Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Love Conquers All In South Carolina

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

before the cross

Unquestionably, one of, if not the, most influential institutions in the African-American community is still the church. Bishops, who have been elected to head their denominations, and pastors, who, by popular acclaim through congregational support of their message, oversee mega-churches, wield an enormous amount of influence among blacks, especially the pre-’60s generation.

Since Reconstruction, the black church has served as a source of strength, comfort and leadership. Ministers in the black community are, for the most part, accorded respect, and thus far the majority of black community leaders also bear the title “reverend” before their names, a condition not existing in the white community to such a degree.

A prime example of the way the church should react is demonstrated by the members of the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina, the scene of one of the most horrific crimes of the decade. Nine members of the congregation were murdered by a gunman during a gathering for prayer. While the president and the media immediately leapt, yet again, upon the racial aspect and fostered “hate-crime” headlines, the members, survivors and family members have demonstrated the essence of what real Christians are called upon to be like.

There have been public declarations of forgiveness for the murderer, and, at the same time, there has been no racial animus displayed by any of the members. A community march is being scheduled that includes blacks and whites and survivors and members of the family. This is a pre-eminent example of what the church in the black community exemplified from the 1800s to the 1960s.

In the decades since Reconstruction (media hype to the contrary), despite specifically targeted barriers and intense local, state and even some national hostility, African-Americans have made almost unimaginable strides. Few reasonable people would attempt to argue, objectively, that America has not progressed, literally by leaps and bounds, both socially and economically.

In their book, “America in Black and White; One Nation, Indivisible,” co-authors Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom pointed out: “No group in American history has ever improved its position so dramatically in so short a time.” One can only begin to imagine the impact on the overall political, cultural and economic life of the United States had a Democrat president (Andrew Johnson) not ordered the removal of 40,000 freed slaves from 400,000 acres of prime land that was promised to them by Republicans. Can you visualize what America would be like today had not a Democrat-controlled Congress reversed the anti-segregation provisions of the civil rights legislation passed by Republicans in 1866, 1870, 1871 and 1875?

The impact on the world, not just America, of millions of free blacks having lived and worked for 200 years in a colorblind society, while attending churches like the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Charleston, South Carolina, would be incalculable. Literally trillions more dollars would have been generated by the American economy, making the most robust economic engine ever to exist even more powerful.

Let us carefully observe the responses of the media, both political parties and the president to the total lack of racist hyperbole and the failure to claim or blame racism – and all whites in general – by the membership for what one individual did in their church.

Could this be a lesson from which most of America could profit today? Yes, there was injustice, and we grieve, but we forgive and we bear no hate. Love never fails.

That should be the prayer uttered by all of us – for all of us.

Why Christian Values Still Matter

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

Bible readingWhile America was undoubtedly founded upon bedrock of religious freedom it is equally true that the Christian faith has been probably the greatest contributor the social fabric of this country.  Even as the country seems to drift away from Christian values, there are still far more people in Church on Sunday than at the football stadium.  Despite the fact that gay marriage and out-of-wedlock births have become more prevalent, the overwhelming majority of Americans continue to celebrate the Christian holidays. In fact the reason why many homosexuals seem to have fought for the right to marry is not because they merely want the same social benefits and legal rights as heterosexual married couples, but they also crave the spiritual and community benefits bestowed upon marriage by the Christian faith.

Healing The Racial Divide

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Reconciled church 2The recent national crisis and racial tension have underscored that America seems more divided than ever. On the one hand, President Obama believes that our differences are just being exposed.  On the other hand a few of us feel that the President and Attorney General Holder exacerbated the race problem.  In some ways, both views are right. How could that be?  America has come a long way since the lynchings of the 50s and days of Selma.  However, we have a ways to go in terms of race, poverty, and class.

Why Don’t ‘Peace-Loving Muslims’ Step Up?

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Muslim WomanModerate Muslims have proclaimed, with apparent sadness, and with real or feigned anger, that extremists have hijacked the real Islam – the “religion of peace.” If the moderate Muslims – “the good people” – truly believe their “religion of peace” has been hijacked by extremist elements that do not represent the teachings of the prophet and of Islam, why do they not step forward and speak up?

True Insensitivity is Making Excuses for Murderers

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Evil | © sellingpix - Fotolia.comLast week terrorist attacked the offices of French satire magazine and murdered 12 people. Most of the Western World showed solidarity with France and thousands of millions declared “Je Suis Charlie.”

Anti-Christian Activist: God Raped Mary

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

PerplexedOne of the secular left’s latest windmills at which to tilt is America’s fanciful “rape culture.” There is a universal ethos of violence against women, as they imagine it, that stems from a millennia-old global patriarchy chiefly derived from religion in general and Judeo-Christianity in particular (another of their pet nemeses).

You Will Live Forever

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

The Planet Earth“The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”

– 1 John 2:17

A Crisis of Materialism in the Church Has Left it Morally Adrift

Friday, November 28th, 2014

New Birth Missionary Baptist ChurchAt least some of the faithful within the congregation of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta had to feign a sense of surprise when sexual abuse allegations against the church’s leader Bishop Eddie Long first surfaced in 2011.  But even those parishioners were truly shocked when details of New Births’ and Bishop Longs’ secret settlement with over a dozen young men allegedly victimized by Bishop Long leaked out, resulting in a reported payout of over $25 million dollars.  To add to the tawdry affair, Bishop Long apparently sought damages against several of the broken young victims who, despite the confidentiality terms of the settlement, told their stories publicly.

For My Name’s Sake

Monday, November 17th, 2014
woman cryingJewish parents living in a hostile land will prepare their children from a very young age for the unfriendly treatment they are likely to endure.  Our Christian brothers and sisters in places like Mosul and Egypt will do the same, but here in America we have never known nor often have we taught the cost of discipleship.

Houston’s Mayor: Endangering Civil Rights

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014
HoustonTavis Smiley raised a lot of eyebrows this weekend when he spoke on ABC-TV’s “This Week” news show, hosted by George Stephanopoulos. Smiley pointed to double-digit unemployment in the Black community under President Obama and said: “If you’re Black or Brown, other than saving the Democrats’ hide, what inspires you to go out and vote?”