In the wake of the Emanuel AME massacre, African-American churches need to review their security protocols. Dr. Freddie Haynes, Sr. Pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church, joined Roland Martin on NewsOne Now to discuss the need for enhanced security at African-American houses of worship.
Haynes told Martin, host of NewsOne Now, “The Black church has been perhaps the most welcoming and open institution in all of society. As a matter of fact, it has been the place where people come and we have hospitality ministries.”
“The church is most vulnerable to the kinds of racist and demonic attacks,” Haynes said. He later added the Black church has to have security because “people feel so free to come in and that means any and everybody can come in and that means you never know who might come with certain motives.”
Martin highlighted the fact that most churches in America are small churches that cannot afford to hire armed security, they rely on the “hope” that nothing happens to their congregations.
NewsOne contributor Doshon Farad explained, “Elijah Muhammad suggested, as well as Louis Farrakhan and others who subscribe to that ideology, that all African-American houses of worship should institute some sort of search procedure before people entered the sanctuary as a result of what had taken place in the past where ‘White supremacists were running up the isles’ of houses of worship.”
For many, being searched prior to entering into a church is unacceptable. NewsOne Now panelist Candice T. Burns said she “could not imagine a circumstance” where she or her family would have to enter a church and “pass through some type of armed guard or some kind of security check.”
Dr. Wilmer Leon did not necessarily agree, saying, “There has to be a balance that has to be struck and people have to make decisions and have to make sacrifices.”
He continued, “We are a free and open society. And as a free and open society, you have to make decisions about, ‘are you going to allow these types of actions to change your approach, are you going to succumb to the threat,’ or are you going to set up armed guards in front of Black Churches for protection like many Jewish synagogues do.”
Armstrong Williams, who is a relative of Clementa Pinckney, the slain pastor of Emanuel AME Church, said, “Just as security has changed at airports — security has to adjust at churches.”
Watch Roland Martin, Pastor Freddie Haynes, Armstrong Williams, Dr. Wilmer Leon, Candice Burns, and Doshon Farad discuss the needs for better equipped security at Black churches in America in the video clip above.
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