Charles Marsh: But, but why should have to forgive those men in the Brandon jail?
John Perkins: It was for my own healing. I’m in the hospital, man. (Laughter) I’m in the hospital, I want to read the Bible again. I still believe it, and I don’t want it convicting me anymore, I don’t want it telling me what I’m supposed to do, I still believe it.
CM: So you felt a call to bear witness to the Gospel to those men, to your oppressors.
JP: You making me a hero. He was called to join me in the violence of Jackson. Yes, it worked that way. But it ain’t that way. It ain’t that way, ain’t no hero, what makes a hero is they’re gonna enter the pain of the people and they do what they know to do at that moment. Wasn’t no accident that this pilot landed that plane on the Hudson. You can see he had the integrity and the skills to do that anyway. He became a hero because he done it in the midst of a crisis. Now that–and so we’re not as heroic as we make, I think it’s a matter of us entering into the pain of the people. That’s the Moses. Those are the visions you see in the Old Testament prophet. Hosea marries a woman because Israel was in adultery. God want to show him the pain that he feels for his people. That’s what he said to Moses. And that’s the pain I feel today is for 7% of the black community, kids who are growing up without any father in their life, is committing 60% of the crime in our community. (Shouts) This problem is manageable! We could do something about it. 97% of all the black kids in prison come from a family where there’s no father. It’s, it’s–we have done the analysis. The policemen tonight know where the crime is gonna take place. It took place there last Saturday night.
The church don’t have the will. And we’ve also accepted the prosperity theology. And the church is to follow Christ, that he bore our sin in his body. He suffered with us and for us. Leadership, he called Moses to go back into the pain of the people he led. He called Gandhi to go back into the pain of the people he led. And it was out of that pain that Mandela, 28 years in prison, could come back ad come up with the Truth and Reconciliation instead of violence for his people. Because he had experienced the pain. I want you to know that we are living in a hideous situation. I’ve, the churches in my urban community are becoming Dr. Dollars. They’re becoming prosperity and becoming T.J. Jacks, and becoming this and it’s shy, it looks like it’s well but it’s bringing all the prosperity to me. And we haven’t made that a collective effort to deal with the misery that people are suffering from. The highest cause of death in my community, (tape skips) a person killing another black person in our neighborhood. And the church (tape skips) about that in our society. So we got a pain here that the church is not identifying with in our society. We’re building big buildings, we’re buying airplanes, we’re buying Bentleys, even, and we are not concerned about the pain. We as blacks are the wealthiest seniors that ever lived on this world. We blacks right now! Now, we might not be that way tomorrow, the next generation might not be, but we retire from Ford, we retired from IBM, we retired as teachers, we retired–and most of the money go to the casinos, go to the casinos. So there is no thought pattern! And of course, the white church became right wing, and accommodated these robbers, the Lehman Brothers president making 400 million dollars last year as his salary. If a welfare black woman would have took too many food stamps, it would have been all over the papers. But the so-called white church has no voice to put that on. Has no voice to put that on. And so these robbers are putting the whole country at risk. And some of the nations are mad with her because the greed of America is what brought the whole system down in our society, and you don’t hear a word about that in the church. Not a word about that.
So this is a serious situation. And it’s big enough that our little social welfare ain’t gonna solve this problem. It’s a big problem in our world. And, and they–and instead of us entering into it, people are now saving more than they saved before this inflation. Our savings just went up. Just went up. And we’re talking about 85% of our people’s not hurt. They making the same much money as they made before November. But they’re not giving it. They’re not investing. We have a crisis, we have a crisis and it’s a crisis of faith. It’s a crisis of not having a prophetic witness to our society. And our little charity ain’t adequate for the problem. Our little charity is not adequate for the problem, it’s gonna take the Mark Gornik type, it’s gonna take the people who are willing to move in and suffer with the people with the problem in our society.