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  • By Cara Buckley
  • 06 Sep, 2013
My heart goes out to the Senior Pastoral staff of Freedom House Church tonight. After the backlash of a racist email sent to their volunteers from Pastor Makeda Pennycooke, they are sure to lose members. What is also likely to suffer is their strong reputation of its acceptance of all races.
In Pennycooke’s attempt to protect the bottom line, she damaged it catastrophically. She allowed her insecurity and self image to get in the way of doing her job, which is to spread the word of God through love and acceptance. Instead, she spread the message of deceit, racial profiling, and the love of money (which is the root of all evil).

In Matthew 7:12, Christ teaches us, “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” (NLT)

This verse is commonly known as the Golden Rule. It wraps up all the commandments in a neat little bow. It sums up God’s expectations for his followers. Put simply: treat other people the same way you want to be treated. I wonder if Pennycooke had this within a hundred miles of her thoughts when she wrote that email to the members of her congregation. Would she have liked her superiors telling her to hide in a corner because of her skin color? I highly doubt it.
Not only has she damaged the reputation of Freedom House, but also damaged the reputation of churches everywhere. I wish that churches wouldn’t have a heavy business approach. All I’ve seen come from it is a small congregation and damaged lives. What horrifies me is the amount of attention the press has paid to this incident. Then again, the press only seem to care about stories where the church screws up. This email is one of many negative stamps on the Christian church. With every church caused incident in this country my job get more difficult.
I wish I could say this behavior in the church surprises me, but sadly I’ve seen it before. Church politics sicken me.
HOWEVER, let us not forget the virtue of forgiveness. Freedom House Church’s pastoral staff have issued several apologies. Mistakes were made in a moment of weakness. It happens. What are we if not human? Can any of us say we’ve never said something regrettable in a moment of weakness? I know I can’t. None of us are perfect.

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