The Words of the Fefferman Family
Letter to the Editor of the Unification News About the Million Family March and Minister Farrakhan
Wrestling with the question of the Unification movement's coalition with the National of Islam to support the Million Family March (UNews Oct 200 p. 7), Rev. Levy Daughtery addresses an essential question. Is Farrakhan racist?
Rev. Daugherty answers this question by comparing Farrakhan's teaching that the white man is "the devil" with Rev. Moon's teaching that America is an "archangel nation." While I share Rev. Daughterty's hope that Minister Farrakhan will not ultimately turn out to be a racist, I'm afraid this approach to the question does not really take the bull, or the devil, by the horns.
Rev. Moon's view of America as an "archangel nation" functions to give the nation positive guidance concerning the role it must play in the providential process of restoration. Min. Farrakhan's statements about whites as devils, on the other hand, give no guidance to whites about their role. It is aimed at blacks, whom he believes need this kind of "medicine" to give them courage, independence, and self esteem.
I do believe that Min. Farrakahn is changing. He recently said publicly that the teachings of Elijah Mohammed were a medicine that, like chemotherapy, could be harmful to the health of the patient if taken "beyond their time." And clearly his speech at the MFM itself was far more universalist and inclusive than anything the Hon. Elijah Mohammed ever taught.
But hard questions still remain. Minister Farrakhan leads a movement that officially calls for a ban on interracial marriage and the establishment of a separate nation for American blacks (points 4 and 9 of the official "Muslim Program" published each week in the "Final Call" newspaper). Until these two points are officially renounced, there can be no doubt that both Minister Farrakhan and his movement are still racist.
Because of this, I hope the Unification movement will be careful in future coalition efforts with them. In particular I hope that stronger efforts will be made to ensure that the official platform of marches we participate in more accurately reflect unificationist values than did the platform of the Million Family March. I also hope that we do not rush blindly into future alliances with the Nation of Islam without carefully weighing the consequences.
This is not to say that it was a mistake to support the MFM or that we should disassociate ourselves entirely from Minister Farrakhan. Rev. Moon has declared that Min. Farrakahn is a John the Baptist figure for the Islamic world. If so, then just as John the Baptist should have united with Jesus and adopted Jesus' teachings, so Minister Farrakhan needs unite with Rev. Moon and adopt his teachings. We need to help him do that by taking the opportunity to teach his people and even confront about polices they support which are unacceptable to us. Minister Farrakhan's movement still teaches that interracial marriage should be banned and that black Americans should create a separate nation from whites. Until those teachings are changed, can we really say he is fulfilling his role as John the Baptist to his people?
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