The American Dream has really good PR.
October 7, 2014 12:20 PM Subscribe
Guernica: In propagating a vision of life that's about wealth in the individual, perhaps the influence of these churches lies in what they obscure.Meara Sharma at Guernica talks to Anthony Pinn about the ongoing embrace of prosperity gospel by preachers and parishioners at black megachurches across America: Divine Acquisition.
Anthony Pinn: Right. It hides the larger problem. The problem is poverty. And it hides the problem. We often associate black churches with a history of protest. But prosperity gospel and megachurches tend to be rather soft on political issues. T.D. Jakes doesn't take a major stand on political issues. Creflo Dollar certainly doesn't.
But it's the American way. So it seems to me that what they are doing is training black people to be even more American. To buy into this system rather than critique it. And if you're not gaining from it, to assume that the problem's with you. It provides a spiritual lesson that's very similar to the idea of "poor people want to be poor; if they just worked harder they could have more." Here, spiritual people could have more if they were just more spiritual and lived out scripture more authentically. So the prosperity preachers are training people to be better US citizens [laughs].
Guernica: How, specifically, might black megachurches begin doing things differently?Prosperity theology previously.
Anthony Pinn: Publicly, and consistently, point out the problems in the US system that generate the issues that we encounter. Point out and critique problems of class, of gender, and race. Be vocal about this.
But instead they're selling snake oil. They're providing folks with strategies that ultimately will not make a sustained difference. But this is the genius of the system. It's a loop. And it always points back to the failure of the parishioner who's not getting the good stuff, and no one raises the question concerning the system that feeds off of impoverishment.
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