Page 19 | Volume 1 | The Leadership Journal of Dallas Baptist University

19 My concern was intensified during the black insurrection in Detroit in the summer of 1967. … I remember the feeling of dread and absurdity as I asked myself, ‘What has all this to do with Jesus Christ—his birth in Bethlehem, his baptism … .’ I intuitively knew that the responses of white preachers and theologians were not correct. The most sensitive whites merely said: ‘We deplore the riots but sympathize with the reason for the riots.’ This was tantamount to saying: ‘Of course, we raped your women, lynched your men, and ghettoized the minds of your children, and you have a right to be upset; but that is no reason for you to burn our buildings. If you people keep acting like that, we will never give you your freedom.’16 Cone’s use of hyperbole is obvious, but it speaks clearly to the point of how Blacks perceive White criticism. When a Black person is murdered by police, Whites may mean well when they say, “What about black-onblack crime?” but they fail to realize, shifting the discussion to Blackon-Black crime does not provide a solution to police-on-Black crime or vigilante-on-Black crime. Likewise, for White conservatives to point out that abortion takes more lives than cases of police brutality may be correct. Nonetheless, Black people may perceive that statement as an attempt to deflect, or to minimize the issue at hand, which devalues the life of a Black person. Furthermore, such statements reveal an underlying and deeply ingrained subconscious assumption that White people are the only ones who have the right to determine what social issue takes priority. If Cone’s perception is common to most Black Americans, the Black preacher stands in the best position to hold both Blacks and Whites accountable for their part in fostering racial unity and equality. Only a Black preacher can effectively say, “Churches all black are no less guilty of racial sins than are churches all white.”17 Only a Black preacher using his prophetic voice can exclaim, “We are all realizing that ill will begets ill will. Antipathy is not one-sided. Majorities and minorities share the same hatred which is death to both. The same poison is discovered at the bottom of the heap which is also evident at the top.”18 These were Taylor’s words in a sermon entitled “They Shall Ask the Way” delivered in July 1950 at the Baptist World Alliance in Cleveland, Ohio. LEARNING FROM THE PULPIT LEADERSHIP OF GARDNER CALVIN TAYLOR