Rev. Michael R. Jordan, pastor of New Era Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, is defending his decision to put up a church sign that says “Black Folks Need to Stay Out of White Churches.”
Mayor Randall Woodfin condemned the sign, calling it “a spirit of racism and division” that he says still remains in the city.
In an interview with AL.com, Jordan said the sign is in response to a new branch of the Church of the Highlands opening up in his neighborhood.
“I call it plantation religion, slavemaster religion,” he said of the new place of worship, which will have a Black pastor. “The white rich folks start a church and put a Black pastor in charge of it.”
Jordan has previously plastered phrases like “AIDS is God’s curse on a homosexual life,” “Trump deceived poor white folks” and “George Zimmerman jury supported white racism” on the church sign in Birmingham, Alabama, according to The Root.
Of his latest sign, he said:
“Because of white flight and societal change where whites left the city, they did not want to be our neighbors, did not want their kids to go to school with our children. They left the churches too. They sold the churches to us. White folks don’t want to be our neighbors. If you don’t want to be our neighbor, why do you feel comfortable putting a white church in the inner city?”
In a Facebook status, Mayor Woodfin wrote that he hopes the situation sparks a conversation about how the city can move forward.
“We have to change the conversation to what we need it to evolve into,” he wrote. “’Darkness can not drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate can not drive out hate; only love can do that.’ #rejecthate #elevatetheconversation”
Meanwhile, Jordan, who said “this last election revealed the major hypocrisy of the white institutional church,” isn’t budging from his position.
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