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Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul. debuted in theaters and on the Peacock streaming platform over the weekend and it has some of the Saints highly upset.
Trinitie Childs (played by actress Regina Hall) is the first lady of a prominent Southern Baptist Mega Church who attempts to help her pastor-husband, Lee-Curtis Childs (played by Sterling K. Brown), rebuild their congregation. In the movie, Pastor Childs preaches against homosexuality but is mired in scandal for having sex with male members of his congregation. Viewers speculate that the story is a mash-up of various scandals over the years involving Black pastors of megachurches.
Some Google reviewers thought this was going to be your feel-good, classic movie about the Black church. One even said, “I thought that this was going to be like the movie Easter Sunday but it’s not I should of looked at the movie ratings before I watched this.” But, IMdB’s website clearly labels it as a satirical comedy and if anyone paid attention to the trailer, they’d know it wasn’t going to be Easter Sunday or even The Preacher’s Wife.
Other people’s comments were:
“This movie is just plain offensive. No real plot then to just bash Christianity. Definitely a movie to stay away from,” wrote Stan.
“Waste of time and money to make this movie that is neither comedy as stated nor a lesson to the community,” says Jamal Ajani CCIM.
Stephanie Green said, “Honk for Jesus was blasphemy/mockery against God, Christians and the church. I would boycott movie if I could.”
And therein lies the problem–religious apologists who refuse to acknowledge the sin that goes down in the sanctuary and want to keep these conversations hush-hush in the Black community.
If you’re one of the bothered Saints, let me say this real loud–Church leaders are sinners, too. And y’all are in serious denial if you think they’re not or should be exempt from justice.
Personally, I enjoyed the movie and completely respect people’s opinions about if it was trash or a treasure. But one thing they cannot do is deny the element of truth in the storyline of Honk For Jesus.
As we speak, a Brooklyn clergyman is being side-eyed for potentially orchestrating his own robbery at the pulpit.
The New York Times reports that Bishop Lamor Whitehead – who’s known for living a flashy lifestyle – and his wife were robbed of between 400 thousand and one million dollars worth of jewelry as he delivered a livestream sermon to his congregation. However, because of the bishop’s past track record of fraud and theft, authorities are wondering if it was just another one of his schemes. Also, before this latest dilemma, he was being sued by one of his congregants for allegedly stealing $90,000 from her.
And y’all can’t pretend like multiple church leaders haven’t gone down for sex scandals.
Bishop Eddie Long’s legacy will forever be stained by bombshell accusations of sexual coercion. The now deceased pastor who was once the leader of a 25,000 member megachurch in Atlanta was vocal in referring to homosexuality as a “spiritual abortion.” But in 2010 and up until now, he’s been accused of sexually abusing four men.
Earlier this year, the first Black pastor ever appointed to lead Hillsong International Church had to step down because of misconduct allegations filed against the church’s founder, Brian Houston.
So as much as people want to believe that every pastor is perfect or free from sin, it’s just not true. None of them are because they’re human just like us.
Now in Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul., the congregants were leaving Pastor Childs’ church because of the scandal and joining another emerging megachurch. One Twitter user pointed out something true but unfortunate. She said, “The only unrealistic piece of Honk for Jesus for me was the congregants leaving after the scandal.”
Continuing to support a preacher that takes advantage of their congregation is no different from supporting celebrities and politicians that are repeatedly accused of abuse, fraud or any other crime. As long as they have an audience that enables them with no retribution, they’ll resume the behavior.
This isn’t an attempt to drag any church or pastors. Yet, to blast Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul. as blasphemous and an attack on Christianity is fake outrage. Like the movie or not, these scandals are happening in real life and the faith community has to deal with it.