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Monday, March 12, 2012

Rev. O'Neil Dozier's Request that Romney Renounces Racist Mormon Religion

Rev. O'Neil Dozier
Rev. O'Neil Dozier is the senior pastor for The Worldwide Christian Center Church on Pompano Beach, Florida. He released a statement over the weekend demanding that Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney renounces his "racist Mormon religion."

"The purpose of this request is to foster and maintain good race relations here in America," the press release says. "The Mormon religion is prejudiced against Blacks, Jews and the Native American Indians. These allegations are substantiated and validated by the writings of the former Prophets and Seers of the Mormon Church."

In other words, Dozier believes that the LDS church should be renounced because it's past leadership has held controversial views regarding race.

But if this is the case, shouldn't Rev. Dozier renounces his own religion, as well? After all, both the Curse of Cain and the Curse of Ham are incidents of the Biblical "Prophets and Seers" promoting racist values. Some may argue that these verses of scripture are subject to interpretation, and that they did not necessarily teach racism, but it is undeniable that these verses were used all through the Middle Ages to support serfdom, and well into modern times to support the Colonial African Slave Trade.

So if Romney should renounce the LDS church because past leadership may have held racist views, then shouldn't Rev. Dozier renounce Christianity for the same reason?

One may say, "Sure, Christianity has been just as racist as Mormonism or just about any other organization, but that was in the past. We have renounced those practices," but again, the same can be said of the LDS church.

In 1954, Church President David O. McKay taught:
“There is not now, and there never has been a doctrine in this church that the negroes are under a divine curse. There is no doctrine in the church of any kind pertaining to the negro. ‘We believe’ that we have a scriptural precedent for withholding the priesthood from the negro. It is a practice, not a doctrine, and the practice someday will be changed. And that’s all there is to it.”
This came forty-one years before Southern Baptists officially renounced racial doctrines.

In addition, in 2006, then Church president Gordon B. Hinckley declared that “no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church. Let us all recognize that each of us is a son or daughter of our Father in Heaven, who loves all of His children.”

This position was reaffirmed recently, when the church released a statement on another matter, saying;
"The Church’s position is clear—we believe all people are God’s children and are equal in His eyes and in the Church. We do not tolerate racism in any form... We condemn racism, including any and all past racism by individuals both inside and outside the Church."
However, I don't think Rev. Dozier would renounce Christianity, no matter how racist its history is, because I'm not sure his motivation in releasing this statement was as altruistic as he says. After all, Rev. Dozier claims to be an outspoken social activist, but he openly criticizes gay rights and once declared that homosexuality was  "something so nasty and disgusting that it makes God want to vomit."

"Oh, but let's not use scripture to
discriminate against a whole group
of people..."

The point is, I'm not sure he's terribly concerned with Christian scripture being twisted to make inappropriate judgments against a group, since he does so himself. In fact, I'm not even sure he's really bothered by the LDS church at all, since he was an ardent supporter of George W. Bush Jr..

 In 2004, Dr. Dozier was enlisted by the Bush-Cheney Campaign Committee to make radio advertisements for President George W. Bush in his bid for re-election. Rev. Dozier is credited with garnishing a record-breaking percentage of the black vote in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties in that election.  The whole time, Rev. Dozier was not at all bothered by the fact the George W. Bush often visited the LDS president, Gordon B. Hinkley for advice and counsel.

"Oh, by the way, a friend of mine totally thinks you're all racist,
but that's OK, because I don't care about black people."

Rev. Dozier, author of the book, Who's On the Lord's Side Politically, is clearly more politically motivated in this case. The release comes shortly after Rick Santorum praised the conservative endorsement of the Florida pastor, who is an honorary chairman of Santorum's Florida campaign, and after Santorum visited Dozier's congregation. 

Dozier's statement is less about social activism or Romney's involvement with the LDS church, and more about Dozier using his position to influence voters and help his favorite candidate.


Anonymous said...

No religious test shall ever be required as a qualifcation to any office or public trust under the United States. US Constitution article VI section III Mr Dozier..you are wrong for judging Gov Romney! Matthew 7:1 "Judge not lest ye be Judged" You do not know what's in his heart to be judgemental. YOU ARE WRONG and God will deal with this..

Cristofer Urlaub said...

Very good point! The Constitution is pretty amazing.

Joe said...

Really loved the website, just found it by searching for Dozier.
Some things Dozier doesn't understand:
The Church of Jesus Christ of LDS was unique among others on their progressive pro-Black stances. Obama's Congregationalists were also some of the most progressive. Congregationalists claim to be first in America to ordain a Black
man to Priesthood in a white Church (before Catholics, Methodists, Dozier's Church (still lynching for 100years after) etc).
Unfortunately, according to the naacp, this man (Haynes, part Black) was run off
when they found out he was Black. Shortly after this Mormons were ordaining full Blacks (1830's).
Anti-Mormons in the 19th Century attacked Mormons for our teachings on equality.
Anti-Mormon attacks eventually turned to rape, massacre, tar and feathers etc. (some 19th Century anti-Mormons were, ironically, leaders of the Church Dozier preaches for).
Some of the first anti-Mormon publications said: “As the promulgators of this extraordinary legend maintain the natural equality of mankind, without excepting the native Indians or the African race, there is little reason to be surprised at the cruel persecution by which they have suffered..."
"The believers in this miserable production, are known by the name of "Mormonites," and their book is commonly called "The book of Mormon."…” Among them is a man of color, a chief man…” (From "Hearken O Ye People" discussing an early Black Mormon leader in 1831, whose "Black Spirituality" greatly influenced the beginning of Mormon thinking)
(From Black lds) The Manifesto of the Mob.
“This manifesto calls for the “removal” of the Mormons. For (among other things, like believing in miracles) : “...inviting free Negroes and mulattoes from other
states to become “Mormons,” and remove and settle among us. This exhibits them
in still more odious colors...."
Joseph Smith taught that all were equal and that if slaves were set free and allowed education they would outshine the highest white dignitaries. He ran for president trying to free slaves in a way that would have avoided the Civil War, and may have avoided later issues in the South.
No one is certain as to why the LDS priesthood restrictions were implemented (evidence indicates it may have been for survival). A statement on the ban was wasn't made until 1852 in a legislative forum, not an ecclesiastical.
Brigham Young did believe in some mainstream Christian teachings (which they may have picked up from the Muslims who first occupied Christian Africa and began slaving), but had also praised Black LDS Elders, denounced racism, pronounced a curse on whites for abuse of slaves, and called upon congress to pass laws protecting minorities.
If you check Black lds org you will see some of the history, and that there are about half a million Black LDS today. My Black LDS family members feel at home in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and we have always felt welcome.

Joe said...

Great website, I'll have to come back later... I never knew Bush said that BTW, sad. I do know that Dozier is a Santorum supporter, and Santorum's church called upon Santorum “…to stop perpetuating ugly racial stereotypes on the campaign trail.” (not to mention that the United nations conference on racism determined that his Church was responsible for the enslavement and genocide of about 100 million....I don't agree, but you''d think Dozier would have something to say on that....?) (search "whitewash genocide" by Thomas Dahlheimer)

Another issue Dozier has (besides the everything else he doesn’t understand about Mormons) is that he misinterprets the BofMormon. Anti-Mormons tend to read LDS scriptures from
a 19th Century point of view. Then they condemn Brigham Young etc, for doing so, even though BY actually lived in the 19th century, and was surrounded by mainstream Christians with truly serious anti-Semitic and racial issues.

People don’t know that most Mormons are probably dark skinned and that ancient Book of Mormon people would not have understood our modern racism issues. If there WERE any racism in the Book it would be that white Europeans are called “gentiles” who lack charity and must seek to be adopted by Native Americans.

Ancient dark skinned writers used symbolic language when describing religiosity and those who wrote the BofM were probably all dark skinned, and were definitely one race, so they couldn't be racist. They called each other “brethren” even when fighting wars, and they couldn't tell the difference between a Lamanite or Nephite except by language and perhaps dress.
If anyone is a "chosen people" in the BofM it is the dark skinned Native
Americans who are descended from Joseph and his Egyptian wife (of Ham, Asia?).
For similar symbolic language examples: the Indians who wrote the Rig-Veda (codified about 600BC) described themselves in terms similar to those used by Book of Mormon people. (See wiki “White Skins:” Anciently…“Religious conversion was
described figuratively as a change in skin color. Similarly, the Rigveda uses
krsna tvac "black skin" as a metaphor for irreligiosity.” “Assignment
of positive and negative connotations of white and black date to the classical

Cristofer Urlaub said...

True. Just to clarify, the George Bush quote was a joke, though he was accused of not caring about black people because of his slow response to Katrina. The point was to show that you can accuse ANYONE of racism if you want. Rev. Dozier doesn't seem to mind that, though.

Other than that, great comment! Very insightful!

Jaymie said...

Obviously the Reverend knows nothing about the LDS church. All he had to do was watch General Conference this past weekend to see how many non-whites are church members....including Larry EchoHawk, who has just resigned as Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Indian Affairs to serve in his new calling as a Seventy. Or maybe he should talk to Alex Boye (who has been a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir) or Gladys Knight, or the thousands of Black church members around the world.....or the Jewish Converts. Shall I go on?

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