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Tag: Jesus Loves the Little Children

Blacks

black sin colors

Race is a social construct used to sort people into groups according to skin color, birth parents, geography, melanin levels, and DNA. As a child in an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) Sunday school, I was taught with the song Jesus Loves the Little Children to categorize people as red, yellow, black, and white. Later, the brown skin tone was added to the ditty.

Video Link

Recently, MSNBC host Joy Reid educated a C-Span caller about the use of words such as negro and Black.

The caller asked:

Around the time of Medgar Evers, you know, you had the signs of, you know, Negroes and colored people, this and, you know, all of that. Why are we still using the synonym Black? There are no Black people. If we’re going to start calling immigrants that come through the border brown people, let’s call the brown people, all the brown people, brown people and, like, really take hold of the narrative instead of, like, I don’t know if people have actually looked up the color black in the dictionary, It’s not something, why would you want to call your children that?

The caller also argued that black means “darkness, void,” saying “You know, that’s part of the discrimination. We are not black people. We are brown.” (It seems to me the caller was Black.)

Reid, who is Black, replied:

Because the term Negro was, is a made up term that was made up by white supremacists in order to label Black people who came from multiple ethnic groups and throw them all together. So when Africans were taken in slavery to America, you’re mixing tribes that had no genetic relationship other than all being Negro. And so the idea of whiteness and blackness was invented in America. It didn’t exist before the 16th century. No white people in Europe who are all different ethnicities, whether they’re Italian or Greek or British or German, they didn’t call themselves white.

And so when people reclaimed the term black in the 1960s, it was because they had decided to empower themselves. It was a term that felt to them more powerful than simply using the term Negro, which had been invented by enslavers. So I don’t see any problem with black. Black is a term that can mean power. It can mean beauty. It doesn’t have to mean darkness and horror.

Much like with preferred pronouns, when I want to know how a person wants to be identified, I ask them. Now, that’s a novel thought, right? 🙂 I don’t assume how they self-identify. I grew up in a home and a generation where it was normal to call Blacks negroes or niggers. Mexicans were called spicks and Asians were called slant eyes or mongoloids. My parents were Jesus-loving, John Birch-supporting racists, and so was I well into adulthood. I regret being so, my only justification being that was how I was raised, that was what was modeled to me, and it was the only thing I knew. When you know better, you do better — or you should anyway.

As a writer, I want to properly and accurately identify people. Years ago, a gay person educated me about how the words homosexual or homosexuality, much like words such as sodomy and sodomite, are generally viewed as slurs. Knowing this, I stopped using the words unless I’m describing the views of Evangelical bigots. I now use the LGBTQ acronym or what the individual letters mean.

As far as I can ascertain, I have never had a lot of Black readers. Some, but not many. When I wanted to know whether I should use the terms African-American or Black, I contacted my Black readers and asked them what they preferred. To the person, they said they preferred to be identified as Black. Several of them yearned for a world where we didn’t divide people according to skin color, but as long as they were going to be identified in this way, they wanted to be called Black. And that’s what I have done going forward.

Black when referring to someone’s race should be capitalized. Carolyn and I discussed this issue, concluding that if we are going to capitalize Black we should also capitalize White. And so it is. The goal is to not only accurately identify people, but to also identify them as they personally self-identify or in the manner that their community as a whole self-identifies.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Does Jesus Really Love All the Little Children of the World?

jesus loves the little children

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red and yellow, black and white
They are precious in His sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world

Jesus died for all the children
All the children of the world
Red and yellow, black and white
They are precious in His sight
Jesus died for all the children of the world

— Lyrics to the song Jesus Loves the Little Children

Evangelicals typically believe that Jesus loves all the children in the world, especially zygotes and fetuses. Church children are taught songs such as the one above, impressing upon them that Jesus loves them bunches and bunches and bunches. Granted, Calvinists don’t believe Jesus loves all the children in the world; just the elect. Outside of Calvinists, Evangelicals generally promote the idea that Jesus — who is God — really, really, really loves children.

Jesus is presented to children as their BFF, an ever-present, personal friend. This idea is reinforced in sermons, Sunday school lessons, and junior church programs. Countless Evangelical children have sung the song Jesus Loves Me:

Jesus loves me!
This I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak but He is strong.

Jesus loves me!
Loves me still,
Tho I’m very weak and ill,
That I might from sin be free,
Bled and died upon the tree.

Jesus loves me!
He who died
Heaven’s gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.

Jesus loves me!
He will stay
Close beside me all the way.
Thou hast bled and died for me;
I will henceforth live for Thee.

Chorus
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Evangelical children enter adolescence wholeheartedly believing Jesus really loves them. However, as they face and experience the pressures of growing into adulthood, they often begin to question whether Jesus really does love them. Doubts and questions creep in, and by the time they graduate from college, many Evangelical children wonder if Jesus really loves them and has a wonderful plan for their lives. Life brings challenges and realities that cause them to question whether Jesus is their BFF. When teens bring their doubts and questions to their parents, pastors, and teachers, they are encouraged to faith-it; just because Jesus seems distant, indifferent, or nonexistent doesn’t mean he is.

For many of these students, post-high school, they will drift away from church, no longer believing what their elders are selling. As these young adults examine the world they were brought into, they wonder, “Does Jesus really love all the children of the world?” The evidence suggests he doesn’t; that, at best, he is an indifferent, uncaring, impersonal God. They see war, violence, sickness, disease, and starvation, wondering, “Where is the Jesus who loves all the children of the world?”

When they turn their eyes to their Republican/Libertarian parents, pastors, and teachers what do they see? Do they see Evangelical Christians who love all the children of the world?” No, they see policies that seem to focus on the unborn, but are negligent and hostile towards the born. Most Evangelical Republicans/Libertarians oppose the social safety net; policies and programs such as free student lunches, summer lunch programs, food stamps, Medicaid, and Section 8 housing. Most of them are pro-war, knowing that innocent civilians, especially women and children suffer horrifically and often die as men and women fight to the death over real estate. Few seem to have a problem with draconian border policies in Texas that place concertina wire in border rivers that could severely injure and kill undocumented children trying to cross the river.

Many Evangelical young adults conclude that the “love” they had been taught is a lie; that whoever Jesus might be, he is not a man who loves all the children of the world. They see in their parents, pastors, and teachers, people who say one thing but do another. Droves of young Evangelicals are exiting the church stage left, never to return. The reasons for this exodus are many, but one reason is the disconnect between what is said and reality.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Sacrilegious Humor: Jesus Loves the Little Zygotes by Frank Zindler

frank zindler

This is the latest installment in the Sacrilegious Humor series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a comedy bit that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please email me the name of the bit or a link to it.

Today’s video is Frank Zindler singing Jesus Loves the Little Zygotes.

Video Link

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Jesus Loves the Little Children, All the Children of the World

jesus loves the little children

Snark and humor ahead

For those of us who grew up in the Evangelical church, we likely sang Jesus Loves the Little Children in Sunday school or junior church. The song goes something like this:

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Black and yellow, red and white
They are precious in his sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world

Jesus cares for all the children
All the children of the world
Black and yellow, red and white
They are all precious in His sight
Jesus cares for the children of the world

Jesus came to save the children
All the children of the world
Black and yellow, red and white
They are all precious in His sight
Jesus came to save the children of the world

Did you start singing along?  Can’t get the song out of your head? Sorry.

According to the Share Faith website, the original lyrics were somewhat different:

Refrain:

Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in His sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Jesus died for all the children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in His sight,
Jesus died for all the children of the world.

Jesus calls the children dear,
Come to me and never fear,
For I love the little children of the world;
I will take you by the hand,
Lead you to the better land,
For I love the little children of the world.

Jesus is the Shepherd true,
And He’ll always stand by you,
For He loves the little children of the world;
He’s a Savior great and strong,
And He’ll shield you from the wrong,
For He loves the little children of the world.

I am coming, Lord, to Thee,
And Your soldier I will be,
For You love the little children of the world;
And Your cross I’ll always bear,
And for You I’ll do and dare,
For You love the little children of the world.

Written in the late 1800’s by Christian pastor C. Herbert Woolston and put to music by George F. Root, the song is one of the most popular songs in American Christianity. Conspicuously absent from the song is any mention of people with brown skin color. In the late 1800s, the brown horde from the south had not yet invaded the United States and I suspect Woolston considered brown-skinned people a tan version of white. 

According to WikipediaJesus Loves the Little Children is sung to Root’s 1864 Civil War tune Tramp! Tramp! Tramp! Here are the original lyrics for Root’s tune:

First Verse:

In the prison cell I sit,
Thinking Mother dear, of you,
And our bright and happy home so far away,
And the tears they fill my eyes
Spite of all that I can do,
Tho’ I try to cheer my comrades and be gay.

Chorus:

Tramp, tramp, tramp, the boys are marching,
Cheer up comrades they will come,
And beneath the starry flag
We shall breathe the air again,
Of the freeland in our own beloved home

I suspect if this song was written today it would not include the last line of the verse ‘Tho’ I try to cheer my comrades and be gay.’ But then again, Evangelicals might want to leave the line as is. After all, since it says “be gay” it reinforces their belief that gays choose to be homosexuals.

I’ve heard a rendition of Jesus Loves the Little Children that includes brown in the race jingle, but I found that adding brown to the song made the lyrics clunky.

Calvinists can’t sing Jesus Loves the Little Children due to its heretical Arminian theology.  Perhaps they could change the song to:

Jesus died for all the elect children,
All the elect children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
All the elect are precious in His sight,
Jesus died for all the elect children of the world.

To make the song more inclusive, some churches and songbooks replace the ‘Red and yellow, black and white line’ with ‘Ev’ry colour, ev’ry race, all are cover’d by His grace’. Another modern adaptation has a verse that goes like this:

Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Fat and skinny, short and tall,
Jesus loves them one and all.

When I was the co-pastor of Community Baptist Church in Elmendorf, Texas, the church and my fellow pastor Pat Horner had actually gone through the Baptist Hymnal and corrected the words that were at odds with their Calvinistic theology.  ‘Rescue the perishing’ became “rescued when perishing’. We can’t have Calvinistic Christians rescuing sinners, that’s God’s job.

While Jesus Loves the Little Children of the World is sung regularly in thousands of American Evangelical and Independent Baptist churches, most of the people singing the song are white. Jesus might love red, yellow, black, brown, and white children, but Evangelicals prefer they go elsewhere to church. This is especially so in the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church movement.

Originally, this post was meant to be about the whiteness of the Family Research Council (FRC). It morphed into something completely different, but let me finish this post with a couple of screenshots from FRC’s staff/leadership/team page. These screenshots will visually show what the average Evangelical church looks like:

frc staff
frc leadership team
frc experts
frc team
frc team 2

Walk into the average Evangelical church and this is what you will see. If Evangelicals want to point the finger at one reason for their decline, they should point to the subtle and not so subtle racism that flourishes in its churches. While they pride themselves in being past the days of racist Bob Jones University, their churches still reflect that they are a whites-only club (and overwhelmingly voted for racist Donald Trump). Missionaries are sent overseas to evangelize the red, yellow, brown, and black, while the most segregated place in America is the local Jesus-loving Evangelical, IFB, and Southern Baptist church.

Yes, I am painting with broad strokes in this post. I am aware of Evangelical attempts, in some corners of America, to become more racially inclusive. However, most churches and pastors find this hard to do since they know history clearly shows that Jesus was a white man.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Bruce Gerencser