- Faith & Family
It is a sad state of affairs when our Black churches — the collective institution that has given so much in the quest to free, educate, encourage, feed, and even protect Black men, women and children —now stand as victims of random acts of vandalism. Then again, these acts may be far from random. It seems that there’s a group of unscrupulous bandits who want the copper wire that can be found in the air conditioning units that keep our churches cool. And as previous reports have indicated, there’s big money to be made, particularly in overseas markets.
Law enforcement officials may not have taken these thefts as seriously as they should but our local ministers certainly have. For now they don’t know who’s behind these costly thefts but they are convinced that someone does — unfortunately these witnesses have chosen to remain silent.
It’s unlikely that a band of marauding white men could pull into the back of a church in Liberty City, Brownsville, Miami Gardens or Opa-Locka which leads those in the know to conclude that these thefts are but another example of Black-on-Black crime. Have we sunk so low that we are now stealing from the very places that have been our constant source of salvation?
Before there were public schools and colleges that admitted Black students, there were institutions formed and supported by the Church. When city officials in Miami-Dade County and elsewhere ignored our cries for safer neighborhoods and better housing, the Black Church rose to the occasion. And whenever gunfire has disrupted the peace, taking the lives of both the innocent and guilty, the Black Church has been there to both bury the dead and to administer salve to our broken souls.
It isn’t the church that has changed so much in recent years — it’s our own people and our values. It’s time we reminded one another of how important and sacred the Black Church has been and still is as we seek to survive in a country and world that continue to condone and perpetuate inequality. As for the thieves who remain on the lose, it’s time someone did the right thing and turn them in.