Saturday, September 25, 2010

Baptist "Bishops"

I would not set foot in this church. This is a photograph of the Rev. Curtis Edmonds, a “bishop” at St. Marks Missionary Baptist Church in Portsmouth, Virginia.

Three years ago his congregation saw fit to have him dress up like an Anglican or Catholic and consecrate him as a bishop. This is the height of foolishness and idolatry of the most bizarre kind in a denomination which until recently never had a hierarchy at all.

This worship of the preacher has been annoying me for some time, but the Eddie Long scandal led me to speak out about this disgraceful trend. Black people do not have to engage in crazed religiosity and bad performance in church and we should not claim it as our tradition. Religious hustlers are nothing new, but the taboo against critiquing religious belief has silenced us for too long. Eddie Long is the tip of a an iceberg of hucksterism which threatens to kill church life.

People who note and reject this trend are walking away from churches and we are left with ministers/businessmen and people who are so desperate to believe that they give up any power of thought.

By the way, baptists don’t have cathedrals either. The word cathedral does not mean big church building. Cathedrals are seats of bishops in those denominations (catholics, anglicans) who always had bishops as part of their theology. If you see a baptist church calling itself a cathedral, keep it moving. Do not go inside.