[Editor’s note: The following article is based on excerpts from an address delivered by Minister Farrakhan on April 30, 2006 at Union Temple Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., to commemorate the 33rd pastoral anniversary of Reverend Willie Wilson. To order DVD/CD, or MP3 of this message, call 1-866-602-1230, ext. 200.]

In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful. As-Salaam Alaikum.

When I participated in “The State of Black America” symposium on Feb. 25, the great forum that Tavis Smiley convenes every year, I was the last speaker. What I said seemed to create some confusion; although the people mostly understood me, there appeared to be some misunderstanding among some of the panelists. But I do not want anyone to think that I would disrespect the work of Tavis Smiley and the group that worked with him to produce that document called “The Covenant.” Brother Tavis and those working with him did a wonderful job.

But I do not put a rubber stamp on anything. I do not have any money to offer you. I am not corporate executives who will back what is non-threatening to them. They can offer money, but they can never offer guidance. My role is to give good news, warning and guidance, but I cannot if you do not come to me when you are forming something. I am not vain, but I do have something to offer, so the least you can do is respect my presence in the world and ask for my thoughts.


You can get 1,000 scholars together who have the letters of this world, which I do not have, yet they said of Jesus, “How come this man having not letters is learned?” I do not have any degrees, but what I do have is from God, who says in the scripture that, “the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.” He said He would take the babes and give them the wisdom that He withheld from the wise and prudent so that the babes would become guides for the wise and prudent.

I listened carefully to every panelist who spoke at the symposium, but I did not hear them mention the Name of God. There is no affair of great resolution that can be accomplished without God. The scripture says, “And lean not on thine own understanding, but in all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” Although I did not hear an acknowledgement of God, I heard an acknowledgement of scholarship. It was not my intention to speak condemningly; I passionately pointed out that our sickness is not only mental and intellectual, but it is also spiritual. So, without a spiritual remedy, any intellectual solution will not win.

Brother Tavis shared two letters from the head of the Democratic National Committee and the head of the Republican National Committee and their promise. He had already stated that a nation that does not fulfill its promise is not good. So I begin by saying that America is no good at all. Was I wrong? If I am not wrong, then do not hold up any papers from known liars, who do not have any power, which cause us to hope again in liars and deceivers. I cannot support you. I am sorry if I hurt anyone’s feelings with my words because that was not my intention—but the leaders of this government are liars. Satan promises only to deceive.

I talked about “the people that you all meet with” because you get so impressed by meeting in boardrooms, wining and dining with people in high positions. When they give you promises, you swell up with pride.

You think President George Bush had power because you did not see the hidden hand that controlled him. Even when you meet with figureheads of power, they have to meet with someone else. Black leaders have never met with the people who really exercise power, like the head of the Federal Reserve, bankers, heads of multinational corporations that control your government, neo-conservatives and Zionists that control the government. If you do not meet with these people, then whatever promise you receive from figureheads cannot be fulfilled without their approval. The sooner you recognize your impotence, you will understand that you have to go somewhere else to get the power to deal with the real powers that control government.

At the symposium I was told that they were making a covenant with Black people, but Black people have already made a covenant with someone else. It is like a bigamist who married a woman and made an agreement with her but then, unknown to her, made an agreement with another woman. That is against the law. I gave the example Terrell Owens, who played for the Philadelphia Eagles. Even though they cut him from the team, he was not cut quite yet, so no other team could sign him until he was totally unsigned. So, you cannot make a covenant with Black America while Black America has made a covenant with their enemy.

A covenant is an agreement between two or more persons to do or not to do something specified. It is the conditional promises made to humanity by God as revealed in scripture. But a covenant is a promise; it is a pledge by two people who are willing to live up to what is stipulated in the covenant. Black leaders cannot make a covenant with Black America because Black leaders have sold Black America out. They are lying hypocrites who hold the hands of Black people as long as White people give them permission, because they have made a covenant with White America. As long as the work of our Black leaders does not threaten them, our leaders can join them.

So if we are going to enter into a covenant with Black America, Black America must untie itself from the enemy and then we can put our hands freely into the hands of the people who need our hands.

Some leaders in political positions have masters they have to please and it is not always the people that sent them into office. Sometimes we vote for people and do not understand the powers that start pulling on them. After we put them in office, in order to get things done, they need things and the people in power barter with them. It becomes a compromise between how they manage themselves and those who wield power over resources. Politics is so dirty because you cannot be all things to all people. When you are all things to all people, you are nothing to yourself and it is to yourself that you must be true.

Most of our leaders are already covenanted. I recently received a call from a leader and I thought we were going to discuss problems of Black people, which we did for 20 minutes. Then the caller said, “The real reason I called is that I got a call from (Abraham) Foxman (head of the Anti-Defamation League) about something you said and I have not been able to hear it.” I said, “I’ll send it to you, Brother, but you tell Mr. Foxman, since you all like reality TV, you get out of the way and bring them and me into a meeting. I will take on the 12 presidents and whoever else they want to send. I will walk in with God and show you that they cannot defeat truth.” Black leaders are afraid of them and it is their fear that makes them slaves. Jesus is not real if you are afraid.

In the Book of Exodus, Chapter 34, Moses comes down from the mountain with the laws of a covenant and he finds his people crazy. He breaks the tablets and God told him to come back and He would give Moses the tablets again, but cautioned him not to break them a second time. God told Moses to give them the laws of the covenant, but “take heed to yourself lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you go, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee.”

Then God said, “For thou shalt worship no other God; for the Lord, whose name is Jehovah, is a jealous God, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they go whoring after their gods and do sacrifice unto their gods and one call thee and thou eat of his sacrifice.”

I quoted this during my talk on the panel, but I spoke so fast, maybe they did not understand. Then, I referred to Chapter 28 of the Book of Isaiah, which says: “Your covenant with death shall be disannulled and your agreement with hell shall not stand.” God is saying that He is going to break your covenant. The Bible says, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man but the ends thereof is death.”

What covenant have you made with death? Look at the way you live your life. I am not referring to singing and giving praise in church; I am referring to the way we live our lives. We have already made an agreement with hell and that is why hell is in our lives. We have made an agreement with death and that is why death is in our communities. Until we break that covenant, we cannot enter into a practical, new agreement that makes sense. Your covenant with death shall be annulled. John the Revelator says in the Bible, “There was a pale horse whose rider was death and hell followed closely behind.”

In our communities, we have churches somewhere on every corner, mosques and synagogues, yet death and hell is everywhere because we have made an agreement with the hellish life that we live. We do not want to change. We do not want to reform. Singing and praising God will not get us into the Kingdom of God. What will get us into the Kingdom is acknowledging that we are wrong. But someone must have the courage to point out the wrong, not with hate, but with love. Then, we must examine ourselves and determine to change. We must ask Allah (God) to give us strength to change our ways. Only then will we break our covenant and agreement with death.

So, our leaders cannot make a covenant with you because you have already made a covenant with hell. That makes you a hypocrite. We lie all the time. We lie to cover our inadequacies, cover our failure to do our duty. We write checks, knowing we do not have the money in the bank. That is a lie. We make promises without the intention of fulfilling them. We love to lie. Liars do not have any place in the Kingdom of God. We have to repent and change. Liars cannot make covenants because they know from the beginning that they are going to break it.

During the forum, I mentioned Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whom we all loved. Harry Belafonte shared with me what he saw in Dr. King right before Dr. King was assassinated. They had a meeting and his disciples were very joyous, but Dr. King was sullen. Mr. Belafonte went to him and said, “Martin, everybody seems so joyous, but you seem so melancholy.” And Dr. King replied, “I fear that I am integrating my people into a burning house.” He told Harry that he wanted them to be firemen. But I said at the forum: “Don’t be a fireman, let it burn.”

Some panelists thought I was telling Black people to burn the house down, but I was not asking anyone to burn the house down. Dr. King did not see a literal fire; he saw a figurative fire. If the house is burning, Dr. King did not start it, so the question is, who started the fire? If God started it, can you be a fireman?

Then, I quoted from the third chapter of the Book of Matthew, where John is baptizing. He said, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance.” This baptism is like water on your mind that quickens you to moral consciousness and repentance. But Jesus said, “But he that cometh after me is mightier than I whose shoes I am not worthy to bear, he will baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.”

Jesus came to John to be baptized, but John wanted to be baptized by Jesus. So, Jesus asked John, “I have need to be baptized of thee and comest thou to me?” Jesus answered him, “Suffereth to be so now for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.”

Jesus knew he was the one who would baptize with fire and the Holy Ghost. John was baptizing with water. If the church is baptizing you with water, then why are you not repentant? What does the Bible mean, “fire next time”? Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” The light of this world is the sun—a ball of fire. So when Jesus comes with that word, when it touches you, it starts burning you and breaking you down from your present form. The Bible says you are born in sin and shaped in iniquity. So, you have to be broken from that form and the only thing that will break you is fire.

So Dr. King saw fire. The house is on fire, because Jesus and the fire of his wisdom have come and it has touched the institutions of America that are bathed in White supremacy. You cannot be a part of that. Set it on fire. What sets racial politics on fire? It is the presence of truth.

Christianity was set up by Rome; a church that Constantine used the cross as a symbol of conquering White armies that killed the Indigenous people of the world in the name of Jesus. What will destroy that false church, but the presence of truth? You cannot be a fireman. Get your gasoline buckets.

What is happening to this country’s educational system, which is based on White supremacy? It is on fire. What is happening to this country’s economic system, which sucks the blood of the poor? It is on fire. The fire is burning down the old house of White supremacy—and that is why I quoted Christ, when he said, “Behold I make all things new. There will be a new heaven and a new earth and the former things will pass away.”

I am sorry that my Brother Tavis did not understand that he is not a fireman. Tavis is a man pouring gas on the fire. Any time that young man, as a talk show host, keeps spreading truth and challenging false ideas and concepts, he is helping to burn the house down. Tavis is no longer a talk show host; he has emerged as an up and coming, bright Black leader. It is beyond Farrakhan to be envious, for envious people cannot say they are people of God. I love that man and I see in him a bright future.

So whatever I can do to aid him, it is my duty because I am passing off the scene while he is rising up. He has a brilliant staff around him, but the enemy also sees this brilliance. The enemy always tries to co-opt one leader to use their brilliance against another leader that he cannot co-opt. I cannot be co-opted.

Cornel West, my brilliant Black Brother may not realize it, but the brilliance that emerges every time he opens his mouth against White supremacy is pouring gas on the fire. I only hope that when you are pouring gas, you have on your asbestos suit. My Sister Frances Cress Welsing carries gasoline every time she speaks and writes a sentence. She is pouring gas on the fire. Dr. Julianne Malveaux, every time I see her on CNN, every time she writes a column in USA Today and tackles a problem with truth, she is pouring gas on a fire that must consume a world that is based in White supremacy.

From the ashes of its burning can rise something new and dynamic from which all people can benefit. That is what we represent in the Millions More Movement. We represent thinkers who can develop a new paradigm. We must no longer follow the old paradigm, which is on its way out. We must now think and reflect deep within ourselves and on our life experiences to create a new idea in our fields that inspires a new mentality for our people.

I want you all to know that regardless of the fact that my Brothers at the forum criticized me—because I do not think they understood what I was saying—the fact that we can speak our minds without vitriol and then get into a room to talk about it and come to agreement, that is what makes us special today. No one will ever get me to speak negatively about Tavis Smiley. I love him too much and I see too great a future for us in that Brother. I only want to be able to guide him. I love Cornel West. He is one of our most outspoken Black intellectuals. Even though he says that I am involved in a pipe dream, I am going to offer him the pipe, because there is no sense in claiming that you are a Christian, but you do not believe that God—not Farrakhan—is going to set up a new government called the Kingdom of God on earth.

We must watch the unfolding of world events because America is falling. Soon, you may see the collapse of the U.S. dollar and anarchy in the streets. Allah (God) has set His hand against America, for this is the rogue nation. She has upset other governments and destroyed other nations’ economies. Now, Allah (God) has set His hand against this nation and its economy. America is over $8 trillion in debt, but only receives nearly $2 trillion in taxes, which cannot even pay to service the debt, much less the principal. America is finished in power, which can be proven from the scriptures in the Bible and Holy Qur’an.

But our future is bright. Our present is bright. If we follow right guidance, we will come through the dark hour into a bright new day.