By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
August 2, 2021
When 15-year-old Chloe Adams headed to Xavier University of Louisiana for a four-week STEM camp focusing on pandemics and public health, she didn’t expect to have to defend her faith in front of a classroom of strangers. But that’s exactly what happened.
And when she returned to Upper Room Church of God in Christ in Raleigh, her pastor, Bishop Patrick Wooden Sr. brought her up to the podium to show his congregation “what a Christian warrior looks like.”
According to Wooden, Adams, who was chosen for the exclusive camp because of her academic excellence, expected to spend most of her time in a science lab learning about diseases, but instead found much of the course focused on what he called “indoctrination” on issues related to critical race theory (CRT).
It was a popular poem by award-winning binary poet Danez Smith that sparked Adams to push back and speak up.
In “Dear White America,” an indictment of the nation for its treatment of people of color, Smith writes, in part, “I do not trust the God you have given us. My grandmother’s hallelujah is only outdone by the fear she nurses every time the blood-fat summer swallows another child who used to sing in the choir. Take your God back.”
Read the full poem by Smith, Dear White America
Wooden says Adams told the class, “The God you all are rejecting in this poem is the Christian God and that’s my God, and if it wasn’t for Jesus I wouldn’t be here today.”
“The whole class tried to gang up on her but she wouldn’t take it back,” the Bishop said, urging his congregants to follow her example. “When God gives you an opportunity to make a stand, make it.”
Answering Wooden’s questions as she stood before the congregation on a recent Sunday, Adams said that it was attending church and reading her Bible that gave her the courage to speak up when she felt others were maligning her Savior.
The Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, also commended her for defending her faith.
“It’s amazing what God can do through some young person who is sold out to him. When David took down the giant, Goliath, he was just a teenage boy. Joseph, who ultimately became second in power to Pharoah in Egypt, not only saved the life of his family, but thousands upon thousands of lives during a famine. Joseph spent a large part of his youth unjustly imprisoned because of his faithfulness to God, but in the end, God put him on top,” Creech said. “The glorious and triumphant story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, is a true account about three young men who were thrown into a fiery furnace because they would not bow down to a false god.”
Creech said teens should never underestimate the difference they can make for Christ’s sake.
“It takes courage to stand for Christ as a teen these days, but those willing to stand at an early age are placed on a trajectory of greatness,” he said.
Wooden’s commendation of Adams was featured in a video that Upper Room shared on social media.
“She could have said nothing,” Wooden said. “But she had the strength when it counted.”