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10 MOM OUT MAHY OF TH&R OWN
The 'Immoral Minority' , The Black Church
And Legal Services 7
; Gerald Home, Esquire
Vernon Jordan Calls For
"Back To Basics" For
Just before the opening session of the 71st annual conference of the !
National Urban League in Washington, D.C., delegates, supporters, ,
and friends of the NUL were seriously wondering if the organization
could or would have any impact on the "rising tide of radical conser
vatism," the Reagan Administration, and the Republican Right.
There was concern that in its own black middle-class tradition, the
NUL might be manipulated into being "a more mannered, cultured
and polite" group of blacks, compared to the NAACP convention and
the jolting reception given to President Reagan. The fact that the Na-
tionai uroan League was coming to wasnmgion six momns aiier me .
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In addition, the NUL convention has developed a reputation for its
hio anH eAeonnf nnrtiM. nttrflrtina several rhnmanHe nf fnlks everv vear
for this annual conspicuous socialization.
Those concerns, apprehensions, and troubling thoughts were
momentarily cast aside as NUL President Vernon Jordan moved into
the serious and sombre theme of his opening keynote address. Jordan's
speech was not political rhetoric. He spoke as an angry black man, !
- distressed and indignant over what he called a "jelly-bean budget'' that
robs the poor and gives to the rich. v -
He lamented the rapid retreat of Democratic liberals in the U.S. Con
gress. And he lashed out at the prolonged silence of former Supporters
of civil rights leaders of the religious community, liberal whites, ;
university students, and elected officials, while the rights of millions of j
blacks, poor whites, and senior citizens are being sacrificed f 'on the
altar of an outmoded and recycled version ot ideas and policies' of '
Herbert Hoover that were buried in the Great Depression.
Vernon Jordan was a profile of courage as he spoke frankly and har-;
shly about the cold, calculated realities of a new "radical conservatism
produced, packaged and being marketed by the Reagan administra
tion in cooperation with a Republican-controlled Senate and reac
tionary House of Representatives. :
Jordan's speech was a battle cry for blacks "to go back to the
basics" of the Civil Rights Movement in fighting to preserve what
rights we have left. He sounded the alarm for very difficult days ahead,
and for blacks to begin building new coalitions, to devise new strategies
and alternatives, and to return to protesting our plight.
Declared Jordan: "The black community today feels itself under
siege. It is victimized by the budget cuts. It is harassed by attacks on af
firmative action. It is alarmed that state legislatures will redistrict our
representatives out of the Congress and out of local offices. It is
outraged by the Administration's tilt toward racist South Africa. It is
threatened by block grants. v
'Ahd it is burdened by events beyond the political arena: by growing
racial insensitivity and rising anti-black attitudes; by the murders of
black children in Atlanta and violence against blacks everywhere; by
the continued deterioration of black neighborhoods; bvthe flow of
drugs and the increase in crime; and by the rise of the fanatics of the far
Right like the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazis.
"The fight for voting rights symbolizes the erosion of black gains.
We are how fighting the fight we fought sixteen years ago. And in some
ways, we are dealing with basic issues like better race relations that were
issues of the 1950s. We moved far beyond that stage, and now we are
thrust back to square one."
In his message to black America, Jordan said: "Back to basics also
means political action. It's hard to break through the cynicism that
grips people who have been subjected ' to brutalizing poverty and
hopelessness. But the 1980s must be the decade of maximizing black
political strength. We have the numbers to influence events, but in elec
tion after election, we throw away half our power by not voting. So,
citizenship, education, and political involvement in all parties must be a
major priority in the 1980s. . . , ;
If we are to survive the "radical conservatism'' which provides the
climate for a new wave of racism, black leadership must come together,
lead us back to the basics, mobilize and let us all march on together to
political war to destroy the "jelly-bean budget'' and then reconstruct it
into a budget more representative of the interests and needs of all the
people, especially those in greatest need blacks, other minorities,
and even a larger group of poor whites.
The so-called "Moral Majority" has been
making a Jot of noise lately. Their fervent
and avid hatred of affirmative action - they
tend to see it as "reverse discrimination",--is
well Icnown; 'because of this and other
' reasons, you won't find many blacks in their
ranks. v-,:, : '
To enforce their dictate in the courts, they
1 have , moved allegedly to knock together a
"Legal Defense Fund". Al the same time, in
the recent maneuvers in Congress to disman
tle the main legal lifeline of the poor and ;
many blacks, the highly regarded Legal
Services Corporation (LSC) which dispenses
"legal aid" the so-called "Moral Majori
ty" has been leading the charge.
The Legal Services Corporation was
established by an Act of Congress and signed
into law in 1974. Legal Services Corporation
currently makes grants to over 320 pro
grams, which operate some 1,400 offices
and, as of 1980, has served all 3,000 United
States counties. In 1980, Legal Services Cor-,
poration funded programs handled 1.5
million cases. The overwhelming majority
were routine legal matters on a broad range
of issues, including housing problems, con-,
sumer disputes, . family law matters, and
social security benefits. The most frequently
provided service in nearly one-third of all
cases is simply giving advice and counsel
on routine matters of critical importance to
individual clients. Only 15 of all Legal Ser
vices Corporation cases result in litigation.
Unfortunately, less than one per cent are the
all important "class action suits" that reach
beyond individual complainants to affect
tens, hundreds, and thousands. Moreover,
"class actions" are the most cost-effective
way to approach an overburdened judicial
system. Legal Services Corporation's sterl
ing labor has been endorsed by the conser
vative American Bar Association, the Na
tional Bar Association, the militant National
Conference of Black Lawyers, the National
" Legal Aid and Defender Association), state
, and local bar associations, judges, law pro
fessors, private attorneys, trade unions of
legal workers and many others.
With this glowing record, the question
arises, "Why is the 'Moral Majority' so con
' cerned with destabilizing Legal Services Cor-'
poration?" By posing the question, it is
answered: This gang of zealots that has been
dubbed the "immoral minority" by some,
knows that Legal Services Corporation is a
potential shield blocking their vain attempt
to infect the body politic with their
Thus, in the June 22, 198 1 edition of their
organ, the. misnamed "Moral Majority
Report," J.W. Bradshaw assails and lashes
Legal Services Corporation. He thoroughly
endorses President Reagan's call for a com
plet$ gbqlition of Legal JStorvU&s Corpora-
tion. He tells their reading audience to con
centrate on key House subcommittee
members: Chairman Neal Smith, Iowa, Bill
Alexander, i Arkansas, . Joseph , Early,
Massachusetts; Jack Hightower, Texas; Ber
nard Dwyer, New Jersey; George O'Brien, .
Illinois, Clarence Miller, Ohio; and Carrol
A. Campbell, South Carolina. .These
'Republocrats" have been pressured mighti-
'' a. i a - i ii i
iy irom me ngni ana uiey neca 10 near irom ,
the other side which is taking place but -
needs to be accelerated. For as things stand .
no, it looks like Legal Services Corpora
tion' will find it difficult to escape Congress
without a broad slashing of its budget.
The ineptly named "Moral Majority"
have not been the only right-wing zealots eg
. ging on this massacre of Legal Services Cor
poration and other "people programs".
There is a veritable "interlocking direc
: torate" uniting a scraggly but affluent bunch :
that includes the "Moral Majority," John
Birch Society, National Right to Life Com
mittee, Human Ufe Amendment Commit
tee, American Conservative Union, National
Council Against Forced Busing, Americans
Against Union Control of Government, ,
Conservative Caucus, Religious Roundtable,
Christian Voice, Heritage Foundation, Stop .
ERA, Senators Jesse Helms and Jake Garn,
beer baron Joe Coors, anti-ERA advocate
Phyllis Schlafly. These blood-thirsty, wild
eyed dodos are determined to implant their
version of life on the rest of us.
As the- recitation of this list indicates, a .
major source for dollars for the organized ,
right-wing is not only the big corporations
like Coors but the lily-white churches. What "'
is needed to counter this force is the institu
tion that may be the most formidable in the
black community the Black Church. The
Black Church has not been inactive. Rev. .
Walter Fauntroy has been spearheading the
tireless efforts of the Congressional Black
Caucus. Rev. Ben Chavis' campaign on
behalf of the National Black Independent
' Political Party will forever live gloriously in
history. Rev. William Howard, who heads
the National Council of Churches, has been
out front on so many issues that it would
take an encyclopedia to list them all. But for
every Fauntroy, every Chavis, every
Howard, there is a black pastor that is not
moving in the footsteps of Dr. Martin
'Luther JCing, Jr.
I This is doubly unfortunate because the na- -tion's
20 million black churchgoers con
tribute to collection plates an estimated $1.7 .
.billion annually, according to Donald C. v
Walker, editor and publisher of Dollars and
Sense magazine. Not counted in this figure is
a sizeable sum obtained from benevolent
donations, business enterprises and in
vestments. Five million black church
members attend church regularly and fljex
worship in 65,000 church i properties having"
an estimated total value of $10.2 billion.
Black women from Harriet Tubman and
Sojourner Truth to Coretta Scott King and
'Angela Davis have always been in the
vanguard, Thus, female church -members
outnumber males two to one. ?
When we're ; talking about the Black
Church, we are talking about a powerful in
stitution. We're talking as well about a
number of poor, black parishioners who are
often forced to call upon the programs ad
ministered by the Legal Services Corpora
tion. Black churchgoers often need help
against a landlord or about receiving a
government check or help with an employ
ment related problem. It is clearly in the in
terest of black pastors to speak from (he
pulpit about the decimation of Legal Ser
ykes Corporation, because if it goes, many
black churchgoers will follow shortly
thereafter. Rev. Jerry Falwell, the glib
orator who heads the "Moral Majority"
must know this and this may explain why
they have Legal Services on their hit list.
If they can't do away with LSC altogether,
the right wing plans to leave standing legal
aid offices that are so weakened that they
won't be able to perform their original func
tion. Scheryl C Portee, of the Civil Division
of the National Legal Aid and Defender
Association has outlined what Reagan's pro
posal would do. A central aim is to set up
"State Advisory Councils" appointed by the
governor that would basically control every
move of the lawyers for the poor. One can
imagine the impact this will have, especially
in southern states where governors have been
whipping up and fanning hysteria against
these attorneys. Some lawyers and legal
workers have been forced to strike in order
to bring better services to their constituency.
Reagan's proposal would eliminate Jthis. It
would also make LSC liable for attorneys'
fees and costs incurred by defendants sued.
, But perhaps the most pernicious aspect of
Reagan's proposal crafted slickly by the
right wing, is that it seeks to "privatize"
legal services. They plan to use "tuition tax
credits" to destroy public schools. They plan
to remove subsidies so as to destroy public
mass transit, e.g., inner city buses and sub
ways. And the functions of public legal ser
nces offered by LSC will be destroyed by
turning over many of their responsibilities to
the private bar. If you go to a private
hospital sick and without money, don't ex
pect to get any service. Reagan wants to pro
vide a similar scenario for those going to a
legal aid office.
The right wing led by this "immoral
minority" based in lily-white churches that
plans to gut LSC and other lifelines needs
desperately to be countered by a galvanized
black community led by the Black Church.
The question has to be posed: If not now,
A View From Capitol Hill:
Second Trip To Africa To Provide Ghance To
Probe Problem Areas
In a sense VOU micht sav I will he returnino
ito heritage When I visit seven African coun
tries in August as a member of a congres
sional, fact-finding delegation. I will get a
v . chance to see first hand some of the areas of ,
growing concern on the continent. Stops on
.the tour are Angola, South Africa, Kenya,
i Somalia, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria.
This will mark my second trip to the conti-'
nent; I first visited Africa in 1969.
I have been invited to participate in the the
18-day mission by the Subcommittee on
Africa of the House Foreigrt Affairs Com
, mittee. The overall objective of the mission
v is to provide members with an opportunity
familiarize themselves with some of the ma
jor issues on Africa which may come before
me roreign Attairs committee and the Con
gress. While in South Africa, the 14-member
WOUD is SUDDOSed to meet with Irev Mart
white, and colored (persons of mixed blood)
leaders. The delegation will be determining
what reforms, if any, have been made in
South Africa's segregationist policies; what
reforms are planned; assessing the labor
situation, specifically the extent to which
American companies are adhering to the
Sullivan Code and the attitude of black
workers toward the presence of U.S. invest
ment and companies in the country.
The Sullivan Code, which encourages
U.S. companies to voluntarily provide equal
pay and fair employment for blacks, was
developed by the Rev. Leon Sullivan,
founder of Opportunities Industrialization
Center. It is monitored by the U.S. Chamber
Settlement of the Namibian question is a
matter of vital interest to the congressional
mission. I personally am appalled by South
Africa's continued illegal administration in
Namibia, formerly called South West ,
Africa. Moreover, I find unacceptable
anything short of complete withdrawal by
South Africa and the early independence of
Namibia through free elections under the
supervision and control of the United Na
tions. I am especially distrustful of reports ,that
South Africa is changing its segregationist
racial policies. Such reports fly in the face of
. recent statements that the racist government
would take away Bishop Desmond Tutu's
passport because he had spoken out against
apartheid while visiting in the United States.
I also have problems with any plan that calls
for the reduction of Cuban troops in Angola
as long as South Africa maintains its illegal
jurisdiction over Namibia, Angola's
southern neighbor, and continues to support
guerrilla activities against Angola's
The Reagan Administration is seeking
repeal of the Clark amendment, which pro
hibits covert or other assistance that would
promote military or paramilitary operations
in Angola without the authorization of Con
gress. The Administration has explained its
proposal as a matter of principle intended to
restore the President's rightful authority and
practical flexibility in foreign policy by what
it regards as an outdated, single-country pro
I strongly support the Congressional
Black Caucus' opposition to repeal of the
Clark amendment. Opponents of repeal note
that such action would be viewed by many in
black Africa as symbolic of U.S. policy of
neocolonialist intervention in Africa. They
are particularly concerned by the possible
reaction of Nigeria, the second largest sup
plier of imported petroleum to the United
States. ., .
It should be noted that when the Por
tuguese government announced in 1975 that
it vould grant independence to Angola, a
three sided dispute erupted among the major
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who propose
to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation are men who want
crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without
thunder and lightning. They want the ocean's majestic waves
without the awful roar of its waters. '
groups that had been waging an anti-colonial
, war. The Popular Movement for the Libera
tion of Angola (MPLA) turned to the Soviet
Union and Cuba for military aid. Mean
while, the United States, under President
Ford, aided opponents of the MPLA, the
National Union for the Total Independence
of Angola (UNITA). South Africa interven
ed with troops (mercenaries) to stop Cvb.
Trhe congressional delegation also will
assess current U.S. relations with Zimbarwe
under Prime Minister Mugabe.
While in Somalia and Ethiopia, we will be
able to learn more about the refugee situa
tion and how the international community is
responding to the needs of these East
African nations. Additionally, we will be
able to assess tensions between Somalia and
If proper arrangements can be made, I will
be reporting to you while in Africa, August
1-19. Otherwise; I will report to you upon
mv return to the United States.
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