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Elder Charles Blake II: Our Double Political Identity

Republican? Democrat? Conservative? Liberal? In this installment of The Elder’s Corner, Elder Charles Blake II discusses the dichotomy of being a Black Christian in political – and often polarized – America.

By Elder Charles Blake II

Since the November election, I’ve been in a number of places with those both inside and outside the African American community who have had much to say about the results of the 2016 Presidential election. There are some who expect me, by virtue of the fact that I am African American, to be in a state of depression because of President Donald Trump’s victory in the election. If they were a supporter of Mr. Trump, then they quietly choose not to openly celebrate his victory in my presence, for fear that they may raise my ire and cause me to unleash a passionate barrage of anger. If they did not vote for him, then they expected me to join with them in their anger, despair, and uncertainty at the future of our country’s well-being.

After my general disclaimer that “Whoever sits in the White House, it is God that sits on the throne of Heaven,” I had to remind them that, even when the person that they voted for wins the election, there is no guarantee that the world that they wanted to see will come to pass. When Barack Obama ran for President both times, the African American community and communities of other races, faiths and cultures came out overwhelmingly to support him and the dream of hope and change that he represented. However, as time progressed, we African Americans saw President Obama move to support agendas that had nothing to do with the issues that we face as a people. We now realize that it takes more than an African American President to heal our communities, and to help us move out of some of the issues facing us as African Americans.


WHERE DO YOU STAND?

In 2008, then Senator Barack Obama was nominated as the Democratic candidate for the President of the United States at the Democratic

National Convention. Bishop Charles Blake Sr. addressed the convention (see video, right); he also participated in a number of interviews during that time. I distinctly remember Bishop expressing the dichotomy – the double identity – of our political existence as African Americans. I heard him describe how traditionally, because of our values and morals, we are conservative; but with our political perspectives we are more progressive. We were taught by the example of our parents and grandparents the Biblical, traditional structure and values of God and family; and how, with hard work and discipline, an individual could rise to a higher level in life.

On the other hand, in our political perspectives, we are progressive. We have seen how the Federal Government, as far back as Reconstruction, had a large hand in ensuring that we as African Americans attained the rights espoused in our Constitution. We remember when the U.S. Marshals, and at times the National Guard, had to escort young African Americans to high schools and universities in the South, just so they could learn and get an education.

As a strong believer in pro-life values and traditional definitions of marriage, Bishop Blake has applauded the conservative defense of these values. However, he has decried the fact that their love and concern for the unborn stops at birth, and that more effort on their part is put into the construction of prisons than into the institutions which would build productive citizens. We, like Bishop Blake, applaud and agree with the progressive assertion that equal rights and opportunities should be available to every citizen of our nation, and that the Federal Government should protect those rights. But we, as African Americans, cannot agree with either the wholesale annihilation of millions of unborn children through abortion; or the equating of sexual preference with that of racial designation and the human rights that accompany that designation. We also cannot agree with the destruction of the traditional definitions of family and marriage.

ON THE LORD’S SIDE

We, as African American Christians, realize that we must articulate an agenda that speaks to both of our identities within the conservative and progressive agenda. The Progressives say to the African American that if we believe in Civil Rights; in the work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others who fought in that struggle, then we should vote Democrat.  The Conservatives say that if we as African Americans believe in God and in Christian values, then we should vote Republican: yet, neither party speaks to the totality of issues and concerns of our community.

It is only when we, as a people, begin to articulate an agenda of our own, which speaks to both our moral and our constitutional values, that we can begin to change our communities, and, in turn, our nation. Until that time however, there will be those who seek to define and articulate our agenda for us, and we will continue to be torn between two worlds and at war with one another. If this continues to be the case Beloved, it will not matter who is in the White House.

 

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Elder Charles Edward Blake II serves as Assistant Pastor and Director of Community Relations of West Angeles Church of God In Christ, under the leadership of Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. He received his BS in Marketing from Oral Roberts University, and studied for his MD at the Interdenominational Theological Center. Elder Blake also serves as the General Manager of the Los Angeles Ecumenical Congress.  He and his wife DeAndra are the proud parents of two sons. 

 


VIDEO INSET: Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. discusses human value and a pro-life perspective at the Interfaith Gathering of the 2008 DNC. Video, courtesy of C-Span.

Hear Donnie McClurkin sing his anthem to the church, “Stand”, below:

Bishop Blake Calls for “Justice for the Unborn”

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr. is doing his part to bring attention to the fight for equal rights for the unborn.

Read the full Catholic News Service Article HERE.

SERMON: Bishop Blake Rallies the Saints – 2016 COGIC Theme

Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. used the 2016 Church of God In Christ theme as the focus of his Sunday, January 10 sermon, and announces adoption plan to give homes to unwanted children.

“You all might be tired of me, but I’m not tired of you!” said Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake during the opening remarks of his January 10, 2016 sermon, referring to his 47 years as pastor of West Angeles. “It’s been a wonderful journey….but I still need your ‘Amens.’ I still need your prayers.”

Central to his sermon was the Church of God In Christ’s theme for 2016“Fighting for salvation and righteousness in a violent and immoral world,” taken from 1 Timothy 6:12. “The theme the Lord has given us for this year,” said Bishop Blake, “leads us to focus on 3 areas:

  1. It has given us a focus on the nature of the world in which we live.
  2. It mentions two primary prizes we must seek, and
  3. The level of intensity with which we must proceed.”

Bishop Blake also revealed statistics which reflect the level of violence and death in today’s world. “In the US, over a million babies are snatched from their mothers’ wombs by abortion every year,” said Bishop. He took the opportunity to announce  that the Church of God In Christ has started an initiative to encourage families and individuals “to make room in their homes for one more child,” in order to help stem the tide of abortions.

“Let the child live,” pleaded Bishop Blake.

This entire service is available on West Angeles Gospel On Demand; quotes from the sermon follow:

“Life is a fight; a warfare.”

“If people across the world began to reach for righteousness, this earth would become God’s paradise.”

“This world is not in the condition that God intended for the world to be. The bible tells us that man was created in innocence and to be in union and in harmony with God, His maker.”

“Through the disobedience of mankind to God, sin gained entrance into the world and in the experience of humanity.”

“War seems to be our favorite pastime. What can we do to promote peace and harmony to that part of the world?” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

“You look at this vast synchronized universe of ours, and that leads you to assume that there must be somebody that set this universe in order.”

“War seems to be our favorite pastime. We lost 58,000 soldiers Vietnam War; 73,000 soldiers in the Gulf Wars. Some say as many as 1.7 million Iraqis have been killed around the Iraqi conflict. And 29,000 have died in the Afghanistan War; 100,000 in the war in Syria…What can we no to promote peace and harmony to that part of the world?”

“Annually around the world, 100,000 Christians are killed because of their faith. Isis and Al-Qaeda would wipe Christians from the earth if they could do so.”

“We complain about 500 blacks killed by policemen, but we should also complain about 5,000 black-on-black murders which take place every year.”

“In the US, over a million babies are snatched from their mothers’ wombs by abortion every year…Let the child live.”

“The world responded violently to Jesus Christ, the Son of God when He came to the earth.”

“What God is telling us is that we should love the people of the world; we should love the souls of men –  but we should not love the sin.”

“Don’t love and become hung up on things.”

“Life on earth ought not be a quest for material goods of the earth; life ought to be a quest to know God” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

“Love the sinner, but don’t love the sin.”

“If you end up in a hot place you’ll be wishing that you’d never seen some of the people you’re attached to on this earth.”

“This world will not last forever…this world is not my home. I’m just passing through!”

“Believers are mentally the Kingdom of God, or the subject of God on the earth. We recognize God as our King.”

“What should be our endeavor? Life on earth ought not be a quest for the things treasures or the material goods of the earth. Life ought to be a quest to know god and the Kingdom of God.”

“When God becomes your priority, He takes care of your sojourn on the earth.”

“Evangelism is not an option, it is a mandate” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

“Introducing men to Jesus Christ and getting them saved is the obligation of every child of God.”

“Evangelism is not an option, it is a mandate…Not only is it a mandate, it is a survival strategy.”

“We’re either going to have to win the world, or be destroyed by it.”

“I would not want to live in a world where there’s no church.”

“The Lord said that some of you are more concerned about what people think about you, than you are about what people think about Jesus.”

“Jesus said, ‘You’re going to be a minister; you’re going to be a witness’… That means that you’re going to help people; you show concern for people, and you serve people even as you witness to them.”

“Turn them from darkness to light” – Acts 26:18

“Are there any royal children in the house?”

“When you win a soul, you rob the devil of one more victim. When you win a soul, you give that person a new lease on life.”

“When you win a soul, you make the world a better place”

“Tell somebody else what the Lord has done for you…You may not give that individual a material possession, but you give them something that money cannot buy.”

“The world would be a better place if everybody loved Jesus.”

“Those are not the only stars, on Hollywood Boulevard; but there are some stars in the house right now because you’re winning souls to Jesus Christ!”

“The bible says that ‘Soul winners are stars!’”

“The world would be a better place if everybody loved Jesus” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

“Isis is fighting. Al-Qaeda is fighting. Terrorists are fighting. If they are fighting, we’d better start fighting, too! But the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.”

“If you’re playing while the enemy is fighting, you’re going to be defeated every time.”

Look at somebody and say, Be strong! Tell your neighbor, ‘Stand! Don’t stop fighting; don’t stop holding on!’ We’ve got the power; we’ve got the might! If God be for us, who can be against us?”

“Satan, you can’t have my peace! Satan, you can’t have my joy! Satan, you can’t have my family! Satan, you can’t have my ministry!”

“Are there any fighters in the house? This is war!”

“This is an immoral world, but we can make a difference…we can turn things around. This is an immoral world, but we can lift up Jesus.”

“Child of God, rise up in victory!”

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES – Romans 5:12, 1:18-32; John 1:10-12, 15:18-19; 17:14-18; 1 John 2:15-17, John 3:16-17, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4,10:4-5; 2 Peter 3:10-13, Colossians 3:13, Matthew 6:10, 28, 33; Romans 14:7, Proverbs 11:30, Isaiah 41:10, 53:5; Acts 1:8, 26:16-18, Luke 15:7, Mark 16:15-16, Daniel 12:3, Ephesians 6:10-13, Luke 10:19, 1 Peter 5:10, Romans 8:31, 1 Corinthians 10:4-5, James 4:7.