Some 44 years since its creation, the Kwanzaa celebration continues to stir a bevy of emotions.
Founded in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa was created as a means for African-Americans to reflect on their past, pay homage to their ancestors and connect with their African roots and heritage.
Known by some to be an alternative to Christmas, many Christians have become largely critical of the seven day celebration which begins the day after Christmas. Some consider Kwanzaa to be a non-holiday. However, proponents of Kwanzaa consider its teachings and principles to parallel the same teachings of Christianity and believe it has a place in the church.
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson has been a longstanding critic of Kwanzaa. He considers Kwanzaa to be a form of socialism and believes that any church that celebrates Kwanzaa is not of God.
“Kwanzaa is a made up holiday created by a Godless man who is anti-Christian,” said Peterson, founder and president of BOND, the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny. BOND, according to their website, is a national, nonprofit religious organization dedicated to rebuilding the families.
“I would advise the members of a church where the pastor recognizes Kwanzaa to leave,” Peterson said. “That pastor is blind and cannot see.”
Peterson references an article written in the late 70s as evidence to discredit Karenga and Kwanzaa. He said Karenga told a Washington Post reporter that Kwanzaa is not African by any means, even though many believe it is.
“He says, ‘If black people knew Kwanzaa was American they wouldn’t celebrate it.'” Peterson said, adding that Kwanzaa falls around Christmas because, according to the interview with Karenga, a lot of blacks would be out partying.
Peterson believes most black people celebrate Kwanzaa because they believe it to be pro-black. But by celebrating Kwanzaa black people are actually celebrating further segregation, he argues.
“Until black folk wake up, become individuals and stop hating whitey, they will continue to be used by others,” he said. “If you believe in God then why would you need a Godless holiday like Kwanzaa that some racist, ex-felon created.” (Read more)