Been saying this for a long time. Obama’s fixation with bringing Rethuglys on board is a failure.
Mormons and black folks did not enjoy each other’s company during the Civil Rights era. The center of the issue surrounded some beliefs by the Mormons which dated back from the time of their founding. The Church made a major change in 1978 to address that, but never discussed why those beliefs were in their liturgy to start with. In recent years the Church has been open to all.
The Church clears the air…
After Mormon church leaders lifted the ban on blacks in the priesthood in 1978, church leaders offered little official explanation for the reasons behind the ban, saying only they received a revelation it was time for the change.
In the three decades since, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have struggled to understand the roots of the old ban and grappled with how best to respond to questions about the touchy historical topic.
Even as recently as 2012 — when the issue flared up during Mitt Romney’s run for president — the church said it has always welcomed people of all races into the church but that was not known precisely why, how or when the restriction on the priesthood began.
Now, finally, Mormons can point to a new 2,000-word statement posted on the church’s website that offers the most comprehensive explanation of why the church previously had barred men of African descent from the lay clergy, and for the first time disavows the ban.
The statement, posted Friday, says the ban was put into place during an era of great racial divide that influenced early teachings of the church. It pins the prohibition on an announcement from church president Brigham Young in 1852. Perhaps most importantly, it addresses the once widely held notion that blacks were spiritually inferior.
“The Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else,” the statement read. “Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.”
Mormon scholars and church members who have followed the issue closely called it a landmark moment.
“History and changes all happen due to time. This is way past due,” said Don Harwell, a 67-year-old president of a black Mormon support group in Utah. “These are the statements they should have made in 1978, but better late than never.”
Margaret Blair Young, an adjunct professor at Brigham Young University who made a documentary about the untold stories of black Mormons, called the new article a miracle. She said she’ll carry printouts with her to hand out and that she plans to call missionaries in Africa who are often asked about the reasons behind the old ban.
“I’m thrilled,” Young said. “It went so much further than anything before has done.”
Mormon church officials declined comment on the article but said it is part of a series of new online postings to explain or expand on certain gospel topics for its members. Other topics include, “Are Mormons Christian?” and one about founder Joseph Smith’s first visions.
Armand Mauss, a retired professor of sociology and religious studies at Washington State University, said the article is the most comprehensive explanation yet about the past exclusion of blacks from the priesthood and marks the first time the church has explicitly disavowed its previous teachings on the topic.
Mormon scholars over the years have written much of what is in the posting, but it is noteworthy coming from church headquarters in Salt Lake City, he said. He and other scholars were interviewed several months ago by staff from LDS Public Affairs in preparation for the new article, Mauss said, adding that it reflects a “new Church commitment to greater transparency about its history, doctrines, and policies.”
The LDS church has come a long way since the Genesis Group was founded in 1971, said Harwell, who converted to Mormonism in 1983. While he noted that he doesn’t speak for the church, he said he believes the next step is getting more black Mormons into church leadership positions. He serves as counselor to the bishop in his local congregation and can see how that is helping young church members change their perceptions. He didn’t question the timing of the explanation.
“Maybe the Lord just determined this is the time for it to happen,” Harwell said, “that this is when people are going to be able to accept it for what it is.”
Matthew Bowman, an author and assistant professor of religion at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, said the posting is being widely circulated in the Mormon blogosphere.
“They were a lot of people really hoping for this,” Bowman said. “Among the Mormon chattering classes, the statement is being taken as a pretty big deal.”
At Nelson Mandela’s funeral today, President Obama shook hands with Raul Castro, brother of Fidel Castro, and current President of Cuba.
Get ready for some furious bloviating apoplexy from the right!
“Secret Muslim, terrorist, socialist, communist” time!
Filed under: Stupid Republican Tricks, Stupid Tea Bagger Tricks, The Post-Racial Life | Tagged: apoplexy, Conservative, Cuba, Funeral, hate, hysterics, Mandela, President Obama, Racism, Raul Castro, Repubican | 3 Comments »
This is America on conservatism.
They gave tax cuts to millionaires…
They gave tax cuts to billionaires…
They gave tax cuts to companies shipping American jobs overseas…
And then they “deregulated” Wall Street and the banks to steal.
Home of the Brave, Land of the Free, Land of Opportunity?
A steady fall since Raygun economics.
The American Dream is supposed to mean that through hard work and perseverance, even the poorest people can make it to middle class or above. But it’s actually harder to move up in America than it is in most other advanced nations.
It’s easier to rise above the class you’re born into in countries like Japan, Germany, Australia, and the Scandinavian nations, according to research from University of Ottawa economist and current Russell Sage Foundation Fellow Miles Corak.
Among the major developed countries, only in Italy and the United Kingdom is there less economic mobility, according to Corak.
The research measures “intergenerational earnings elasticity” — a type of economic mobility that measures the correlation between what your parents make and what you make one generation later — in a number of different countries around the world.
Economists aren’t certain exactly why some countries have a greater degree of mobility than others, but they do point to certain similarities.
Greater current inequality: The more unequal a society is currently, the greater the chance that the children will be stuck in the same sphere. This is because wealthy families are able to provide things like tutors and extracurricular activities — and the time to pursue them — that poorer families often cannot.
Also, education matters a lot more now than it did 100 years ago in terms of getting a good job.
“The rich can pump a lot more money into their kids’ future,” said Corak.
This helps explain why counties like China, India and many South American nations also exhibit relatively little economic mobility.
Families: Having a stable home life is also associated with the ability to climb the economic ladder, said Corak. The United States tends to have higher rates of divorce, single-parent homes, and teenage pregnancy than many other industrialized counties.
Social policies: Counties that redistribute wealth — through, say, higher taxes on the richand more spending on the poor — tend to have greater social mobility, said Francisco Ferreira, an economist at the World Bank.
This is especially true when it comes to education spending. Critics have long contended that the U.S. system for funding education — where school funding is largely based on property taxes — perpetuates inequality far more so than a system that taxes the whole country for schools, then redistributes that money to the districts that are most needy.
If why Americans have a harder time making it into the middle class is a bit of a mystery to economists, why Americans cling to the belief that it’s still easy to do is even more baffling.
It could be because, during the late 1800s and early 1900, the United States was a much more mobile country than Britain, said Jason Long, an economist at Wheaton College in Illinois.
“It’s clear that Americans still believe that America has exceptional mobility, and that’s not true,” said Long. He calling it “vexing” that “lots of people could be systematically mistaken about verifiable, factual information.”
But no society has total mobility. Class is always going to be somewhat correlated to one’s upbringing, Corak noted.
If you have been close to any News source today then you know that ailing former leader of South Africa Nelson Mandela has passed away.
A lot of people will be talking about his life and struggles, and apt comparisons to Ghandi and MLK – but one of the key things that probably won’t be discussed much is his accomplishments in modernizing and opening SOuth Africa’s economy to the formerly oppressed. That may well be his greatest accomplishment – to mold a country back together after a century or more of dysfunction …
During Apartheid the South African economy was held up by the twin mineral riches of gold and diamonds. Unfortunately those mines are pretty much played out. Besides trying to create a system wherein black Africans shared in the economy with their white counterparts the country needed to restructure the basis for i’s economy in terms of producing new goods to trade. Doing so meant breaking up the Apartheid Plantation system wherein whites owned 95% of the arable land in the country, slicing off a portion (not all) of these holdings into community corporations which could develop businesses. This launched the South African wine business into world competitiveness. It also allowed the country to develop regional trade relationships for manufactured goods and agricultural products. The result was that the income level of both white and black South African rose significantly.
The country still has a long way to go. One of the principal problems is a massive influx of immigrants from other parts of Africa who want to share in South African’s success. The formerly black Township of Soweto swelled from 3 million to nearly 20 million people today in the last 15 years. The result of this is a 25% unemployment rate, despite a relatively healthy economy.
Rest in Peace President Mandela, and look proudly what your country has accomplished, your Long Walk is ended.
Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday at age 95, was the most important leader in South Africa’s history and one of the global giants of his time. What people often overlook, however, is the role Mandela played in building up Africa’s largest economy. Nearly as consequential as Mandela’s moral example was his skill in managing the transition from apartheid without widespread violence, repression, or economic collapse.
Mandela believed strongly in the link between economic and political progress. Soon after his release from prison, Mandela argued that there must be “a fundamental restructuring of our political and economic systems to ensure that the inequalities of apartheid are addressed.” At the core of white minority rule had been the “homelands”: a system that kept almost half of South Africa’s population confined to semi-independent or supposedly sovereign states without the freedom to move or look for jobs in the rest of the country. The collapse of apartheid meant the end of those restrictions. The myriad legal restraints that prevented blacks and “coloreds” from gaining promotions—or access to jobs at all—were removed as well. From a state made up of 11 “countries” and three legally distinct racial groups—all with markedly different rights to move, work, and invest—South Africa became one economy. Think of it as opening borders to mass migration under the worst possible circumstances.
The dismantling of the homeland system, however, was by no means a certainty in the early days of Mandela’s presidency. The supposedly “sovereign” homeland of Bophuthatswana, home to 2.5 million, and semi-autonomous Kwazulu both threatened civil war over the dismantling of the homelands. Relations between the African National Congress and the Zulu Inkatha Freedom party have remained tense—and sporadically violent—since the end of apartheid. But national unity and economic stability were both preserved largely through negotiation and compromise.
South Africa’s gross domestic product growth rate, meanwhile, picked up considerably under Mandela. Economic growth rose from less than 1.5 percent from 1980 to 1994 to slightly under 3 percent from 1995 to 2003. Despite the sudden influx of internal migrants with the legal right to compete equally for jobs, average personal incomes for white South Africans increased by 62 percent from 1993 to 2008, according to University of Cape Town economist Murray Leibbrandt. Average incomes for Africans themselves increased even faster—by 93 percent over that period.
As educational opportunities expanded, secondary enrollment rates increased from 50 percent to 70 percent from 1994 to 2005. The government also rolled out a range of infrastructure services: The proportion of the country that cooked using electricity from the mains climbed from 45 percent in 1993 to 73 percent by 2011, for example.
South Africa has become an increasingly important source of economic opportunity for its neighbors. South African investment accounts for around 70 percent of intra-regional investment flows. Imports from the Southern Africa Development Community—the regional trade block which South Africa joined upon its independence—climbed from $16.3 billion in 1993 to $68.7 billion in 2006. The number of migrants in South Africa—nearly all from other countries in the region—increased from 3.3 percent to 3.7 percent of the population between 1990 and 2010. There are now approximately 3.3 million SADC nationals living in South Africa; remittances from those migrants back to their home countries amount to close on $1 billion a year, according to South Africa’s FinMark Trust. The trust reports a 2005 survey of Zimbabwean remittance recipients in which more than half of respondents “agreed that they would have grown sick with hunger” in the absence of remittance payments.
Some tragic mistakes were made by President Mandela and his successors. The HIV/AIDS crisis and the government’s late and sporadic response to it shaved years off life expectancy. In 1993 4 percent of pregnant women in the country were HIV-positive. That climbed to 28 percent 10 years later, before finally leveling out. Today, a little more than one in 10 of the population is HIV-positive. Unemployment has remained stubbornly high—around 25 percent—and the gap between rich and poor is still wide. In 1993, the average white had an income more than nine times the average African. By 2008 that had dropped—but only to a little less than an eightfold income gap according to analysis by Leibbrandt.
Progress against poverty was even slower than these figures might suggest. That’s because inequality within the African population grew rapidly for the first decade of independence—a trend arrested only by the rapid expansion of social safety net programs in the last few years. (About 30 percent of South Africans benefited from social grants in 2010—up from 13 percent in 2002). Poverty in South Africa remains almost uniquely an African phenomenon. All but six percent of whites have piped water in their homes, for example, while two-thirds of Africans lacked access to it.
It’s worth considering the alternatives. At independence, South Africans looked north to Zimbabwe as a reasonably successful model of how things could work out after a difficult transition to majority rule. They’re extremely lucky that South Africa, under Mandela’s guidance, took a different path. Starting in the 1990s, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe ordered land “reforms” that took property from white farmers and awarded it to his cronies and henchmen, slashing output as a result. By the turn of the century, Zimbabwe’s inflation rate was heading over 100 percent; by 2006 it would top 1,000 percent. Zimbabwe’s economy remains in a state of punch-drunk torpor.
Some may be disappointed that Mandela failed to create an African lion to challenge the East Asian tigers in terms of growth and poverty reduction. But the nonviolent absorption of a considerable majority of the population into an economy from which they had previously been excluded, all while incomes and access to services improved and civil rights were respected, was an incredible accomplishment—one that owes much to Mandela’s leadership. Let’s hope his successors preserve that legacy.
In the next round of “Lets piss off everybody in the world except old white guys who watch Faux News”. This time Rep Duncan Hunter (R-Cal) takes a shot at those “A-rabs”, accusing everyone in the Middle East of being liars…
During a Monday interview on CSPAN, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) said “it is part of the Middle Eastern culture” to lie.
“In the Middle Eastern culture it is looked upon with very high regard to get the best deal possible, no matter what it takes, and that includes lying,” Hunter said.
When asked if he meant that “all Middle Eastern countries are this way,” Hunter reiterated his point.
“Yeah, that’s part of Middle Eastern culture. They like to barter there,” Hunter said.
Hunter did finally acknowledge he was making a generalization after calling the Iranian government “liars.”
In an email to TPM, Joe Kasper, Hunter’s director of communications, said the congressman’s comments were only in reference to Middle Eastern leadership and not the Middle East as a whole.
“I recall when asked to specify on one of the issues, he said the goal is to get the best deal in general terms,” Kasper told TPM. “But to be specific, he was talking about the political culture.”
This isn’t Hunter’s first questionable statement. In June 2010, Hunter said he would support deporting U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants, saying “it takes more than walking across the border to be an American citizen,” and he alsocriticized the fight to repeal “don’t ask don’t tell,” saying it would open the “military to transgenders, to hermaphrodites to gays and lesbians.”
Hunter also told CSPAN this week that he believes the United States should use nuclear weapons against Iran if necessary.
“I don’t think it’s inevitable but I think if you have to hit Iran, you don’t put boots on the ground, you do it with tactical nuclear devices and you set them back a decade or two or three,” he said. “I think that’s the way to do it with a massive aerial bombardment campaign.”