Pastor Ken Hutcherson and Rabbi Daniel Lapin joined Glenn on the radio show this morning to talk about the new Civil Rights movement they see developing in American. For Hutcherson, who lived through the Civil Rights fight of the 1960s, the similarities he sees between then and now are staggering. Race may no longer be an issue, but our freedom of religion is under attack.
“I have to tell you it is a very, very rare occasion where I am in a room and I am the least controversial figure in the room,” Glenn joked. “Rabbi Daniel Lapin is here. He's the president of the American Alliance of Jews and Christians and also Ken Hutcherson. He is the pastor at the Antioch Bible Church in Seattle, Washington, and has been in the fight on multiple levels his whole life. [He is] also former Dallas Cowboy, and I think that's worth mentioning.”
During the Restoring Honor Rally in Washington D.C., David Barton, Pastor Hutcherson, Rabbi Lapin and others revived the Black Robe Regiment. It has since gone to work quietly – providing leadership in communities around the country. But given the threat religion faces in the United States today, Glenn thinks it time for that to change. He believes the group needs to move to the forefront.
“I think things need to change and that's why I asked you and other members of the Black‑Robe Regiment to come today,” Glenn said. “What do you think – where do you think we are historically? And where do you think we're headed?”
“Well, you know, I think that one of the mistakes that we all make is we look back at the Sixties and we say that was the Civil Rights Movement. The reality is that there are a lot of civil rights that we Americans are blessed with and many natural rights,” Rabbi Lapin explained. “The racial struggle of the Sixties was one. It was a subset of a vaster expanse. It's just that the others did not appear to be under threat back then. Now it is becoming increasingly evident to almost everybody but a recent immigrant from outer Mongolia, illegal immigrant I should mention that, yeah, that there are a lot of civil rights under attack now.”
For Pastor Hutcherson, who lived through the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, the parallels he sees to today’s society are remarkable. “So all of a sudden now we're being discriminated against our equal rights, we're being discriminated against our constitutional rights, we're being discriminated against our Christian rights, and it's like it's apathy sitting there and we need to wake up.”
“What was it like growing up in Alabama in the 1960s,” Glenn asked. “You saw the Freedom Bus.”
“I saw it. I was there. 9-years-old. May 14, 1961. And I will never forget how angry I was,” Pastor Hutcherson said. “I was viciously angry. And the reason why I was angry was not at the white people because I've been treated that way all my life, not being able to get on the bus except in the back, two water fountains, colored and white water fountains. Three bathrooms: white females, white males, colored. And you had to knock on the door to make sure you didn't walk in on someone else of the opposite sex.”
“Sitting at the back counter, going to the back window, that's not something I heard. I lived that. I lived that, bro. I was there,” he continued. “Seeing the bus turn over, seeing it set afire, seeing the police come in sticking those big German shepherds on black people as they were, you know, leaving from the bus, no protection. And I hated Martin Luther King. I hated him with a passion. I thought that he was the worst thing that could ever happen to black people. You know why? Because he took a non-balanced stand and says don't fight back, serve those who's treating you that way, and be kind. I did not understand that as a young man and did not understand that until I became a Christian. And regardless how you feel about someone, you need to serve them and you need to love them.”
The Pastor explained that it was not Martin Luther King’s message of nonviolence that appealed to him, but the more violent and radical ideology of the Black Panthers. But everything changed when he found Christ.
“So what changed,” Glenn asked.
“I met Christ. When I became a Christian, I realized that I had hated white people for so long and had such a prejudice against whites, all of a sudden I meet Jesus and he's saying, you know what, I died on the cross for white people too,” Pastor Hutcherson explained. “And that broke me. I hadn't talked to my mother at that time in eight years… And after that two things happened: One was I had to call my mom and apologize, tell her I became a Christian. And then I had to say, okay, God, you have to turn me around and lead me to deal with white people.”
“Here’s the thing that you said to me on the plane yesterday that I thought was fascinating because I believe people don't realize yet,” Glenn said. “They still refuse to look into the abyss and they don't realize what is headed their way. Things are going to get much, much worse, especially when it comes to the violation of civil rights. And you said you work too hard as a black man to now fight it again. Explain.”
“Okay. I think it's pretty simple to understand. Growing up in Alabama, fighting all the civil rights issues, going in the back door, drinking from certain water fountains, not being able to go to school, down the street. I had to walk by three white schools to get to my all black school because I couldn't afford a bus. We had to walk.,” Pastor Hutcherson said. “And all that fighting to get equal rights came around. We won. Man, it's great. We're still fighting some issues. But after all that fighting to become equal as a black man, Glenn, I'm not up to putting up with having to fight all over again to get my equal rights as a Christian. Not going to happen.”
“And that's where we are,” Glenn said. “As we begin a new journey and a new historic movement that will be led by people in the pulpits. And if they don't, you know, we don't survive. But I'm convinced that I don't – I believe everybody has a calling in life. I believe you're called to things, and you don't need some big fancy education to do anything in life. What you need is passion, you need some intelligence to be able to figure out and study things out in your own mind, figure out how to find the answers you're looking for, and you need – you need the backbone to stand. And I think that if we just start teaching these universal principles, those who are too worried about their tithing and too worried about their congregation, you know, falling off, they are going to find themselves in the dustbin of history anyway. So it won't matter. And others will come in and replace them.”