Tag Archives: Racism

MLK Day: A Few Thoughts On an Old Article

Last year, a liberal, left-wing, professor of African-American history at Rutgers University, Donna Murch, published an article in the Washington Post entitled “Five myths about Martin Luther King.” Ironically, the first “myth” that she addressed in her article was the truth I wanted to discuss this morning.

As I understood it, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed of a color-blind society.  In his 1963 speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial he famously said:

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Now, I’m not a linguist, nor am I an expert in African American history, but it would seem clear to me that not judging someone by the color of his skin equates with “color blind.” However, the good professor at Rutgers who regularly teaches classes on the Black Panthers and mass incarceration said this was not so. Referring to King’s “dream” as myth #1, Dr. Murch wrote:

“Since his death, King has emerged as a triumphalist figure, used to reassure us that the United States has transcended its history of racial strife. Of all the minister’s powerful oratory, [those] words from his speech at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 are some of the most cited … But King knew that the economy wasn’t color-blind, and he believed that the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts would not eliminate racial disparity.”

I’m sorry, Professor Murch, but didn’t Dr. King say, “I have a dream“? Isn’t it possible to hope for something that has not yet come to pass? Just because King may have recognized certain disparities, did it mean he couldn’t dream of a day when those disparities were erased?

Dr. King and I would disagree on some issues, particularly some theological ones (because even though he was a Baptist, not all Baptists agree on topics such as a “social gospel”). However, had I been alive back then, or if Dr. King were alive and here today, we would both find solid common ground where race and character are concerned.

Racism is wrong. Period.

We are ALL made in the image of God,  and we’re loved by Him so much that John 3:16 actually happened.

As a matter of fact, all the people groups of the world, no matter the color, are represented in Scripture, and from each one there will be those who worship Jesus Christ in unity.

And they sang a new song: You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slaughtered, and you purchased people for God by your blood from every tribe and language and people and nation. – Revelation 5:9 CSB

Beyond that, I have just one more thing to say. It would be nice if the intellectual elites like Dr. Donna Murch, Ph.D., would get the name correct – Martin Luther King was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s daddy.

 

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Too Black?

Writer’s Wall

This morning, before I got out of bed, I told my wife, “I just want to write!” Last night I went to bed with thoughts I wanted to express, but were wondering which to tackle first. Writing, of course, is one of the most therapeutic exercises for relieving stress and clearing one’s mind, but some of what I want to write about face some barriers to my sensibilities.

“It’s not like I have writer’s block…” I said, as my wife looked at me with a look that implied indifference to my struggle – which is a common expression from those who don’t understand the need to pound a computer keyboard – “…it’s like I have ‘writer’s wall‘!”

Do any of you understand what I talking about? It’s like there are a ton of things worth discussing, but what will happen when I write about them? For example, I seriously want to write about the “F” word and its usage. Also, there’s all the curse words like “damn” and “go to hell” that need to be realistically addressed in the light of atheism. What do you think the reaction from my conservative readership would be? How could I set those up?

Another topic would be the definitions of “racism” and “racist.” Personally, I believe that without a biblical worldview and the Christian faith, the whole subject of racism is an ironic joke unwittingly perpetrated on a daily basis by millions upon millions. Yet, what would be the repercussions should I even approach that topic? Would I get banned from social media without even getting to make my point?

It’s not like I have nothing to write about; it’s just that there’s so much which poses a real challenge, even a danger, to put into print. Unfortunately, that only adds to unwanted stress.

Racist Coffee

So, as I was trying to decide if or what I would write about, I made the seemingly innocuous decision to make a Saturday-morning pot of coffee. If anything was going to get done this morning, besides the rest of the activities and chores which the rest of the day holds, a good cup of coffee made perfect sense.

Using a conventional Mr. Coffee drip coffee maker, I poured in the right amount of water, to begin with, and then placed in the filter to hold the grounds. For some unknown reason, possibly the result of criminal activity, I could not find my usual tool to measure out the appropriate amount of ground coffee to put in the filter; therefore, I selected a previously-unused measuring spoon from the counter drawer and put it to use.

A few minutes later – and not a minute too soon – the coffee maker beeped at me, signifying the coffee-making process had finished and my morning caffeine  was ready for consumption. Unfortunately, as soon as I poured the freshly-brewed coffee into my white ceramic mug, the blackness of the liquid signaled something went wrong. Obviously, the previously-unused measuring spoon resulted in me using too many coffee grounds for the amount of water in the pot.

The coffee was now too dark, too “black.”

Immediately…not like I had a chance to jokingly come up with it…immediately…just as soon as I looked down into my white cup with the “too black” coffee!…the thought came into my mind, “Great! All I wanted was a cup of coffee, and now I’m a racist.”

Folks, when you can’t even make a simple cup of coffee in the morning without the constant drumming of media messaging and labeling affecting completely unrelated actions, society…civilized society…is in big, big, trouble.

I looked at my coffee, then sat down to write. 

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All Lives Matter. Period. Including Police.

A Re-Post

The following is a re-post of something I wrote not long ago. The reason for re-posting it should be obvious – multiple Dallas, Texas police officers shot and killed tonight (July 7th, 2016) at a Black Lives Matter demonstration.

From NBCnews.com. Dallas Police swarm city looking for snipers.

More deaths of blacks have happened at the hands of police in the last day or two, and that is horrible. It’s horrible on several levels, not just that cops killed blacks, but that people, whatever the color, were killed. It’s horrible because even if the police did something wrong, activist groups are rising up and calling for civil chaos and blaming ALL police for atrocities. It’s horrible because we don’t know the whole story behind any of these deaths, because even when information is available, the hate in the black community has already assumed to be judge, jury, and now…from roof tops in Dallas…some have become executioner.

Folks, hate the police all you want, but try to go a week without any on the streets and see what happens. Go to the places where cops fear to tread and look at the quality of life. BLUE LIVES MATTER, too!

Because ALL LIVES MATTER!

So, here’s my previous post, and it’s never been more timely. You might also like to go to the sermon archives page and listen to a message I preached back in September of 2015. The idea there was that all lives matter, and the proof is John 3:16.


A Prayer

Lord, please help me. Help me, dear God, to say, or rather write, something profitable, something worth reading on this most difficult topic of race.

I need wisdom. I need guidance. May my words contribute to healing, not hate.

My Thoughts

I have not been writing as much as I would like, but I felt it necessary to take a few moments to address the whole idea around the rallying cry of “Black Lives Matter.”

Folks, being that I am not black, brown, or transgender (somehow gender has been added to the mix – just check out the website), I admit there are things I don’t understand. But there is one thing I do understand, and my race has nothing to do with this truth: ALL lives matter, not just ones with a particular color or sexual preference.

Let me reiterate. ALL LIVES MATTER.

Yes, I said it, and I will not back down. Why? Because to do so would be un-biblical and un-Christlike. Regardless how one might want to politicize the issue, as a follower of Jesus, as one who believes God made all mankind in His image, I must stand firmly on Truth, not catchphrases.

Racism is wrong. Bigotry is wrong. And taking a statement that excludes the inherent value of all human life as your mantra is also wrong.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and I would not have agreed on several things, particularly in areas of theology and what is called the “social gospel.” Nevertheless, I believe Dr. King and I would have seen eye-to-eye regarding the “Black Lives Matter” thing. He would have said, “NO! NO! NO!” to all the violence and hatred. I believe he would be heartbroken at all the calls for unrest. He would certainly be ashamed of those who have used race as a tool for their own gain. Was it not Dr. King who envisioned a “color-blind” society?

If a person can’t say that “all lives matter” in public without being condemned, without being forced to apologize, then what does that say about the lives of others? What about my family? What about the Asian family down the road? Or the Indian woman that walks down the street with her husband and son? What about the Native American?

I guess one could argue the phrase is only meant to bring attention to the plight of the black community in America. One could also argue that by saying “all lives matter” one is, in a way, saying racism in America doesn’t exist. Possibly. But that’s a matter of opinion.

The truth is that black lives do matter, but so do white lives, brown lives, yellow lives, and red lives; “red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight.” The proof was when Jesus offered Himself as a ransom so that every tribe and nation could be reconciled with God.

All lives matter. Period.

 

 

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Filed under America, current events, General Observations, Life/Death

All Lives Matter. Period.

A Prayer

Lord, please help me. Help me, dear God, to say, or rather write, something profitable, something worth reading on this most difficult topic of race.

I need wisdom. I need guidance. May my words contribute to healing, not hate.

 

My Thoughts

I have not been writing as much as I would like, but I felt it necessary to take a few moments to address the whole idea around the rallying cry of “Black Lives Matter.”

Folks, being that I am not black, brown, or transgender (somehow gender has been added to the mix – just check out the website), I admit there are things I don’t understand. But there is one thing I do understand, and my race has nothing to do with this truth: ALL lives matter, not just ones with a particular color or sexual preference.

Let me reiterate. ALL LIVES MATTER.

Yes, I said it, and I will not back down. Why? Because to do so would be un-biblical and un-Christlike. Regardless how one might want to politicize the issue, as a follower of Jesus, as one who believes God made all mankind in His image, I must stand firmly on Truth, not catchphrases.

Racism is wrong. Bigotry is wrong. And taking a statement that excludes the inherent value of all human life as your mantra is also wrong.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and I would not have agreed on several things, particularly in areas of theology and what is called the “social gospel.” Nevertheless, I believe Dr. King and I would have seen eye-to-eye regarding the “Black Lives Matter” thing. He would have said, “NO! NO! NO!” to all the violence and hatred. I believe he would be heartbroken at all the calls for unrest. He would certainly be ashamed of those who have used race as a tool for their own gain. Was it not Dr. King who envisioned a “color-blind” society?

If a person can’t say that “all lives matter” in public without being condemned, without being forced to apologize, then what does that say about the lives of others? What about my family? What about the Asian family down the road? Or the Indian woman that walks down the street with her husband and son? What about the Native American?

I guess one could argue the phrase is only meant to bring attention to the plight of the black community in America. One could also argue that by saying “all lives matter” one is, in a way, saying racism in America doesn’t exist. Possibly. But that’s a matter of opinion.

The truth is that black lives do matter, but so do white lives, brown lives, yellow lives, and red lives; red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. The proof was when Jesus offered Himself as a ransom so that every tribe and nation could be reconciled with God.

By the way, the majority of aborted babies are black. Do their lives matter? Jesus loves them, too.

All lives matter. Period.


UPDATE: This post has done nothing but depress me.  I regret writing it. 

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How to Fix the Fergusons of the World In 12 Difficult Steps

My Confession

Let me begin by confessing that I am not a person of “color,” at least not in the politically-correct use of the term. This is important to recognize up front because, according to many, my color (or lack thereof) disqualifies me from commenting on racial issues (unless I’m willing to confess any bigotries).

However, even though I am “white” (regardless of the fact that my shading is tinted by several hues on the palate of history), I would like to suggest some steps that could lead to true reconciliation and sustainable peace, not only in Ferguson, Missouri, but in all areas suffering from racial tensions, gang violence, urban decay, poor leadership, and civil unrest.

The Qualifier

Now, let it be known that the following suggestions will only work in a nation that supports the rule of law, condemns mob violence, and understands that there is a Higher Standard to which all will ultimately be held accountable. As long as we choose to continue down a road toward total moral relativism and anarchy, our cherished Constitution inevitably must give way to tyranny and/or ruin.

“[W]e have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. . . . Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams (Signer of the Declaration of Independence and Second President of the United States), 1798

1. Make the “Reverends” preach the Gospel.

You see, here’s the thing: if you claim to be an ordained Christian minister (Reverend), lay off the political charades and race-baiting…preach the WORD! When Jesus asked Peter if he was going to leave like others had, Peter responded with “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). 

My advice to those like Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson is twofold. First, move beyond the “social gospel” that’s been so perverted, even from what it was intended from the beginning, and on to the true gospel of Christ that cares not about race, nationality, or social status.

The second thing is this: God knows why you’re doing what you’re doing; be careful how you make your fortune and why you demand to be in the spotlight.

For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! … What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel. – 1 Corinthians 9:16, 18 NKJV

If you preach the Jesus of the Bible, you have a message of hope that can change lives and communities, black or white. So many of the following suggestions will show that.

2. Forgive.

Storing up hate and exacting revenge is a never-ending spiral towards destruction. Jesus warned his disciples: “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15). Restoration must begin with forgiveness. Was it not Jesus, even when He was being crucified, that said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”?

Are we more righteous than Jesus?

3. Love your enemies.

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.‘ But I say unto you, ‘Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you‘” (Matthew 5:43-44).

“If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee” (Proverbs 25:21-22). Do you want to change people’s hearts? Try doing good instead of burning down buildings!

4. Do more then seek justice.

It is important that justice be served, but don’t be hypocritical about it; those who demand justice should not act like they are above the law.

Micah 6:8 – He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

No one wants to live in a society of laws not tempered by mercy, unless, of course, that person proudly feels he’s never in the wrong. The humble are rarely recruited by lynch mobs.

5. Teach that everyone’s life is sacred because of Who created it.

If you want to live in a more peaceful society, teach its citizens that life is intrinsically precious. According to the Bible, Mankind was created by God, made in His image. When you add to that the fact that He sent His own Son to die in Man’s place to save him from sin (John 3:16), the value of each life then becomes inestimable. Instill this truth into the hearts of a people and there will practically eradicate drive-by’s, abortions, and prostitution.

6. Condemn any culture/media/personality that promotes and profits from illicit, denigrating, and abusive behavior.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. – Philippians 4:8 ESV

When your children’s heroes are girls that swing naked from iron wrecking balls, pimps that bitch-slap their ho’s, and athletes who’d rather “put a cap in yo’ ass” than score a legitimate goal; when the most listened-to music glorifies multiple sex partners, violence, and drug use; when movies get praised for how many f-bombs they can drop; when “reality” is anything but reality, what can you expect?

7. Restore dignity to committed, faithful marriage.

Statistics don’t lie: most thugs and gang-bangers come from broken, single-parent, and/or abusive homes, especially ones without a father at home.

You want to talk about broken systems? Any system that will promote infidelity, encourage shacking up, reward having multiple children out of wedlock, and yet financially punish the family that prays together and stays together – that’s a broken system. Fix this system and you’ll reduce abuse, poverty, welfare addiction, and petty crime. You’ll also see a drop in the prison population, less depression and suicide, and less use of drugs and alcohol.

8. Discipline youth while they are young.

He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail. – Proverbs 22:8

We cannot wait until our youth get in trouble to start “scaring them straight.” It may be cute, now, as you laugh at your little brat’s actions and giggle at his use of foul language, but it won’t be later when he’s getting arrested for cussing the cop that questions him. Make your children behave well while they’re young; don’t wait till they’re older to lose your temper on them: it will fail.

9. Teach respect for all those in authority, including: parents, teachers, coaches, older adults, police, government officials, and ministers.

Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. – Hebrews 13:17

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. – Romans 13:1-4

10. Hold those in authority accountable to higher, morally-objective standards, regardless of party or race.

“Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? – George Washington (Farewell Address), 1796

11. Create a friendly environment for charitable organizations to do their work.

Simply put, don’t make it hard on churches and charities to do what they do best – look after the needs of the poor, the hungry, and the homeless. Don’t arrest ministers for giving out free food on the street. Don’t force ministries to pay for abortion services against their will, thereby forcing them to close. Encourage ministries to reduce the government’s welfare burden, instead of keeping people dependent in order to secure a political advantage.

12. Demand personal responsibility for criminal activity.

“We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.” ― Ronald Reagan

I may have missed it, but not once have I heard the Michael Brown family, the family’s attorney, the “Reverends,” or the justice-demanding rioters on the street ever address the fact that the young Mr. Brown robbed a convenience store and assaulted the store owner. Did I miss it? Was that fact overlooked? Do we honestly think that had Mr. Brown purchased his socially-influenced, unhealthy, crappy cigarillos, instead of stealing them, the policeman would have still sought him out to shoot him?

There’s an old saying that goes, “Do the crime – Do the time.” When a man refuses to accept any responsibility, he’s no longer a good American. It’s past time people man up and assume responsibility for their own actions.

There’s also another saying: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).

A New Proclamation

When our nation was young, while we were still at war, our Continental Congress crafted several proclamations calling our leaders and our people to pray.  If we would only humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked ways (2 Chronicles 7:14), a “fix” for Ferguson might come.

May we commit to do as they did in 1777 and set aside a day…

[For] Solemn Thanksgiving and Praise; That with one Heart and one Voice the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor; and that together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they may join the penitent Confession of their manifold Sins, whereby they had forfeited every Favour, and their humble and earnest Supplication that it may please GOD, through the Merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of Remembrance; That it may please him graciously to afford his Blessing on the Governments of these States respectively, and prosper the public Council of the whole; to inspire our Commanders both by Land and Sea, and all under them, with that Wisdom and Fortitude which may render them fit Instruments, under the Providence of Almighty GOD, to secure for these United States the greatest of all human blessings, INDEPENDENCE and PEACE; That it may please him to prosper the Trade and Manufactures of the People and the Labour of the Husbandman, that our Land may yet yield its Increase; To take Schools and Seminaries of Education, so necessary for cultivating the Principles of true Liberty, Virtue and Piety, under his nurturing Hand, and to prosper the Means of Religion for the promotion and enlargement of that Kingdom which consisteth “in Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost.”

Or, we can simply continue to fight, blame each other, envy each other, hate each other, kill each other, and watch our cities sink deeper into chaos and despair.

“Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face.” ― Ronald Reagan

 

 

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Reverse-Racism and Legalism

Have You Heard?

Unless you live under a rock or play video games all day while your mom does your laundry and pays your bills, you are probably aware that there was an election held in the United States. And unless you are so “spiritual” that you could care less who leads the nation in which you live, you are probably aware that Barack Obama was elected to a second term.

That being said, I thought I would share with you what happened on Wednesday morning, the day after the election.

Elementary Conclusions

If you do not already know, I drive a school bus in the mornings and afternoons to supplement my income as a bi-vocational pastor. The students I transport range in age from 5 to 18.

On Wednesday morning, after transporting the older students to school, I stopped to pick up my first elementary students. At 7:41 a.m. the first three, two girls and one boy, got on the bus

As happened earlier in the morning with the middle and high school students, chants of “Obama won! Obama won!” rang out and echoed within the aluminum walls of my bus. It was like both young and old went to the same victory rally. Then, a sweet, little girl (I won’t mention her name) came up behind me as I was driving and excitedly asked,

“Did you know Obama won?”

“Yes, I know.”

“Who did you vote for, Mr. Baker?”

“I voted for Mr. Romney.”

“Ewwww! Boooooo! Why did you vote for Romney?”

“Why do you think I voted for Mitt Romney?” I asked.

“Because he was too white, that’s why.”

How insulting! She thought (assumed) that I voted for Romney because he looked like me.  Why would she think that? Whatever she believed is what she was taught at home. Whatever she thought of me was based on what she was told about all white people. What was I supposed to say?

I spoke the truth. “[Little girl],” I said, “that was a very racist statement.”

Alive and Well

Sadly, after all the progress that has been made in this great nation, racism is still alive and well, but not in the form people want to admit. Reverse-racism is just as much racism as any other kind, but few recognize it, and fewer condemn it.

Wednesday morning I was essentially labeled a bigot because I voted for a candidate that was the same race as me. If that was true, then what does it say about those of a different color who voted for the candidate that looked like them? Are they bigots, too?

Believe it or not, legalism and this story have a lot in common. Legalism assumes the thoughts and intentions of another based on outward appearances and man-made teachings. Reverse-racism, at least in my case, assumed my intentions because of my skin color. Now, what was it that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said?

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.…[1]

Legalism ignores the “content of one’s character” as long as outward appearances don’t match a pre-determined template for holiness, while reverse-racism disqualifies legitimate concern and silences those who would speak out.

Both legalism and reverse-racism tend to cause people to act out of fear, rather than conviction. Both steal a person’s God-given freedom to think.

Both are wrong.


[1] William J. Federer, Great Quotations: A Collection of Passages, Phrases, and Quotations Influencing Early and Modern World History Referenced According to Their Sources in Literature, Memoirs, Letters, Governmental Documents, Speeches, Charters, Court Decisions and Constitutions (St. Louis, MO: AmeriSearch, 2001).

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