I couldn’t really believe what I had seen on TV news that night. Could local law enforcement really do such a thing? Could Jim Clark, the sheriff, really mean outside agitators caused this? Were these people really communists being financed by someone who wanted to overthrow our government? Was Martin Luther King Jr. a communist conspirator? These and many other questions rolled over and over in my mind that night. Then I witnessed the dogs being unleashed on men, women, and children in the streets of Birmingham and Selma, Alabama. The network followed the news with a broadcast of the historical film “Judgment at Nuremberg” reminding me of the horrors endured by another minority in the recent past and goading me into action.
Up to this time, my idea of Christian ministry was primarily a response to vocational guidance tests I had taken some years previous. They had indicated I might find fulfillment in the social services, psychology, or law—the helping professions. My being in the ministry certainly was not the result of a “call of God” or a religious experience of any kind. My faith was in political and social activism. I believed with the right people in public office and the right legislation we could change society. My background was conservative, and I was amazed that many of my co-workers and fellow students had difficulty reconciling conservative values with any kind of social conscience. As far as I was concerned, social activism was the gospel.
In retrospect, I realize God was setting me up for a life-altering change of direction. While the civil rights battle lines were forming, other more subtle influences were challenging my spirit. An article in Collier’s Magazine told of a newly discovered and experienced spiritual phenomenon—glossolalia (speaking in tongues); a retired missionary to India named Edna Hutchins loved us with fearless compassion and generosity; and a book called The Cross and the Switchbladeintroduced us to a God of life-changing power. Finally, my genuine relationships with my fellow employees, many of whom were Black, were used by God to prepare me for Selma and its aftermath.
One more converging element involved the municipal government. The city of Evanston had a petition on “open housing” which was being discussed and, hopefully, would be put on a ballot. Its purpose was to prosecute any realtor who didn’t show all available properties to everyone, regardless of race. It was hotly contested in this very conservative city. I, personally, was very much for it and found it difficult to understand why anyone would oppose it. I need to point out that after listening to my Black co-workers, I learned some things. They told me about the “racial” divisions that existed between different “shades of Blacks” in their own communities. They also told me many stories about fellow Black realtors preying on their own and causing incredible damage. The stage had already been set by an invisible director when we viewed that news broadcast.
“How could one human being do that to another?” My theology did not make room for such cruelty—not if man were born intrinsically good. This same popular liberal theology ridiculed the reality of evil and the fall of man essentially eliminating any need for a personal Savior. I believed society could save itself with righteous laws and equal opportunities.
Following the brutality in Selma, Martin Luther King had put out a call for clergy from all over the United States to join him in Selma and walk together to Birmingham in a demonstration of solidarity and protest. The next morning found me on a plane from Chicago to Atlanta where I would then fly to Birmingham. (How I would get from Birmingham to Selma was still in question.) On the flight from Chicago, I discovered more than twenty clergymen from the Chicago area on board. They also had responded to Martin Luther King’s plea for support. I was drawn to a quiet, little Jewish rabbi. I asked why, at his advanced age, he was on board the flight. His response was quiet and penetrating.
After a short pause, he said, “Perhaps if Christian priests and Jewish rabbis had marched with us in the late 30’s, Hitler could have been stopped.” He continued by saying that following the war he had taken a vow to stand-up for the persecuted, “I will not forget, and I will not be silent.”
The conversation and the stories from this rabbi moved me deeply as I talked with him nearly all the way to Atlanta. In retrospect, one cannot help but recall the familiar words, “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” Nothing could have been more engrossing than the time I spent on that flight.
Arriving in Atlanta, I joined the hundreds of clergy that were heading toward Selma. One incident at the airport was a harbinger of the storm into which we were heading. I sat down at a lunch counter to grab a bite to eat.
The surly waiter, visibly troubled by our presence in the South, cursed under his breath, “Why the hell are dammed, northern agitators comin’ down to cause trouble. We were gettin’ along jest fine until that rabble rousin’ nxxxx King started stirrin’ up trouble.”
I was taken aback by his anger and was mulling over a response when a little Roman Catholic priest sat down beside me. His collar elicited even more disgust than I had received. The waiter evidently was convinced that all Catholics (especially priests) were secret agents of the Pope. The priest was the recipient of yet another barrage of insults from our waiter. He then responded in a strong Irish brogue, “Ah, Praise the Saints! This will be a good time to fast!” Turning to me, he asked if I would like to join him in a fast.
Awkwardly, I said, “Sure,” almost meaning it.
It was late in the afternoon when we arrived in Selma. I was surprised at the number of people already there. We drove to the Black section of town and gladly partook of some wonderful barbeque, served on wax paper. The little place was packed with laughing people from all over the country. Each one of us was asked to tell our story of why we had responded to Martin Luther King’s call for clergy. With slight variations, most of us had similar stories. Our little group of six who had ridden together from Birmingham decided to hang out together. We had already become fast friends—knit together by a common purpose.
While we were discussing where to spend the night, a young Black woman overheard us. She very sweetly interrupted us and said her mother would like us to come to their apartment for the night. She said we’d have to sleep on the floor or couches, but that we would be comfortable. We quickly agreed.
We drove over to a housing project and, as we unloaded, we noticed many people coming out to greet us, as well as dozens of other visitors like us being welcomed into apartments. An older woman, perhaps in her seventies, greeted us. She could have been from “Hollywood central casting.” She reminded me of every older Black woman I had seen in the movies. She was plump, joyful, inviting, with a graciousness that was disarming. You immediately felt as though you were in the presence of great suffering and dignity. She, along with her daughter and some friends, busily went about to make us as comfortable as possible. I ended up on the floor with a heavy, soft quilt and a glossy, red, satin pillow with something biblical embroidered on it.
After we were all settled in, all six of us gathered in the downstairs living room to join our host family and a few of their friends. We were asked why we had come, so each of us shared our stories. After an hour and a half we felt like old friends. It was about 11:00 p.m. when we all realized just how tired we were. We were about to break up when our hostess said she wanted to share something with us.
A kind of quiet, powerful, awe swept through the room as though some hidden command had been given. She had our attention. She told us she was the firstborn of slaves. Her parents had been slaves as had her grandparents. Her parents had stayed south following emancipation. She remembered hearing how her grandparents had “jumped the broom” to begin their marriage. She talked of her “Daddy” and “Momma” with great pride and love.
As she was ending her deeply moving story, she recounted the unforgettable hope her mother had planted in her—a hope she had passed on to her own children. Her mother said that God would one day deliver them just as “Ole Mose” had delivered the Hebrew children. In a voice trembling with emotion, our hostess said, “Thank you, Jesus. I am seeing the beginning of the end to bondage!” At this, she began to cry and came to each of us and hugged us with one of those unforgettable hugs. We were humbled by her gratitude and wept with her. After saying our “goodnights,” we prayed together and went to bed.
My head had hardly hit the little satin pillow when it was morning. The smell of biscuits and gravy filled the house. Somehow, we all finished our bathroom needs with only one bathroom then sat down to breakfast at 7:30.
We were to meet at the AME (African Methodist Episcopal) church around 9 o’clock so the SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) volunteers could give us some tips on the march and how to protect ourselves. Dr. King was due to arrive sometime before noon.
After thanking our host family, we all loaded into the van and headed for downtown Selma. Thousands of people had gathered and the atmosphere was electric. The SNCC volunteers began to show us how to protect ourselves from clubs, cattle prods, dogs, and rocks, but most importantly from the epithets. We were not to respond but to bear silently any words or blows. If there were children in the march, we were to try our best to keep ourselves between them and any harm. We were instructed to march four abreast, with the children in the middle.
We had no sooner finished this than Dr. King arrived and spoke to us all from the steps of the AME church. He thanked us for responding so quickly and being willing to follow his principles of non-violence.
He was interrupted by loud, strident questions from detractors in the crowd. “Dr. King, are you aware there are Communist sympathizers in this gathering? What are you going to do about it?”
Without raising his voice, he evenly acknowledged the possibility but added, “This is a religious movement based on the Judeo-Christian scriptures, historical testimony, and man’s search for freedom from tyranny of all kinds—including communism.”
Beginning in a downtown square of Selma, the lines formed. For the first time, I became aware of another large crowd which had also gathered. This one was enraged, vocal, and restless. It lined the street upon which we were to pass.
The marchers slowly began walking hand-in-hand, four-a-breast, with the children in the middle. The young Black boy to my right held my hand tightly as he pleaded wide-eyed, ” You ain’t gonna leave me, is you, Suh?” His grip relaxed a little as I smiled down at him and assured him I would not.
I briefly looked up at the overcast sky to explain the wet drops I felt on my face and neck. The drops were not falling from the sky. They were being spewed from the cursing mouths of the men, women, and children who lined the street. The enraged crowd was being held at bay by the reluctant police and their dogs. The anger of the mob served to deepen our commitment to the demonstration of peaceful solidarity—Black, White, Jew and gentile, young and old—walked on together.
The ancient ethnic hatreds of generations came into focus in one young mother’s face. Straining to hurl vile racial epithets, her countenance was twisted into an ugly caricature as she poured out her poisonous anger upon us. The baby in her arms stared wide-eyed, and her toddler son joined in the taunts—faithfully imitating his mother.
The “Law” was there–some with dogs on chains. The police would let the dogs charge at us and then pull them back at the last minute, producing great laughter from the angry crowd. Slowly, our four- abreast line began to move. As it did, I pulled the little boy on the inside closer to protect him from thrown rocks and debris.
I was terrified. I had never experienced so much hate in my life. Between the jeering crowds, the dogs, and the stones, I realized that someone might easily be killed. I remember praying underneath my breath for courage and to not respond in anger.
As the line moved, someone began to sing “Amazing Grace.” One-by-one, the marchers joined in. As we sang, courage began to flow through this long line of marchers until we were caught up in an empowering unity. When we began singing “We shall Overcome” my heart swelled with deep joy and pride. I was surprised by the total absence of fear and the deep hope in my heart. I would have gladly given my life for this cause.
Together, we marched several blocks when the line stopped. Police were blocking the road ahead. Martin Luther King and other leaders from the SCLC were talking with the officers. Red lights were flashing all over the place as we strained to pick up on the conversation. Finally, those ahead began to pass back what was being discussed. It seemed that we had no permission to march on state highways or county roads. The officers could not insure our protection. We were stopped at the bridge because we did not have the appropriate permits. If we continued, we agitators would be immediately jailed. Dr. King and the other leaders of the march agreed to continue the march in the morning. He thanked us all for coming and asked us to return to wherever we were staying. He recognized that some might have to return to their homes, but many more clergy were still arriving from all over the United States.
Just before Dr. King dismissed the crowd of marchers, he and the others dropped to their knees and began to pray. The entire line, from front to rear, just melted into an orderly wave as spontaneous prayer and praise broke out. Praise swept from front to rear and back again. There was laughing, crying, singing, hugging and, most curious of all, a total unawareness of the angry crowd with its spitting, rock throwing, dogs, and cursing. Timelessness enveloped us. Then it stopped, as spontaneously as it had started, and we all began to rejoin our respective little groups. We dispersed homeward guided by an unseen hand.
Suddenly, I became aware that I was sore all over my body and wet from head to foot with spit. I remember pulling my overcoat collars up to better protect myself. I looked at the little boy who was still holding my hand tightly. His grin is still indelibly etched on my mind, even these many decades later. He said he could see his mamma and would maybe see me later.
Soon the six of us were together again, loaded into the van, and headed back to the house where we had spent the night. As we arrived, the ladies we had met the night before were also back, asking if we were hungry. We had decided on route that we would like to repay their kindnesses by buying lunch for all. The dear sisters protested but we prevailed, and two of us went to the store, purchasing enough food to feed an army. After they had returned, the six of us began to prepare the food–hamburgers, hot dogs, BBQ, potato salad, coleslaw, soft drinks, chips and dips. Soon we were eating, laughing, and telling our stories of the morning march. All of us experienced just about the same things, especially the racial slurs, cursing, spitting, threatening and rocks, stones and attack dogs. Everyone one of us was still in awe about the “spiritual wave” that flowed up and down the long line. We also thought it odd that we had regrouped so easily.
After the late lunch and cleanup, we began discussing what we should do about that night and the following day. There was the Black Episcopal priest who drove the van, a Lutheran pastor, a Catholic priest, another Baptist preacher, a rabbi and I. After talking with our hosts and praying, the unanimous decision was that we should each return home, making space for the many that were arriving. We all felt good about this and spent the next couple of hours talking and sharing. Soon the sun was down and we realized we had better pack up and head for the airport to get our flight to Atlanta. As we parted amidst hugs and tears, we also expressed gratitude that, aside from some sore places from stones and the spiting, no one had been seriously injured. We thanked God and the media for protection.
As we piled into the VW van, waved our goodbyes, and headed out of the neighborhood, our driver pointed out that it had now been several hours since we had eaten and that food was difficult to get at the airports so we might pick up a bite at a place he knew of before we left. We readily agreed. We arrived at the BBQ place where we had first eaten when we arrived, and found it packed with many of us who were leaving and many new people who had come. We waited a few minutes for a table and once again enjoyed some of the finest BBQ I had ever eaten. I’m sure the owner had never done this much business in his life. I’m equally sure he and the waitresses had never received better tips. Everyone just wanted to bless them. Laughter and joy filled the place until our driver said we had to go or we would miss our flight. He left to get the van and bring it around to the front. Again, we said goodbye to our new friends and walked out front beneath a brightly burning street light.
Another man was standing there and, as we waited, we all began to talk about the events of the day. He was a minister, Jim, from somewhere in New England and was also on his way home. As our van pulled up, I continued talking to him as the others boarded the van. I was the last to get in when I asked him if he would like to take my place. He thanked me but said he was waiting for some friends who were picking him up. I piled in and we took off for Birmingham.
We had been on the road just a few minutes when the driver turned on the radio to hear what was being reported about the march, and we heard that a man had been beaten on a street corner in Selma, was in serious condition, and was being transported to a Birmingham hospital A few minutes later an ambulance raced by us with siren blaring, which we later concluded must have been the one from Selma. We listened to the radio for more information to learn that the man who had been beaten was Jim Reeb, the guy we had been talking to less than an hour before. We all said to one another, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” We prayed for him and continued toward the airport.
Arriving at the airport, we said our “Goodbyes” to our Episcopal priest friend and headed for the ticket counter. I think he stayed, waiting to take another load of deplaning clergy back to Selma. It was later we heard that Jim had died. We were all deeply saddened as we boarded our flight to Atlanta. My seat was next to a rabbi from Chicago. As we talked about Jim Reeb’s death, I became aware of a deepening guilt. As I talked with the rabbi, I began to get in touch with the source of my guilt. I felt guilty to be alive. My seatmate noticed something going on with me, and I told him of my feelings of guilt. He said it was a common experience when people live through experiences in which others die. His words really spoke to my heart as he related incident after incident of many who had had a similar responses. He talked about many he had known who felt guilty for years for having survived the Holocaust. I regret that, after arriving in Chicago, I failed to get his name and address. I miss not getting to build a continuing relationship with him.
As I deplaned in Chicago, I pulled out the last of my money to catch a taxi to our apartment behind the church in Evanston. It was late at night and Barbara greeted me with a sigh of relief and great hugs and kisses. She immediately told me she had seen me on the national news, recognizing my overcoat and walk. As she described where I was in the march I knew she had seen me. She then asked why my coat smelled so bad. I told her about the spitting and other stuff and that I had not been able to shower in a couple of days.
Home but not “At Home”
After a hot shower, a shave, and a little something to eat, Barbara and I sat together in our upstairs bay window, overlooking the church parking lot. It was so good to be home; yet a lingering sadness accompanied me to bed. I slept soundly and awoke late. I had received several calls so I decided to return them. Becky, our little girl, seemed excited to see me so I played with her while Barb went to the store. After she returned, I told her about the return calls I had made. Most of the calls were congratulatory and very affirming of what I had done. A couple calls were from church board members who seemed a bit cold toward my actions, not so much in what was said but in their tones of voice and the kinds of questions they asked. For instance, one of them asked who had given me the authority to go, while another wanted to know who paid for it. The question sounded sinister, but I brushed it of as personal paranoia.
Over the next few days I was thrown into a kind of emotional confusion, not so much highs and lows but more of a melancholy. I remember sitting and staring out the bay window, letting my hot coffee get cold. Several times Barb asked if I was OK. I’d half-heartedly answer that I was. The truth was that I was trying to put together many events, not only of the past few days, but also of the last couple of years–people, national and local politics, work conversations, books I had read, magazine articles, school, Methodist church politics, meeting Edna Hutchins and, through her, hearing and meeting E. Stanley Jones. Then there was the young people’s group, which grown to almost forty in the senior high and twenty in the junior high. We had had several retreats and amazing experiences took place with these young people. We also were one of the few, perhaps the only, youth groups in our area that was, unconsciously, integrated. We never planned it; it just happened. We had two Black guys, several Native Americans and several Asian kids. There were also other incidents that took place in the years leading up to Selma that I reminisced about that morning, sitting in my bay window over a cup of cold coffee, such as the painter who fell off his chair in my office, then sat down in the chair across from me and began loudly repenting, even though I had not said a word. Then there were Phillip and Johnny, who tearfully thanked me for revealing the reality of God in Jesus. I had done nothing. These sovereign events puzzled me and caused further confusion during this tumultuous time. (Read more about these incidents in “Baffled”)
Many Questions But Not Many Answers
These were some of the ponderings that cold spring morning in March, 1965. It was on Saturday that I received a telephone call from an Evanston attorney who was deeply involved in the civil rights movement and pushing for open-housing legislation in Evanston. He had heard of my recent Selma trip and invited me to share my experience on Monday night at a large meeting of supporters. The meeting was to present a civil petition for the open-housing legislation to be put on an upcoming ballot. They hoped to get many signatures of support and then publish it in the local papers as well as getting radio and TV coverage. He said several hundred influential people from the Black and White communities would attend the dinner and then I would be the keynote speaker. Even though I was flattered, I was also apprehensive. Even though I was still feeling confused about many things, I agreed to accept the invitation.
That Sunday before the service the head of the church board strongly confronted me. “You had no business being an agitator from the north, going where you were neither welcomed nor wanted. Furthermore, who do you think you are to be so certain of the rightness of this ‘Black-commie’s cause?” He went on to say that, as the assistant minister of our church, I had been nothing but a bad example to the youth I was supposed to be leading, even though none of the youth had been anything but proud of me. His final word was that I represented a minority viewpoint in our local church and was giving our church a bad name, all of which would be brought up in the next official board meeting and severely dealt with.
After this rather public dressing down, several people came over to praise and encourage me. I entered that Sunday-morning service frightened, confused, and lonely. The head pastor said little to me except to remind me that I should have gotten the Board’s permission to go to Selma and not have acted so independently righteous. Already wobbly inside, I began second-guessing myself.
I didn’t know if anyone would even come to that evening’s youth group meeting. I was certain that the parents were really upset with me and would forbid the kids to come. However, at the early afternoon meeting with the junior high MYF, there were about a third more students than usual. They all wanted to know about my trip–with all the details. Stunned, I told them all I could remember and, at the end, several asked if they could stay and meet with the older group also. I said it was fine with me. About an hour or so later the seniors began to flood in, excited and “pumped.” They, too, wanted to hear every detail and talk about what was going on in the church and in the community concerning racism. There must have been at least fifty or sixty kids there. I shared my story again and then they asked questions and talked for over an hour and a half about what they should do to get involved. Many of them, whatever their race, expressed that their parents were really concerned about my trip and the integrated youth group we had. Many of their parents believed nothing good would come of it, and we would only stir up the status quo and cause dissention in church, school, and the community at large. Several, both White and Black, expressed that their parents were concerned about inter-racial dating. They were cautioning their children that if society kept moving in this direction, pretty soon there would be nothing to stop the eventual “mixing” of the races, and neither race wanted that.
What the kids talked about that afternoon and evening was extremely profound. They spontaneously prayed for their families, themselves, our city, and our nation as well as for me. They asked God to help me stand up tomorrow night at the open-housing meeting. I went home that night buoyed in heart and soul, slept much better, went to school Monday, and came home to prepare for my evening meeting. I remember that, although the Sunday meetings with the kids had encouraged me, I still had a deep haunting or questioning in my heart. I still felt something ominous was going on, but I wasn’t in touch with what it could be.
As Barbara and I ate dinner that evening with our daughter, Becky, Barb encouraged me not to worry or be too concerned. She reminded me that all I had to do was to tell the truth and “let the chips fall where they may.” She was a great comfort. It was only after an early dinner with my family that I remembered that the open-housing meeting was to start with a dinner. Oh well, off I went!
The REAL Problem
After eating and amicable chatting with several other folks, both Black and White, the dishes were cleared and the meeting began.
A Black brother introduced a White lawyer, who quoted a scripture from one of the Minor Prophets, Micah, which said, “He has told you, Oh, man, what is good: And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” He made a few comments about the legal action they were initiating and hoped everyone would sign the prepared open-housing petition. He then gave the meeting back to the man who was to introduce me.
My introduction made me sound so noble and heroic, I am sure I must have blushed. As the man heaped praise upon me, I thought to myself, “If only he knew how inadequate and frightened I had been through most of that time, his words would have been much less flattering.” When he had finished his lengthy introduction, I rose to speak.
Initially, I felt overwhelmed with the responsibility to communicate as faithfully and truthfully as possible. I began by recounting the factors leading up to my decision to go to Selma. I followed with a blow-by-blow account of the march itself. The crowd was enthusiastic and responsive. They drew far more from me than I ever anticipated. I ended up talking for at least forty-five minutes. When I finally stopped, the emcee as well as the crowd joined in sustained, vigorous applause with a few loud whistles thrown in.
The obsequious praises continued as the agenda moved forward toward its climax—the signing of the open-housing petition. Many realtors would not show Black families homes in generally non-Black areas. He also said that there were fear tactics used by realtors on whites–that if they let a Black family in their neighborhoods, they would have an immediate drop in property values. However, I recalled my many conversations with Black co-workers who told me that some Black realtors had been cahoots with White realtors to fan the flames of racial hatred. Unethical business practices were not necessarily racial but simply human.
As the crowd began to mingle and chat together, he handed the petition to me. As I began to read the petition, the Black brother said, “You don’t have to read it. Just sign it!”
“Oh, I’m going to sign it! I just want to read it first.” I assured him.
He then roughly grabbed the petition and said, “Listen, Whitey, just sign the f…. petition, for Christ’s sake!”
As I turned to face him, a numbing shock of recognition passed through me like a TASER. There, in front of me, in that Black man were the same eyes of hate I’d seen in the White faces lining the streets of Selma. The distended veins in the throat, the snake-like eyes, and the volcanic hostility were all too familiar! For a brief moment, I was back in Selma. I was speechless.
Having taken the petition from me, he now pushed it back at me, wanting me to hurry up because there wasn’t much time. I signed it and passed it on. Then he spoke again, “There now, that wasn’t so hard; was it, Whitey?”
I mumbled, “No,” and shakily rose to leave. I was glad to see him follow the petition around the room. I tried to be as inconspicuous as possible as I searched for the exit. Still dazed and shaken, I made it to the door and out and to my car after about twenty minutes of fending off more complimentary comments. I opened the car door, got in, and locked the doors. As I sat down, my heart racing and my hands and forehead cold and clammy, I knew something was going on that my mind could not quite catch up with. Stunned, I just sat there, motionless. It was ten minutes or so until I could start the engine and slowly make my way back to our apartment.
Barbara could immediately see that something was quite wrong. “So…what happened? She asked.
I searched for words to explain the life-altering process going on in my soul. “Honey, do you remember when Jerry would hit Tom, and the cat would just disintegrate?”
“Yes?” She waited for more.
“Barbara, I feel as though everything I have ever believed about God, life, injustices, church, the meaning of existence, and the very motivation for living has just died.”
Before me marched humanity of all colors—all equal regarding their capacity for hatred and cruelty. The problem wasn’t just racial–it was human.
I had been so naïve. I began to feel the weight of the political, emotional, and theological baggage I had been carrying. I was not only naïve, but also, absolutely, without hope. With despair verging on terror, I discovered I had been willing to give my life for a false fix. Civil rights, as noble as they were, were not going to solve the injustices or the long-standing racial inequity. The sand on which I had been standing shifted beneath my feet, and I was face-down in a swamp of desolation.
Little by little, the implications of this new insight were reinforced by past memories. Martin Luther King had acknowledged that laws don’t change people’s hearts. I recalled other conversations with my Black friends at the Board. They resented liberal whites who looked upon them as projects. They felt patronized and as though they were used to salve the conscience of the White community. Another past conversation revealed the prejudices among Blacks themselves—the communal distrust of any conservative, educated, and successful Black man who was often labeled an Uncle Tom or a Whitey. The overarching lie justifying these divisions was coming into bold relief and was this:
All Blacks or other minorities are intrinsically noble, while all whites are unethical and devious.
This lie had become the justification for the violence and hatred promoted by the Black Panthers, Black Muslims, and other hate groups of the 60’s. This false premise had also motivated the political divisions between the races. Blacks felt, rightly or wrongly, that the Democratic Party was the only political hope for them or other minorities. The Republicans, on the other hand, were the economic repressors of the poor and opposed any social legislation enabled government aid. No wonder I generated surprise and disbelief when my Black friends discovered I was a Goldwater Republican. How could I be for social justice, racial and economic equality and vote for Goldwater? Even I was baffled.
The God Whom I was about to meet had effectively smashed the idol of social justice in my heart. He was getting ready to reveal Himself to me as to only One Who can deal with the dark wickedness in every human heart.