By Michael Harriot
In my unending quest to eschew my Hotep tendencies, I resist talking about religion. Although I am no longer a person of faith, I also try not to be one of those people who chastise Christians about “adopting the religion of their oppressor.” I once believed eating bacon made God furious and ironing the wrinkles out of my shirt before the sun went down on Saturday would possibly me to an eternity in a lake of ever-burning fire, so who am I to judge?
But when Donald Trump began his run for Presidency of the United States, I felt a little “Nigga-Vu.” You know what Nigga Vu is. It’s like deja vu, but Blacker. It’s when you see someone and think “I know that nigga from somewhere.” It’s leftover remnants of the African slaves’ side-eye. Dark-skinned Spidey senses, if you will.
I’ve felt nigga vu recently. I was watching footage of a Donald Trump rally in Wisconsin as he spoke to a collection of caucasian faces about how the Republican party can do to improve the lives of Black people. It was the whitest gathering of people listening to Republican ideas about Black freedom since the Emancipation Proclamation. I started to get an unsettling feeling in the pit of my stomach, as if I had eaten a plate of potato salad not sanctioned by the Auntie Cookout Committee. When I realized I was being overcome by either nigga vu, the heebie jeebies or a mild dose of the Holy Ghost, I started to ask myself, “Why does this feel so eerily familiar?” Then I figured it out where I had seen this before:
At every Black church.
You seem confused, even bewildered. Most people (and by “most people” I mean ALL OF Y’ALL) will respond “Not my church. My church teaches the Holy Gospel and shines the light of the truth.” Nope. I’m talking about your church too. If you doubt me, however, let me break down all the reasons the Republican Party is exactly like the Black Church.
DONALD TRUMP IS A BLACK PREACHER – Like most Black preachers, Donald Trump doesn’t want to release his financial information. He is always dressed impeccably in the finest suits, but is always claiming to be Christian (or “Christ-like.) although I can’t find any instances in the Bible where Jesus wore the Finest designer clothes. He mostly wore off-the-rack robes from the Old Navy in Nazareth. Plus, like Creflo Dollar, TD Jakes and many other megachurch preachers, Trump has his own plane and helicopter, and drons his sanctuary in unnecessary gold plating. Like many pastors, he is wholly unqualified to lead, he has no formal training, but everyone follows him because they believe he was “called.” They depend on the fact that people will believe whatever they say and follow them no matter what they do. Even–Like Trump–if they talk about anti-constitutional things like rounding up Mexicans and kicking out Muslims. Even if they–like Eddie Long–institute a system of child rape that goes back years.
THEY ARE STINGY WITH THE WINE I’ve been to parties hosted by staunch conservatives and I’ve visited Black Churches on first Sunday, and neither will give you enough wine. What’s up with that hummingbird’s beak of wine they serve at hoity-toity parties? Motherfucker, you know I’mma drink more than that. There’s no way I can relax in a room filled with White people wearing Dockers and boat shoes unless I have more than 4.3 milliliters of Cabernet Sauvignon in this tiny wine glass.. But they’ll look at me funny if I ask “Yall ain’t got no red solo cups?” The same is true at communion. I’mma need more than this half-a-shot of Boone’s Farm if I gotta sit through the whole sermon, and you know the pastor always tries to preach his ass off on first Sundays. If Jesus gave the disciples this little bit of wine at the last supper, I see why Judas betrayed him. I’m not saying I would’ve done the same thing, but I understand. Especially after eating unleavened bread. He probably was thirsty and needed that 30 pieces of silver to buy him a soda.
THEY HATE WOMEN To be fair, neither Black churches or Republicans hate all women. Just the ones who don’t keep quiet, allow men to choose what they do with their vaginas, have sex with whomever they want, dress however they want and in general submit themselves to the laws and whims of men who lived a few centuries ago.
THEY DANCE ALIKE Because I was raised in the church, I experienced how Black people praised the lord LONG before I witnessed my first White person dancing. For a long time, I thought all White people had the Holy Ghost whenever I saw them dance. You might think it’s funny, but watch these white people grooving to music at the Republican convention superimposed over some good ol’ Black church music and tell me I’m crazy:
THEY GET THEIR SUPPORT FROM POOR PEOPLE The GOP and prosperity gospel preachers both believe that if you aren’t rich, you must be doing something wrong. You aren’t praying hard enough. You aren’t working hard enough. If you were, the God, or “the free market” would bless you with what you need. The most incredible phenomenon in society is poor people who believe in the trickle-down, rich-people economics of the Republican platform, and Black people who struggle to pay their bills and educate their children but feel the need to give a dude with a helicopter and a Benz, or a building with velvet pews and silver candelabras a percentage of their income. Mitt Romney is worth 250 million, but his 2012 campaign collected over 1 billion dollars from donors. T.D. Jakes is worth a reported eighteen million dollars and lives in a 1.7 million dollar mansion. The average salary in the community he serves is $56,000.
Republicans and Black churches keep people believing in their bullshit by convincing them of one thing:
You’re not a loser. You’re a winner who just hasn’t won… yet.
THEY LOVE POUND CAKE The only place I have ever seen a pound cake is at a gathering of more than 7 Republicans and a Black church. Who the fuck eats pound cake. As a matter of fact, the pound cake is the Republican of cakes. It is the whitest cake possible with the bare minimum of seasonings. The Pound cake’s only seasoning is vanilla. Think about that. The only reason Black people even fuck with pound cake is because it is served at funerals and you shouldn’t be that happy after a funeral. Even then, we will drizzle some icing on that motherfucker.
So the next time you see a Republican rally and get that familiar feeling, now you know why–it’s because you’re at church. Bring me a slice of pound cake back, homey.