Is The Bible Good For Black People?

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[New York News: Harlem Debate]

Following on the phenomenal success of last month’s debate, the second "Great Harlem Debate" will take place on Sunday, January 11, 2009, 3:P.M. at Salem United Methodist Church located at 211 W 129th Street at the corner of Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. in Harlem.

The debate topic: IS THE BIBLE GOOD FOR BLACK PEOPLE, Yes or No?, will likely provide some fireworks.

This loaded question will be explored by two teams of theologians, activists, educators and biblical scholars arguing either the yes side or the no side of the question. Debate moderator, Dr. James McIntosh, who a psychiatrist and the Co-Chair of Committee To Eliminate Media Offensive to African Peoples (CEMOTAP) said that the topic is a natural follow-up to the immensely successful first Great Harlem Debate, which centered around the question, "The Obama Election, Was It Good For Black People, Yes or No?."

"Since Barack Obama has just announced that he will be taking his oath of office using Abraham Lincoln's Bible, we thought this would be the perfect time to discuss his, literal, first act of office," says McIntosh.

Does the fact that the Bible remains the best selling book of all times confirm its usefulness and, or relevance for Black people today?

"No," declares one team, consisting of Omowale Clay of the activist group December 12th movement, Nellie Bailey of the Harlem Tenants Association, Dr. James Conyers, a Keane College historian and anthropologist and, Attorney Joseph Mack, a New Testament Scholar.

The Bible has many Anti-African references, says Mack. "Some concepts such as intelligent design of the universe are just unscientific and bad for Black people," he says. Mack’s team will be pitted against a team of equally qualified scholars and activists who say the Bible is good for Black People.

Among them are Reverend Allen Pinckney, Senior Pastor of Salem United Methodist Church, Reverend Conrad Tillard of Brooklyn's Nazarene Congregational Church, Dr. Rosalind Jeffries, Art Historian and Kemetic Scholar and Muslim Minister Abdul Hafeez Muhammad.

Jeffries who is the wife of Professor Leonard Jeffries says, "Many Kemetic Scholars use ancient history to condemn the bible but I use the history to show the origin of the concepts and support the value of the teachings."

Although the participants on the "yes" side have differences in their beliefs, they all agree that the Bible is good for Black people.

A panel of judges comprised of community dignitaries will provide brief commentary on the presentations and strive to bring a unifying clarity. They include, educator Dr. Marimba Ani, educator Batin Ashante, youthful poet Autum Ashante, journalist Playthell Benjamin, educator Jitu Weusi, CEMOTAP Co-chair Betty Dopson, broadcasting pioneer Bob Law, activist Ollie McClean and WBAI program manager Bernard White.

Sid Wilson chairman of the Family and Friends of Dr. Mutulu Shakur says, "Great debate number one showed that our community is starving for information and seriously presented discourse on issues affecting our daily lives."

Admission to the event is free but there will be a free will collection with proceeds going toward the legal support committee of Dr. Mutulu Shakur, an activist and a healer who pioneered in treating substance abusers with acupuncture.

Shakur is the father of Tupac Shakur. Dr. Shakur's supporters say that Shakur is an innoccent man who was in fact framed by a crooked police officer. That police officer, Athelston Kelson was recently convicted of bank robbery.

Admission is free. The public is invited. Call 347-531-8936 for additional information.

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