“Black churchmen are putting white churchmen on notice that … black people cannot stay in mainly white denominations if those groups can’t begin to deal with racism and distribution of power. Yes, it is still an open question, but if whites don’t answer positively, it could look pretty bad.” So spoke Hayward Henry, president of the Black Unitarian Caucus, a year ago last month at the second annual meeting of the National Committee of Black Churchmen. That was before James Forman and the Black Manifesto demanding billions in reparations from white churches, and before the formation of the Black Economic Development Conference.

Now, at their third annual meeting (see News, page 33), the Black Churchmen have escalated their strident strategy for “black empowerment,” and have declared war on the National Council of Churches. At the Berkeley, California, meeting, NCBC leaders made it clear that if the NCC won’t accede to demands for a Negro general secretary and Negroes in other top-level posts, the NCBC will pull down the National Council “by whatever means necessary.”

Further, the Rev. Calvin Marshall, director of the BEDC, told delegates at the NCBC meeting that from now on when a white denomination gives funds to one of the participating black organizations, it is giving to all: “In the past, white church groups said their funds for blacks were designated for the Interreligious Foundation for Community Development (IFCO), or NCBC and not the BEDC. This was done because to deal directly with BEDC would be an admission that they agree with the concept of reparations.…”

It should be crystal clear to all that the IFCO, the BEDC, and the NCBC are linked in purpose, and are deadly serious about seizing control of the white denominations and extracting money from them. The Berkeley meeting indicated that the most militant in these groups have not shifted an inch away from the violent, Marxist ideology of the Black Manifesto; if anything, they have embraced it more tightly.Despite the gravity of past injustices heaped upon Negroes by whites—including white Christians—those who would be true to the Gospel must not capitulate to the kind of threats and coercion vowed by the BEDC-NCBC-IFCO coalition. We sympathize with the NCC’s plight; its triennial General Assembly in Detroit this month could be a debacle. But it’s time for the Church to wake up and say “no” to those who would, under the guise of “liberation,” enslave all.

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