Is America still systemically racist? Find out with guest Dennis Pollock on television’s “Christ in Prophecy.”
Air Date: October 11, 2020
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Dr. Reagan: We are hearing a lot today about systemic racism. Is that a term that really is appropriate for America? Stay tuned.
Dr. Reagan: Greetings in the name of Jesus, our Blessed Hope, and welcome to Christ in Prophecy! Nathan Jones and I have a very special guest with us today, a former member of our staff, a wonderful evangelist by the name of Dennis Pollock. Dennis served with me as my assistant evangelist for 11 years before he decided 15 years ago, in 2005, to establish his own ministry called Spirit of Grace. Dennis, we are just delighted to have you with us today. And It is hard to believe it’s been 15 years.
Dennis Pollock: It is very hard to believe. As I was driving up here I was thinking, “Man, I used to be here all the time.” It is great to be with you.
Dr. Reagan: Now, I’m looking at you and I’m reminded of Joseph and his coat of many colors. Now, what in the world do you have on? And what is that called?
Dennis Pollock: Well, this is what is known in common language as a shirt.
Dr. Reagan: What is it known in Africa?
Dennis Pollock: Well, it is known in Africa as a shirt. I mean I don’t speak some of the local dialects so they may have other names in their local language, but normally this is an African shirt. Africans love color. They love bright colors, and it seems like about every time I go to Africa I’ll usually have someone give me a shirt or Benedicta will buy me one, my wife, and so, and I’ll usually preach in one at least once.
Dr. Reagan: Alright, now your ministry is primarily aimed at Africa, right?
Dennis Pollock: Well, that has been a big emphasis. I do a lot of writing. I do a lot of video production. You know I’ve got two different YouTube channels going.
Dr. Reagan: Audio recording.
Dennis Pollock: Audio recording, yeah. So, I do a lot of stuff, but we’ve been kind of known for our African missions.
Dr. Reagan: And you are actually married to a Nigerian, aren’t you.
Dennis Pollock: I am married to a Nigerian, a lovely Nigerian lady named Benedicta. And I meet her when I was praying for a wife and was over in Lagos, Nigeria, saw this beautiful lady with a camera and I thought, “Wow!” You know.
Nathan Jones: She is very beautiful.
Dr. Reagan: Well, she is not only a beautiful lady, but she is a lady who is on fire for the Lord.
Dennis Pollock: Well, she loves the Lord, and that was the thing I was concerned, it’s like, well she is beautiful, no doubt, but does she love the Lord? So, she wanted to interview me. She was actually recording some of my programs and trying to put together a video. She had her own cameras. So, I was interviewing her at the same time asking, “Why aren’t you married?” And trying to find out if she really loved the Lord. And turned out she did. So, it’s worked out well.
Dr. Reagan: Well, today she is a vital part of your ministry because she actually goes over usually ahead of you and prepares everything for you to arrive. And then she actually does teaching, particularly with women, doesn’t she?
Dennis Pollock: Well, yeah, and not only with women, but in a general group as well. And yeah, you know when we got married I didn’t have any idea what she could do, or whether she could speak, it didn’t really matter, I fell in love with her. And knew that she loved the Lord. But, the very first time we went to a church there in Lagos, Nigeria after we were married the pastor gave her a microphone to just kind of give testimony of what God had done in her life by bringing us together, and she just went to town and preached like a tiger. And I was in awe, and in tears.
Nathan Jones: He was in love.
Dennis Pollock: Thinking this lady, I haven’t just married a beautiful lady, I’ve married a preacher.
Dr. Reagan: There you go.
Dennis Pollock: So, it would be wasteful not to put her to work. And it turned out she was a good administrator as well, so yeah, she is a vital part of the ministry we share.
Dr. Reagan: Well, I praise God for your ministry, and in particular the way God has really blessed it over the years, and expanded your scope, and your outreach. You know, Dennis, when all this protesting began in the streets of America, early on I saw protestors at the Dallas City Hall. And the TV man was interviewing them, and he would say, “Well, now, why are you here?” And a few said, “Well, we are protesting against police brutality.” But nearly everybody, and these were all teenagers and 20-year-olds.
Dennis Pollock: Yeah.
Dr. Reagan: Were saying, “Well, I’m protesting against systemic racism.” And I thought, “Where did that term come from? That doesn’t roll off the tongue of a teenager or a 20-year-old.”
Nathan Jones: Oh, I know. I had to look it up. It means, a system is structured with an unfair impact on a particular group, even if no law mentions race.
Dr. Reagan: Yeah, in fact if it is systemic it is throughout the whole thing, intentional, on purpose, everything is designed to discriminate. And I just thought, “Man, they don’t know what systemic racism is.” I grew up in the 40’s and 50’s I know what it is. They need a little historical perspective. What is your perspective on this?
Dennis Pollock: I agree completely. There has been systemic racism in America. In fact, from the time it was founded up to about the mid-60’s and a little bit beyond it was. And systemic, common layman’s interpretation or meaning of that word is riddled with.
Dr. Reagan: Yeah.
Dennis Pollock: America is riddled with racism. It’s in the government. It’s in the police departments. It’s in the corporations. It’s in the business sector. It is everywhere.
Dr. Reagan: It was.
Dennis Pollock: And you can’t get away from it, and it was. And now when I was growing up I never even thought about racism. I was a little white boy, and I lived in a little white neighborhood. And we didn’t have blacks in our schools. If we ever went out to restaurants, which we didn’t much, because my parents weren’t that wealthy, and in those days you almost had to be wealthy to do much restaurant eating. But anyway, you wouldn’t see blacks there. You just didn’t see blacks much at all. I think our church was a little unusual we had a couple of black families, but that was uncommon in those days. So, I never much thought about it. And the Martin Luther King actually started his ministry of trying to bring equality to the blacks around the time I was born, which was 1953. But it really got a head of steam in the 60’s. And in ’64 and ’65 Lyndon Johnson signed those laws that basically said it is illegal, segregation is illegal, discrimination is illegal. You have to give the rights of blacks to vote. Don’t charge them voter fees. Don’t give them literacy tests. You know and all of that. And I will say a couple things, we are in agreement America has had systemic racism. And here’s a point I think the church needs to admit; one thing that disappoints me about the evangelical church, in those days, they really didn’t get on board with supporting their black brothers and sisters. They needed Martin Luther King. They needed those laws passed. It was terrible in those days. And a lot of the evangelical preachers, Baptist pastors, Pentecostal pastors, and the ones that really loved the Bible and believed the Bible they weren’t out there protesting. It was the liberals. It was the Hollywood types that were out protesting. And the evangelicals pretty much stayed home. There were some exceptions, Billy Graham would go up into the stadiums in the south where they’d put up signs, blacks only, whites only, and he would tear those signs down. So, he was ahead of his time. And Oral Roberts I think pretty much the same thing. So, it’s not that there were no evangelicals that were really supporting that, but many evangelicals did not. That was then, and this is now. And so, these days the laws are passed. The government has done about all a government can do legally, and by law, to end racism in terms of policy, in terms of what is called systemic racism.
Dr. Reagan: Well, I’m a lot older than you are.
Dennis Pollock: Yes, you are.
Dr. Reagan: And when I was growing up everything was segregated. Everything. I mean movie theaters, churches, stadiums, transportation, we had apartheid in America, everything was separated. And people of race were treated terribly. I think one of the worst things was the way they kept them from voting, because I think it’s the Fifteenth Amendment of the United States, the Constitution guarantees the right to vote. But what happened particularly throughout the South was they had literacy tests, and a white man who could not read or write would always seem to pass the literacy test.
Dennis Pollock: Yeah.
Dr. Reagan: Whereas the black man who could read Shakespeare and interpret it for you just couldn’t quit seem to read well enough to vote. And then they had the poll tax. And I have a picture here of a poll tax receipt from 1945, and it cost $1.75 to vote in Texas. In 1945 a $1.75 is equivalent to $25 today in purchasing power. So, they basically had to pay $25 to vote in 1945. And it was that Civil Rights Act of 1965 under Johnson that changed all that. And that was really the key to changing things, was the right to vote. You know when I was a kid no blacks were in any offices anywhere. And here people are down here at the Dallas City Hall protesting against systemic racism and the most powerful man in Dallas is the City Manager, black, the Mayor, black, the District Attorney, a progressive black, the Police Chief, a black lady, the Sheriff, a black lady, and the one prior to that was a Hispanic lesbian who ran for Governor. Systemic racism? That is unbelievable that would even exist in the 1940’s or 50’s.
Nathan Jones: It’s wonderful to see that we had three generations represented here.
Dennis Pollock: Yeah.
Nathan Jones: As I was growing up in the 80’s and 90’s racism was virtually non-existent. All my friends were a mixture of different countries. Television we loved Bill Cosby. Politics you had black people running. Oprah Winfrey was the most famous person. It just didn’t occur to us. And now, my children’s generation has seemed to have slid back into this idea that everything is racist involved, and they see the world through a lens of racism. And that just pains me to see that. I feel like we’ve stepped back instead of moving forward when it comes to this topic.
Dennis Pollock: Yeah. Now, I think we have to be clear, there are racist in America.
Dr. Reagan: Absolutely.
Nathan Jones: Oh, yeah.
Dennis Pollock: Just like there are thieves, there are liars, there are murderers, you know there are racists. And just because–
Dr. Reagan: And they’re not all white.
Dennis Pollock: No, you are right about that.
Nathan Jones: No, every race is capable of racism.
Dennis Pollock: Just because the law is now equal doesn’t mean that racism can’t cause some problems. Let me give you an example. When I married my first wife in 1975 we bought a mobile home to live in. And obviously if you have a mobile home, you have to live in a mobile home park. This was in Missouri. And I found out as we were looking for the right park to live in that almost every park in that area had a rule that said, “If you buy a mobile home in our park,” in other words somebody is selling their mobile home in their park and you buy it, you have to immediately move out. And I thought, “That’s a strange law, or a strange rule.” And I asked somebody I said, “Why would they have such a stupid rule? Why would they not want your business? You buy a mobile home in their park and you have to move out?” He said, “Well, it’s simple.” He said, “That keeps that the blacks out, because if you are black and you buy a mobile home they show you the rules on the books, and you know, you are required to move out, but if you are white they just let it pass and you can stay there.” And sure, enough, when we bought a mobile home in that park which had a rule you have to move out, they didn’t make us move out. So, yeah, you can try to circumvent that, but still, there is no doubt about it that racism is not anywhere close to what it was before. And one of the best examples is me and my wife. I mean here I am an old white guy married to a beautiful black lady, we go everywhere, we go to theaters.
Dr. Reagan: Not in my day and time.
Dennis Pollock: Right. And we’re living in Texas. If we had done that in the 1950’s our lives would be in danger. We would be getting threats. We would be getting stones thrown through our windows, bombs, who knows what. I would have never come to Texas. I would be living out in California, or maybe the north, definitely not here. Things have changed for the better in all kinds of ways. And it is kind of sad that we have one bad incident which was Floyd, well, I’m not going to say it’s the only bad incident, but it the most recent one, where everybody that looked at the video of George Floyd being murdered, was immediately appalled. It’s like no, that’s just–
Nathan Jones: Universally.
Dr. Reagan: Which is a sign. I mean think about that. Everybody was appalled.
Dennis Pollock: Yes.
Dr. Reagan: If we have systemic racism, not everybody would be appalled.
Dennis Pollock: No.
Nathan Jones: Well, Dennis, I was looking at the “Washington Post” statistically whether there is systemic racism or not. And the “Washington Post” keeps a database of all the crimes and arrests. And in 2019 there were 328,000,000 people in America. Right? There were 600,000 arrests for violent crime. Of those unarmed people shot by police 55, out of all of that: 25 Whites, 14 Blacks, 11 Hispanics, and 5 others. That means 14 unarmed blacks were killed out of 10 million arrests, and that equals .00014% of the population. And we have riots in the streets saying that police are going around gunning down unarmed black people, when statistically it proves otherwise, it is more white people.
Dennis Pollock: Yeah, absolutely. And somebody asked some black children, “How many people do you think, how many unarmed blacks are shot by the police every year?” And someone said, “A thousand.” “Two thousand.” “Several thousand.” Last year it was actually nine. And your chances of an unarmed black person going out their door and being shot by a policeman, are much less than going out your door and being hit by lightning, it will happen more often. So, it’s not–people make all kind of radical statements like, “You are taking your life in your hands every time you go out as a black male, every time you go your life is in your hands. You got a good chance of not coming home.” It’s ridiculous. Now, my wife and I attended a black church for a number of years, and it was in a nice, fairly well to do neighborhood. Those young black men, and the older ones they all had jobs, they all lived in nice homes. We went to home groups, and the homes they lived in were nicer than ours, we were in an apartment at that time. They were living in nice homes. So, you have an occasional black male being killed. But you have millions of black men and women who wake up in the morning, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, spend time with their families, go to bed, and repeat the same the next day. And they live out their lives, and they are not hassled at all. And you know my wife has two nephews that came from Nigeria, and when they got to America they hit the ground running. They immediately got an education, they became pharmacists, they live in great houses. They live very comfortably. And they don’t get hassled by the police, to my knowledge they never have.
Dr. Reagan: Well, folks, I think we can say that the three of us do not believe that there is systemic racism in America today. But we also agree that there is racism, and that is destructive to the unity of our nation. So, the next question is: What can we do to overcome it, if at all possible? We will address that question after a brief break.
Nathan Jones: Welcome back to Christ in Prophecy and our discussion of racism in America with Dennis Pollock. For those of you who may have tuned in late let me explain that Dennis was formerly Dr. Reagan’s Assistant Evangelist for 11 years until 2004, then he founded his own ministry called Spirit of Grace. It is an evangelistic ministry aimed primarily at Africa. Dennis’ wife, Benedicta, is a Nigerian. Now, in the first half of this program we determined that the allegation that systemic racism exists in our nation is a lie. But we also concluded that there is still racism on the part of individuals. Dr. Reagan then posed a question for us to think about, and that is where I would like to resume. So, Dennis, how can we overcome racism?
Dennis Pollock: Well, that is a big question. I wish I had a little quick easy answer that would immediately turn America into a completely non-racist country.
Nathan Jones: Well, you’ve got about 10 minutes.
Dennis Pollock: I think you have to get to the heart of the issue. And I’m a Bible reader. I’ve been reading the Bible ever since I was 19 years old. And so, that is kind of my thing. And as I look into the scripture, especially the New Testament, the words of Jesus and Paul, I find that all sin comes from within, it comes from what Jesus called our heart, or Paul called it the old man, a sin nature. Jesus said, “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, and murders, and adulteries and fornications, and thefts, and false witness and blasphemy.” And He just listed all kinds of ugly things. He said it all comes from there. And then Paul talks about, “Put off the old man which grows corrupt according to its lusts.” So, there is in every human being an old guy, an old sin nature that is nasty, corrupt, selfish, greedy, grasping.
Dr. Reagan: I wish you would quit calling me names.
Dennis Pollock: Right, present company excepted. But this sin nature will manifest differently in different people. It doesn’t mean that every person that doesn’t love Jesus and isn’t born again is a racist. There are plenty of non-Christian, non-racist around. So, it doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be a racist. But what it means is that ugly stuff is going to come out of you as a result of this nature. And that’s why the Bible, Jesus said, “You must be born again. You have to have a new nature.” Now, we talked earlier about the laws that were passed, and that it created civil rights for blacks. And you know, I applaud that, that was necessary, it helped, it brought blacks and whites together. And they began to look at each other and realize you’re not that different from me, I’m not that different from you. And low and behold blacks and white young people began to fall in love, or in some cases an old guy fell in love with a younger black woman. So, the laws have been good, and that they brought us together. But there is a limit to how far they can go. They can’t reach into somebody’s heart and pull it out, pull out the evil, pull out the racism. And the other side of that is they can’t fix all the black issues. You know we haven’t talked about the black issues, such as the lack of fathers in the black home.
Nathan Jones: My goodness 1 in 4 black homes do not have a father present, it’s a tragedy.
Dennis Pollock: Yeah, it is between 70-75% of black babies are born without the father being married to the mother. They grow up with the mother having to work one or two jobs. And as a result, they are on the street a lot, and often in poor neighborhoods. Of course, they are going to have problems as they grow up. You put a white kid in that situation he would also have problems.
Nathan Jones: Journalist Candace Owens says there’s four solutions to the black problem today is: (1) Graduate from high school; (2) Don’t get pregnant before marriage; (3) Get married; and (4) Don’t commit a crime. She said, “That’s the secret to success depending on, it doesn’t matter what race you are, that is the secret for success.” And unfortunately, a lot of these inner city black communities–
Dr. Reagan: And cooperate with the police please.
Nathan Jones: Yes, absolutely. You show them respect. They are there to protect our lives.
Dennis Pollock: Yeah, and the black commentator Larry Elder said, “Let me give you the five reasons why blacks are having so much trouble in their families and in their communities.” He said, “Reason number five is a lack of black fathers in the home. Number four lack of black fathers in the home. Number three, number two, number one, lack of black fathers in the home.”
Dr. Reagan: There you go.
Dennis Pollock: And there is a real problem there. And whether you are white or black you’ve got to admit that. We need to take the words of that wise philosopher Beyoncé who said, “You should put a ring on it.” And so, these black young men need to put a ring on the finger of their ladies and marry them. But what I was going to say was, just like you can’t pull racism out of the heart. One thing about Larry Elder I disagree with, they said, “Well, what do you do?” And he said, “Well, you tell people to be responsible. You tell people to get jobs. Marry their wives.” Well, you can tell them all day long. But if their heart is messed up, if they are not born again, it’s not going to work. Just like you can tell a racist, “You really shouldn’t be racist, it’s just wrong.” And he may nod and smile, but you haven’t changed him a bit. It’s kind of like telling an obese person, “Well, you really ought to just not eat so much and lose some weight.” Well, yeah, technically that’s right, but you are not doing them any favor.
Nathan Jones: Well, the Bible always seems to bring us back to how God sees things. Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created them, male and female He created them.” We are all God’s children. We are all created in His image. This division based on the color of your skin, the melanin, or maybe some cultural differences is nonsense. When you think that when Jesus Christ died on the cross and we became Christians we became one body. The races, the ethnicities no longer matter. I love how 1 Corinthians 12:13 and some parallel verses say, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” And when you become saved and you are a Christian those racial divides, now obviously there are still racial trouble in the Church, that old man that you were talking about. But I love how the Church is a foretaste of the Millennial Kingdom when all the nations of the world will be gathered, and we’ll all love Jesus Christ. And there won’t be ethnicity problems, or racial tensions during that time.
Dennis Pollock: Yeah.
Dr. Reagan: I like the–I think we can solve racism if we would do what Jesus said, and that is that we would love our neighbor as we love ourselves. We are to forgive. He laid so many principles down. But the problem is, we again, can tell people that, but if the Holy Spirit is not residing within them and encouraging them and motivating them to do that, that old sin nature prevails.
Dennis Pollock: Yeah. You know there are two things that people need to overcome racism. One is just to know the truth. From a biblical perspective the truth is James says, “We were all created in the likeness of God.” And therefore, he said, “You curse men who have been made in God’s likeness.” And he’s like you shouldn’t do that.
Nathan Jones: Yeah, it is like cursing God.
Dennis Pollock: So, the Blacks, the Whites, the Hispanics, the Asians, every person has been made in the likeness of God. And the other side of it is God wants lots of people, and lots of variety in His family. And in Revelation when it talks about those worshipping God it talks about people from every tribe, every tongue, every nation, every language, you know all kinds of beautiful colors, all kinds of languages, dialects and so forth. So, in a sense of truth this we know. But you need something more than truth, which is God’s love. And the truth is you’re not going to experience the love of God if you don’t have the Holy Spirit living in you, so we need to get born again. And the problem is in our nation people are moving away from God.
Dr. Reagan: Absolutely.
Nathan Jones: Right.
Dennis Pollock: Not toward God. We have separated ourselves to such a point that we are decaying spiritually, there is just not the love, not the respect in general.
Nathan Jones: No grace is shown.
Dennis Pollock: No.
Nathan Jones: The grace that we were shown through Jesus’ Christ sacrifice we are not sharing with others.
Dr. Reagan: Just a few years ago 85% of the people in this nation claimed to be Christians, today it is 65% and it is dropping like a bowling bowl it is going down so fast. And of that 65%, that claim to be a Christian, probably only a half of those are born again, if that many.
Dennis Pollock: If that many.
Dr. Reagan: Most of them are cultural Christians.
Dennis Pollock: Yeah, so it’s kind of odd in a way because on the one hand people are protesting racism, racism, racism, that’s really the one area of America that’s improving.
Nathan Jones: Yes.
Dr. Reagan: We’ve come a long way since 1950’s.
Nathan Jones: From what you guys said.
Dennis Pollock: In every other area we are getting worse, and worse and worse. You know if we want to protest, let’s protest immorality and all the moral sins of America. There’s plenty about America to dislike.
Dr. Reagan: Well, you are meddling now.
Nathan Jones: Welcome back to Christ in Prophecy and our discussion of racism with Dennis Pollock. Dennis, folks are going to want to know about you and your ministry can you look into the camera and tell them how they can find you?
Dennis Pollock: I can do that. My website is: spiritofgrace.org, and we got all kinds of stuff, all kinds of audio files, and video files, and all kinds of goodies on the website. Also, you can find me on YouTube in a couple of different ways. I have a diabetes channel where I talk about diabetes, type in: Dennis Pollock Diabetes. I have the ministry channel: Dennis Pollock Ministry and you will find me on YouTube.
Dr. Reagan: Well, Dennis I want to thank you for being with us, and I praise God for your ministry. And pray that the Lord will continue to bless you, your wife, and your outreach in Africa. Well, folks, that is our program for today. I hope it’s been a blessing to you, and I hope too, the Lord willing that you will be back with us again next week. Until then this is Dave Reagan speaking for Lamb & Lion Ministries saying, “Look up, be watchful, for our Redemption is drawing near.”
End of Program