Brother Donny Reagan, of Happy Valley Church of Jesus Christ, has been labeled the most racist preacher in America for his sermons on interracial marriage. (Photo Contributed)
A “hit job” is what Brother Donny Reagan of Johnson City’s Happy Valley Church of Jesus Christ thinks of controversy stirred by a video sent across the Internet last week, in which he rails against biracial marriages in a sermon he gave last year.
In the video, which Reagan called one in a series of sermons on the topic of marriage, he speaks against marrying black people with white people, something he vows not to do, starting off by saying, “Now I’m going to deal with something for just a few minutes that’s probably going to make folks mad, but what’s new?” Several times during the video, Reagan references how controversial this topic is, joking about how one of the recording computers might blow up and that he hopes his e-mail isn’t given out with the video.
During the sermon, Reagan also frequently quotes self-proclaimed prophet William Brahnam, from Cumberland County, Ky.
Reagan says he knows who pushed out the video, but would not name anyone. He says that person knew exactly what he or she was doing by giving it to such websites as www.rawstory.com and www.gawker.com The video went viral across social media around the world, creating a backlash of commentary on Facebook and other sites.
Filmed at the church April 24, the 17-minute video has racked up nearly 40,000 views on YouTube in less than two weeks, and it has some websites asking whether Reagan is the most racist pastor in America.
• Update Feb 22, 2014: In the wake of publication of this article, YouTube has since removed the video, citing a copyright claim from Happy Valley Church of Jesus Christ. The church also has removed Reagan's archived sermons from its website.
“My god has nationalities outside the city,” Reagan says in the video, going into the gist of his argument that he doesn’t consider it right to marry white people with black people, continually calling such relationships “hybreeding.”
“Hybreeding, hybreeding, oh, how terrible, hybreeding,“ he says. “What white woman would want her baby to be mulatto, made by a colored man? Let’s stay the way God made us. I believe it’s right.”
A 2013 Gallup poll showed that 87 percent of Americans approve of interracial marriages, as opposed to just 4 percent in 1958.
Going on to release many more race-filled statements about the brown race marrying the white race, and if allowed, they should all dismiss to go to Taco Bell, questioning why black athletes want white wives, and a link between Communism and biracial marriage, Reagan doesn’t shy away from his thesis.
Reached Tuesday by telephone, Reagan acknowledged what he said was controversial and something that might look bad. He said, however, he hasn’t changed his position on marrying black and white people, citing Scripture. But he issued an apology to his congregation — usually about 600 people — this past Sunday morning, not necessarily for what he said, but because it reflected badly on the members of the church.
Happy Valley Church of Jesus Christ has black members, Reagan said, and the church even has a speech scheduled for a young, black pastor this week.
Even though members of his church have been supportive as the video circulated the Internet, Reagan said he’s been down since it came out.
“I feel terrible,” Reagan said. “I’ve been sick since it came out and haven’t eaten in days.”
As terrible as Reagan feels, he’s not backing off the message. He said he’s seen the hardships those in biracial relationships have felt, and though he admits a lot of it has to do with being in a conservative area, he wouldn’t officiate biracial weddings in other parts of the country either.
“This doesn’t have anything to do with race,” Reagan said in response to the criticism. “I don’t think it would be right or fruitful.”
His church spends hundreds of thousands of dollars in African countries, going to nothing but black churches, he said.
Some modern scientific research indicates that the human species began in its modern form in sub-Saharan Africa, somewhere between 60,000 and 200,000 years ago. When asked if he agrees that all humans have all come from that same place in the continent to which he gives money, he said he hasn’t looked into it and doesn’t know, although he recognizes human beings being from a central location at the beginning of the species.
Pastors he calls friends will marry whites and blacks, he said, but it’s just something he doesn’t believe in. He wouldn’t respect someone who bent on their principles after being placed under such scrutiny and pressure.
“Almighty God, he knows my heart and what I’m saying to you, and that I have no animosity in my heart,” Reagan said. “I am against things, not people.”
Reagan said if people watched the 17-minute clip and came to the conclusion that he’s racist, then he did a poor job in conveying his message.
All of Reagan’s church’s sermons are available for download on the Happy Valley Church of Jesus Christ’s website.comments powered by Disqus