Reality TV star Omarosa O. Manigault has recently been ordained as a minister, after serving as assistant pastor at the Weller Street Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles. She was approved unanimously for the post, with everyone on the ordination committee apparently more concerned with Omarosa’s celebrity status than her actual integrity.
“This is the day that the Lord has made, I truly rejoice and am glad it is! This was one of the most profound days of my life and my ministry. How amazing I feel to serve God[.] I made a very personal decision to dedicate my life to the service of the kingdom of God. I intend to continue my seminary studies and to fully discover what God’s plan is for my life and ministry.”
It’s interesting that Omarosa, arguably the most evil and nasty Black woman in television history, would be exalted as a humble servant of God. This woman has been fired from several jobs for being disruptive toward her colleagues, makes a living fighting with other people (especially other Black people), and has done a reasonably good job of setting the images of Black women back about 30 years. She was the original basketball wife — meaning she stuck to “Basketball Wives” rules by not actually being married to an athlete herself — and has set the example that younger Black women on reality TV have simply taken to the next level. There is almost nothing that black people have gained from Omarosa’s existence in mainstream media.
Now that Omarosa has become a pastor, the flood gates are officially open: Every chubby kid is now a fitness expert, Snoop Dogg is now the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency, and David Duke is going to run the NAACP. The appointment of Omarosa as a spiritual leader after she has made a ton of money hurting other human beings is nothing less than a slap-in-the-face reminder that a commitment to morality is no longer a trait necessary to become a leader in the Black church.
I can already hear the detractors coming at me now.
They will likely tell me that I shouldn’t judge, that none of us are perfect, and that good deeds have nothing to do with earning your right into heaven. Blah blah, blah. What’s so interesting and ironic about these reactions is that statements like these are deliberately designed by individuals who want to live their lives without ethical boundaries and with complete impunity. Too many of us have become as snug as newborn babies in cocoons of hypocrisy, thinking that we can “praise the lawud” on Sundays and live with destructive abandon every other day of the week.
I am saddened to say that for too many of us who were born and raised in the Black church, our alleged connection to God is devoid of nearly all ethical accountability, and is instead measured by our commitment to peculiar rituals, mastery of church folk vernacular, and simply “playing the God game” in a way that makes us acceptable to our peers.
Sad but true, God walked out of many Black churches a long time ago and was replaced by a vast social experiment, where the “cool kids” are the ones who know how to sing, sway, and holler at just the right pitch without putting much thought into trying to live a life consistent with the teachings of Jesus.
We can’t throw every Black church under the bus, and of course there is room for all of us to make mistakes. But when we are sitting in church praising the talents of R. Kelly without regard to the fact that there is overwhelming evidence that he urinates on young girls, this serves as clear evidence that many of us have flushed our souls down the toilet. There is nothing holy about honoring a celebrity just because they are famous or condemning ethical human beings for having divergent beliefs. There is no pride to be gained from the vast homophobia in our community or the manner by which the definition of a “good man” or “good woman” starts and stops with whether or not they are adequately “sanctified.”
Does Omarosa have the right to proclaim herself to be a woman of God? I really don’t care. All I can say is that we were born with the simple ability to determine right from wrong, and there is nothing in our spirit which says she’s even tried to live anything remotely close to a righteous life. A spiritual leader whose spirit has been headed in the wrong direction is no less comical than an N.Y.C. tour guide who doesn’t know how to get around the block. I’m just not sure what Omarosa and her actions can teach anyone about how to get closer to God.