Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Faith and Leadership

BOND: Now, you spoke a moment ago or throughout this interview, you talked about your faith and your Catholic school upbringing and your dependence on religion — is that fair to say that religion has been a base part of your philosophy, that your faith has been a base part of your philosophy?

LEE: Yeah, I could say that, absolutely. But let me tell you, Julian, I am death on the separation of church and state. You know, all this stuff that's going on now with the fundamentalists and what have you — it's crazy, I don't subscribe to that at all. "Render to God that which is God's, render to Caesar that which is Caesar's." And so while I'm a person of deep faith and continue to be, I don't believe in mixing government and religion, and much of what's taking place now I totally think is very anti-faith and if you ask me, until these people can stand up for the poor and fight against these budget cuts and develop budgets that are moral documents, you know, I think that those that profess to be religious in this institution and then vote, you know, in a contrary manner are hypocrites.

BOND: How does this faith or this philosophy, faith-based philosophy, how does this guide through moments of difficulty, like being the only person to vote against the war? How does that philosophy bolster you?

LEE: Well, you know, you go to the Scriptures and read those Scriptures that undergird what you have done and give you the strength to stand. There's a scripture in Ephesians that I always go to. I don't remember the chapter. I think it's Ephesians 24, but it talks about when all around you is falling to pieces and going to hell and when there's confusion and wars and boom boom boom, what do you do? You just stand. You just stand and you have faith, and you just stand there until all this stuff kind of fades away. That's what I had to do. You stand.