Holding Spiritual Leaders Accountable for Basic Facts

Like any industry, spirituality has its challenges with hidden bias and bypassing – even among leadership. We all know the super shady like Jim Baker who stole money from people in the 1980s, but what I’m talking about is on the ordinary level of spiritual leaders today who podcast and teach.

Some leaders among us have a habit of making grandiose claims with zero backing, which are harbor thinly veiled misogyny and racism.

When spiritual leaders promote conspiracy and claim that it’s a “divine message” without any self-disclosure or fact checking, it’s a problem. This happens all the time from claims about the eclipse being the end times (we’re still here) to personal assertions about music or movies. I don’t mean when a spiritual leader states a personal preference and backs it up with research – even if I disagree with their analysis, that’s fine – they’ve done their homework. I mean the wild claims that get hidden underneath a spiritual layer of being connected to the Divine and then declaring an opinion as truth. in the name of enlightenment or higher knowledge.

Consider this: A colleague, whose work I generally admire, shared a graphic about Beyoncé’s “Texas Hold ‘Em” song. (I’d show it to you, but she blocked me plus I don’t want to send more traffic to it. You’ll see why).

The post innocuously suggested turning off the song as soon as it comes on the radio, something along the lines of

– When I hear “Texas Hold ‘em” and turn off the radio –

At first, I thought it was a statement of personal taste, though I’m flabbergasted how someone could feel that strongly negatively about the new Beyoncé album. However, the comments revealed a deeper, more concerning story. The comment stream by the woman and her fans illuminated the reasons why they turned the song off. They described the song as feeling “evil” and were unwilling to “put up with” Beyoncé’s influence. It was getting eerie as I read on, especially since I really like this album, especially the opening “American Requiem” and the remake of “Jolene,” which has been endorsed by Dolly Parton herself.

The criticism continued. I objected, mildly, and commented that I like the album and that it’s empowering to see a black woman take country music back to its African American roots while expanding the genre. Successful black women in America who are industry game changers are kind of a big deal. Y’all, this is Beyoncé we’re talking about – she’s obviously crazy talented, studies her music, and puts her own spin on it.

The OP told me politely that I was welcome to like any music, but she would not be listening. I could celebrate Beyoncé “all I wanted” but she would not be donig so. She assured me that it had nothing to do with race, just that the music itself is evil since Beyoncé has a Satanic agenda.

Full Stop: Suggesting in an seemingly innocuous meme that a black woman’s voice should be turned off the second it comes on the radio, and then connecting her to Satanism is the height of racism – all while claiming it has nothing to do with race. This also links into Christian right wing terror of empowered black women that swiftly attempts to silence and discredit.  A very effective way of doing that is through conspiracy links to Satanism or other perceived evil.

This scenario took me back to the Satanic Panic of the ’80s, highlighting how different groups, from the Christian right to the metaphysical community, can arrive at similar, racially charged conclusions through vastly different routes.

This woman, however, is not part of the religious right wing. She’s part of the woo-woo metaphysical community – like me. To be fair, I’m part of the Christian progressive crowd, too, who values anti-racism and self-analysis. However, she made a bold assertion through an ill attempt at humor and her reasoning buys into this religious conspiracy mindset. She even expressed surprise that I did not know, or have a divine revelation about, Beyoncé’s supposed Satanic agenda. She did not offer reasoning, evidence, or anything that resembled facts.

Her followers are apparently on board with her.

Associating Beyoncé, an immensely talented Black artist, with Satanism and dismissing the racial undertones of such claims is not just irresponsible; it’s blatantly racist. The insinuation that her achievements and influence in the music industry, particularly in genres historically dominated by white artists, are somehow nefarious is not only baseless but also a reflection of the systemic biases that permeate our society.

My stance? An unequivocal no.

Thankfully, Beyoncé’s resilience outshines baseless claims. I’m dancing along with “Texas Hold ‘Em” as I write.

However, when spiritual leaders endorse such fallacies and insist that race plays no part in their assessments, they undermine their own credibility as well as the collective credibility of spiritual leaders working to make the world a place that vibrates just a little higher than it does right now. But this kind of racist undertone brings us all down, and is frankly damaging to us as humans, and especially black women. In a field based on enlightenment, I expect spiritual leaders to hold themselves to a higher standard of truth and integrity.

One leader who does this is Rev. Yolanda Norton, the creator of the Beyoncé Mass – a church service put together using the music of Beyoncé. It’s a womanist creation, not worshipping Beyoncé but celebrating black women’s spirituality and leadership.

Like any field, spirituality has misguided leaders who spout truths that are not true – this happens everywhere. BUT, spirituality is predicated on intimate relationships of trust. This kind of behavior actually distances spirituality from the everyday person instead of bringing us closer. It’s time to be conspiracy free without facts to back up claims.

This seemingly innocuous post was a vehicle for conspiratorial, racist tropes lacking any factual basis and predicated on divine revelation. As a spiritual leader committed to enlightenment and understanding, I always strive to:

And yes, I love the “woo.” I’ll clear a chakra and help you manage your energy and find your spiritual guides. But will I claim that my guides deem music as Satanic, especially when such claims inadvertently undermine women of color in America? Absolutely not.

So, who’s in for a round of Texas Hold ‘Em? Let’s play.

Comment below with your thoughts.

8 responses to “Holding Spiritual Leaders Accountable for Basic Facts”

  1. Bryan Slaughter Avatar

    Whoooo was it! LOOLL! Great write Katy! I am with you! I am proud to be in your CREW!! U DA BANG!

    1. Katy E. Valentine Avatar
      Katy E. Valentine

      Thank you and you ROCK!

  2. Michelle A Avatar
    Michelle A

    Thank you for having the courage and integrity to call out corrosive lies. Integrity and respect like this really makes me proud to call you my trustworthy coach.

    1. Katy Valentine Avatar
      Katy Valentine

      Oh my goodness, making me tear up. I’m so grateful for you and your gifts!

  3. Mary Elizabeth Collins Avatar
    Mary Elizabeth Collins

    Yes! And I’ve shared your powerful message with others who are responsible spiritual leaders in the US. My

    1. Katy Valentine Avatar
      Katy Valentine

      Thank you, fellow justice worker!

  4. Sandi John Avatar
    Sandi John

    Thank you so much, Katy. And I am grateful to be connected with your work anew.

    1. Katy Valentine Avatar
      Katy Valentine

      Thanks Sandi, and so grateful for your presence and work!

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