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02 April 2008

Trinity United Church of Christ's Black Value System and 10-Point Vision

The day after the Rev. Jeremiah Wright retired from the Trinity United Church of Christ, changes began to be made to the church's website. Some of the more racist and provocative material began to disappear. The odes to Louis Farrakhan and references to the Church awarding him the Trumpet Award have disappeared. The longer version of the church's Black Value System, to which every congregation member was required to pledge, disappeared. This longer version follows:

THE BLACK VALUE SYSTEM

Statement of Purpose

We honor Dr. Manford Byrd, our brother in Christ, because of the exemplary manner in which he has thrice withstood the ravage of being denied his earned ascension to the number one position in the Chicago School System. His dedication to the pursuit of excellence despite these systemic denials has inspired the congregation of Trinity United Church of Christ. We have prayerfully called the wisdom of all past generations of suffering Blacks for guidance in fashioning an instrument of Black self-determination, the Black Value System.

And we shall, beginning in 1982, institute an annual Black Value System-Educational Scholarship in the name of Dr. Byrd.

This year, 1981, however, we recognize Dr. Byrd as the first recipient of the Dr. Manford Byrd Award which will be given annually to the man or woman who best exemplifies the Black Value System.

The Black Value System

These Black Ethics must be taught and exampled in homes, churches, nurseries and schools, wherever Blacks are gathered. They must reflect the following concepts:

Commitment of God
“The God of our weary years” will give us the strength to give up prayerful passivism and become Black Christian Activist, soldiers for Black freedom and the dignity of all humankind.

Commitment to the Black Community
The highest level of achievement for any Black person must be a contribution of substance to the strength and continuity of the Black of the Black Community.

Commitment to the Black Family
The Black family circle must generate strength, stability, and love despite the uncertainty of externals, because these characteristics are required if the developing person is to withstand warping by our racist competitive society.

Those Blacks who are blessed with membership in a strong family unit must reach out and expand that blessing to the less fortunate, especially to the children.

Dedication to the Pursuit of Education
We must forswear anti-intellectualism. Continued survival demands that each Black Person be developed to the utmost of his/her mental potential despite the inadequacies of the formal education process. “Real education” fosters understanding of ourselves as well as every aspect of our environment. Also it develops within us the ability to fashion concepts and tools for better utilization of our resources, and more effective solutions to our problems. Since the majority of Blacks have been denied such learning, Black Education must include elements that provide high school graduates with marketable skills, a trade or qualifications for apprenticeships, or proper preparation for college.

Basic education for all Blacks should include Mathematics, Science, Logic, General Semantics, Participative Politics, Economics and Finance, and the Care and Nurture of Black minds.

To the extent that we individually reach for, even strain for excellence, we increase, geometrically, the value and resourcefulness of the Black Community. We must recognize the relativity of one’s best: this year’s best can be bettered next year. Such is the language of growth and development. We must seek to excel in every endeavor.

Adherence to the Black Work Ethic
“It is becoming harder to find qualified people to work in Chicago” Whether this is true or not, it represents one of the many reasons given by businesses and industries for deserting the Chicago area. We must realize that a location with good facilities, adequate transportation and reputation for producing skilled workers will attract industry. We are in competition with other cities, states, and nations for jobs. High productivity must be a goal of the Black workforce.

Commitment to Self-Discipline and Self-Respect
To accomplish anything worthwhile requires self-discipline. We must be a community of self-disciplined persons, if we are to actualize and utilize our own human resources instead of perpetually submitting to exploitation by others. Self discipline coupled with a respect for self, will enable each of us to be an instrument of Black Progress, and a model for Black Youth.

Disavowal of the Pursuit of “Middleclassness”
Classic methodology on control of captives teaches that captors must keep the captive ignorant educationally, but trained sufficiently well to serve the system. Also, the captors must be able to identify the “talented tenth” of those subjugated, especially those who show promise of providing the kind of leadership that might threaten the captor’s control.

Those so identified as separated from the rest of the people by:
Killing them off directly, and/or fostering a social system that encourages them to kill off one another.

Placing them in concentration camps, and/or structuring an economic environment that induces captive youth to fill the jails and prisons.

Seducing them into a socioeconomic class system which while training them to earn more dollars, hypnotizes them into believing they are better than others and teaches them to think in terms of “we” and “they” instead of “us”.

So, while it is permissible to chase “middle-incomeness” with all our might, we must avoid the third separation method-the psychological entrapment of Black “middleclassness”: If we avoid the snare, we will also diminish our “voluntary” contributions to methods A and B. And more importantly, Black people no longer will be deprived of their birthright, the leadership, resourcefulness, and example of their own talented persons.

Pledge to Make the Fruits of All Developing and Acquired Skills
Available to the Black community

Pledge to Allocate Regularly, a Portion of Personal Resources for Strengthening and Supporting Black Institutions.

Pledge Allegiance to all Black Leadership Who Espouse and Embrace The Black Value System.

Personal Commitment to Embracement of the Black Value System - to Measure the Worth and Validity of All Activity in Terms of Positive Contributions to the General Welfare of the Black Community and the Advancement of Black People towards Freedom.

This ends the Black Value System description once posted on the Trinity United Church of Christ website. The comments below are my own.

Pledging commitment to God is unexceptional for a church. Pledging commitment to the Black Community makes some sense in the context of a community with so many problems and as a recognition that they must work hard to set their communities aright. Nonetheless, woe be to a predominantly white church that required a pledge that its members should be committed to the White Community! There is a decided asymmetry here. There is also a lack of appreciation for the value of the individual, aside from his role in the community.

Commitment to the Black Family sounds like a good thing, though once again if a white church were to ask for a commitment to the White Family, this would be viewed as racist. The explanatory text is very interesting here. The Black family is expected to provide the means that "the developing person is to withstand warping by our racist competitive society." So America is blame for being racist and for being competitive.

Dedication to the Pursuit of Education is an entirely wonderful goal. The subtext here is not so bad, though the last paragraph seems to imply that education is less for personal fulfillment and goals than to make one a value and resource for the Black Community. Again we see this recurring theme of group identity politics.

Adherence to the Black Work Ethic. In the subtext I sought the explanation of how this might differ from the White Work Ethic or the Effective Work Ethic and did not find it. Apparently the writer simply thinks anything good is better if the put the word Black in front of it.

Commitment to Self-Discipline and Self-Respect. Sounds great and the subtext largely is fine, though once again, the Black parish member is encouraged to be "an instrument of Black Progress."

Disavowal of the Pursuit of "Middleclassness". The subtext here is out of this world insane. Apparently Blacks in America are Captives. Somebody (White Males maybe?) has them enslaved and culls out those with the most initiative, talent, and leadership skills and kills them or induces them to kill each other, or puts them in concentration camps, etc. As is so often said today, you cannot make this stuff up!

The subtext does say that you can pursue middle class income, but that you must not separate yourself from the Black Community. This must make it very hard for anyone who wishes to escape the captivity that the Black Community is in. If you have the opportunity to get out of captivity, you must return to captivity! If you wish to raise your children where they will be not be induced to kill one another then it would seem that you would have to leave this captive and totally violence seduced Black Community behind. The contradiction is apparently unseen by this Black Church, however.

The Pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, also had this 10-Point Vision:

1. A congregation committed to ADORATION.
2. A congregation preaching SALVATION.
3. A congregation actively seeking RECONCILIATION.
4. A congregation with a non-negotiable COMMITMENT TO AFRICA.
5. A congregation committed to BIBLICAL EDUCATION.
6. A congregation committed to CULTURAL EDUCATION.
7. A congregation committed to the HISTORICAL EDUCATION of AFRICAN PEOPLE IN DIASPORA.
8. A congregation committed to LIBERATION.
9. A congregation committed to RESTORATION.
10. A congregation working towards ECONOMIC PARITY.

I was unable to find further information on what reconciliation and restoration mean above. However, given that the African people are in diaspora and the commitment to Africa, one wonders if restoration means that the congregation wants to be restored to Africa, perhaps with many large pots of gold provided by the US government. But who knows, this lunatic might mean any number of things largely rational people cannot imagine by this.

But, remember, this is the church and the pastor that Barack H. Obama chose as his church and his pastor. He gave considerable sums of money to it, he was married there, he had his children baptized there, and he attended services there frequently. He also frequently praised the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. And clearly by the conditions imposed by this church and its pastor on the congregation, he was committed to the Black Value System and to the 10-Point Vision. Does such a man have the knowledge, the wisdom, and the vision to be the President of the United States of America?

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