By some sights. cats have taken over the internet. This kitty has decided to reach higher…
By some sights. cats have taken over the internet. This kitty has decided to reach higher…
It appears as though some pastors have taken the emcee’s words to heart.
On Sunday afternoon, authorities say, a pastor at the Church of God in Detroit shot and killed a man who entered the storefront house of worship wielding a brick. The now-deceased assailant, identified as 25-year-old Deante Smith, reportedly had a negative history with Pastor Keon Allison, largely in relation to an alleged love triangle. And so, according to initial reports, Allison whipped out his Glock pistol when Smith violently confronted him.
It is currently illegal to carry a concealed firearm in a Michigan house of worship, though state lawmakers have taken up the debate over whether to change that law. And the timing is just right: While calls for stricter gun laws followed the Charleston massacre, some black pastors—especially in the crime-riddled city of Detroit—have taken up the cause of an armed congregation.
Bishop Ira Combs, Jr. leads the predominantly black Greater Bible Way in Jackson, Mich., and has become a staunch advocate for guns in church.
“If they had security, the assailant would not have been able to reload,” he declared during a sermon weeks after the Charleston attack, according to Reuters. “All of us here are not going to turn the other cheek while you shoot us.”
Combs leads his services flanked by armed security, with several gun-toting guards scattered throughout the congregation like how the Department of Homeland Security deploys undercover air marshals on passenger airlines. The bishop calls it “law enforcement” for the church.
Another Michigan-based pastor, Theron Wiggins of Flint’s Bethel Apostolic Church, told Reuters that his congregation faithfully believes “angels will protect us,” and while they are in his house of worship, he sees himself as “one of the angels.” Wiggins is a former police officer…
A recent Pew study found that 54 percent of blacks believe gun ownership does more to protect people than put people at risk, almost double the 29 percent believing that two years prior. The same poll found that the percentage of blacks who prioritize gun rights over stricter gun laws has doubled since 1993, from 18 to 34 percent. The inverse—support for gun control over gun rights—has fallen among blacks by 14 percentage points over the same 22-year period…
Now – having been in a couple of bad situations – one, as a teen involving jumping into a river into 30′ deep pitch black water with a friend to pull 2 guys out of a sunken boat, and being swept what seemed like 100 yards down steam by the current with one of the guys in tow before I could get to the surface…
I can guarantee you nobody knows what they will do when confronted with a life or death situation. If I had the time to think about it, I probably never would have jumped. Without the support of each other, neither myself or my friend may have jumped. If confronted with the same situation again – I have no idea if I would or could do something like that again. I can tell you when I got back to land…I was scared chitless and shaking like a leaf from the adrenaline crash.
The thing about folks we call heroes and courage is there is no way to predict who will do what. Those who brag about what they would do when ………. happens – are usually the first guys to fold. Looking certain death in the face isn’t something the vast majority of folks can handle, despite all the TV heroes.
So Uncle Ben talking about he would stand up to a guy with a gun pointed at his head – especially after the guy has already murdered several people…Is total bullshit. Most likely the next stop would have been the laundromat to get his pants and undies cleaned – if he survived after grovelling on his knees and fouling himself.
Christian victimhood is a favorite meme of the evangelical Christian right. To combat such, legislators have embarked on a pogrom to install Christian monuments on the grounds of, or in the courtrooms of the nation. The problem being, the Founding Fathers of the country, many of who themselves escaped, or were the descendants of those who escaped state sponsored religious persecution to come to America…
Weren’t about to let the same thing happen here.
As a child I can remember the family dinner conversation about Robert F, Kennedy’s candidacy. My father, being an educator and historian, who had been persecuted by McCarthy in the early 50’s demanded of his sons the ability to lucidly discuss current events and history at the table. Like a lot of educators I have known through the years, it was my Dad’s personal belief to maintain and improve family eugenics through education. Conversation de jour was the fact that Kennedy was a Catholic, and his opponents assault on his patriotism questioning whether he answer to the Pope…Or America.
Well…With the placement of the 10 Commandments on the Courthouse grounds or walls by evangelical right wingers – do they report to their very own denominational interpretation of God…Or the Republic?
And that Constitution thing…If you put the 10 Commandments up – then you have to put up something for every other religion…Like this:
Arkansas recently approved a measure to build a statue of the Ten Commandments on the state capitol grounds.
When Arkansas lawmakers passed a bill this year calling for the creation of a privately funded Ten Commandments monument at the state Capitol building in Little Rock, they clarified in the legislation that the move shouldn’t be “construed to mean that the State of Arkansas favors any particular religion or denomination over others.”
Construction hasn’t yet begun on the tribute to Old Testament scripture — but already, a number of religious and secular groups have come forward to put the lawmakers’ claim to the test, demanding that they also be allowed to erect their own statues on the capitol grounds.
The latest request, submitted last month by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a national group that advocates for the separation of church and state, calls upon Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) and Arkansas Secretary of State, Mark Martin (R), to build a “no gods” monument that represents the “views of citizens who reject the biblical or religious perspective.”
In a letter, FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor tell Hutchison and Martin that “most freethinkers find the Ten Commandments to epitomize the childishness, the vindictiveness, the sexism, the inflexibility and the inadequacies of the bible as a book of morals.” They then request that they be allowed to fund their own statue at the capitol, which would display the following text:
MAY REASON PREVAIL
There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell.
There is only our natural world.
Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.
Freedom depends on freethinkers
KEEP STATE AND CHURCH SEPARATE
Presented (add date) to the State of Arkansas on behalf of the membership of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, in honor of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The FFRF’s proposal joins a list of similar requests from other groups, none of which have been approved. In August, the Nevada-based Universal Society of Hinduism received a rejection notice after asking for permission to build a tribute to the Hindu god Hanuman, a monkey-faced deity revered for his strength and skill as a linguist and grammarian.
The society’s president, Rajan Zed, told The Associated Press that he had apparently submitted his request to the wrong board, and must instead apply through the Arkansas General Assembly or submit an application to the Arkansas State Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission.
The FFRF appears to have copied the commission in its letter, which can be read in full below.
The Satanic Temple, a group known for taking a more in-your-face approach to the issue of separation of church and state, is also reportedly considering staking out some real estate on the Arkansas capitol grounds. The group nearly succeeded in placing a massive bronze statue of Baphomet, a satyr-like horned idol, outside the Oklahoma state capitol earlier this year — near a massive stone tablet of the Ten Commandments.
But the group was forced to move the monument to Detroit after the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that such religious displays, including the monument to the Ten Commandments, were unconstitutional.
What is good for the Goose…Is indeed good for the Gander.
Thomas Jefferson would be the first in the history of American politics to suffer the false charge of being a Muslim. Slavery hid the fact that some of the slaves imported to America were Muslim. This is an interesting treatise on how early Americans views Islam, and how things today are more similar that we would believe.
At a time when most Americans were uninformed, misinformed, or simply afraid of Islam, Thomas Jefferson imagined Muslims as future citizens of his new nation. His engagement with the faith began with the purchase of a Qur’an eleven years before he wrote the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson’s Qur’an survives still in the Library of Congress, serving as a symbol of his and early America’s complex relationship with Islam and its adherents. That relationship remains of signal importance to this day.
That he owned a Qur’an reveals Jefferson’s interest in the Islamic religion, but it does not explain his support for the rights of Muslims. Jefferson first read about Muslim “civil rights” in the work of one of his intellectual heroes: the seventeenth-century English philosopher John Locke. Locke had advocated the toleration of Muslims—and Jews—following in the footsteps of a few others in Europe who had considered the matter for more than a century before him. Jefferson’s ideas about Muslim rights must be understood within this older context, a complex set of transatlantic ideas that would continue to evolve most markedly from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries.
Amid the interdenominational Christian violence in Europe, some Christians, beginning in the sixteenth century, chose Muslims as the test case for the demarcation of the theoretical boundaries of their toleration for all believers. Because of these European precedents, Muslims also became a part of American debates about religion and the limits of citizenship. As they set about creating a new government in the United States, the American Founders, Protestants all, frequently referred to the adherents of Islam as they contemplated the proper scope of religious freedom and individual rights among the nation’s present and potential inhabitants. The founding generation debated whether the United States should be exclusively Protestant or a religiously plural polity. And if the latter, whether political equality—the full rights of citizenship, including access to the highest office—should extend to non-Protestants. The mention, then, of Muslims as potential citizens of the United States forced the Protestant majority to imagine the parameters of their new society beyond toleration. It obliged them to interrogate the nature of religious freedom: the issue of a “religious test” in the Constitution, like the ones that would exist at the state level into the nineteenth century; the question of “an establishment of religion,” potentially of Protestant Christianity; and the meaning and extent of a separation of religion from government.
Resistance to the idea of Muslim citizenship was predictable in the eighteenth century. Americans had inherited from Europe almost a millennium of negative distortions of the faith’s theological and political character. Given the dominance and popularity of these anti-Islamic representations, it was startling that a few notable Americans not only refused to exclude Muslims, but even imagined a day when they would be citizens of the United States, with full and equal rights. This surprising, uniquely American egalitarian defense of Muslim rights was the logical extension of European precedents already mentioned. Still, on both sides of the Atlantic, such ideas were marginal at best. How, then, did the idea of the Muslim as a citizen with rights survive despite powerful opposition from the outset? And what is the fate of that ideal in the twenty-first century?
This book provides a new history of the founding era, one that explains how and why Thomas Jefferson and a handful of others adopted and then moved beyond European ideas about the toleration of Muslims. It should be said at the outset that these exceptional men were not motivated by any inherent appreciation for Islam as a religion. Muslims, for most American Protestants, remained beyond the outer limit of those possessing acceptable beliefs, but they nevertheless became emblems of two competing conceptions of the nation’s identity: one essentially preserving the Protestant status quo, and the other fully realizing the pluralism implied in the Revolutionary rhetoric of inalienable and universal rights. Thus while some fought to exclude a group whose inclusion they feared would ultimately portend the undoing of the nation’s Protestant character, a pivotal minority, also Protestant, perceiving the ultimate benefit and justice of a religiously plural America, set about defending the rights of future Muslim citizens.
They did so, however, not for the sake of actual Muslims, because none were known at the time to live in America. Instead, Jefferson and others defended Muslim rights for the sake of “imagined Muslims,” the promotion of whose theoretical citizenship would prove the true universality of American rights. Indeed, this defense of imagined Muslims would also create political room to consider the rights of other despised minorities whose numbers in America, though small, were quite real, namely Jews and Catholics. Although it was Muslims who embodied the ideal of inclusion, Jews and Catholics were often linked to them in early American debates, as Jefferson and others fought for the rights of all non-Protestants.
In 1783, the year of the nation’s official independence from Great Britain, George Washington wrote to recent Irish Catholic immigrants in New York City. The American Catholic minority of roughly twenty-five thousand then had few legal protections in any state and, because of their faith, no right to hold political office in New York. Washington insisted that “the bosom of America” was “open to receive . . . the oppressed and the persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges.” He would also write similar missives to Jewish communities, whose total population numbered only about two thousand at this time.
One year later, in 1784, Washington theoretically enfolded Muslims into his private world at Mount Vernon. In a letter to a friend seeking a carpenter and bricklayer to help at his Virginia home, he explained that the workers’ beliefs—or lack thereof—mattered not at all: “If they are good workmen, they may be of Asia, Africa, or Europe. They may be Mahometans [Muslims], Jews or Christian of an[y] Sect, or they may be Atheists.” Clearly, Muslims were part of Washington’s understanding of religious pluralism—at least in theory. But he would not have actually expected any Muslim applicants.
Although we have since learned that there were in fact Muslims resident in eighteenth-century America, this book demonstrates that the Founders and their generational peers never knew it. Thus their Muslim constituency remained an imagined, future one. But the fact that both Washington and Jefferson attached to it such symbolic significance is not accidental. Both men were heir to the same pair of opposing European traditions.
The first, which predominated, depicted Islam as the antithesis of the “true faith” of Protestant Christianity, as well as the source of tyrannical governments abroad. To tolerate Muslims—to accept them as part of a majority Protestant Christian society—was to welcome people who professed a faith most eighteenth-century Europeans and Americans believed false, foreign, and threatening. Catholics would be similarly characterized in American Protestant founding discourse. Indeed, their faith, like Islam, would be deemed a source of tyranny and thus antithetical to American ideas of liberty….(More)…
White men can’t jump…Black folks can’t hike…
Some stereotypes just seem to happen.
Doing the single thing on those dating sites, and it seems the first thing every white woman puts in her bio is her love of running marathons and hiking through the wilderness. Black women…I don’t think so!
White women… “Ran a 10k last weekend and here are the pics!”
Black women … “Looking for a God fearing man”.
White women…” Here is me climbing El Capitan”.
Black women… “I am a God Fearing, loving,caring,honest and independent woman. ”
White Women – “I love all water sports, sailing and boating, as well as snow skiing and x country skiing.
Have an ocean kayak and a couple of small sail boats that are lots of fun.”
Black Women …”Please understand that If you are not interested in God, then I’m not interested in you! He is the apex of my life!”
White Women …”I love my Vespa scooter and jumping out of airplanes, tandem of course.”
White people simply love to spend their free time walking up and down mountains and sleeping in the forest. Search “hiking” in Google Images and see how far you have to scroll to find a nonwhite person. Ditto rock climbing, kayaking, canoeing, and so on. That white people love the outdoors is so widely accepted as fact that it’s become a running joke. The website Stuff White People Like has no less than three entries on the subject: “Making you feel bad about not going outside” (#9), “Outdoor Performance Clothes” (#87), and “Camping” (#128). The latter entry reads, “If you find yourself trapped in the middle of the woods without electricity, running water, or a car you would likely describe that situation as a ‘nightmare’ or ‘a worse case scenario like after plane crash or something.’ White people refer to it as ‘camping.'”
That quote is almost certainly how most blacks, Latinos, and other minorities view hiking and camping. The Outdoor Industry Association—the top outdoor-recreation lobby in America (and based in Boulder, naturally)—insists that outdoor enthusiasts “are all genders, ages, shapes, sizes, ethnicities and income levels,” but research by their own nonprofit organization, The Outdoor Foundation, shows underwhelming diversity. Its 2013 outdoor participation report notes that last year, 70 percent of participants were white. “As minority groups make up a larger share of the population and are predicted to become the majority by 2040, engaging diverse populations in outdoor recreation has never been more critical,” the report reads. “Unfortunately, minorities still lag behind in outdoor participation.”
In a front-page story today, The New York Times details these very problems facing the National Park Service—only one in five visitors to NPS sites are nonwhite, according to a 2011 study cited in the article—and the “multipronged effort to turn the Park Service’s demographic battleship around.” Clumsy metaphors aside, the article does a respectable job at detailing the various efforts—namely outreach, all-expenses-paid trips, and creating more national monuments recognizing minority figures in U.S. history—to increase minority participation. Less complete are the reasons the Times gives for that low participation.
Many white Americans who grew up going to the parks had towering figures of outdoor history — not to mention family tradition — blazing the trail as examples. And those examples, like Daniel Boone and the fur trappers of the Old West, tended to be white.
As Stuff White People Like says, “In theory camping should be a very inexpensive activity since you are literally sleeping on the ground. But as with everything in white culture, the more simple it appears the more expensive it actually is.” You may need to fly to your destination; otherwise, you’ll need a car and a full tank of gas. A backpack, tent, and the necessary gear will run you at least $1,000. And then you need some free time—which, if you work two jobs, you probably don’t have. That may explain why 40 percent of outdoor participants come from households with incomes of $75,000 or more, according to the Outdoor Foundation’s report… (…More…)
I guess God doesn’t go outdoors…
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.
…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.