Posts Tagged ‘Racism’

Evangelicals say Christians are being persecuted. They are. But not in the United States. In fact, the U.S. doesn’t even make the top 50 according to Open Doors’ World Watch List. Worldwide, persecution of Christians is rising, but evangelicals’ claims of persecution in the U.S. are unfounded and rooted in intersecting legacies of racism, sexism, heterosexism, and colonialism.

Much of recent U.S. evangelical history has assumed conservative Christianity’s preeminent place in U.S. policy, law, and practice. That assumption also presumes whiteness, maleness, heterosexuality, and U.S. citizenship as characteristics of U.S. Christianity and the dominant U.S. culture. It has also presumed God as white, male, heterosexual, and probably American.

To a great extent, theology ― even a great deal of progressive theology ― has affirmed that view of God and thereby reinforced notions of Christian expansion and dominance. As the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Movement, Gay Liberation, Black Lives Matter, immigration, Queer and Trans movements, and other forces have challenged the dominance of white Christian heteropatriarchy, many evangelicals have experienced the progress of these groups as persecution as evangelicals have been expected to follow state and federal laws that have granted rights to various minorities. Now, for some evangelicals, expecting a conservative Christian bakery owner to provide a wedding cake for a lesbian couple gets framed as persecution.

Rooted in a theology that claims to know the “one right answer,” these evangelical Christians then cannot allow room for diverse, complex, and sometimes competing understandings of God or even more radical possibilities for God’s ongoing revelation ― the possibility, as the United Church of Christ puts it, that “God is still speaking.”

In academic theology, “outsider” voices have emerged in theologies of liberation, theologies that begin, not with a sacred text or a set of doctrines, but with the lived experiences of oppressed peoples. These theologies present new possibilities for imagining God from perspectives of the poor, people of color, women, queer and trans people, people from “the two-thirds world,” or the global South.

Unfortunately, these theologies rarely make it into the Sunday school lessons or sermons in most conservative Christian churches. Sometimes, these theologies themselves also neglect to examine the intersections that shape people’s experiences. Early Latin American liberation theologies were written by men and often ignored gender. Early feminist theologies were mostly written by white women who often overlooked race. Rarely did questions of the role of colonialism arise. And very seldom did straight white male theologians take into account the perspectives of the people at the margins of social power and theology.

And so we’ve mostly continued to have theologies that focus on questions of sin, redemption, the church, and social issues without reference to the diverse experiences and perspectives of the entirety of the human race.

When a theology can ignore all perspectives but its own, making the short jump from believing oneself to hold The Truth to claiming persecution for being expected to bake a wedding cake begins to make sense. It’s easier and much more comforting than dealing with the possibility that other perspectives may be equally or perhaps more valid.

The idea of intersectional thinking comes to us from a long tradition of Black feminist thought. The term “intersectionality” was coined by law professor Kimberle Crenshaw. Intersectionality takes note of how race, gender, social class, sexual identity, and other forms of difference shape one another within a matrix of social institutions that confer power differentially. An intersectional theology, as we have proposed, centers intersectional thinking in our doing of theology.

A truly intersectional theology is messy. It encompasses all the contradictions, differences, and difficulties of human experience, and that means that sometimes we won’t find a direct line from point A to point B to ultimate Truth. Instead, we will find questions, people who are nothing like us, ideas that terrify and challenge us.

An intersectional theology will not allow us to ignore human suffering, nor will it allow us to cause suffering in the name of God because it will underline the equal value of all of us toward our collective, contradictory, scary, and exhilarating understandings of God. It will compel us to speak out against real persecution—against Christians around the world, against Jews and Muslims in the US, who actually do suffer the most religious persecution in our country.

This kind of intersectional thinking is for all of us, not just those of us who are members of an oppressed group. In fact, the embrace of intersectional thinking by dominant groups is absolutely essential to progress for us all because dominant groups hold the social, economic, political, and religious power to make significant change. This means white, heterosexual men, for example, need to recognize that their race, gender, and sexual identity are part of the way they do theology. They cannot be objective and neutral; rather they express theology from their particular social locations.

If we Christians begin to think this way, to center questions of the role of the intersections of difference in our theological thinking and faith practice, then we can revolutionize the church, making it a leader in changing the world for good, rather than being a follower 25 years behind the rest of society. With intersectional thinking, evangelical Christians likely won’t see themselves as persecuted in the US because they’ll understand the ways power and privilege operate across social differences, and progressive Christians will remind themselves that they need to pay attention to all the differences, not just the ones that happen to affect them. Together, then, we take another step toward the kin-dom of God.

By Grace Ji-Sun Kim/HuffPost

Posted by John the Revelator

Last Friday, Jerry Falwell, Jr. took to Fox News to proclaim that in Donald Trump, “evangelicals have found their dream president.” Two years ago, this statement would have made virtually no sense, at least on the surface. To many outside the white evangelical world, it seemed — and still seems — inconceivable that a thrice-married serial adulterer, ultimate materialist, casino owner, habitual liar, and unprincipled deal-maker could ever become the standard bearer for a group that professes to base their vote on “family values.”

How times have changed. In the two years since Trump announced his candidacy, we have seen a remarkable moral unmasking of white Americans who call themselves Christian, and in particular those who claim the “evangelical” label. Eighty-one percent of white evangelical voters cast their vote for Donald Trump, and the most recent Pew Research poll puts Trump’s support after his first 100 days in office at 78 percent among white evangelicals (and 80 percent among white evangelicals who attend church once a month).

So it makes sense that Falwell would be asked to rate the president on his first 100 days from an evangelical perspective: Falwell was essentially a surrogate for Trump during much of the campaign. And in late January, Trump asked Falwell to lead a taskforce on higher education policy, whose aim is to recommend changes that should be made to Department of Education policies and procedures. He has indicated in particular that he wants to curb or eliminate federal rules that he views as overly burdensome, including the requirement that schools must investigate campus sexual assault under Title IX, a federal law banning discrimination in education.

Given Falwell’s close relationship with Trump’s campaign and administration, it’s unsurprising that he spoke so glowingly about what he views as the Trump administration’s accomplishments so far. Here are some of the claims Falwell made for why Trump is a “dream president” for evangelicals:

  • Trump is more pro-Israel than Obama.
  • He appointed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
  • He has appointed people of faith to his Cabinet.
  • Trump will destroy ISIS, thereby saving the lives of many persecuted Christians in the region.
  • Trump supports secure borders (e.g. the wall).
  • Trump is bringing jobs back to America.
  • Trump is cracking down on “sanctuary cities.”

Falwell made a point to note that he felt “… evangelicals didn’t just vote on social issues this time, because the Republican establishment had lied to them over decades about those issues, and so instead, they went a different direction,” which was his explanation for why so many white evangelicals are “thrilled” about Trump’s hardline positions on immigration. In supporting Trump’s crackdowns and, in Trump’s words, “big” and “beautiful” wall that will keep immigrants out, Falwell is explicitly and proudly saying that white evangelicals voted for Trump not in spite of his racist and xenophobic rhetoric about undocumented immigrants, but because of this rhetoric. How that relates to Christians, including evangelicals, who are in direct relationship to the undocumented immigrants and refugees that Trump wants to deport or keep out of our country, Falwell didn’t say.

Falwell also didn’t mention that Trump’s agenda and proposed budget would brutally cut off vital support to all “the least of these” that Jesus asks us to protect in the 25th chapter of Matthew’s gospel — or that a broad cross-section of leaders from all our Christian families, including the National Association of Evangelicals, have pleaded with this administration and Congress not to do so.

As in this latest interview, Jerry Falwell, Jr. has once again shown himself to be nothing more or less than a Republican political operative, interested in advancing his preferred policy agenda much more than examining what it means to be a Christian. Famously, when the Access Hollywood tape came out with Trump bragging his ability to commit sexual assault with impunity, Falwell stood by Trump, suggesting a “conspiracy” of GOP establishment leaders was to blame for the leak. Falwell also said that “we’re never going to have a perfect candidate unless Jesus Christ is on the ballot” and defended Trump as “a changed man,” saying, “We’re not electing a pastor. We’re electing a president.”

You can imagine how jarring it was and is to see the same religious right figures who (rightly) condemned Bill Clinton’s infidelity come to Trump’s defense. A startling poll in October 2016 showed the dramatic change in white evangelical attitudes: In 2011, only 30 percent of white evangelicals agreed with the idea that “an elected official can behave ethically even if they have committed immoral acts in their personal life.” By October 2016, that figure had jumped to 72 percent. This was the largest recorded change on the answer to this question of any racial, religious, or political demographic measured by this poll.

The issue here is not Christians voting differently from each other. That is normal and likely healthy given the independence that people of faith should show over partisan loyalties. This is about the moral hypocrisy of white American evangelical religious right leaders like Jerry Falwell, Jr. causing a crisis in the church, dividing American Christians on racial lines, and astonishing the worldwide body of Christ — the international majority of evangelical Christians who are people of color — and whose leaders keep asking many of us what in the world is going on with white American evangelicals.

That number, 81 percent, has become an international symbol that tragically now represents what white American evangelicalism stands for. It dramatically and painfully symbolizes the white ethno-nationalism that Donald Trump appeals to and continues to draw support from among white American evangelicals. It is the most revealing and hurtful metric of what I will call the racial idolatry of white American evangelical Christianity, which clearly excludes American evangelicals of color and the global majority of evangelicals. The 81 percent number ultimately signifies a betrayal of the body of Christ — which is the most racially inclusive and diverse community in the world today.

Jerry Falwell, Jr. and I believe in different gospels. With Falwell, of course, this is also a like father like son history. Jerry Falwell, Sr. opposed the civil rights movement and the black churches who led it. On the Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. Board of Education that integrated public schools, Falwell, Sr. preached:

“If Chief Justice Warren and his associates had known God’s word and had desired to do the Lord’s will, I am quite confident that the 1954 decision would never have been made … The facilities should be separate. When God has drawn a line of distinction, we should not attempt to cross that line … The true Negro does not want integration …. He realizes his potential is far better among his own race … [integration] will destroy our race eventually. In one northern city, a pastor friend of mine tells me that a couple of opposite race live next door to his church as man and wife.”

In fact, he founded the Liberty Christian Academy in 1967, which the Lynchburg News at the time described as “a private school for white students.”

He also attacked Martin Luther King, Jr., saying:

“I must personally say that I do question the sincerity and nonviolent intentions of some civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mr. James Farmer, and others, who are known to have left-wing associations … It is very obvious that the Communists, as they do in all parts of the world, are taking advantage of a tense situation in our land, and are exploiting every incident to bring about violence and bloodshed.”

As late as the 1980s, Falwell, Sr. personally attacked South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu by calling him a “phony” and campaigned against sanctioning the Apartheid regime in South Africa. Falwell, Sr. later distanced himself from these views, but they remain an important element explaining the origin of the religious right and the views of too many white evangelicals today.

Racism is not a gospel issue to the Falwells, and never has been. That Donald Trump began his political career with a racist lie about America’s first black president isn’t an issue for Falwell, Jr. That Trump opened his campaign by demonizing immigrants in calling them “rapists” and “criminal” doesn’t matter to Jr. either. And Trump’s xenophobic assaults on Muslims seems to be something that Falwell. also agrees with, as his comments at the Liberty University convocation in 2015 indicate. After the San Bernardino shootings, he told his audience that he had a gun in his back pocket ready to use against “those Muslims:” “I’ve always thought that if more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in … let’s teach them a lesson if they ever show up here.”

It is important to remember that the majority of American evangelicals of color, and the 19 percent of us white evangelicals who voted with them — against Trump — did so because we are pro-life and pro-family. For all of us, Trump’s racial bigotry was a deal breaker and disqualifier of a Christian vote. That only a few conservative evangelical leaders, like Southern Baptist Russell Moore, took that stance was one of the saddest things about the 2016 election.

Racism and racial bigotry is a gospel issue, and overcoming our human divisions in a new multi-cultural community was at the center of the vocation of the early church. Last week, when I debated Eric Metaxas, an ally of Jerry Falwell, Jr., he said that raising the issue of race is not Christian — that talking about racism was racist. No. Unlike Dietrich Bonhoeffer, whom he has written about, Metaxas — like Falwell — has gotten the gospel wrong. It’s time for other white evangelicals to call out the white American evangelical leaders who have yet to speak out against the racial politics of President Donald Trump in his campaign, in his first 100 days, and going forward. The integrity of the church is at stake, as is our relationship with our brothers and sisters of color in United States, and our loyalty to the global multi-color majority of the body of Christ.

Let’s go back to Falwell’s characterization of Trump as a “dream president” for evangelicals. He can only mean white evangelicals. I can testify to a legion of conversations with African-American, Hispanic, and Asian-American evangelicals who would describe Donald Trump as a “nightmare” president. Ditto for almost all black parents and black pastors. Certainly Trump is a nightmare for Hispanic people in America, who are living under fear of their families being destroyed by the new president’s aggressive deportation policies.

That Trump is the dream president for people like Falwell and such a nightmare for the vast majority of evangelical, Pentecostal, and Catholic Christians around the world, and our brothers and sisters of color in the United States, really says it all.

This stark contrast reveals white evangelical Christianity in America as a bubble — a very destructive one, and one that is about to burst.

By Jim Wallis

Posted by The NON-Conformist

After three months of driving around town with a burned-out left tail light on my mini-van, I finally got it repaired. I don’t know what took me so long. It was just one thing after another – the holidays, soccer games and choir rehearsal and “Mom, I’m out of clean clothes” again. No excuses really. It’s not safe to drive around with a broken tail light. I know this. But I did it anyway.

There’s a reason I’m telling you about my broken tail light. A few weeks ago my friend Shannon mentioned something in a blog post that caught my eye. Turns out, her son had been driving around with a burned-out tail light too. The difference was, his tail light was broken for less than 36 hours before he got it fixed, but in those 36 hours, he was pulled over by the local police four times. The fourth time ended with him sitting on the curb while the officers searched his car for drugs, of which there were none.

“It doesn’t matter that he’s never had a drug charge,” Shannon wrote. “What matters is that he’s black. He’s young. He has ‘that look.'”

That declaration stopped me in my tracks. Suddenly I understood, in a real, in-my-face kind of way, what white privilege is and exactly how I benefit from it. That young black man and I committed the exact same infraction.

The only difference is that I drove my car for three months with a broken tail light, and I was not stopped once. I had the luxury of taking my sweet time getting it fixed. That’s called white privilege.

My friend’s black son drove his car with a broken tail light for 36 hours and was pulled over four times. He couldn’t wait until it was convenient for him to get his car fixed. He had to do it immediately, for fear of getting pulled over a fifth time. That’s called racism.

And for those of us who are churchy, religious types, it’s also called a sin. Racism is a sin.

We don’t think of racism as a sin. We think of racism as wrong, and bad, and something in which other, “bad people” participate. But most of us white people don’t think racism has really much to do with us. We don’t think of racism as a sin because that would implicate us. Defining racism as a sin suggests that we might play a role in racism too.

Reverend Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (the ELCA, my denomination) recently broadcast the second live webcast in a “Confronting Racism” series.

I’m glad the ELCA is taking steps to confront racism and our role in it. According to a 2015 Pew Research Center report, my denomination, which is comprised of nearly four million people, is 96% white. Racism and white privilege and what we can or should do about either isn’t exactly on our radar. But it should be and it needs to be, because of this:

“You are the body of Christ, and each of you is a part of it…If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27 & 26).

What Paul declared 2,000 years ago is still true today. We are all part of one body, the Body of Christ, and when one part of that body suffers, we all suffer.

Part of the Body of Christ is suffering badly and has been suffering badly for hundreds of years. Our black sisters and brothers are suffering terribly, and we are looking the other way. We are doing nothing. We don’t even notice what’s happening because we don’t have to — we have the privilege of not noticing.

Case in point:

My church recently broadcast the “Confronting Racism” live webcast. It was advertised in the worship bulletin for our three services the Sunday before and on the church website, and members were invited to attend a viewing of the webcast and then stay for a brief discussion afterwards.

Out of the more than 4,000 members of my church, 11 people attended the live webcast; 9 stayed for the discussion.

For the record, my church has a highly active membership. More than 600 people regularly participate in adult education opportunities such as small groups and classes. More than 650 people are actively involved in mission work in Honduras, Tanzania, and the local community.

The garden on our church grounds that is planted and maintained by church volunteers provides more than five tons of food annually to the local Food Bank. Twenty-five percent of all financial giving by members to my church supports local and global ministries. I could go on.

What I’m saying is that these people are faithful, loving, obedient servants of Christ. They do good work. They help lots of people. They make a huge impact on those in need, both in our community and beyond. They love God, and they love their neighbors.

And yet clearly, the problem of racism is simply not registering. Racism in America may be seen as a problem generally…but it’s not seen as a problem for us — for upper-middle class white people attending a white church and, for the most part, living in white suburbia.

Two years ago, I would not have been among the 11 people who attended the “Confronting Racism” webcast. I probably would have noticed the announcement in the bulletin, but I would have dismissed it as irrelevant to my world, to my family, to my personal spiritual growth. I would not have given the idea of attending that racism webcast a second thought.

So what changed?

Several factors have contributed, but one factor stands out in particular: I became good friends with a black woman. We’ve been friends for six years, but only in the last two years or so have I begun to see the world through her eyes. I’ve seen how I benefit from the color of my skin and how she is inhibited by others because of the color of hers. I’ve listened to her and heard her. I’ve begun to recognize some of my own mistakes, prejudices, and biases. I’ve begun to see not only that racism exists, but that I play a role in its existence as well.

You might be rolling your eyes at me, and I don’t blame you. I have one black friend, and here I am, ranting and raving and all in your grill on the subject of racism. It’s a little know-it-allish, I realize.

But I’m not going to apologize or feel ashamed about the fact that one friendship with one person of color has impacted me and changed me so dramatically. Because the truth is, that’s what love does. When you love someone, you want that person to have all the good things in life that you have too. I love my friend, and I want to help make the world a better place alongside her. It really is that simple.

The truth is, the problem of racism isn’t all wrapped up, not by a long shot. I’m not cool with my 96% white church. I’m not cool with 11 people out of 4,000 attending a discussion about racism. I’m not cool with a young black man getting pulled over four times in 36 hours for a broken tail light. Most of all, I’m not cool with my own complacency anymore.

By Michelle DeRusha/Huffpost

Posted by John the Revelator

Christianity is the most popular religion in the world, and the center of gravity for the faithful is in Africa.
As The Economist recently reported, Black people are the most devout Christians. Although Europe remains the continent with the largest number of Christians, church attendance in Europe is falling due to “creeping secularism,” an emphasis on individual spirituality over organized religion among younger people, and affluence.
The Economist report makes the point that in richer countries, such as those among Western Europe, citizens attend services less frequently. This makes the U.S., with its 58 percent church attendance among self-identifying Christians, somewhat of an outlier.
“The odds that an individual will attend church are 15 percentage points higher in the world’s 29 most unequal countries than they are in the most equal ones,” The Economist reported. “And people on the lower rungs of their own country’s economic ladder tend to be more observant than those at the top.”
In America, which is a wealthy nation with unusual inequality, African-Americans and Latino immigrants are poorer than the national average, and very devout.
While a mere 9 percent of the 100 million people living in Africa were Christians in 1910, 55 percent of the billion people living in Africa today are Christian, according to the Centre for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Of five sub-Saharan nations–Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa and Zimbabwe—90 percent of self-identifying Christians reportedly attend church regularly, meaning there could be as many as 469 million churchgoers in Africa. To put that in perspective, 335 million people who attend church live in Latin America, which is 60 percent more than in Europe, according to The Economist.
It is instructive to examine why the formerly colonized—for our purposes, people of African descent—are the most religious Christians. Why is it that the people who are the most entrenched in poverty and suffering the most, whether Black people in Africa or Black people in America, thump their Bibles the hardest?
Surely, one can understand the role of liberation theology, of social justice Christianity, the notion of Jesus the Black freedom fighter who rights wrongs and helps Black people as they struggle through hard times.
But what happens when the colonization of a people is mental? Missionaries came to Africa to “soften up” the local populations, making them pliable and ready for white supremacy, the exploitation of their land, resources and bodies inherent in colonization. They were given, and gladly clung onto, the least empowering narratives–of God as a white man and a white master, and the notion of blind faith and forgiveness, and enduring suffering in life so that you go to Heaven once you die. But what about having Heaven on Earth? What of the concept of accumulating wealth so as to provide a secure future for one’s children and successive generations? We are not talking about prosperity gospel, which is simply pimping with a collar and cross, but rather a demand for basic human rights, of economic security, dignity, freedom, and justice.

In other words, if our devoutness is related to our continued exploitation and economic subjugation, then what benefits have we derived from our faith, when Christians in the advanced world are not made to sacrifice their wealth for their faith? And that’s wealth they stole from Africans, by the way, with compounded interest.
The key for Black people is to channel their faith—whatever their religion, or lack thereof– in a manner that speaks to their condition, their culture and their values. Certainly, Kwanzaa is an effort to make Black spirituality real, regardless of one’s religion, in promoting strong values, perpetuating institution building, and bringing about positive outcomes in the community.
“I’m saying that you are closer to God the further you get away from organized religions that are all handmaidens of conquest,” Dr. John Henrik Clarke once said. “And these belief systems that had their origins in Africa–all of them, and there is no exception–turned on African people. Everything that was brought into this continent–everything, every idea, every so called religion–was meant to dominate and to control. Every element that was put into the making of every major religion started in Africa. Why is it you are so naïve, you let people redress something you invented, send it back to you and enslave you through it?”

Written by David Love/AtlantaBlackStar

Posted by John the Revelator

In a very candid video appeal on Wednesday, popular Christian rapper Lecrae challenged his “white brothers and sisters” to explain why they never protest when he talks about issues like abortion or the Islamic State terror group, but usually express concern when he speaks out about racial injustice.

“I have historically posted things about abortion, Planned Parenthood, and my thoughts on that. I’ve sat down with leading thinkers and pastors. I’ve done videos, posted those videos. Talked about ISIS and the terror that is ISIS and how it has affected us all, it affected our Christian brothers and sisters throughout the world,” said the rapper in the video posted to his Facebook page.

“In both of those instances I have received encouragement and people saying thank you for speaking about this. We appreciate this, specifically from my white brothers and sisters. But yet, when I’ve spoken out recently about what I see to be authoritative or racial injustice, there is this sentiment of what feels like hostility,” he explained.

“I don’t want to read into people’s comments but it feels like hostility or defensiveness. And many times there’s a response of ‘why don’t you talk about ISIS? Or why don’t you talk about abortion?’ And I’ve never seen on the times when I’ve spoken about persecution or abortion people respond with ‘why don’t you talk about racial injustice?’ And so I’m interested in understanding what the sentiment here is?” he said while warning against antagonistic reactions.

Lecrae’s challenge came after making two earlier posts highlighting the shocking body camera video showing the shooting death of 43-year-old Samuel Dubose by University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing during a traffic stop on July 19 and excerpts from the 2001 book, Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America by sociologists Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith.

Pointing to the excerpt from the book, Lecrae highlighted that “boats need rockin[g].”

Traversing history, we find some common markers. Because evangelicals view their primary task as evangelism and discipleship, they tend to avoid issues that hinder these activities. Thus they are generally not counter-cultural. With some significant exceptions, they avoid ‘rocking the boat,’ and live within the confines of the larger culture. At times they have been able to call for and realize social change, but most typically their influence has been limited to alterations at the margins.

So, despite having the subcultural tools to call for radical changes in race relations, they most consistently call for changes in persons that leave the dominant social structures, institutions, and culture intact. This avoidance of boat rocking unwittingly leads to granting power to larger economic and social forces. It also means that evangelicals’ views to a considerable extent conform to the socioeconomic conditions of their time. Evangelicals usually fail to challenge the system not just out of concern for evangelism, but also because they support the American system and enjoy its fruits. They share the Protestant work ethic, support laissez-faire economics, and sometimes fail to evaluate whether the social system is consistent with their Christianity.

Challenged by the discussion, a number of the rapper’s white fans provided insights he called helpful.

“The white race feels victimized by all this news (not new at all) about racism. It’s rooted in our insecurity and ignorance of what race and culture actually is. Some people would rather talk about issues that don’t involve themselves in any way as a possible culprit. They’d rather point the finger than be vulnerable,” noted Nathan Miller in a response that was liked nearly 2,000 times.

“I think defensiveness is greater on race relations as opposed to abortion and ISIS because of the characters involved. So with ISIS you have evil, unequivocal evil. So there is no defensiveness and people want to talk about that. With abortion, you have innocence (not speaking theologically but of perception), so people want to wade into those waters to protect the innocent. With race relations you have complexity, as there is abuse from both sides,” wrote Eric Dickey.

“There is an element of aggression and intimidation present in the urban black community. It’s undeniable. There is aggression and intimidation and power abuse by police. But many white people can’t see that side of the police, because we see our neighbor, or our uncle, or cousin, or dad. It’s close. So, to delve into this discussion requires caution and gray lines, and people don’t like that. I don’t know. It’s a heartbreaking issue. It’s hard being this divided, and knowing you don’t want to be,” he added in his comment that was liked nearly 1,000 times.

“Lecrae, I am a 54-year-old Caucasian female who loves your music and the way you speak truth. I believe this is a conversation that needs to happen, and I believe that unless people can be honest without being ugly nothing will be accomplished,” noted Tracy Enman Carrasquillo.

From CP

Posted by John the Revelator

The question I want to deal with in not great detail is forgiveness. As you should know by now is that 9 people were shot to death in a church while having bible study in Charleston S.C. The story goes that the white terrorist suspect sat in on the bible study for one hour before eventually emptying his clip on the unsuspecting victims. The words this white supremacist used “I’m going to give you something to pray about,” “you rape our women.” These are problematic to say the least. We understand his content as well as his rhetoric. He wasn’t crazy or insane. He knew exactly what he was doing. Somehow he believed blacks were somehow taking over the country, which is laughable. His behavior, we can not excuse, but if blacks behave or act or react, they are deemed much differently. They are looked as thugs, while Roof was looked at as having mental instabilities. Well, he was a sociopath.

Since this act took place in a Church a certain decorum must take place. Alas lies the problem; FORGIVENESS! Blacks must put on the cloak of rationality, they mustn’t break from their model, Jesus. Yet, they must forgive and show the love that Jesus must give. They’re feelings of what took place must be repacked and forgiveness must be the rallying cry. This is another way to control people from being angry and wanting real justice. This time the guise is religion, which is more convenient since the very church that the incident took place was founded by the revolutionary Denmark Vesey, whom  was assassinated for wanting his freedom and for other blacks. His church was burned down and rebuilt with new rules in place, such as no evening services, and it had to be overseen by whites, this took place until after the Civil War.

When I speak of forgiveness we don’t truly understand the meaning. We may make reference to a deity or some manuscript. It may be spiritualized beyond belief to resemble insanity. Because we aren’t covered by the blood and our understanding is darkened. I am a rational minded person but am perplexed by the notion to easily forgive, to whom, who shows no contrition, or remorse. Do I forgive “slavery,”? Do the Jews forgive the Natzi? Do the African forgive Hitler for using Namibia to advance his theories of racial supremacy? This is how Hitler perfected the concentration camps for the Jews, but first practiced on Africans. So why are we made to forgive so easily. It goes back to the mythist scriptures. Ps 103:12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. The God of the bible forgives and remembers no more. The Bible as many try to portray as a straight forward book, but the followers demean the intent.

The thought of someone telling the person that shot your love one, may God have mercy on your soul and/or repent. So you can have the same love as me an we can become brothers and sisters in the Lord, and be as one mind living together in the celestial heavens. I’m sorry, this is “insanity.” Even if we try to suppress our wrong doings, we can’t! We are emotional creatures with wants, cravings, needs, love, regret, hatred and a myriad of other complex emotions. Really, why should people feel a certain way about a piece of shit like Roof. Black believers are put in a bind. You are to bless those that use you Lk 6:28. Love your enemies Math 5:44, and to forget the past Phil 3:13-14. Has anyone ever taught you that one, the issue of shutting down and forgetting the past is irrational. If we don’t forgive are we going to hate till we become a cancer? Probably not, but the person that offended us by killing a love one, a certain burning may stay for sometime until your ready to release those negative emotions that you have emerged, wrapped yourself into. It may not be completely fair to refer to them as negative emotions. Anger is the emotion, until you deal with that individual emotion of why, only then can you let go. By casting your cares to a deity, that is cowardice and baseless solution. Your true feelings are when you are alone with complete silence with your soul/mind.

In many ways I think Michael Jordan may have a point when he says “It didn’t matter about the punishment of the two men who killed my Dad; he’s gone!” As black people in this instance, we should seek justice and never be silent. We shouldn’t hide behind the cloak of sanctity. WE should be made to express ourselves. I personally don’t think I could forget which means to forgive someone that may have killed a loved one, especially out of hate. They may eventually leave my memory, but to give them my energy is self defeating.

When you look to the mythist book, even your God almost repented for making man. So either their translation errors or we’ve been sold a farce as perceived truth. My simple advice is to love those that love you!

Written by John the Revelator

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Many are still trying to comprehend life in America where an act of murder occurs with deep racist motivation in a house of worship amid a growing climate of turmoil, mayhem and what can only be described as White domestic terror.

Shock and alarm gripped Charleston and the country after Dylann Roof, a 21-year-old White male allegedly walked into Emanuel African Methodist Episcopalian Church—one of the oldest Black churches in the South—and sat through the Wednesday night Bible Study. He then pulled out a gun and subsequently unleashed a barrage of deadly bullets, reportedly reloading five times. When he finished, eight parishioners, including the prominent church pastor and State Senator Clementa C. Pinckney were dead. A ninth victim died from wounds at an area hospital. After an intense manhunt involving local, state and federal authorities, Mr. Roof was apprehended less than 24 hours later in North Carolina, returned to Charleston and charged with the killings.

Mr. Roof is now in the Sheriff Cannon Detention Center, on a $1 million bond for weapons charges and is expected to be back in court in August where the bond will set for nine counts of murder.

“I thought back on the history of our people and how in 1963, in Montgomery, Ala., a church was bombed and here we are 52 years later in 2015, and we have a psycho-terrorist massacring people in a place of worship.” said Mama Abena, an elder and self-described Pan Africanist native of Charleston who recently moved back home. “If I said that it was unbelievable, I will be lying to myself because it’s very believable … It’s not like these very horrific and heinous situations have not happened to us as a people.”

In the days that followed the June 17 massacre, prayer vigils and gatherings of solidarity and support were held throughout the country—primarily pastor led—where the messages were “we must forgive” and “love conquers hate.” Some called the show of togetherness nothing more than “symbolism” driven by the desire to contain an angry Black, Brown and poor people who live under the pressure of marginalization and oppression. “We symbolically talk about unity,” Mama Abena said further. But “that’s going to end … what are we going to do from here; from right now?”

“Black people still have a tendency to think that everything will be okay; that everything is still peaceful with us among White people. But in the midst of this you also have a class of people that’s tired … frustrated … fed up,” explained DeAndre Muhammad, Charleston representative for the Nation of Islam.

Some question whether healing and forgiveness exist absent of justice and repentance, looking at America’s sordid past and not so peaceful present. “This man was steeped in White supremacy, but that White supremacy is not just an individual thing, that’s something that stems from the whole of this United States from its foundation,” said Jack Turner, a White organizer from Atlanta with the Revolutionary Communist Party. “I think this outrage should manifest itself in resistance. People actually need to pour out into the streets.”

On Sunday, June 21, Emanuel AME Church opened its doors as a signal that the act of terror on its space and parishioners would not stop the spiritual calling and historical legacy the church has. Thousands stood in the blazing sun and lined the street outside the sprawling church as the sanctuary was filled to capacity as were the lower level rooms where the bloodshed happened. Supporters from around the United States and Canada, fellow Christians, Jews and Muslims from the Central Mosque of Charleston attended in a show of interfaith support.

Friends and family shared their gratitude in the midst of their pain with The Final Call for the outpouring of condolences and concern. Sherrell Nelson lost her 87-year-old aunt Susie Jackson and 26-year-old cousin Tywanza Sanders. “It’s overwhelming to see the outpouring of love with all the flowers and tributes,” she said.

Patricia Jones either worked with or went to school with at least four of the victims, saying she was “saddened by the whole thing” that rocked the tight knit church community.

The shooting happened at the church Denmark Vesey co-founded in 1818 that historically was a hub for liberation and organizing for self-determination, a cause that freeman Vesey lived, fought and was hanged for in 1822 along with 35 others. The church was dedicated to an anti-slavery agenda, and at one point was burned down by proponents of White terror, oppression and slavery.

Now the question of racial terror comes front and center again, at a time when people have been resisting injustice in the wake of police and vigilante killings of Blacks. The cases of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Renisha McBride, Tamir Rice and the brutal murder of Walter Scott, coldly shot in the back by now jailed former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager are among the most often cited.

There are concerns about a spate of Black men found hanging from trees in recent times, raising the reminder of America’s history of “terror lynching” where Black people were tortured, maimed, beat, burned to death and suffered slow, agonizing hanging deaths.

A report from the Birmingham, Ala.-based Equal Justice Initiative called “Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror” revealed between the American Civil War and World War II, Blacks were lynched regularly in the United States and an estimated nearly 5,000 men, women and children were lynching victims.

Between the 1990s to as recent as April 2015, Lennon Lacy, Otis Byrd, Roosevelt Champion III, Fredrick Jermaine Carter; Anthony Hill; James Byrd; Brandon McClelland and Andre Jones were Black men who experienced hideous deaths either by hanging from a tree, hanging in a jail cell or the horrific dragging of  bodies chained behind pickup trucks.

The history of these crimes along with the execution of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41; Cynthia Hurd, 54; Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Ethel Lance, 70 Rev. Depayne Middleton-Doctor, 49; Susie Jackson, 87; Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74; Myra Thompson, 59, in the basement of Emanuel AME adds to a wider context and question around White supremacist ideology and White terrorism targeting Black and Brown people.  Photos have surfaced of the gunman Dylann Roof wearing White supremacist iconography and reportedly told his Black victims: “I have to do it. … You rape our women and you’re taking over our country, and you have to go.”

“We need to be clear, this is not an aberrational event,” said Cornell William Brooks, president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to The Final Call after the first Sunday church service at Emanuel AME after the June 17 attack.

Mr. Brooks believes there is a national resolve to move forward and “be tragically inspired by this to prevent future tragedies from happening” but cautioned underlying racism and that the shooter was fueled by White nationalism must be addressed. To “blink that or ignore that, ignores the tragedy, he said.

There are reportedly 18 White supremacy organizations in South Carolina described as neo-Nazi, White nationalist, racist skin head and neo-confederate. A Federal Bureau of Investigation document on domestic threats notes that “white supremacy extremists specifically target racial, ethnic, and religious minorities; the federal government; and in some instances, even each other. Their tactics include assault, murder, threats and intimidation, and bombing.”

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics data obtained from interviews with victims, the number of hate crimes has remained fairly constant over the past decade between an astronomical 200,000 and 300,000 per year. Their statistics reveal the vast majority are perpetrated against Blacks.

Van Jones, political commentator and environmental advocate, told The Final Call he sees a double standard in how the shooter is being handled in comparison to how other communities are handled. Every time a Muslim does something crazy, every Muslim leader has to come out and explain, he said. If Black youth “riot” in Baltimore—every Black leader is expected to apologize and explain, he added. In contrast, he said, when White bikers shoot themselves up; nobody calls them thugs or talk about White on White crime. “White 20-year-old males continue to pull off massacre after massacre and nobody is asking where their fathers are and no White leaders are being asked to explain themselves,” he said.

“You cannot overcome a demon until you face that demon,” said Mr. Jones. Many leaders refuse to face the demon of racism and it festered to the point of catastrophe at the church, he said.

“At some point you have to have leaders—and I mean White leaders—who are willing to say we have a problem and ask tough questions of the White community. What are we doing behind our closed doors that leads to our children coming out to do such things?” asked Mr. Jones.

Malik Zulu Shabazz of Black Lawyers for Justice said to move forward and change things there must be a “stirring of the pot” against what he called a conspiracy to keep White supremacy in control of Black people. There is “collaboration between the power structure and a certain class of Blacks who have agreed to cooperate with the power structure,” he said.

There is a strong grip on the local clergy in South Carolina that must be broken, the lawyer said. They are dedicated to keeping the Black population “quiet and obedient” and the people need a lifeline they can’t get from local leadership that has “cut a dirty deal with the devil,” Attorney Shabazz charged.

Meanwhile White domestic terrorism, whether in the form of bullets from police guns or massacres as in Charleston, S.C., America and the Black and Brown victims of the domestic terrorism has reached a juncture of history for Justice … Or Else!

By Brian E. Muhammad/finalcall

Posted by John the Revelator