A series of videos depicting a mob of agitated Black Lives Matter protesters harassing and even entering and disrupting the service of a church in Troy, New York has gone viral.
At face value, the videos, shared by countless conservative voices and news outlets, continue the narrative of mindless, destructive anger that has branched off from police brutality protests as seen in the nationwide riots of last month.
In fact, this story was pitched to the Activist Mommy team to cover along with the rest of our work exposing the rise of radical leftism and subsequent violence in our society.
We discovered, however, that while it is not hard to denounce the actions of this confrontational mob, it’s also impossible for us to condone some of the teachings of the church in question.
At first glance, the video certainly appears to depict a chilling escalation of anti-racism protests as the activists were recorded shouting at a mother with young children, shouting at a black family entering the church, and narrowly escaping what could have been a dangerous physical altercation after entering the church during its service last Sunday and shouting chants during the service.
However, what we discovered about why Grace Baptist Church was picked over any of the others in the Hudson-area college town provides some much-needed context.
Pastor John Koletas, the church’s senior pastor, preaches to his congregation a dangerous, legitimately racist false teaching: that “the black race” are the descendants of Ham and Canaan and are especially cursed by God.
On the church’s website, which presents itself as your typical independent fundamentalist Baptist church, “an ol’ time church preaching the ol’ time religion,” you can find for yourself the sermon archives of Pastor Koletas, nestled among which is a message titled simply “Blacks Are Cursed.”
In the sermon, preceded by “Jews Are Cursed” and “Greeks Are Cursed,” Pastor Koletas preaches that, deviating from the standard biblical doctrine that all humanity is fallen, that God has cursed Black individuals particularly so.
Koletas shouts things like, “The day you understand that God Almighty has cursed the black race, the sooner you can start living right.”
That’s an exact quote from around the sermon’s 27-minute mark.
“Go and search online the highest IQs highest to lowest IQs and you’ll find that Shemites—China, North Asians—have the highest IQs in the world,” Koletas says elsewhere in the sermon. “Blacks have one of the lowest. Go look it up…History proves that God cursed the blacks.”
Koletas also contends that leaders of “Black churches” typically preach a soft gospel, selling their people “down the tubes, while the vast majority of black people are, I shouldn’t say illiterate but they’re taking their dope they’re drinking their liquor, they don’t have jobs, they’re broken homes, kids are growing up in fatherless homes…”
Koletas goes on to lament that Black people, he claims, refuse to get jobs:
My mom used to call them termites—everywhere they went they destroyed everything. ‘That’s not nice, pastor!’ Well, the truth hurts! She used to tell me, ‘a can of paint doesn’t cost much.’ Why can’t you just get a can of paint and just paint the house? ‘Cause you’ve been taught to just live like a bunch of natives in the land of Africa.
Koletas’ rhetoric has long been marked in certain Christian circles on social media, most notably among followers of “IFB Preacher Clips,” an anonymous account which has shared several shocking videos of Koletas’ preaching, including his explanation for the “biblical” use of the n-word:
🚨 *Language Warning* 🚨 NSFW
Pastor John Koletas, Grace Baptist Church Troy, NY pic.twitter.com/6YGU5tqJZL
— IFB Preacher Clips™ (@FakeSermon) April 16, 2020
In another tweet, the anon shares a video clip of Koletas explaining that, according to the dictionary definitions of the words, he is a bigot and a racist and that he prefers to keep the races separate:
Pastor John Koletas pic.twitter.com/Ivnu0kiu0B
— IFB Preacher Clips™ (@FakeSermon) January 22, 2020
Oddly enough, as previously mentioned, the church does have black congregants and Koletas glowingly referred to fellow pastor Robert Barnett, who is a black man. Koletas elaborated that he believes black people are actually more receptive to the Gospel than white people, but that he believes their race is especially cursed above and beyond others outside of a saving relationship with Christ.
It’s not only black folks who might not receive the warmest of welcomes at Grace Baptist Church. On the church’s website, among the rules for its recent AR-15 giveaways, it reminds prospective visitors that they will be made to touch a piece of ham used to weed out Muslims and Jews who will not touch pork:
As always, there will be a slice of ham (the Bible word is swine) outside the front church doors.
Everyone entering the building for the service is required to touch the ham before entering the building.
Anyone refusing to touch the ham outside the front church doors is not permitted to enter the building.
The church, however, “reserves the right to allow any Orthodox or Hasidic Jew to enter without touching the ham.”
If one scratched beneath the surface at Grace Baptist Church or others who peddle the long-debunked “Mark of Cain” theory, there would surely be even more shocking and anti-Biblical material to find. Sadly, as of this writing, the only outlets outside of social media users that are bringing this church’s racist beliefs to light are angry atheist bloggers who take the unquestioning defense of the church as proof that all conservatives are closet white supremacists.
Again, this in no wise excuses the actions of the protesters. To say nothing of how incredibly rude and counterproductive it was for them to harass and shout down the churchgoers, “storming” a church that recently held a giveaway for a firearm probably also isn’t exactly the smartest idea.
Still, we at Activist Mommy wish to take an active, vocal stand against radical leftism and false racist church teachings, two dangerous and harmful ideologies that are ripping this nation apart.
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” – Romans 16:17-18 (KJV).
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that “Brother Barnett” is not an elder at Grace Baptist Church in Troy, New York. A source has confirmed that he is in fact Pastor Robert Barnett of Grace Bible Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee.
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