UPDATE: Kent State University has stated that it did not sponsor the event, nor did it authorize the use of its logo on promotional flyers.
Update: The Kent Conservative reached out to an organizer of the event to correct any inaccuracies of the initial reporting. Such inaccuracies include misrepresentation of quotes and audience size.
On April 17th, 2018, Kent State University hosted an event titled “Is Christianity the White Man’s Religion?”
The event featured various cosponsors such as the Impact Movement and the Jude 3 Project. The event featured a panel of 3 speakers: Lisa Fields MDIV, the founder of the Jude 3 Project, Sho Baraka, and Vince Bantu PhD.
The event commenced with the panel opening the floor to the audience, allowing the crowd to showcase any prior knowledge of the topic, or any subject they are looking forward to covering. The first gentleman to speak stated his concern for “young individuals on the street being pulled away from Christianity,” which has lead to the general “whitewashing of Christianity.”
Another gentleman echoed this concern for whitewashing, stating that “Christianity originated in Africa, and Europeans merely took it and made it their own.” The gentleman ended his statement by asking “who benefits from the billions of dollars from Christianity?”, asking “is it the white people and the businesses, or is it the black people?”
The panel then began with Bantu speaking on the history of Christianity. Baraka started off by initially stating that “Christianity, is in fact, a white man’s religion” because of “identity politics.” Baraka argued that identity politics is what “makes humans subconsciously assign certain cultures to different groups.”
Bantu used this definition to explain that a large portion of black people don’t want to have anything to do with Christianity because it doesn’t fit their culture, rather it fits the western and white culture.
The panel continued with Baraka speaking more about the geographical history of Christianity. Baraka stated that like many concepts, Christianity has suffered due to “bad storytelling.” Baraka explained that because of this paradigm, “the settler colonialists could do whatever they wanted with people who didn’t fit their description of Christianity.”
Baraka then spoke about Jesus, referring to him as “a Palestinian Jew living in an oppressive state under an oppressive regime,” which Bantu argued has fueled the “use of Christianity as an oppressive theology.” Baraka stated that to fight against this oppression, “we must decolonize against this American privileged theology.”
The panel ended with Fields speaking on the ties between slavery, former communities, and Christianity. Fields stated that “slave owners redefined Christianity, and took away the scriptures from the slaves.”
Fields argued that the slave owners took away Christianity from the slaves because “Christians could not be slaves, and therefore if Christianity is taken away from them, slavery is justified.” Fields also touched on how after slavery ended, “white communities would only offer unhealthy food to black people,” reasoning that “if the white people couldn’t kill the black people with guns, they could kill them with unhealthy food.”
The director of the sponsoring organization, Kent State Impact Movement, Darnell Wilson, reached out to the Kent Conservative for further clarification on the event. Wilson stated “None of the panelists nor does our organization believe that Christianity founded for and by white men.” Wilson added, “that was literally the antithesis of the event.
The event ended with a “Questions and Answers” portion, but much of the same ideas were repeated then as well.
Over 350 people attended this event.