The Area Of Contention Is Two Churches Trying To Attract The Same Audience
A sign put up by Birmingham's New Era Baptist Church has stoked up a controversy. The Alabama church sign exhorts African-Americans not to enter confines of white churches . The sign is the brainchild of Reverend Michael R. Jordan, the pastor of the said church. Pastor Jordan is African-American. The sign's reverse side states a message saying that white people did not prefer to live adjacent to blacks.
The sign is not taken kindly by Randall Woodfin, the Mayor of Birmingham. He came out firmly on social media. The mayor wrote that the city suffers from a fissure of division and racism. These two, he reminded the reader, must be removed. The conversation must be changed for the better. Mayor Woodfin pointed out only light can drive out darkness. Only love could banish hate.
When questioned by the media, Jordan defended the church's sign. He said the sign constitutes a response to a brand-new branch of Church of the Highlands throwing open its doors in the neighborhood. The pastor described the just opened worship place as “slavemaster church.”
For locals, these kinds of controversial signs are not new. The Reverend is known to utilize the sign enabled by the church to spread controversial political messages. The Church of the Highlands is now his latest target. The megachurch counts 40,000 worshipers spread over 16 branch locations. It is also the most prominent church in Alabama. With the opening of yet another branch church in Birmingham, the church now has a footprint over 17 locations. The Birmingham branch has come up in the West End. Chris Hodges is founding pastor of Church of the Highlands.
According to Reverend Jordan, societal change in Birmingham continues to happen due to whites exiting the city. He alleged that whites do not want to live in the same area as blacks. They also do not want their children to study with African-American kids in the same school.
Black christuans urging other blacks not to attend white churches. Hard to imagine this level of racism still existing today. https://t.co/d86c5tAz5X
— Nicolas Gold (@NicolasGold1) May 17, 2018
Residents of the area do not agree with Reverend Jordan. Many have no problems with visiting a church built by whites. Many citizens agree that some whites are racists, most are not. By this premise, they want the church sign to be taken down. The Reverend has a point. As per the U.S. census, the black population in Birmingham city was 40.7 percent prior to segregation. It is now about 72 percent. The rise in percentage is due to whites leaving the city.