Jerry Newcombe
Alternative anthem and Jesus
By Jerry Newcombe
July 9, 2020

America is undergoing its cultural revolution right now, obliterating as much of the past as possible. Over the weekend, we saw “social justice warriors” in Rochester, NY, tearing down a statue of Frederick Douglas—even though he was an ardent abolitionist.

And some in the cancel culture even want to tear down statues of Jesus. noted on June 6 that “[s]ocial justice activist Shaun King unleashed a barrage of comments on social media Monday claiming that statues of Jesus Christ are ‘a form of white supremacy’ and should be torn down. King is the co-founder of Real Justice PAC and supports the Black Lives Matter movement.”

I’m the last person in the world to follow professional sports, but even I know about all the protests against the National Anthem, as if America in 2020 were South Africa in 1980.

Last week, the National Football League announced that a different anthem will be used this year at the opening of the football season. As reported July 2 by NPR: "’Lift Every Voice and Sing’[—]the song known as the Black national anthem[—]will play at the start of every season opener game, coming before ‘The Star Spangled Banner.’”

The interesting thing about “Lift Every Voice and Sing” is the apparent pro-Jesus sentiment of the writer of that anthem. I surely doubt that James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938), the author of “Lift Every Voice,” would have anything to do with such anti-Christian bigotry as tearing down statues of Jesus.

“Let our rejoicing rise, High as the list'ning skies,” proclaims this song by Johnson, an African-American who wrote the lyrics in 1900, which includes the line, “Let us march on 'til victory is won.”

Johnson was a great American poet and a racial groundbreaker. He was the first Black to pass the Florida Bar exam. He was the editor of New York Age.

His poem "Lift Every Voice and Sing" (1900), which was set to music by his brother, became the unofficial Black anthem in the 1940s. He was also foreign consul to Venezuela and later Nicaragua. He served as a professor at Fisk University.

But Johnson is perhaps best known for some of his poetry, including the book God's Trombones (1927). This book was called "dialect sermons in verse," and it became popularized in school recitations.

One of those poems is "The Creation," based loosely on Genesis 1 and 2. In “The Creation,” Johnson includes such lines as
    “Then God smiled
    And the light broke,
    And the darkness rolled up on one side,
    And the light stood shining on the other,
    And God said, ‘That's good!’"

The poem climaxes with the highlight of God’s creation—humanity:

    “With His head in His hands,
    God thought and thought,
    Till He thought, "I'll make me a man!"
    Up from the bed of the river
    God scooped the clay…
    Toiling over a lump of clay
    Till He shaped it in His own image;
    Then into it He blew the breath of life,
    And man became a living soul.
    Amen. Amen.”

Even more directly Christian is Weldon’s powerful funeral sermon in verse called “Go Down, Death.” In this eulogy, poor “Sister Caroline” of Savannah, Georgia, is dying.

God up in heaven calls on one of His angels to go to earth to fetch poor Sister Caroline. “And God said: Go down, Death, go down,” to bring her to Him.

    “She’s borne the burden and heat of the day,
    she’s labored long in my vineyard,
    And she’s tired.”

After traveling to earth to pick up Sister Caroline, Death brings her to a special place up in heaven.

    “And there he laid Sister Caroline
    On the loving breast of Jesus.
    “And Jesus took his own hand and wiped away her tears,
    And he smoothed the furrows from her face,
    And the angels sang a little song,
    And Jesus rocked her in his arms,
    And kept a-saying: Take your rest,
    Take your rest.”

Only a true Christian can have such hope in the face of death because Jesus Christ conquered the grave both by His dying for our sins and His resurrection.

So Johnson uses scriptural truths to reassure the survivors of those who die in Christ, such as Sister Caroline.

    “Weep not—weep not,
    She is not dead;
    She's resting in the bosom of Jesus…
    Heart-broken husband—weep no more;
    Grief-stricken son—weep no more;
    Left-lonesome daughter—weep no more;
    She only just gone home.”

The protesters in the street who are trying to destroy remnants of Western Civilization seem to know nothing of the power of the Gospel understood by the writer of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” As the late Gospel singer Andre Crouch reminded us all, “Jesus is the answer for the world today. Above Him there’s no other. Jesus is the Way.” Amen.


Jerry Newcombe, D.Min., is the senior producer and an on-air host for D. James Kennedy Ministries. He has written/co-written 32 books, e.g., The Unstoppable Jesus Christ, American Amnesia: Is American Paying the Price for Forgetting God?, What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? (w/ D. James Kennedy), and the bestseller, George Washington's Sacred Fire (w/ Peter Lillback) @newcombejerry

© Jerry Newcombe


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Jerry Newcombe

Jerry Newcombe, D.Min., is the executive director of the Providence Forum, an outreach of D. James Kennedy Ministries, where Jerry also serves as senior producer and an on-air host. He has written/co-written 33 books, including George Washington's Sacred Fire (with Providence Forum founder Peter Lillback, Ph.D.) and What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? (with D. James Kennedy, Ph.D.). @newcombejerry


Receive future articles by Jerry Newcombe: Click here

More by this author


Stephen Stone
HAPPY EASTER: A message to all who love our country and want to help save it

Stephen Stone
The most egregious lies Evan McMullin and the media have told about Sen. Mike Lee

Siena Hoefling
Protect the Children: Update with VIDEO

Stephen Stone
FLASHBACK to 2020: Dems' fake claim that Trump and Utah congressional hopeful Burgess Owens want 'renewed nuclear testing' blows up when examined

Curtis Dahlgren
Hammer & Tickle: A cultural history of Communism by Ben Lewis, 2009

Jerry Newcombe
The Bible and public policy

Frank Louis
Frank’s fair trade theory: Replacement theory for everyone

Pete Riehm
When the government is lawless, the people turn to an outlaw

Victor Sharpe
The left's lies: A warning for America's very survival

Michael Gaynor
Who Will Make the Finals and Win the Upcoming Presidential Race?

Stephen Stone
‘Teach Your Own’

James Lambert
Illegal alien entry through California border has dramatically increased of late

Rev. Mark H. Creech
‘No other gods before me’: The first commandment’s national significance

Linda Goudsmit
CHAPTER 23: Legalizing pedophilia—The Sorensen Report

Randy Engel
A Documentary: Opus Dei and the Knights of Columbus – The anatomy of a takeover bid, Part IX

Jerry Newcombe
A politically-incorrect prayer
  More columns


Click for full cartoon
More cartoons


Matt C. Abbott
Chris Adamo
Russ J. Alan
Bonnie Alba
Chuck Baldwin
Kevin J. Banet
J. Matt Barber
Fr. Tom Bartolomeo
. . .
[See more]

Sister sites