Race Issues Archives

On Wednesday evenings around the country, many churches hold mid-week services or children’s programs, or bible studies. Sometimes, all three. A few weeks ago, a pastor was leading one of those Bible studies when a visitor came into the church and sat in on the group. He was welcomed to join in. He requested to sit next to the pastor, and so he did.

An hour passed by with readings from the Bible and discussion, perhaps about what the text meant, perhaps about how to apply it personally. Even, perhaps, asking for the visitor’s thoughts, though I would imagine that the group, not wishing to create an awkward situation, probably didn’t push him to participate in an unfamiliar setting, content to let him listen in, and yet willing to let him speak should he want to.

I don’t know what was discussed, or what the passage was that was the topic of the evening, but the visitor later said that the people were very nice to him. So nice, he said, that he almost … almost … didn’t do what he had come there to do. But in the end, he did, and when he was done, the pastor and 8 others had been shot dead.

Dylann Roof had come there to start a race war; to start an uprising that would supposedly boil over into a full-blown conflict.

At this point, we can only guess what he imagined the sequence of events would be leading to that war. Certainly he had seen the news reports about riots in the streets in other cities when a white man killed a black man, so it’s conceivable that he thought his actions would create the same situation, only more violent, because unlike many of those other instances, these would be killings that were obviously pre-mediated, with no other explanation than hatred. He wouldn’t have any self-defense case. He wouldn’t be a cop who may, or may not, have thought his life was in danger. No, nothing would be murky about this. This would be a clear cut case of racially-motivated murder, possibly causing an even more violent reaction than those previously.

But all his plans were taken apart piece by piece, because of who he targeted. He targeted those who believed that you should love your enemies, and pray for those that hurt you. He targeted those who believe that the merciful are blessed. He targeted those who are told to forgive as freely as they themselves have been forgiven.

He targeted a Christian Bible study. And while he was committing those acts of hatred, of malice, of evil, he had no idea that he was also opening up the floodgates of the love that those he killed professed. Those that survived, and hundreds of others in Charleston, though undeniably hurting, expressed that love to him. A reporter covering the crowd that stood outside the arraignment had a difficult time keeping his composure in the face of such love.

Inside the proceedings, instead of acrimony and hatred, surviving family members expressed the forgiveness that the evil had certainly not expected.

I would like to note that the faith community in other cities with unrest – Baltimore, Cleveland, and others – did take a stand and tried to calm and heal the tensions in their area, sometimes meeting with gangs to come to a truce, sometimes with special services for those in need because of the riots. But because there were riots, they got the headlines, and the tweets, and the Facebook posts. But in Charleston, riots didn’t happen, so they didn’t mask what good things were happening.

So now it can be seen, and it is surprising, amazing and, dare I say, perplexing many who see the love of God in action. It’s been there, perhaps in the background, not grabbing the front page, but it’s been there nonetheless.

There are those that believe that God, or even just religion, isn’t necessary to express this kind of love. We can, so the idea goes, work this up within ourselves without any help, because the capacity is clearly there in people. I would say that, yes, the capacity is there, because we are made in the image of God, and since God is love, we too have that ability. But while we, within ourselves, might be able to approximate the appearance of such a love, it is but a dirty reflection of what is truly possible. If, instead, we let, not our love, but God’s love shine through us, that’s when you’ll see what it really looks like, and it will be surprising, amazing, and perplexing.

Some will ask, “Where was God? Why wasn’t He protecting His church?” That question has been asked many times, in many situations, throughout history. Perhaps one of the earliest examples of an answer to this comes from a man who was sold into slavery by his brothers. Through a series of events, over the course of years, he became second in command of the biggest economic power of his time. And in that position, was able to return good for evil, and save his family from a major catastrophe. You may recognize the Biblical story of Joseph, the son of Jacob. Or you may recognize the musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”. Either way, when his brothers felt extremely uncomfortable in the presence of the one they hurt, Joseph forgives them, telling them that, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done…” We don’t always get to see the big picture – we may not live to see the big picture – but for those who trust Him, God uses the evil to work out the good. Dylann Roof intended to start a race war. He failed because God’s people let Him shine through them.

If you’re wondering how such forgiveness and love can really happen, I have a suggestion. Somewhere near you, very likely, is a church. Now, you don’t have to jump in completely to their Sunday service. You might just want to test the waters. Try getting your feet wet at, perhaps, a Wednesday night Bible study. One of those almost stopped a gunman filled with hate. Imagine what it could do for you.

    The Zimmerman-Martin Sequence of Events

    Jack Cashill lays out the facts of the case as they have been presented by George Zimmerman, various witnesses, and the Sanford Police Department. He also notes distances and times to keep things in perspective.

    One thing that hasn’t been well-publicized in much of the discussion about the case is that Zimmerman, when told by 911 operator, "We don’t need you to do that" (that is, follow Trayvon), he stopped and went back to his truck. He did as he was instructed.

    Definitely worth a read as the case goes to trial.

      Are ID Cards Racist?

      ObamaCare will require the use of an ID card. Does that make it racist? If not, would requiring an ID card to vote be racist? Or how about this; what if we used the ObamaCare card as a voter ID card? Would heads explode?

        I would have thought that, by this time in history, it would be no big deal, but apparently a Cheerios ad on YouTube featuring a black father and white mother was getting so many racist comments that they disabled commenting. Watch the ad and decide for yourself. I find it utterly unobjectionable.

        A family down the street from us at our previous house was black & white, and I once heard them referred to by another neighbor as “salt & pepper”, which I took as derogatory rather than descriptive (knowing the guy who said it). And we met, through homeschooling channels, a black and white couple that described to us the racism they encountered when, for example, the white wife applied for an apartment and everything was going smoothly for weeks until the black husband showed up to look at the place, and suddenly nothing was available.

        This is 1950s/60s stuff. I would have thought we’d have learned by now. But here’s the thing. We still have neo-Nazis, and that 1940s stuff. We still have ideologies and twisted thoughts from, frankly, the beginning of time. We will always have racists. We will always have sin surrounding us. But we can’t think that this defines our culture.

        The problem I see now is that being for a public policy like voter ID is equated to hateful comments on interracial couples. Since racism still exists, it is considered the driving force behind so many issues, and stifles actual conversation.

        Yes, racism still exists, but not at all like it used do. (Could we have had a black President in the 50s or 60s?) It is a fringe (but, unfortunately, vocal) element at this point. Don’t dilute the term by using it where it’s not warranted.

          Friday Link Wrap-up

          Hobby Lobby could be the next Chick-Fil-A. “Hobby Lobby Sues over HHS Mandate”

          Reverend William Owens from the Coalition Of African American Pastors in an interview with John Hawkins: “Again that’s the reason I took such a stand against President Obama. In every election, in every campaign where the marriage amendment has been on the ballot, blacks in large numbers have been against it and Americans have been against it. But he’s not interested in what the people want. He’s interested in what a few people who can give him big money want.”

          I don’t usually link to Sojourner’s “God’s Politics” blog for good examples of political opinion, but their non-political item — a discussion on the recent “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” discovery — is quite good. “Five Important Questions About That ‘Jesus Wife’ Discovery”

          “Antarctic sea ice set another record this past week, with the most amount of ice ever recorded on day 256 of the calendar year (September 12 of this leap year).” I blame global warming.

          UN Secretary General George Orwell Ban Ki Moon: “Freedoms of expression should be and must be guaranteed and protected, when they are used for common justice, common purpose,” Ban told a news conference. “When some people use this freedom of expression to provoke or humiliate some others’ values and beliefs, then this cannot be protected in such a way.”

          Bullying works. “The Christian-rooted fast food restaurant [Chick-filA] agreed to stop funding groups such as Focus on the Family that oppose same-sex marriage in a meeting with the Chicago politician who had been blocking the company’s move there.”

          And finally, competing mottos (from Chuck Asay, click for a larger version):

            How Important is the Right to Vote?

            Eric Holder, Attorney General of the United States, speaking to the NAACP on the racism of voter ID laws.

            “Many of those without IDs would have to travel great distances to get them and some would struggle to pay for the documents they might need to obtain them,” Holder said in a speech to the NAACP on Tuesday, referring specifically to a law being implemented in Texas. “We call those poll taxes.”

            But not just anyone was allowed in to hear Mr. Holder rail against proper identification. The journalists listening to him, in order to get in, had to provide … wait for it … proper identification. So it is racist to require ID, and if so, what if the NAACP requires it? The answer … could get you charged with a hate crime.

            Y’know, if you want to rent a movie, buy a beer and cigarettes, or fly on an airplane, you have to have an ID. Are each of them more important than your right to vote? Is that the message Holder and the NAACP are trying to send.

            Check out this site for a list of myths about voter ID laws, and why they are indeed myths. And the next time you go to the Will Call window to pick up your tickets to the game or concert, and have to show your ID, consider whether that so-called hassle is worth it to protect your constitutional right to vote.

              The Uncool President

              I say "uncool" only so that I don’t get accused of racism by the Congressional Black Caucus.

              Angela Rye, Executive Director of the Congressional Black Caucus, argued that President Obama has struggled during his first term due to racially-motivated opposition from conservatives who dislike having a black president.

              "This is probably the toughest presidential term in my lifetime," Rye said during CSPAN’s Q&A yesterday. "I think that a lot of what the president has experienced is because he’s black. You know, whether it’s questioning his intellect or whether or not he’s Ivy League. It’s always either he’s not educated enough or he’s too educated; or he’s too black or he’s not black enough; he’s too Christian or not Christian enough. There are all these things where he has to walk this very fine line to even be successful."

              She said that "a lot" of conservative opposition is racially-charged, citing the use of the word "cool" in an attack ad launched by Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS superPAC.

              "There’s an ad, talking about [how] the president is too cool, [asking] is he too cool? And there’s this music that reminds me of, you know, some of the blaxploitation films from the 70s playing in the background, him with his sunglasses," Rye said. "And to me it was just very racially-charged. They weren’t asking if Bush was too cool, but, yet, people say that that’s the number one person they’d love to have a beer with. So, if that’s not cool I dont know what is.

              She added that "even ‘cool,’ the term ‘cool,’ could in some ways be deemed racial [in this instance]."

              The definition of what is racist just keeps changing too fast for me to keep up. Doesn’t Ms. Rye remember how Bill Clinton was called a "rock star"? Would calling Obama that also be racist? I’m honestly asking, because I have no idea what is and isn’t permissible these days.

              This is just another example of every, single disagreement with the President being turned into a racial incident.

                Friday Link Wrap-up

                If celibacy is to blame for the sexual abuse in the Catholic church, how does that explain the continuing abuses in the public schools? (Hint: it doesn’t.)

                Here are 4 hard truths of health care reform. (Hint: if they promised something, it’s generally not going to happen.)

                "[I]f you come down hard on Limbaugh because he has crossed a line, you must come down hard on Schultz and Maher because they have crossed the same line…." (Hint: Schultz and Maher supporters haven’t.)

                New York City Mayor Bloomberg, not content with nannying the well-off on what they can and can’t eat at restaurants, now is denying food to the homeless because it might be too salty. (Hint: That’s not compassion.)

                If they had been Republicans, this would have been racist. (Hint: They’re Democrats.)

                Is Zionism humanitarianism? (Hint: Yes.)

                  Friday Link Wrap-Up

                  If Samuel L. Jackson voted for Obama because he’s black –  using as his reasoning, "’Cuz that’s why other folks vote for other people — because they look like them … That’s American politics, pure and simple." — then is it OK for white folks to vote for white guys just because they’re white? Could those white folks expect the non-reaction to their reasoning as Jackson got for his?

                  Albert Mohler takes Nicholas Kristof to civics class.  The Constitution protect freedom of religion as a basic right, not only when it’s convenient.

                  "Actor Sean Penn criticized Republican presidential candidates during a visit to Venezuela on Thursday, saying that right-wing policies in the United States aim to benefit the wealthy." No, we want to make as many people as possible wealthy, as opposed to Venezuela’s socialism, which is making as many people as possible poor.

                  Stoning Christians on the Temple Mount. No, not Jews. One more guess.

                  Germans are discovering that, when they need their solar energy most, during December and January, it doesn’t help that they don’t get much sunshine then.

                  Sign of the Times: "For Women Under 30, Most Births Occur Outside Marriage" Perhaps Rick Santorum isn’t as kooky as some are making him out to be.

                    Friday Link Wrap-up

                    Let me get this straight: The government tells banks who they must lend to. Banks comply, and in doing so, very nearly go under. (Oversimplification, I know.) Obama propped up his friends in the banking industry by bailing them out. And the "Occupy Wall Street" folks are upset at the bankers? No, not just them; they’re upset at capitalism in general. Here’s a list of proposed demands that should make you squirm. Yes, it’s just a proposal from a forum post, but the promoted it to the front page of the site. And it gets general approval from the liberal commenters. "Universal single payer healthcare", "Guaranteed living wage regardless of employment" (emphasis mine), "Free college education", etc. The taxes required for all of this make the current unsustainable spending look like chump change. This certainly does not represent "the other 99%", as they claim.

                    Democrats insist that the Tea Party is run by the Koch brothers, on the idea that since the Kochs support it and give money to it, that they therefore control it. Wrong, but let’s go with that. How, then, to explain the big Soros, union, and other astroturfing money coming in to support OWS? (Additionally, if the Tea Party is racist for not having some requisite number of minorities among them, will those same people level that charge against OWS? Yeah, right. It’s not applied in the same way, depending on your political persuasion, so, in truth, it’s just a political bludgeon.)

                    And let me ask you this; if hundreds of Tea Partiers were being arrested around America, don’t you think the liberal pundits would be all over it? But when it happens at OWS, little if anything. In fact, the differences in how the media cover these two movements is and will be a very instructive lesson in media bias.

                    Getting away from OWS, when  you quote Ronald Reagan, you don’t think a little context might be in order?

                    Crony capitalism for Republicans? Bad. Crony capitalism for Democrats? Oh look, a squirrel!

                    And finally, if you’re going to protest, place the blame where it really belongs. (Click for a larger image.)

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