(NOTE: We reached out to the church 24 hours ago for comment. We were initially told they would comment yesterday afternoon. Late last night we were told a comment would be coming some time Thursday.)
Members of a prominent mega-church in Memphis, Tennessee were encouraged to read and discuss an essay that compared Fox News Channel viewers to terrorists.
The essay, published on Medium (a website popular with liberals) is titled, “75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice – Equality Includes You.”
“Don’t be easily offended by the title of the article I recommended below, and miss the point by not reading it,” Rufus Smith, the senior pastor at Hope Church, wrote on the church’s website.
The writer of the essay encouraged people to “talk to the white people you know who aren’t clearly upset by white supremacy.”
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“For people you know who’ve been radicalized by FOX News and other nationalist (not conservative) media, who’ve been so pummeled with fear and hatred of ‘the other’ that they’ve become ISIS-like towards others, how can you and other family and friends guide them through conversation to show them that their actions are now in direct contrast with the values they feign to purport,” the author wrote.
Why in the world would anyone, much less a Christian pastor, promote an essay that basically accuses Fox News Channel fans of being Jesus-hating racists who fly airplanes into buildings in the name of their religion?
The essay also recommended people donate to Black Lives Matter, the Southern Poverty Law Center and other groups conducting “anti-white supremacy.”
“When people say that Black Lives Matter is a violent/terrorist group, explain to them that there are fringe groups that are being misrepresented as part of BLM,” the writer wrote. “If conservatives don’t want to be lumped in with the KKK, they can’t lump violent protesters in with BLM.”
Oh, the essay recommended to Hope Church also encouraged people to petition state and federal lawmakers to “decriminalize weed.”
Hope Church members were also encouraged to stop celebrating Columbus Day and instead celebrate Indigenous People’s Day.
My good friend Ben Ferguson, the nationally-syndicated radio host, deserves credit for exposing this un-Christian Bible study lesson. He came under fire from church leaders for exposing their support for a leftist interfaith group in Memphis that wants to defund ICE.
Ferguson told me he was stunned that the pastor would be sharing radical material “referring to some of your members as ISIS-like.”
The church, in response, has lashed out at Ferguson.
“You have never heard me speak politically charged terms like ‘white privilege, white supremacists, intersectionality, critical race theory, etc.’ Why? Because I believe the fundamental problem with our fallen human nature is biblical not political; “sin” not simply ‘skin’,” the pastor wrote on June 16. “In my estimation, Hope Church, as a multi-ethnic and intergenerational church, was mature enough to handle this type of article. It was my belief that the article would be considered within the context of the Bible Study and be food for thought. I did not think it would be cherry-picked to a talk radio audience without reference to Micah 6:8, Deuteronomy 10:17-21, and II Corinthians 5:16-21. I was wrong. My apologies for some of you taking offense and misunderstanding.”
Ferguson did nothing of the sort. And the pastor’s backhanded apology smacks of arrogance. As if Fox News viewers would not take offense at being compared to terrorists?
The pastor went on to say that he was “fully aware that the very title and some of the items in this article would be controversial.”
“But it does not mean I endorse ALL of the items in the article,” he wrote on the church’s website. “I certainly do not.”
Perhaps the pastor should consider clarifying which items he disagrees with? He can start by clearing up the allegation that Fox News viewers are akin to Islamic radicals.
Anyone who truly believes that is smoking more than weed.