Colonial Christianity: A curse on the Black Community

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The eminent theologian Dr Robert Beckford is known for not pulling his punches,and in a frank conversation with Church leaders and activist he was true to his word. During a seminar which sets out to transform Black led churches to be at the forefront of demanding greater social and racial justice, Beckford argues:

The Black Church in Britain is bewitched by the curse of Colonial Christianity that has rendered it politically docile and un-prophetic. This demonic influence that discourages engagement with oppressive political structures that lead to more black people in prison than university must be exorcised.

Beckford will soon publish his book outlining in great detail just how Colonial Christianity sought to disempower and ultimately control Black people, in Africa, the Caribbean and here in the UK, by instilling a sense of belief that little change could be done on earth, and greater glory could be found in the after life. Beckford argues that a rereading of the text, in particularly the Lords Prayer, will guide Black Christians into ‘liberation theology’, which in many ways was the driving force behind Dr Martin Luther Kings Civil Rights movement in the 1960’s.

Clearly Operation Black Vote has sought a partnership with Church Leaders and other faith groups in regards to civic and political engagement, and sees this move as potentially a great leap forward.

I wrote on this site that having witnessed the huge audiences -45k-of the Festival of light, ‘Church of Redemption’, the potential for us to collectively demand greater racial justice is phenomenal.

Whilst Beckford’s challenge must be taken serious, we also need to acknowledge there are those many church men and women who have been implementing their own brand of liberation theology.

This particular initiative (The Church and Political Mobilisation - Let the sleeping Giant Awake!) instigated by Bishop Joe Aldred and supported by Operation Black Vote, and  many church leaders indicates that the momentum is with us.

The group has already decided to write a Black church manifesto –utilising much of the elements in the secular ‘Black manifesto’, and also engaging in the greatest voter registration campaign ever seen in the UK.

Simon Woolley

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