Jeremiah Camara was once a member of one of the largest Black churches in Cincinnati, Ohio, his place of birth.
Baptized at an early age, Jeremiah moved to Cleveland, Ohio, in the early 80’s, where he began his quest toward a deeper understanding of his faith.
While in Cleveland, he began to diligently study the Bible and gave serious thought to becoming a minister, or at least living an active life in the church. During that time, he attended a Baptist church, at least two or three times a week. Like many, he felt the church could provide him with the substance he was missing in the way of answers, meaning and purpose in his life.
Growing up, he had not been raised in any one particular church. His parents were not consistent churchgoers, and never insisted that he nor his brothers and sisters attend church. Nevertheless, he did manage to go quite often.
There came a time, however, when he began to distance himself from the church; not because of a particularly bad experience or negative incident, but because he had begun to expose himself to other forms of thought, ideologies and practices.
“I began to see the church as just one source of information. The diversity of the world and its kaleidoscopic array of infinite ideas and wisdom, would not permit my curiosity to be confined only to the teachings of the church. It also disturbed me deeply to witness Blacks praising so much, but producing so little,” says Camara.
Jeremiah Camara returned to church, but this time as an investigator. Visits to churches of varying denominations, brought to light a common thread linking the vast majority. Mostly all, in his opinion, were preaching a gospel of powerlessness which conditioned people to lean on the supernatural. In other words… conditioning people to take the path of least mental resistance.
Following a long investigative hiatus, he rediscovered this same theological impotence when he moved to the Atlanta metro area, where he quickly discovered that church was big business. He knew then the time had come for him to write a book shedding light on the many psychologically crippling aspects within the church that keep Blacks in a state of “Holy Lockdown.”
Camara is also the creator of the much watched video series, Slave Sermons. Slave Sermons are 10 minutes or less video snippets which addresses the perils of religious intoxication and the deleterious consequences of being theologically conditioned to rely upon supernaturalism and divine intervention to deal with critical issues.
Camara wrote, directed and produced the full-length documentary film Contradiction: a Question of Faith. Contradiction explores the impact of religious loyalty and how an unyielding commitment to faith in an omniscient and omnipotent being is affecting society, particularly the African American segment.
Camara made the film seeking to understand the paradox of the saturation of churches in Black communities coexisting in the midst of poverty and powerlessness and if there is a correlation between high-praise and low productivity.