Population: 2400 (2000 Census)
Ethnic Make-up:1.2% African-American, 51% Hispanic and 40.1 % White- non Hispanic.
Location: Approximately 20 miles south of Fresno, off Fwy 41 between Easton and Lemoore
The really sad part about this situation is that characters were performed at a church-sponsored event as the Academy is under Riverdale Assembly of God. Just when we think the we have truly begun the reconciliation process between the Church of God in Christ-COGIC and The Assembly of God (Assembly of God member-churches were originally a part of COGIC until they broke off in 1914 to establish a predominately-White denomination), we see that many still need deliverance from racism and prejudice. Racism and prejudice in the church has to be dealt with. John, one of Jesus disciples speaks false love for God in I John 4:20(NIV):
If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.
This is not merely a theatrical production emulating fictional characters, but a purposeful demonstration of disregard for the seriousness of the black American slave experience. It trivializes slavery, it celebrates the ungodly and unfounded Biblical justification of this Era (similar reasoning used in stripping land for Native Americans and the encampment of Japanese-Americans during WW II), and further characterizes rural and small town America as unwelcoming to people of color.
This type of behavior is totally unacceptable, especially when sanctioned by a church. I believe the church leadership, Academy administration & staff, the characters and students involved need to admit the action was wrong and prepare a formal apology to the African-American community.
Obviously, one of the Academy's staff though it was harmless enough to post the pictures of the event on the web [the albums and the account were deleted after this post]
Riverdale Christian Academy at The Riverdale Assembly of God http://www.rivdal.org/