Founder of United Faith Affinitas Church, Max Smith well exemplifies the metaphor which the cover art alludes to (the advances of knowledge in general and on human sexuality in particular from the “horse and buggy-era” to today’s Jet-age) though some may see his selective eschewing of the bible writers limited scientific understanding as a remnant of the European American, theocratic dumbing-down of antebellum African Americans at the very birth of the Black Church that the book so accurately describes. As Smith points out the flaws in literally interpreting texts written by people who believed the earth was a geometric plane around which the sun revolved, his belief in the demise of Sodom and Gomorrah by the hand of God seems unshaken, albeit the reasons for its total annihilation have been twisted. Making the intellectual leap that natural events in biblical times (such as earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions) were attributed to the actions of angry Gods, for some, could make any cause and effect distinctions moot.
However, as a bullet aimed at the malignant heart of those who would use the Bible (or any other holy book) as a weapon to subjugate and enslave this book is remarkably accurate. Believers and non-believers alike should digest the history presented in its pages, be inspired by its activism, and proudly display it on their coffee tables as one weapon in their arsenal against a growing and ever more violent fundamentalist Christian Taliban. Although the hateful and blind faithful are rarely swayed by reason, facts and logic, African America’s 3rd Rail is most effective against the mental prisons same gender lovers build around themselves; ones which have kept us in closets and self-destructive downward spirals because we’re terrified of the “sinner” label society has erroneously, and egregiously branded us with.
The days of hetero-washing same gender love out of history are over. The days of “loving the sinner but hating the sin” while bludgeoning gays with the Bible are over as well. African America’s 3rd Rail is the much needed tool to free us from the cages we’ve erected; and, hopefully, that renewed fortitude will push us to demand a society where gays and lesbians, same gender lovers, or two spirited citizens of the planet are acknowledged, appreciated and affirmed.
Oh, what a pleasant world that would be.~