In America, the words “In God We Trust” form the foundation of governmental and societal order. The irrevocable prominence of these words are within each and every decision made in our capitals, courts, board rooms, financial institutions and educational bodies. These words do hold the authority and form the premise of White First—Black Lives Do Not Matter. “In God We Trust” in lands of global governorship has been allowed to rule known humanity without question for many, many centuries. However, the questions that most people have always failed or been afraid to ask about this phase are, who is God? What or which God? And who is “we?”
Indigenous people have always understood and known for a fact that these words were never intended to include them in any favorable fashion. And as much the Black community would like to believe that Jesus of Nazareth came into the world “to save those who were lost,” he only appeared on the shores of Africa in the form of Spaniards, Portuguese and Hollandse to declare sovereignty over land occupied by dark creatures without a God. In 1493, the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church subjugated both the indigenous and Black people of the world to the Christian Empire to propagate its doctrines. Furthermore, the U.S. Supreme Court in 1823 adopted the same principle of subjugation maintained in the Inter Caetera Bull. This Papal Bull continues to this day to be the one of the most devastating declarations known to mankind, as it fails to recognize the right to exist of anyone who is not Christian.
This not an attempt to have a theological debate, but as stated in Part I of this series, these articles are intended to offer readers evidence and provide a level of clarity to the current necessity for Black people to emphasis the statement “Black Lives Matter.” Thus in the 1493 Papal Bull, an answer can be ascertained as who “we” is referring to within the phase “In God We Trust”—white people. The default human value of life in America is the educated caucasian Christian male. All the people present in the room during the signing of the Declaration of Independence were white Christian males; therefore, “we the people” is only referring to benefitting the white Christian male’s desire to reign sovereign over humanity.
White Christian males have always had a greater belief in the ideology of supremacy of white people than over the God presented in biblical text. The “Make America Great Again” movement is the latest vehicle to be used to exert the rule of the white male. This movement is largely financed by white fundamentalist evangelicals. Influential pastors of Christian faiths, which are merely derivatives of the Catholic Church, have willed the country to embrace the ideology of the Confederate States of America. These pastors still hold a great deal of the Catholicism belief psyche dearly.
As Alexander H. Stephens, vice president of the Confederate States of America, once wrote during the founding of the Confederacy:
“The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution African slavery as it exists amongst us the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution… Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition.”
The Church continues to be greatest initializer of this idea and the construct of race. It’s also a fact that the every Christian denomination in its storied history has excised separatism by creating a Black unit of its faith.
In the 1900s, a vast majority of whites repudiated the idea of their white daughters and sons entering into matrimony with Black parishioners. The birth of the Black church came along with the furtherance of the implication of white supremacy. Blacks were given pastors and their own organizations to congregate amongst their own people. The white church also made sure that the sphere of influence of Black ministers did not scale beyond the Black neighborhoods and families that they served. Black men were sternly denied positions in local governmental institutions. The Church made certain that Blacks could not achieve social, financial and lifestyle equality with whites using political influence and violence.
One of the greatest American fantasies is the separation of church and state. Every founding document of these United States references God. The majority of the first federal government officials were Christians who did not abandon the premise that they were indeed ordained by God to create the new republic. The pledge of allegiance ends with a stanza acknowledging this republic as “one nation under God.” And throughout U.S. history, each presidential candidate’s religious affiliation is emphasized as a chief credential. Recently, the church’s perpetuation of white supremacy could not have been more evidenced within the 2016 Presidential and Congressional reelection by evangelicals exerting vigorous control and executing a brilliant extortion of the white family unit voting pattern by invoking phrases such as “God’s Will, God’s Plan,” and, of course, “In God We Trust.”
Elder Michael Jefferson is a minister at Procession Ministries in Albuquerque.