What role for the Black Church?

Historically the Black Church has been instrumental in advocating and advancing Civil Rights, and was central to organizing the protests and coalescing the voice of black people into actionable agendas.

MLK speaking before Ebenezer Baptist’s Congregation

The question today is, with the fundamental changes within the Black Church, is it possible anymore that the Church may regain it’s mantle as a central platform for the battle for Civil Rights?

Arguing against that is the reality that the Black Church in many places isn’t fully tied to it’s geographic community. As black folks have moved out of Urban areas to the burbs, the communities they have left behind, largely become “Commuter Communities”. Ergo, the expats drive to the old black community for services, whether it is a barbershop or beauty salon, or still maintain an allegiance to the old Church. They likely maintain friendships, or have relatives living in the old community. However, the issues with being black in America’s suburbs, and in the inner city are likely to be quite different.

Second is the fractionation of the community by the very Church which should be bringing it back together. Male participation in the Black Church has dropped to historic lows. Part of that has to do with personality cultism on the part of some male Preachers, part has to do with the belief the church really isn’t interested in the problems of black males, whether that perception is fair or not. An interesting analysis was published last year in the Atlanta Black Star – 6 Reasons Young Black People Are Leaving The Church.

Summed by Tony Carter who serves as the Lead Pastor of East Point Church in East Point, Georgia.The article suggest the rise in economic opportunities and social progress is making the church irrelevant. Secondly, in an ever-changing digital age, the church appears stagnant, old fashioned, and unattractive. Thirdly, today’s educated black man and woman have less use for faith in an enlightened age where reason and science answer most of their questions. Fourthly, there is a growing discontent among this generation of blacks with biblical passages that seemingly tolerate or advocate for such social ills as slavery and genocide. Fifthly, the church comes off as intolerant, judgmental, and simplistic when it comes to issues of sexual activity, sexual orientation, and living holy in a sexually free society. Lastly, the article suggested that this generation seeks authenticity whereas the black church today gives the impression that everyone has it all together. In other words, black millennials want to stop pretending.

I believe there is another reason. Far too many black churches have adopted a policy of exclusionism, requiring their parishioners to marry or date only people who believe as they do. That just isn’t a formula for long term success. -especially in a society where only about 42% of black women will ever marry.

Black Churches Led The Civil Rights Movement. Can They Do It Again In Baltimore?

…Many of today’s black pastors, some young activists argue, have moved away from the black church’s traditional role as a center for African-American mobilization. “Today, what we see is churches being appendages of the kind of status-quo body politic,” said Dayvon Love, 28, director of public policy at the Baltimore think tank and activist group Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle. “This has happened generally post-integration, post-civil rights. You have cadres of individual back people who get positioned in white-dominated institutions, and their presence is used as a way to deflect from structural change.”

It sounds like a radical critique, but senior clergy have similar concerns. “If you are a church that’s never in ‘good’ trouble with the powers, then you’re probably in bed with the powers,” the Rev. Raphael Warnock, who holds Martin Luther King Jr.’s former pulpit at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church,told NPR recently. “We’re doing precious little to actually dismantle the American prison-industrial complex, which is the new Jim Crow.”

To be sure, the protest tradition is alive and kicking in some Baltimore churches. Just last month, the Rev. Jamal Bryant, pastor of Empowerment Temple, led a group that briefly shut down a major highway into the city during the morning rush hour to denounce plans for a new juvenile jail.

And the Rev. Ron Owens, a former pastor who organized the Freddie Gray funeral, bristles at the notion that local clergy have been co-opted by the powers that be.

The same group of pastors who led the funeral and the march through the riot were instrumental in getting the U.S. Department of Justice to launch a full-blown investigation of Baltimore police, Owens said. In the week after the riot, Owens said, the group requested meetings with Justice Department officials and held separate sessions with the department’s civil rights chief, Vanita Gupta, and with Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

But Owens said it’s fair to say that such action should have come sooner, and that Baltimore clergy were previously silent on the issue of policing abuses -– even though some had experienced the problem personally. Owens himself recalled a police officer pulling him over and asking why he drove such a nice car. The Freddie Gray case has served as a wake-up call, Owens said.

“I’m glad that the alarm clock has sounded,” Owens said. “I’m the first to say that we were asleep.”…

Pastors who find the critique of co-optation too radical say another charge weighs more heavily: that they have become disengaged from the communities that surround them.

The Rev. Melvin Russell is assistant pastor at Baltimore’s New Beginnings Ministries. But his day job is as a lieutenant colonel in the Baltimore Police Department, where he leads the community partnership division. “When I was coming up,” Russell said, “the churches were community churches. We’re no longer community churches. We have devolved into commuter churches.”

And gaps between congregants and neighborhoods have political consequences, said Michael Leo Owens, a political scientist at Emory University in Atlanta who has studied urban black churches. “Many of the people who we could argue are most affected by some of the problems that we see with something like, say, the Baltimore Police Department are folks that are not in the pews of these churches,” he said. “So there’s this tremendous disconnect.”

Russell previously served as commander of Baltimore’s Eastern police district, where he pushed hard for residents and community leaders -– including clergy –- to engage directly with people involved in drugs and crime. His message to the church, Russell said, was that they had failed.

“You’ve can’t have a church in a community and at the same time have an open-air drug market right outside the church,” he said. “Something’s wrong with that picture as far as I’m concerned.”

The recent spate of violence has prompted actions that Russell should like: Bryant, the pastor who led last month’s highway shutdown, has announcedthat clergy and other volunteers will patrol hot spots of violence on weekend nights this summer. Bryant also promised midnight basketball tournaments and a Father’s Day march to highlight the violence.

Meanwhile, Hickman is turning Southern Baptist Church church into a center for community redevelopment, building senior housing and other amenities for his East Baltimore neighborhood.

“Politicians and bureaucrats have ignored the church as a community stakeholder and developer and looked for others to come in and save the city,” he said. “But I believe that the church is the ideal place to start with what should happen within the community.”…(more)

In the end analysis, I believe the answer is probably not. The big reason in my mind is that the Black Community in America has changed so radically (geographically, economically, and in vision). The second is that advancing Civil Rights in this day and age involves the exercise of Political power. The simple fact is, black politicians have dropped the ball largely in knee-jerk fighting flash fires, or focusing on the wrong problems. In my view the 42 black Congressmen sitting on the Hill are probably the most useless excuses for elected officials in the country. They have been utterly co-opted. I really find it hard to believe that 20% of the elected official in Congress can’t use the parliamentary tricks commonly used by Republicans to add riders to Bills which advance the cause. If there is some sort of lucid strategy there…

I certainly don’t see it.

If you go back and do some research on how the Civil Rights movement was strategized, and planned – you will  find a group of individuals who laid out a practical strategy and executed it ruthlessly. It took a lot more than organizers or politicians showing up on the front steps of 1st Baptist mouthing their slippery/slithery support.

In the end this is why I think the grass roots organizations rising up around “Black Lives Matter” are a far more effective tool.

Faux News and “Kill a Cop”

Faux News is at it again, doing the old Brietbart trick of editing to make a racist point –

Here is the original unedited video, where the protesters are saying something quite different –

 

Driving While Black? There’s an Ap for That!

The Original DWB Guide

One of the common misconceptions out there is that DWB only affects young black males. Looking at the number of stops by Police in some areas and the vast differential between black motorists being stopped and whites… It really is an issue which cuts across all economic, professional, and educational lines. The anger and frustration being expressed by the tens of thousand marching in the streets isn’t just about the murder of young black men like Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and Mike Brown – it is about systemic discrimination which impacts the lives of many black Americans.

Driving While Black? App Developers Offer Advice

Though the developers of the soon-to-be released “Driving While Black” smartphone application want motorists to download their product, there is a time when they definitely don’t want users searching for it.

“Do not reach for your phone when you are talking to police,” stressed Melvin Oden-Orr, one of two Portland lawyers creating the app.

Avoiding moves that could make police think you’re reaching for a gun is just one tip included in the app that educates drivers about how to safely deal with police during traffic stops.

Despite its attention-grabbing name, Oden-Orr said the app due for release in late December will provide common sense advice to motorists of all races and outline what civil rights you have during a stop. With the phone hopefully in a hands-free device, the app allows drivers to send an alert to friends and family that they have been pulled over. There’s also a recording function to document the interaction with an officer.

The app is coming to market as protesters around the country keep attention on instances of deadly encounters with police in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City. Similar apps also are aimed at helping people navigate interactions with police.

Three Georgia teenagers created “Five-O,” an app released this summer that lets people rate their interactions with law enforcement. And last month, American Civil Liberties Union affiliates in four states unveiled “Mobile Justice,” an app that allows users to take video of police encounters and upload the video to the ACLU. It’s modeled on “Stop and Frisk Watch,” an app released for New Yorkers in 2012.

“It’s obviously in the forefront of everybody’s mind; the police know they are being recorded and people in public know they can record,” said Sarah Rossi, director of advocacy and policy for the ACLU Missouri affiliate. “I think the benefit of this app (Mobile Justice) specifically is it goes straight to the ACLU and we can review it for any due-process violations.”

The apps also include a “Know Your Rights” section that informs people about their rights when contacted by police.

Portland attorney Mariann Hyland got the idea for “Driving While Black” after learning of an app for drivers suspected of drunken driving. She approached Oden-Orr in April, and the two have been working on the app since summer with software developer James Pritchett.

The term “driving while black,” perhaps unfamiliar to some, is common among African-Americans. A Justice Department report released last year, based on a survey of those stopped by police in 2011, suggests blacks are more likely than whites to be pulled over and have their cars searched. Moreover, African-Americans are much more likely to believe a traffic stop is not legitimate…

“Simple Minded Darkies”…

The excuses as to why black folks won’t vote for Republicans should be a American Horror Story franchise, all on their own. Projection isn’t just something done in theaters…

Incoming Nevada Speaker Said Democrats Have ‘Master-Slave’ Relationship With ‘Simple Minded Darkies’

Nevada Assemblyman Ira Hansen (R), who the assembly’s Republican caucus selected as their choice to be its next speaker earlier this month, has a long history of racist, sexist and homophobic statements chronicled in a long list published by the Reno News Review. Among other things, as part of a broader statement of support for school vouchers, Hansen claimed that “[t]he relationship of Negroes and Democrats is truly a master-slave relationship, with the benevolent master knowing what’s best for his simple minded darkies.” Indeed, according to the News Review, Hansen keeps a Confederate battle flag on his wall, which he says that he flies “proudly in honor and in memory of a great cause and my brave ancestors who fought for that cause.” He also “tends to use the term ‘Negro’ and often does not capitalize it.”

 Hansen has also published several columns attacking Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., including one where he claims that “King’s private life was trashy at best. … King Jr. is as low as it gets, a hypocrite, a liar, a phony, and a fraud.” In another piece, he wrote that “[t]he lack of gratitude and the deliberate ignoring of white history in relation to eliminating slavery is a disgrace that Negro leaders should own up to.”

Nor does Hansen reserve his condemnations for African Americans. He’s argued that “women do not belong in the Army or Navy or Marine Corps, except in certain limited fields.” He’s criticized the “sexual revolution” and the “women’s liberation movement” for encouraging women “to act as foolishly as men.” And he also claims to have a strange obsession with gay child molesters. He once wrote that he’s “been keeping a rough tally on homosexual/heterosexual molesters as reported locally” and that this inquiry revealed that “and roughly half of all molestations involve homosexual men preying on boys.” As the News Review notes, “Hansen gave no details, nor did he publish his list, nor did he explain how he knew the sexuality of the alleged molesters.”

When incoming assembly members are sworn in, Republicans will enjoy a 25-17 majority over Democrats, all but ensuring that their choice for the speaker’s chair will preside over the chamber.

Welcome to the “Confederate States of America”…

More Dirt in Ferguson

If you peruse some of the boards and blogs on the Internet, the conservascum racists are out in full glory about Michael Brown’s murder. One of the issues is why exactly did the town blow up over the shooting?

My theory has been there have been a lot of incidents which have led up to the rioting – and more than just the scam the police and judges were running to skim money from the residents.

What sort of person is Officer Wilson?

Well, you might get an idea from this video released by the Guardian…

Officer who shot and killed Michael Brown is seen telling Mike Arman ‘I’m gonna lock your ass up’ if he does not stop

Video footage has emerged showing Darren Wilson – the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri – threatening and arresting a resident who refused to stop filming him with a cellphone.

Wilson is seen standing near his Ferguson police SUV and warning Mike Arman: “If you wanna take a picture of me one more time, I’m gonna lock your ass up.” Arman, who had requested Wilson’s name, replies: “Sir, I’m not taking a picture, I’m recording this incident sir.”

The officer then walks to the porch of Arman’s home and apprehends him, after telling him that he does not have the right to film. The 15-second clip was uploaded to YouTube on Friday but recorded in 2013, according to police documents.

Arman, 30, was charged with failing to comply with Wilson’s orders. He claimed in an interview on Saturday that the charge was dropped after he told his lawyer he had video footage of the incident. Arman, who runs a small housing non-profit, has a criminal record and has previously been charged with resisting arrest.

“I was working on my porch with my toolbelt on and was being cordial,” Arman said of the incident. “But I wanted to safeguard myself by recording what happened.” Filming police officers carrying out their duties is widely considered to be legal and protected by the first amendment of the US constitution.

Court and police officials in Ferguson could not be reached for comment. When asked on Friday whether the officer in the video clip was Wilson, a spokesman for the Ferguson police department told the Guardian in an email: “I don’t think that is him.” The spokesman did not respond to further questions.

But a police incident report confirms that Wilson arrested Arman at his home on Redmond Avenue on 28 October 2013. The report states Wilson had arrived to issue a court summons regarding derelict vehicles that were being left on the property in violation of city rules. Redacted images of the report were first published by the Free Thought Project….more…

And that is by no means the worst of the police criminal behavior that has been going on in Ferguson…

 

From the Daily Beast

Rape, Lies & Videotape in Ferguson

A pregnant woman’s account of being assaulted by a city police officer and a video of an aggressive Darren Wilson are only heightening the foreboding over the Michael Brown grand jury.

…And a video was posted on YouTube of a citizen’s October 2013 encounter with a uniformed cop who a police department spokesman suggests was not Wilson but almost certainly was.

The department spokesman’s doubts notwithstanding, the ensuing arrest report was fielded by none other than Wilson, badge 609. The report states that Wilson had been preparing to issue 30-year-old Mike Arman a summons for having broken-down cars in his yard, in violation of one of the ordinances that allow the city to raise millions of dollars from poor and working people and issue an annual average of three warrants per household. Wilson attests that he arrested Arman for “failure to comply” after he supposedly ignored instructions to “remove the camera from my face in order for us to complete the process of the derelict vehicles.”

Never mind that Arman’s camera was those eight strides from being in Wilson’s face. Wilson also cited Arman for “violation of pit bull regulations,” saying there were three in the yard. Arman would insist that he has only a bulldog.

Wilson’s narrative is enough at odds with the videotape that the possibility arises that his written account is in possible violation of state law 575.080 against making false reports to a law-enforcement officer. That would seem to apply even if you are one yourself.

The report ends with Wilson transporting Arman to the Ferguson jail….

In any event, Arman seems to have fared much better than a woman who was consigned to the correctional staff at the Ferguson jail after being pulled over for an expired license plate and giving a false name on Oct. 9, 2013.

The woman is identified only by the initials J.W. in court papers from a subsequent federal civil-rights lawsuit. She is described as having been “in her work clothes, that is, nursing scrubs,” as Hayden commenced to fingerprint her and take her mug shot.

“J.W. heard Hayden say softly, ‘You smell good,’” the papers report. “Hayden softly said words to the effect, ‘This will teach you a lesson.’”

The papers note that J.W. had never met Hayden before. She was placed in a cell and Hayden told her that she also had outstanding traffic warrants in other jurisdictions. He repeatedly walked past her cell.

“J.W. was distraught and said words to the effort of, ‘Let me go… I haven’t done anything wrong… I just don’t have money to get my plates,’” the papers report. “Hayden said words to the effect of, ‘Be quiet… Others will hear.’”

The report goes on, “J.W. sensed that Hayden was acting in a sexually provocative manner toward her. J.W. did not respond… J.W. told Hayden that she was several months pregnant. J.W.’s pregnancy was showing.”

J.W. then informed Hayden that she was suffering “pain and discharges.” Hayden checked with a superior and summoned an ambulance. The EMTs checked J.W. and said it was up to Hayden whether she was released into their custody.

“Hayden did not indicate a decision in J.W.’s presence,” the papers say. “Hayden and the EMTs left the room. J.W. never saw the EMTs again.”

Salvation must have seemed at hand when J.W.’s boyfriend arrived and posted the necessary bond to free her on the new Ferguson charges. Hayden removed J.W. from her cell and had her sign some official forms.

“Hayden began to make remarks with words to the effect of, ‘You’re the type of girl that can get me in trouble,’” the papers report.

The papers go on to note: “J.W. was crying. J.W. kept asking to go home. J.W. said, ‘I will do anything to go home.’”

The papers emphasize, “By that remark J.W. did not intend to deliver the message that she would have sex with Hayden in exchange for release. The remark was in the nature of a rhetorical statement while in an emotional state of extreme distress.”

Hayden continued to say that J.W. had outstanding warrants. J.W. had no way of knowing that he had not notified any of those other jurisdictions that she was in custody.

“J.W. was in great fear,” the papers report. “Hayden said, ‘Follow me.’”

The papers allege that Hayden escorted J.W. down a number of hallways.

“Hayden took J.W. into a boiler room in the City of Ferguson jail,” the papers charge. “Hayden then unbuttoned his pants, removed his penis.”

The papers report that J.W. was too afraid to resist his command for her to perform oral sex on him. She nonetheless seems to have proved herself the wrong woman to assault.

“J.W. captured some of Hayden’s pubic hairs in her hand,” the papers report.

She held on to the hair as Hayden led her further back into the boiler room.

“Hayden then had J.W. bend over and he indicated that he was going to have intercourse with her,” the papers say. “Because she was afraid, J.W. did not resist.”

The papers suggest that Hayden was careful not to leave any DNA-laden material.

“Hayden ejaculated in his hand,” the papers allege. “Hayden then released J.W. from jail custody via a side door to the building… Hayden told J.W. words to the effect of, ‘Run and stay close to the building.’”

The papers suggest that this was to avoid security cameras. Hayden might well have imagined he had no further worries, that he was at the very worst in the realm of “he said, she said.” He does not seem to have anticipated that she could have maintained such remarkable presence of mind.

“Immediately after the rape, J.W. went to a Subway restaurant across the street and retained a bag to hold the captured pubic hair,” the papers go on to recount.

J.W’s sister came and took her to a hospital emergency room. Investigators from the St. Louis County Police responded. J.W. presented them with her evidence.

“DNA analysis has confirmed that the public hair is from Hayden,” the papers say.

One remaining question, a question the authorities have not yet answered, is why they took more than a year to arrest Hayden when such seemingly damning evidence was available almost immediately. And then he was charged not with forcible rape, but with having sex with a prisoner and then aiding her escape. His attorney says he will be pleading not guilty at his arraignment in December.

Another lawyer closely associated with the case has indicated that the FBI had become involved in the investigation. That suggests the feds may have come across the stalled case after the shooting of Michael Brown, when U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a larger investigation into the way law enforcement is conducted in Ferguson.

Even though J.W. and Hayden are both black, she felt only right in filing a federal civil-rights suit on Friday against him and the City of Ferguson. The suit charges that she was denied due process by being raped by a correction officer while in custody.

“The conduct of City of Ferguson law enforcement in engaging in repeated acts of violence and constitutional violations against the citizenry constitutes a pattern,” the suit charges. “The city has taken inadequate steps or no steps at all to control the violent acts of its law-enforcement personnel.”

Another federal lawsuit, one in which a man was arrested in a case of mistaken identity and then charged with destroying property by bleeding on the uniforms of the Ferguson cops who allegedly beat him, was tossed out by a lower court judge who ruled the complainant’s injuries were not sufficiently serious. That case is due to be heard by an appeals court next month.

 

 

 

Obama…”The Racist”

Economist Ben Stein, the poker faced guy in the Visine commercials turns out to be a Republican (no big surprise here)…

Repeating every shopworn Republican racist excuse in the books for Faux News.

If the Republicans were “so good for black folks”…

How come they always come off as bigots?

This is a typical tool used by racist Republicans…It is called Projection.

Projection is a defense mechanism that involves taking our own unacceptable qualities or feelings and ascribing them to other people. For example, if you have a strong dislike for someone, you might instead believe that he or she does not like you. Projection works by allowing the expression of the desire or impulse, but in a way that the ego cannot recognize, therefore reducing anxiety.

Or, in the words of MLK –

“Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.”

 

The New Willie Horton – Nikko Jenkins Ad by Republican

Good old Republican racist fear mongering…Again.

NRCC releases Willie Horton-style ad in Nebraska House race

National Republicans are hammering Rep. Lee Terry’s (R-Neb.) Democratic opponent, state Sen. Brad Ashford, with an ad tying him to a convicted murderer.

Within hours of its launch, national Democrats were demanding Republicans take it down and apologize for the “repellent, race-baiting” ad.

The National Republican Congressional Committee’s ad tells the story of Nikko Jenkins, who committed four murders in 11 days after getting out of prison early under the state’s “good time” law.

“Brad Ashford supported the good time law, and still defends it, allowing criminals like Nikko Jenkins to be released early,” a narrator says in the ad.

The ad has evoked comparisons to the controversial “Willie Horton ad” that ran during the 1988 presidential election. That ad hit former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, the Democratic nominee, for furloughing Horton, who was already serving a life sentence for murder.

Horton was let out for the weekend under a state furlough program, but ran away from authorities and later kidnapped and stabbed a couple.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokeswoman Ashley Lewis decried the ad, saying it “has no place in America” and demanding the NRCC take it down.

“Republicans should be ashamed that they have resorted to divisive rhetoric, playing up racial stereotypes and fear-mongering to save their sinking candidate,” she said in a statement.

The Nebraska law automatically reduces prisoners’ sentences based on how much time they have served. Critics say it effectively cuts inmates’ sentences in half.

Terry, who has emerged as one of this cycle’s most surprisingly vulnerable House incumbents, hit Ashford on the issue last week, saying he should have added restrictions to the good-time law when he served as chairman of the state legislature’s Judiciary Committee.

“I think that one of the egregious votes and efforts of my opponent is letting violent criminals out of jail through good time, which in Nebraska is just a straight half time,” he told The Hill. “My opponent prefers criminals over law abiding citizens, putting people in jeopardy.”

Ashford called the accusations “baseless and desperate attacks” from a “flailing campaign” in a statement to The Hill last week.

During a debate last week, Ashford blamed corrections officers, whom he said could have reversed Jenkins’s sentence reductions after he got into trouble behind bars.

The content of the ad underscores just how vulnerable Terry is heading into the final weeks of the election. There’s been scant polling of the race, but a survey Ashford released in August showed the two essentially tied.

The NRCC’s choice to go nuclear, by tying Ashford to a convicted murderer, is likely fueled by an urgent need to shift momentum in Terry’s favor.

NRCC spokesman Tyler Q. Houlton last week said Republicans are not worried about Terry’s campaign and insisted the strategy is to merely shine a light on Ashford’s record.

“This is why we are helping Lee Terry and helping the voters get to know who Brad Ashford is because as soon as they see all this stuff and realize what this guy stands for, there’s no way they’re going to vote for him,“ Houlton said.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 177 other followers