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August 04, 1977 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1977-08-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Cleaver spurns blacks for relgion

By REGINALD MAJOR tures the urgency which I feel.
I seem to hear the Lord say-
"We are invrslved in spiritual ing to me, 'Against these evils,
warfare between God and the thou shalt crusade.' "
Devil,' declared Eldridge Cleav- Thus far the chief evils against
er, explaining the missionary which the former Black Panther
zeal behind his newly launched Minister of Information directs
"Eldridge Cleaver Crusades." his famous rhetoric are com-
'Crusades, he says, cap- munism and black militancy.
The Michigan Daily
Edited and managed by Students at the
University of Michigan
Thursday, August 4, 1977
News Phone: 764-0552
Carter's marijuana plan
falls short of expectations
PRESIDENT CARTER told us throughout the campaign
he favored decriminalization of lossession of "small
amounts of marijuana," and he promised to remedy the
situation when elected. Tuesday he made an attempt
to live up to that promise - and came up disappoint-
ingly short.,
What -Carter did was ask Congress to eliminate all
federal criminal penalties for possession of one ounce
or less of pot, and to substitute civil fines instead of
those penalties. Persons possessing upwards of one ounce
of marijuana would still be liable to federal criminal
At first glance, it would seem the President has
made a bold move for the right of the individual, but
on closer inspection, one finds that Carter's proposal
is already standard practices for federal drug agencies.
Even Peter Bensinger, administrator of the Drug En-
forcement Administration admitted Carter's plan "is pres-
idential recognition of what is really the present fed-
eral prosecutorial practice. There's not a federal prose-
cutor in the United States today who would prosecute
a case of possessing an ounce or less of marijuana."
So it would seem that in a practical sense, whether
Congress heeds Carter's recommendation or not, the fed-
eral government will not prosecute persons for posses-
sion of one ounce or less of pot, and those who possess
more than one ounce will still be subject to federal im-
prisonment for simply enjoying a drug that has never
been proven to do any significant physical damage.
Nearly 50 million Americans have tried marijuana,
and 11 million consider themselves regular users. It is
time this country wakes up to those statistics and legal-
izes, not decriminalizes, the sale and use of pot.

And among the chief support-
ers of the incorporated crusade
are some of the leading lumin-
aries of the predominantly
white, new right evangelism.
LOOKING LIK&. a preacher
and sounding like a politician,
Cleaver dishes out a hearty
blend of old-time religion and
fundamental, conservative poll-
tics. And his mission - apart
from keeping him out of jail
-. appears to be bridging the
wide gap between the black
and white evangelist movements
- a feat that, if accomplished,
could cement a powerful new
conservative political coalition.
The anti-communist nature of
Cleaver's new crusade has re-
newed charges among his crit-
ics that his actions and state-
ments since his return from
exile in November 1975 are basi-
cally "opportunistic," clever
stragegems designed to win him
public approval in his bid for
Cleaver still faces charges of
assault and attempted murder
stemming from an April, 1968
shootout with Oakland police.
is trial is expected to begin
in September.
The former radical - who
may soon become the Reverend
Eldridge - has consistently de-,
nied all charges of collabora-
tion. "I have not made a ileal
with anyone except Christ,"
Cleaver declared before an all-
black congregation of San Fran-
cisco's Providence Baptist
Church in mid-June.
BUT THOUGH Cleaver dates
his conversion to Christianity
.to a vision he experienced while
still, in exile "in Paris (when the
face of Christ replaced those
of Marx, Mao, and Castro on
the moon), his initial appeal
following his return was to
American Jews.
His defense committee was
headed by Bayard Rustin, chair-
man of BASIC (Black Ameri-
cans for a Secure Israel Com-
mittee).. And one of Cleaver's
first published articles was an
attack on the United Nations
for passing a resolution equat-
ing Zionism with racism.
When he declared that Cas-
tro's Cuba displayed a form of
racism more insidious than
South Africa's, critics became
convinced that Cleaver's state-
ments were bought and paid
for. f
But apart from small contri-
butions to the defense commit-
tee, by March 1976, still in the

Oakland jail, Cleaver had yet
to find a constituency with
enough resources and power to
support his legal battles.
HE FOUND IT in Arthur te-
Moss, a Philadelphia millionaire
who is chairman of the board
of the National Liberty Corpor-
ation and a top financial con-
tributor to the ultras-conservative
Camnus Crusade for Christ and
the Christian Freedom Founda-
feMoss visited Cleaver in jail
ftlewing contacts that indica-
ted the former Panther might
be ready to become a born-again
Christian. DeMoss provided
$1o0,000 for Cleaver's bail and
sIfficient living expenses to
rmaintain a $100,000 home in the
plush Los Altos hills south of
San Francisco.
Along with Cleaver and his
wife Kathleen, DeMoss is an
officer in the Eldridge Cleaver
Crusades Corporation.
Since then, Cleaver has gone
on the religious lecture circuit,
appearing at some 30 colleges,
more than 20 churches and vir-
tually every major religious TV
talkshow. "
baptized in October, 1976 and
placed their tworchildren in a
tLos Angeles Christian school.
"I don't want my children cor-
rupted by bearded teachers who
don't agree with me," said
Cleaver's first appearances
were limited to white evangeli-
cal groups who responded en-
thusiastically to his "testimony"
about how an ex-communist and
black militant had become one
with Christ - even though there
is no evidence Cleaver ever
was a communist.
When skeptics charged he was
avoiding black audiences, Cleav-
er began appearing at all-black
churches such as the Providence
Baptist Church, whose pastor,
Calvin Jones, is a locally well-
known conservative and a spon-
sor of the Eldridge Cleaver Cru-
sades. His reception there, while
not overly enthusiastic, was ap-
During his testimony, Cleaver
criticised San Francisco Sheriff
Richard Hongisto and state As,
semblyman Willie Brown for
campaigning on behalf of gay
civil rights in Florida.
seemed to contradict his claim
to love everyone, including his
enemies, he dismissed Califor-
nia's leading black politicians

-- including Willie Brown, Lt.
Gov. Mervyn Dymally and Los
Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley--
>ecause "they did not lift a
finger to help me." -
"I appeared before Lionel Wil-
son, a black judge, and he rais-
ed my bail from $50,000 to $100,-
see," Cleaver complained. Judge
Wilson, ironically, has since be-
come Mayor of Oakland, with
the full support of the Black
Panther Party.
Throughout his testimony,
Cleaver subtly hinted that white
political control is closer to the
proper order of things.
Says one long-time black activ-
ist in Oakland who has followed
Cleaver's byzantine career from
the beginning, "Eldridge's relig-
ious message seems to be one
of convincing blacks to chain
themselves to the rock of ages
after they steal away to Jesus."
IN FACT, Cleaver's brand of
Christian activism in closely re-
lated to the. kind of evangelism
that in the pasthas been char-
acterized" as decidedly anti-
black. Some of his key support-
ers among the leading white
evangelist powers have carried
the anti-communist zeal to un-
critical support for the white
minority governments of Rho-
desia and South Africa.
While Cleaver has avoided em-
bracing such a position public-
ly, he privately takes a hard,
critical line toward the black
African states involved in south-
ern Africa's racial wars.
In an interview, he decried
as "racist" and support for
"those niggers trying to push
our brothers into the sea"-in
southern Africa.
The future of the Eldridge
Cleaver Crusades is now being
mapped out from a Stanford,
Calif., office. In the meantime,
the organization has already be-
gun publishing a "Crusader"
newsletter appealing to readers
to "send us a generous contribu-
tion towards the founding of this
Resin.ld Major, author of
one of the earliest books on the
Slack Panther Party, and a
book ni the Angela Davis trial,
is a ne'ber of the foundation-
fissdied Pacific News urban task
Editorials and cartoons that
appear on the righst side of
the Editorial Poe are the
opinion of the author or
artist, and not necessarily
the opinion of the paper.

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