Michael Jordan, a black pastor in Birmingham, Alabama, has created a controversial church sign. One side of the sign reads, “Black folks need to stay out of white churches,” while the other side says, “White folks refused to be our neighbors.” The Root reports:
In a Birmingham, Ala., controversy involving the mayor, a black church, gentrification and a white megachurch, an Alabama pastor is being accused of reverse racism after displaying a sign in front of his church that says, “White folks refused to be our neighbors.”
New Era Baptist Church is located in the West End section of Birmingham, one of the blackest areas in one of the blackest cities in America. The church is pastored by the Rev. Michael R. Jordan, who is known for his activism, which some people say borders on trolling.
Jordan heard that the Church of the Highlands, whose 16 locations boast more than 40,000 parishioners, announced that it would open a location in a “high crime neighborhood” in Birmingham. Pastor thought he should react on that news by putting such sign as a way of resistance.
He explained all this to Al.com: “Because of white flight and societal change where whites left the city, they did not want to be our neighbors, did not want their kids to go to school with our children,” Jordan said. “They left the churches too. They sold the churches to us. White folks don’t want to be our neighbors. If you don’t want to be our neighbor, why do you feel comfortable putting a white church in the inner city? Their response is we will have a black pastor. He’ll be a token. They’ll still control the sermons, they’ll still control the choir, the white administrative leadership will still run the church.”
This is not the first time for Jordan to fix provocative words on the church’s all-black sign. Some of his other gems include: “Undercover racist [sic] elected Donald Trump.” “AIDS is God’s curse on a homosexual life.” “Rape a white woman and you will die in prison.” “God’s Word forbids two men getting married.”
The mayor of Birmingham, Randall Woodfin condemned Jordan’s sign and wrongly called it racist. “There is a spirit of racism and division that is over this city. It must be brought down. We have to change the conversation to what we need it to evolve into. Darkness can not drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate can not drive out hate; only love can do that,” Woodfin tweeted.
Such incursions into predominantly black neighborhoods may not be welcome, Jordan suggested. "Putting that church in West End, you're bringing white spirituality in a black environment," Jordan said. "Our music is different. Our experiences are different. We're more active in worship."
No matter how racist this sign looks, Jordan wanted to draw attention to the division that has existed for hundreds years in this region. Not paying attention to this division will not make it milder and that’s something this pastor has just pointed out.
Photo Credits: Waw Buzz