Looks like Rev. O'Neal Dozier knows what to say to keep Jeb Bush sweet: praise him to the skies and preach Republicanism from the pulpit. Here's Dozier speaking on the occasion of Martin Luther King Day a year ago:
The Rev. O'Neal Dozier, senior pastor and founder of The Worldwide Christian Center, went so far as to call [Jeb] Bush “the greatest governor ever.”
(Sun-Sentinel, January 21, 2003, Pride on Display; S. Florida Events Honor the Dream and Legacy of the Civil Rights Leader.)
Consider Black S. Florida Preachers Carry on Fight Against Injustice , a story in the Sun-Sentinal—which until now I always thought of as a decent newspaper. This news story (that's right, news, not editorial) printed a couple of days ago paints a glorious picture of Rev. O'Neal Dozier. It begins,
The Rev. O'Neal Dozier lives the message of Martin Luther King Jr. every day. As pastor of the Worldwide Christian Center in Pompano Beach, he uplifts the downtrodden by feeding them and paying their rent. In his sermons he preaches the importance of character. His leadership has transcended the pulpit to politics.
Somehow this news article never gets around to mentioning that Rev. Dozier might be controversial, or why.
Incidentally, until I read this article, I had no idea that Rev. Dozier was black. Does that mean he gets a free pass on MLK day? Somehow I doubt that King would have approved of Dozier—although that is apparently not Dozier's view, as he tries to wrap himself our secular saint's mantle:
“King didn't separate himself from the white establishment,” Dozier pointed out.
Neither does Dozier. A member of one of the state's Judicial Nominating Commissions, which screen and recommend judges, Dozier is active in the Republican Party and served as host to Gov. Bush at his church last King Day.
“We're not going to make advances for black people by slam-dunking [Republicans],” Dozier said. “We need to take a lesson from Dr. King. He had a peaceful approach.”
But even Dozier acknowledges that racism has not gone away. He thinks black people have not helped their cause much because whites perceive blacks as having lost the moral character they had during 1960s protests.
“If King were alive today, he would still be an activist,” said Dozier. “He would be an advocate for black people looking at character.”
Dozier worries that the younger generation needs to strengthen its character for the black community to achieve King's dream.
“Have you listened to the music? It's horrible. The way we dress with our pants down. The way we wear our hair makes us look like demons,” he asserted.
“How can you pierce the upper-crust establishment, where the money and political people are?” Dozier asked. “We can't unless we change our character.”
The article does, however, include a handsome photo of Rev. Dozier.
A little spell on Lexis suggests that Dozier was also active in the 'Ten Commandments' movement, speaking to support (now-former) Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore. Dozier has also been a prominent supporter of the FCAT, the standardized test relied on by the Florida school system, disagreeing with those who claim that the test is racially biased.
There are also some hair-raising interviews in which Dozier makes clear that he does not separate church and state. Rather, his vision of church — like the Mullahs in Iran — instructs the faithful as to how to vote, to support the wise and virtuous Republicans.
Give him this. He's certainly not shy about it.
“Years ago, I took a closer look at the platform of both parties,” said the Rev. O'Neal Dozier, the church founder, who freely mixes politics and religion. “The [Republican] platform is more in line with the word of God. I am Republican because of conviction.”
(source: Miami Herald, Natalie P. Mcneal, Blacks embrace message of GOP Pompano pastor, congregation find Gov. Bush's politics suit their beliefs, Feb. 3, 2003)
And then there's this amazing and disturbing profile that appears in an article by Wyatt Olson in the Broward New Times, United States of Jesus: The folks who are “reclaiming America for Christ” are pushing an agenda for a Taliban-like state where Scripture is law
“We must teach Christians that they should vote for political candidates that follow the biblical positions on the political issues,” says O'Neal Dozier, who founded the Worldwide Christian Center in 1985 in Pompano Beach. He instructs conference-goers: “The major political issues that you should teach the biblical positions on are abortion, homosexuality, capital punishment, income tax of citizens, affirmative action, right to bear arms, and public school prayer.”
Dozier's congregation is mostly Republican and mostly black — an anomaly in Democrat-heavy Broward County. In 2001, Jeb Bush appointed him to the 17th Judicial Nominating Committee, which is the board that recommends lawyers for judicial seats in Broward County. A former linebacker with the Chicago Bears, Dozier received a law degree from John Marshall Law School in Chicago. Appearing much younger than his 54 years, he sports a dark blue suit as finely sculpted as his flattop coiffure.
Dozier freely mixes politics and religion in the pulpit.
“I do not teach people to become Republicans, even though I am a Republican,” he says. “I do not teach people to become a Democrat. I teach them to know and understand the issues at large. And I know they're going to do the right thing in the voting booth. We want to be very, very careful as Christians not to 'cancel out our salvation' as we enter into the voting booth. Many Christians are doing that. They're praising God on Sundays, then on election Tuesdays, they are 'canceling out their salvation' because they are siding with the enemy, with the devil.”
Dozier expounds on a few “issues at large.” Homosexuality is clearly foremost in his mind. Quoting from the Old Testament book of Leviticus, he declares that it is “an abomination,” which he defines as “something so nasty and disgusting that it makes God want to vomit.”
“Why is it one of the paramount of sins?” he poses. “Well, it is a very bad kind of sin because it really hurts society in so many ways.” God, however, found a way to punish the homosexuals through HIV-AIDS, he says. “It is a type of judgment for such a sin as this one, homosexuality.”
Then there's the matter of the death penalty.
“Listen, God is 100 percent for capital punishment,” Dozier pronounces slowly and emphatically. “Oh, yeah, God knew some were going to slip through, a few innocent ones. He knew that. But you cannot have a society without capital punishment.” Murmurs of accord rise from Dozier's audience. “You're right,” calls out one woman.
Dozier sees one sure way to ensure that these lofty ideals become the immutable law of the land: take over the world's economy. “We ought to be the ones in charge of economics on this Earth,” he says. “Secondly, we as Christians must take control of the government. We should be the ones in charge of the government. Wouldn't you agree with that?” Everyone nods and mutters in agreement.
They could bring an end to abortions, special protections for homosexuals. “We should take control of every facet of society,” he says.
“The best thing our president has done…” Dozier pauses and then waxes rapturous. “I love that man; I love President Bush. Thank God for President Bush!” The crowd claps wildly. Dozier talks about Bush's drive for faith-based initiatives that would provide federal tax dollars to church-run programs for the poor, elderly, and ill. “Do you know what it would mean for Christ if the church could have the money to take care of the poor?” he asks. “That means that the poor would come to the church and the poor would see Jesus as their God and not the government as their god.”
Charlie Falugo, a salt-and-pepper-haired Miamian, says, “I don't know how to reach my black brothers and sisters who are Christian. I feel very sensitive about that, because it might seem that I'm pushing a party, and I'm not.” How can he change the minds of blacks who are Christians, he asks, “but politically they keep putting the other… you know… in office?”
It starts with the pastors, Dozier quickly answers. “This is what I say to my congregation: 'If you are Christians, then you must adhere to the Bible.' I have in my church, many, many people who used to be…” — the name of that other party is somehow never uttered — “…lost, but now they have been found.”
Fear for the Republic.