Ministering to all kinds of disasters


Ministering to all kinds of disasters–
By Alphonzo Lyons

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Three books that I have read recently have caused me to question, and have some serious concerns about, the integrity of segments of Christianity and elements of this great government of ours as they both interface with African-American people in particular, and thus all people.

As G.K. Chesterton said, “We’re all in this boat together, and we all get seasick together.”

“Dark Alliance,” written by Gary Webb, details the crack cocaine epidemic in the United States in the 1980s and its rapid and insidious spread through urban communities throughout America.

The author ties the wildfire diffusion of crack to the Reagan administration’s efforts to stop the spread of communism in Central America by siding with the anti-communist Contras against the pro-communist Sandinistas. Since the U.S. Congress had cut off financial assistance for the Contras, income from crack and other illicit drugs reportedly were endorsed by the Central Intelligence Agency operatives as a means of financing anti-communist efforts.

The irony is that President Reagan announced the War on Drugs program and appointed the first “drug czar,” Bill Bennett.

The religious implication: the destruction of the black family, the increased imprisonment of men of color, the birth of an inordinate number of crack babies, increased levels of despair in America and the world, and the accelerated demonization of human lives.

The second book, “Tempting Faith,” was written by David Kuo, a Christian who began as a Washington speech writer. Kuo ascended to be second in authority with the White House’s Faith-Based Initiative program. Kuo asserts that while “compassionate conservatism” was advertised by the present administration, no effort was ever made to legitimately fund the White House initiative. Instead of $20 billion being given to fund the program as was initially promised, the program barely received $2 million from start to finish.

Kuo clearly states that the war in Iraq, with its colossal budget, did not inhibit White House staffers from funding the program. Almost all grants were distributed strictly along paths of party loyalty.

The author sees the initiative and its conferences in various cities throughout the United States as a political tool to garner votes for a particular party.

The religious implication: “Why would you dangle the carrot-on-a-stick to poor and religious people who are cash strapped, with no real intention of ever delivering much at all?”, resulting in the destruction of families and communities in deprived and depressed neighborhoods.

The third book, entitled “The New Pearl Harbor,” was written by David Ray Griffin, a Christian and retired professor from Claremont Theological Seminary. Griffin embraces process theology, modernity and postmodernity. Briefly, Griffin suggests that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist twin-tower destruction was in fact not a terrorist-led plot, but one engineered by American entities.

Griffin documents evidence that indicates that each of the hijacked airplanes did not have the force to cause enough temperature to melt the respective towers and an adjacent building. He claims New York firefighter witnesses say that a series of purposefully charged implosions beginning below the ground floors moving upward actually brought the buildings down.

The author suggests that a new Pearl Harbor was sought as a rallying force to unite the country.

Religious implication: Griffin requests that Christians reassess and reinvestigate this painfully tragic event. How valuable is human life when it comes to achieving our goals and objectives of which money and power are major?

I wrote none of these books. I just read them. Perhaps they are inflammatory fairy tales that have wrought much damage. Perhaps, they contain major threads of truth.

Nature itself causes enough natural disasters; man doesn’t need to make them, just minister to them.

The Rev. ALPHONSO LYONS is pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church, 305 S. Madison Park Terrace, Peoria. You can write to him in care of the Journal Star, 1 News Plaza, Peoria, IL 61643, send a fax to 686-3296 or send e-mail to


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