Suffering and Smiling

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Lucius is a contributing columnist to NNPA newspapers around the nation, and the author of “Beast Too: Dead Man Writing,” available on and from bookstores everywhere.

One of my favorite musical songs is called “Suffering and Smiling” by the great Afrobeat legend, Fela Kuti.

It talks about how many religious leaders enjoy life on earth in a much better fashion than their followers do. The leaders can enjoy life now, somewhat, while the members of their flock oftentimes have to wait until they die to have a good time in the afterlife.

In some Black communities, places of worship are almost everywhere. The only buildings that outnumber churches are the buildings that house liquor stores!

Way back in the day, many religious leaders were rebellious slaves, abolitionists, freedom fighters, civil rights leaders, community activists and men and women that risked, their churches, their lives, their livelihoods, their reputations and much more to stand up and fight the slimy, degenerate, wickedly devilish beast!

Today, a number of religious leaders carry on that tradition of fighting the individuals and institutions that exploit, oppress and financially enslave the church goers, the people that attend the Masjid and the members of congregations at places of worship in a variety of religious communities.

But not all of them! Some religious leaders are content to preach about tithing, content to preach about their pastoral anniversaries, content to preach about why the church needs jet airplanes that sit on runways most of the year or content to preach about why child molesters in the church should be forgiven and continue to get paid with church dollars.

There is one thing that no religious leader should ever do! No religious leader should ever be afraid!

Faith and fear do not go together! Excuse the expression, but how in the hell can a religious leader be afraid if he believes God, Allah, Yahweh, Jehova, Oludumare or God of some other name will take care of him if he does the right things?

How can a true religious leader tell you to take care of your wife and family if he has side pieces, baby mamas and mistresses himself? How can they tell you to put money in the benevolent offering plate one day and the next day say the church has no money to help the sick, help the homeless, or help the jobless?

You tell me, who is the religious leader like Elijah was?

Elijah stood up boldly for God in a time when idolatry had swept his land. In fact, his name means “My God is Yah(weh).”

The false god he opposed was Baal, the favorite deity of Jezebel, wife of King Ahab of Israel. To please Jezebel, Ahab had altars erected to Baal, and the queen murdered God’s prophets.

Confident of the power of God, Elijah challenged the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of the false god Asherah to a showdown on Mount Carmel. The idolaters sacrificed a bull and cried out to Baal from morning until nightfall, even slashing their skin until blood flowed, but nothing happened. Elijah then rebuilt the altar of the Lord, sacrificing a bull there. (All of the haters of African religious sacrifices should pay attention to this)

He put the burnt offering on it, along with wood. He had a servant douse the sacrifice and wood with four jars of water, three times, until all was thoroughly soaked. Elijah called on the Lord, and God’s fire fell from heaven, consuming the offering, the wood, the altar, the water, and even the dust around it.

The people fell on their faces, shouting, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.” (1 Kings 18:39) Elijah then ordered the people to slay the 850 false prophets.

Then Elijah started acting like some of today’s religious leaders. That same Elijah who had just killed 850 men, ran like hell because he was afraid of one woman, Jezebel, who had swore to kill Elijah after her (false) prophets were killed!

A lot of religious leaders get blessing after blessing. The bank will loan them money to buy big houses and fancy cars but their followers can’t get a loan to buy a jalopy or a tent. The get church or mosque paid health care and benefits but their followers do not.

Many religious leaders enjoy a good life style but the followers have to wait until they are saved and wait until they die to live in a Heavenly Paradise!

Every day, the people who love their well to do religious leaders continue to follow while they suffer and smile! (Buy Gantt’s latest book, “Beast Too: Dead Man Writing” on and from bookstores everywhere. Contact Lucius at And, if you want to,“Like” The Gantt Report page on Facebook.)