On August 28th, Al Sharpton helped to rally 1,000 ministers for a March on Washington, which he said marks one of the largest interfaith gatherings to protest racism in America. He is calling it a "March for (social) Justice."
According to an agitated Sharpton, the march is a direct response to the "dangerous ways that President Donald Trump has embraced racism", and he intends to call out how Trump has further emboldened white supremacists. Sharpton, a longtime civil rights activist who has frequently spoken out against Trump in the past, said he is outraged at the ways the president and his administration have tried to roll back the civil rights progress America has made over the decades.
Sharpton has led countless marches in the past, but he said Monday’s gathering will mark a historic moment as hundreds within the interfaith community will march through Washington in the name of civil rights. While many have criticized the effectiveness of marching as a means of protest, Sharpton said that it is not the only method of protesting and that he is far from the only civil rights advocate pushing for racial equality. Although strategies and personal attitudes around activism in the black community vary, Sharpton said that there is nothing wrong with “a respectful difference in tactics” and also acknowledged the power of nonviolent youth-led activist groups and mass movements like Black Lives Matter.
Sharpton also shared his own grievances with religious groups, expressing dissatisfaction with the level of action faith-based communities have collectively taken to confront Trump and his administration.
“Many people criticize marching yet do not understand what marching is for" said Sharpton. "The job of marching is to dramatize an issue!” And dramatize it he did, with help from several Adventist Pastors according to the NAD Best Practices for Adventists Facebook Page. Some pictures from that page:
Some of the pastors who participated in this Social Justice March, expressed their excitement at being involved in it. Other individuals on Facebook had misgivings about Adventist pastors participating in partisan political demonstrations.
Some affirmative comments from pastors and others:
"Glad to have spent a good part of my birthday with colleagues & friends at the Ministers' March in Washington DC, celebrating the 54th Anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" civil rights march."
I only learned about this last week from my Rabbi-colleague here in California. She marched; I wish I could have too (La Sierra).
I stand in spirit with my fellow pastors for justice.
Well done, brother! Always so proud of the work you do. And for standing up for what is right.
So Adventist church leaders took part in Al Sharpton's political campaign against Trump?
I'm not sure if it is refreshing or concerning to see our ministers joining in such politically pronounced protests. We need to speak truth to power, and yet, it seems prudent to avoid the appearance of partisanship.
"To me, it's very concerning! I'm troubled by it."
"For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God shall remain forever" (1 John 2:17).