a Negro infidel quest for freedom, justice and equality

A Godless Negro

In Uncategorized on February 10, 2010 at 5:45 am

If your religion hasn’t done any more for you than it has, you need to forget it anyway.” — Malcolm X!

After all is said and done, there is no good reason to believe that our success depends upon God. Whether God exists or not, as we continue into the 21st century, it should be clear that human thought and human action must be at the center of our movements. All of our accomplishments can be explained in terms that are clearly and strictly human. There were no credible reports of angels on hand during the Battle of Gettysburg or Sherman’s March on Atlanta. There was no burning bush that spoke to Martin Luther King during the 1963 March on Washington. No one turned into a pillar of salt at the Million Man March. All of these events came to pass as a result of human thought and human action. And there is no good reason to assume that God has been responsible for any of our incredible achievements.

Black humanists and freethinkers have long been involved in Black intellectualism and activism. Hubert Henry Harrison was one of the greatest orators of the early part of the 20th century. He was a leading thinker and editor of the newspaper, the Negro World, of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association. Under Harrison’s leadership, the paper became the largest selling Black paper in the world.

A. Philip Randolph founded and led the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and called for the first March on Washington. He was the “grandfather” of the Civil Rights Movement. He became one of the “Big Six” major civil rights leaders, and signed Humanist Manifesto II in 1973.

Joel Augustus Rogers was an influential Black anthropologist. He wrote such books as From Superman to Man, As Nature Leads, 100 Amazing Facts About the Negro, three volumes of Sex and Race, two volumes of World’s Great Men of Color, and Africa’s Gift to America. He challenged the racist scholarship of his day and spent 50 years researching Black history.

The Black Panthers practiced what Huey Newton called “revolutionary humanism.” Their 10-point program was completely secular and they wisely heeded Malcolm’s call to keep religion out of their organization. Their program was human-centered and they were primarily concerned with concrete problems such as eliminating police brutality and feeding the hungry.

Maulana Karenga is a leading Black studies scholar. He is a former leader of the activist organization United Slaves, and he spoke at the Million Man March. Karenga established Kwanzaa—a major secular celebration of Black life and culture. He has shown that one can contribute to Black uplift without making a belief in God central to Black existence.

Black humanists, freethinkers, atheists, rationalists, and agnostics will continue to contribute to human advancement. But now is the time for us to come out of the closet. We Blacks are a diverse people, and this is nothing to be ashamed of. We have many religions, and some of us have none at all. We should be no more ashamed of our non-theism than we are of our African ancestry. It is time once and for all to stand up and be counted. We have a very proud past, and if we courageously defend our worldview, we will be in an even better position to forge a glorious future.

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  1. Interesting…I LOVE THIS!

  2. I find your piece to be extremely thought provoking, not to mention clever.

    While I do believe that “the church” oftentimes is an albatross to independent minds, the catalyst of negative thinking, ignorance and other prejudice which hold Black may people back – spirituality does give deeper meaning and substance to life.

    I am Black and Gay. I have a brain. I am a free thinker. I am an activist. I fight for causes I believe in, but I also have a heart. My spirituality and my intellect are connected. I DO believe in a higher power. But, I don’t adhere to society’s definition of Christianity per se. I don’t buy organized religion and I don’t go to church.

    I did a piece on my blog, Boniface Now, about homophobia in the Black Community because I think that it is pervasive, pathetic and outrageous that it exists. Black Americans understand what discrimination is. We know what it feels like to be hated, yet many of us hate LGBT people. Why? Because of the church thing; because of organized religion. Because of society’s rules.

    Independent thinking is vital to human advancement, but having a heart will help any cause even more.

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