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Maybe I’m old-school and too much of a traditionalist, but I prefer my pastor preaching from the pulpit about faith and spiritual uplifting, not pimped-out in gold necklaces, tinted goggles, black leather jackets, and pontificating on reality television.

But that’s just me.

I’m referring to a minister named Deitrick Haddon – the pimped-out preacher — who is one of six African American “mega pastors” who will appear on a new television reality show called “The Preachers of LA,” which debuts on Oxygen in October.

Haddon, the son of a bishop and an evangelist, has been preaching since he was 11 years old and started conducting the church choir at 13. At 23, he married the woman he was expected to marry but when he got a divorce, the members of the church shunned him. So he turned to his music for comfort and he now finds himself at a crossroads: Ministry or music?

In the previews for the show, the pastors are shown wearing tailored suits, tattoos, and riding in flashy cars with entourages in tow.

I’m not knocking the six black pastors who have signed on for a new reality show on Oxygen called “Pastors of L.A.” — a detailed look at the lives of men of God in Los Angeles.

But I do question why the pastors chose to participate in the show. Are they truly hoping to use the program to minister to those who need spiritual guidance? Or are they simply using the high-profile media platform to rake in more cash and bask in the spotlight of a national television audience?

“Pastors of L.A.’ will give viewers a candid and revealing look at six boldly different and world-renowned mega-pastors in southern California, who are willing to share diverse aspects of their lives, from their work in the community and with their parishioners to the very large and sometimes provocative lives they lead away from the pulpit,” says a press release from Oxygen.

But is this the way black pastors should be portrayed on national television – and on a reality television show?

“I’m totally against it,” Pastor William J. Smith of Saint Tabernacle Church in L.A. tells the Grio. “When you put the church in the category of all these other shows – though I don’t watch them, I don’t have time for that foolishness. It demeans the church. It brings it down and it takes away the value of why it’s here. That’s why the church is in the condition that it’s in. Because the church has, in a sense, aligned itself with themes of the world.”

I agree with Pastor Smith. Black pastors should aspire to a higher sense of integrity and not allow egos – and money – to encourage them to move away from a message of spirituality to something akin to entertainment.

Are these pastors using the reality tv show to save lives? Change lives? Offer hope to those in need?

It doesn’t sound like it.

ANALYSIS: Black Pastors Reality TV: Pious or Pimped Out?  was originally published on

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