Rev. Michael Jordan has a prayer.
A sign in 75 percent black Birmingham... something you'll never see in a community of only white people
He doesn't just whisper it during quiet times. The Birmingham pastor puts it out there on the marquee at New Era Baptist Church for God, and everyone else, to see.
His latest message? "Lord, please stop blacks from killing blacks." The other side reads, "Young black males must respect authority."
"Our young black men are dying,'' Jordan said. "I think it gets too much attention when a white policeman kills a black male, but it gets no attention when it's black on black murders."
It's a bold move for a black man, a black pastor, in a black community. But, he's no stranger to controversy.
Just three years ago, Jordan expressed his outrage over the George Zimmerman not guilty verdict with a sign that read, "George Zimmerman jury supported white racism." On the other, he posted a reference to the 1983 Baby Doe's rape case in Birmingham: "Rape a white woman and you will die in prison."
In 2008 he posted a sign saying, "Warning: Crack cocaine is sold on this street," as a warning about drug dealers in the neighborhood. In 2004, he put up a message on the New Era church sign that said, "AIDS is God's curse on a homosexual life."
Jordan put up the most recent message for Easter. "I told the church this was my Easter resurrection prayer,'' he said. "I think the worst part of it, we as black leaders are overlooking the problem."
So far in 2016, in the city of Birmingham alone, there have been 36 homicides. Four of those have been ruled justifiable, and therefore are not deemed criminal. Of the 32 criminal slayings, 15 are confirmed black on black crime, according to police.
Seventeen more victims were black, but authorities have not yet identified the killer or killers. There have been 24 black males killed, and eight black females.
Birmingham ended 2015 with 92 homicides. Two of these were ruled accidental, and 10 more ruled justifiable. Of the criminal homicides, 42 were confirmed black on black crime. An additional 26 victims were also black, but authorities have not yet identified the killer or killers. Sixty two of those victims were black males, and nine were black females.
"We have a lot of issues as black pastors within the black community and one of them is black on black crime, male rage, and a lot of it has to do with our young black males,'' Jordan said. "The gangster rap hip-hop movement poisoned their minds with 'get quick money.'''
Jordan believes, as is evident from his latest marquee, that young black men don't respect authority: their parents, their school principals, their pastors and the police. "The black pulpit is quiet about this,'' he said. "We have to deal with it or we won't have any children left, any church members left. They'll either be in jail or in a cemetery."
At New Era, Jordan said he has started training for job readiness and job retention. "I tell them to get a haircut, cut your braids out and the gold out of your teeth but I'm running into a rebellious, insubordinate brick wall,'' he said.
The sign, he said, really was, and is, a prayer. "Let's deal with these murders,'' he said. "I put that up hoping to ignite black pastors, and I didn't get one call. No black pastors. No black leaders."
"If we focused on this as black pastors, something could happen,'' he said. "And if white pastors focused on racism, something could happen. We can always hope and pray."Actually, Reverend Jordan, white pastors should be telling their congregation Bull Connor was right, for 2016 Birmingham (a 75 percent black city) is proof of this previous statement.