for or with many so-called religious leaders of various faiths. I interacted with Christians, Muslims, Santeros, Yorubas, Hebrew Israelites and others. I worshiped at churches, mosques, masjids, temples, ceremonies and more and enjoyed myself at all of the different places.
So, today’s column has been on my mind but difficult to express or explain.
Let’s get to it!
Africa is, and has always been, the center of the world. Africa was first to practice religion. Religion didn’t originate in the caves of Europe and slide down to the Motherland, it came from Southern Africa and traveled north.
These words of former Kenyan President Jomo Kenyatta has significance to me today. Kenyatta said, “When the missionaries came, Africans had the land and missionaries had the Bible. They taught us how to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened our eyes, they had the land and we had the Bible.”
If you don’t know, both Christianity and Islam both have African origins. We taught them about God and religion in the beginning but today we imitate them and believe their methods of worship and their way to get close to the Heavenly Father.
Now, don’t twist what I’m writing. All religious beliefs and all religious practices deserve some respect. We all have to reach God in our own way.
My question is in this time of Critical Race Theory, why can’t we consider our history as it relates to how we people of African origin have related to Christians and Muslims.
Not only does Christians and Muslims have a history of enslaving, exploiting and oppressing our ancestors, some religious factions treat us differently today and you can add the actions of Jews, and Judaism, that mimic the faiths mentioned previously.
In my mind, good people that worship God should do some good things like love God and love your neighbors.
You don’t bomb Black African countries, you don’t bomb Black churches, you don’t gun down Black parishioners attending Bible study classes and you don’t burn crosses in the yards of Black community activists.
Don’t act like all believers in certain faiths act the same. Some religions and their leaders don’t even treat members of their congregations the same way.
The wealthy members attending churches and mosques don’t get treated like the homeless, mentally ill or struggling members of the congregation.
White Evangelicals and white Muslims usually vote differently than Black Christians and Black Muslims.
All Muslims should know Bilal ibn Rabah al-Habashi, an African that was the first mu’azzin (prayer caller).
Why Muslims, like Christians, sold Africans as slaves over several centuries, I don’t know.
Back in the day, Jesus and Prophet Muhammad lived, dressed and associated with their Believers.
When doing media work for Rev. Henry Lyons at a past National Baptist Convention in Denver, Colorado I never saw so much gold, so many diamonds and so many luxury vehicles.
Today, we have to study the religions we choose to practice. We had religion before missionaries, peace corps workers, civilization bringers and democracy bringers came to Africa and we had religion before our ancestors were kidnapped and brought to Arabia and America.
Our religion must recognize us, consider us and assist us. God deserves all of the honor, praise and glory. In most religions you praise God, not the messenger, the preacher, Imam or religious leader.
It’s not a mystery why so many crooks and criminals find God after being incarcerated. Spending time in the chapel may help you get out of jail but you have to change your own mind and your own heart.
Obviously, it is important to have a good relationship with God. God protects His soldiers.
You know how tricky the devil is. Don’t be fooled by uninformed opinion writers or by devils in Angelic clothing. KNOW YOUR RELIGION!