Category : Race/Race Relations

Harriet Beecher Stowe on her Feast Day

Have not many of us, in the weary way of life, felt, in some hours, how far easier it were to die than to live?

The martyr, when faced even by a death of bodily anguish and horror, finds in the very terror of his doom a strong stimulant and tonic. There is a vivid excitement, a thrill and fervor, which may carry through any crisis of suffering that is the birth-hour of eternal glory and rest.

But to live,–to wear on, day after day, of mean, bitter, low, harassing servitude, every nerve dampened and depressed, every power of feeling gradually smothered,–this long and wasting heart-martyrdom, this slow, daily bleeding away of the inward life, drop by drop, hour after hour,–this is the true searching test of what there may be in man or woman.

When Tom stood face to face with his persecutor, and heard his threats, and thought in his very soul that his hour was come, his heart swelled bravely in him, and he thought he could bear torture and fire, bear anything, with the vision of Jesus and heaven but just a step beyond; but, when he was gone, and the present excitement passed off, came back the pain of his bruised and weary limbs,–came back the sense of his utterly degraded, hopeless, forlorn estate; and the day passed wearily enough.

Long before his wounds were healed, Legree insisted that he should be put to the regular field-work; and then came day after day of pain and weariness, aggravated by every kind of injustice and indignity that the ill-will of a mean and malicious mind could devise. Whoever, in our circumstances, has made trial of pain, even with all the alleviations which, for us, usually attend it, must know the irritation that comes with it. Tom no longer wondered at the habitual surliness of his associates; nay, he found the placid, sunny temper, which had been the habitude of his life, broken in on, and sorely strained, by the inroads of the same thing. He had flattered himself on leisure to read his Bible; but there was no such thing as leisure there. In the height of the season, Legree did not hesitate to press all his hands through, Sundays and week-days alike. Why shouldn’t he?””he made more cotton by it, and gained his wager; and if it wore out a few more hands, he could buy better ones. At first, Tom used to read a verse or two of his Bible, by the flicker of the fire, after he had returned from his daily toil; but, after the cruel treatment he received, he used to come home so exhausted, that his head swam and his eyes failed when he tried to read; and he was fain to stretch himself down, with the others, in utter exhaustion.

Is it strange that the religious peace and trust, which had upborne him hitherto, should give way to tossings of soul and despondent darkness? The gloomiest problem of this mysterious life was constantly before his eyes, souls crushed and ruined, evil triumphant, and God silent. It was weeks and months that Tom wrestled, in his own soul, in darkness and sorrow. He thought of Miss Ophelia’s letter to his Kentucky friends, and would pray earnestly that God would send him deliverance. And then he would watch, day after day, in the vague hope of seeing somebody sent to redeem him; and, when nobody came, he would crush back to his soul bitter thoughts,that it was vain to serve God, that God had forgotten him. He sometimes saw Cassy; and sometimes, when summoned to the house, caught a glimpse of the dejected form of Emmeline, but held very little communion with either; in fact, there was no time for him to commune with anybody.

–Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Posted in History, Poetry & Literature, Race/Race Relations

Archbishops’ Commission on Racial Justice releases First Biannual Report

Mandated to drive ‘significant cultural and structural change on issues of racial justice within the Church of England’, the Archbishops’ Commission for Racial Justice (“ACRJ”), headed by The Rt Hon Lord Paul Boateng, is charged with monitoring, holding to account and supporting the implementation of the forty-seven recommendations of the Racial Justice Taskforce which were laid out in the Taskforce’s comprehensive 2020 report From Lament to Action.

In his foreword letter to the First Report, Lord Boateng writes, “This is a painful process, and necessarily so, in that the response to an examination of racism and the exposure of injustice is often one of denial and defensiveness or obscuration and delay. This must not go unchallenged.”

Released today, the Commission states: “In this, the first of the six reports the ACRJ will produce, we have outlined the beginning of this work, reporting on the formulation of the seven workstreams in the last three months, and the progress of work on the five priority areas and the forty-seven recommendations identified in From Lament to Action.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

(NPR) Four enduring myths about Juneteenth are not based on facts

Myth #4: The Juneteenth Order was basically a Texas version of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Fact: General Orders No. 3 stated unequivocally “all slaves are free,” but it also contained patronizing language intended to appease planters who didn’t want to lose their workforce. Forty-one words of the brief 93-word order urged enslaved people to stay put and keep working.

“The freed are advised to remain at their present homes, and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts; and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”

Sam Collins: “The last two sentences advised the freedmen to remain at their present homes and work for wages. So you’re free, but don’t go anywhere.”

Ed Cotham: “Many years later, the formerly enslaved (interviewed for the 1930s WPA Slave Narratives) remembered when the Freedom Paper was read to them. The slaveholder wanted to keep them working, but they didn’t hear it that way. Once they heard “all slaves are free” they said to hell with you. That’s what made the Juneteenth Order so memorable and made it succeed.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., History, Race/Race Relations

(Church Times) Church Commissioners acknowledge that the slave trade boosted early funds

The Church Commissioners acknowledged on Thursday that their £10.1-billion fund has early links with the transatlantic slave trade. Both the Commissioners and the Archbishop of Canterbury have apologised.

The revelations come after research into Queen Anne’s Bounty, which was established in 1704 to tackle poverty among the clergy through the buying of land (from which the clergy received the income) or through an annuity stream. The Commissioners came into being in 1948 after a merger of the Bounty and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

The research was initiated by the Commissioners in 2019 — shortly before the death of George Floyd sparked the Black Lives Matter movement (News, 5 June 2020), and amid an international debate about monuments to people with links to the slave trade (News, 14 May 2021).

Read it all (registration or subscription).

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(Local Paper front page) How Polly Sheppard, a survivor of the Emanuel mass shooting that occurred 7 years ago today, carries on

It doesn’t take long before the first embrace. And then Polly Sheppard greets another of the students, then another.

This group of young evangelicals, affiliated with the parachurch ministry Cru, is here at Emanuel AME Church to learn more about the 2015 mass shooting, visit the sanctuary and offer their prayers. They have just watched Brian Tetsuro Ivie’s documentary “Emanuel,” and they recognize Sheppard, who is visiting the church grounds, where a memorial soon will be erected.

The exchange between this survivor of the attack and the Cru crew is polite, warm, engaging.

Because that’s how the magnanimous Sheppard operates. Mostly, she sees the good in people. She’s ready with a smile….

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, History, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Violence

(Cambridge Independent) Jesus College will not pay legal costs for Rustat Memorial Group’s defence

The legal costs of the 65 alumni who successfully petitioned to keep the memorial to slave trade investor Tobias Rustat on the west wall of Jesus College chapel will not be paid by the college following a ruling by David Hodge QC of the Consistory Court of the Diocese of Ely.

Jesus College Chapel. Picture: Keith HeppellJesus College Chapel. Picture: Keith Heppell
A three-day hearing took place in February to determine whether the diocese would approve Jesus College’s request to remove the memorial to an exhibition space elsewhere on college grounds.

The hearing was overseen by David Hodge, who had been appointed as deputy chancellor to consider the college’s petition. In late March, the verdict was issued in a 108-page statement: the memorial will stay where it is. The unsuccessful case cost Jesus College £120,000.

David Hodge QC accepted, in his ruling date June 5, 2022 and made public on June 7, that it is convention for unsuccessful parties to pay the legal fees for the winning party in conventional hearings, but “that general rule does not apply in contested faculty proceedings in the consistory court,” he wrote.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Race/Race Relations, Stewardship

(NPR) Chris Singleton’s mom was killed in a racist attack in Charleston. Now he’s helping Buffalo

SINGLETON: How many other people are thinking this kind of thing? It’s scary, especially because I’m trying to stop this stuff from happening. And it’s kind of demoralizing, honestly, you know, when it continues to happen.

HANSEN: But Singleton says he won’t let another racist attack shake his faith. He’s now headed to Buffalo to speak with schools where children have lost family members. He remembers the confusion he felt as a college student, robbed of his mother and left to raise his two siblings.

SINGLETON: And so if I could just be of any support to them, just sharing the things that have helped me out, with realizing it’s OK to cry.

HANSEN: Singleton still hopes he can change even one misguided mind by setting an example as a Black man who’s lost a loved one to racism but does not hate. He was supposed to visit Buffalo schools last year but couldn’t make it. The suspect would have still been in high school. Singleton worries he missed an opportunity.

SINGLETON: If he would have realized that everybody has a family and they’re loved and we didn’t choose the very thing that he hates us for, I hope it would change his heart.

HANSEN: It’s a message he shares during public talks.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(RNS) Buffalo Pastors Respond to Loss of Community ‘Pillars’

Soon after a white 18-year-old shooter targeted Black customers of a community grocery store in Buffalo, New York, on Saturday, Denise Walden, executive director of Voice Buffalo, a social justice and equity organization, was coordinating clergy to offer grief counseling and help families immediately and, she hopes, for the foreseeable future.

She was also grieving personally: She knows the families of most of the 10 people killed in the massacre.

“This is going to take more than a week, more than a month, more than six months,” said Walden, a member of the clergy team at First Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, a predominantly Black congregation in Buffalo. “We need long-term solutions and support.”

Walden’s 25-year-old organization is a local chapter of Live Free, a Christian organization that has in recent years focused on preventing community violence, which now has new questions to answer, Walden said, about “the hate that caused this person to come into this community and create such a horrible, violent violation to our community.”

Read it all.

Posted in Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Statement Regarding Buffalo Shooting From Mother Emanuel Ame Church In Charleston S.C.

Read it all:

“To my beloved brothers and sisters in Buffalo, New York. It is with a heavy heart that I pen these words to you, your families, and the surrounding community. As the senior pastor of Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston S.C., we can relate to your hurt, pain, and anger; the congregation of Mother Emanuel was in the same place almost seven years ago.

For the last six years, I have personally watched how God continued to strengthen our community and I know that He will do the same for yours. However, it does not negate the reality of your pain, and the testimony of the empty seat of your loved ones. Please know that as you mourn, we mourn with you, and will be here for you if you need anything. In closing, I leave you with the following words that are found in Psalm 121 verses one and two, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”

May the God of Heaven continue to strengthen you today, tomorrow, and always. In The Strength of The Lord

-Pastor Eric S C Manning

Posted in * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(CC) Lisa Sharon Harper’s memoir of the legacy of slavery

When Lisa Sharon Harper em­barked on a pilgrimage to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where her enslaved ancestors arrived from West Africa in the 1680s, she had been researching her family tree for decades. This was no easy task when so many earlier generations had tried to forget the past.

Her quest to understand where and who she came from was made difficult by the reality of trauma, family separation, and the deprivation of basic human rights for enslaved people and their descendants. “Previous generations did not have the luxury of memory,” Harper says. Only White births, marriages, and deaths were reliably recorded by historians and census takers. Scant information gleaned from living relatives—a few names and places and hints of Cherokee or Chickasaw ancestry, including a beautiful beaded necklace she inherited from her grandfather—were the bread crumbs she followed.

It wasn’t until Harper joined Ancestry.com in 2010 that she was able to confirm the existence of those who had seemed as myths to her, “like the Greeks spoke of Hermes and Dionysus,” traceable to a slave schedule listing the human property of a White man named Jonathan Lawrence. Black life and death were not worth recording, she emphasizes, except as property gained or lost.

Read it all.

Posted in Books, History, Race/Race Relations

(Economist) Black Americans have overtaken white victims in opioid death rates

Treatment for opioid use disorder (oud) is woefully inadequate across the country, but African-Americans often face extra barriers. Studies have found that medications for treating oud, as well as naloxone (a life-saving medication that reverses opioid overdoses), are doled out unevenly. A study of data from Medicaid, the government insurance programme for the poor, across several states with some of the highest opioid-overdose rates found that between 2014 and 2018 black people with oud were 28% less likely to use oud medications.

Studies in various cities, including San Francisco and Los Angeles, suggest that African-Americans have less access to naloxone, too. In Detroit between 2019 and 2020, white addicts received 28% of naloxone administrations, though they accounted for 17% of the city’s opioid overdoses; although 80% of overdoses were among black people, they received only 67% of naloxone administrations. This does not necessarily mean black addicts are being denied naloxone. Those who use opioids alone, are homeless or live in communities with little trust in first responders might be less likely to call for help.

Such disparities strengthen the case for local interventions that deal with the unique hurdles certain communities face. Other solutions are more sweeping, like expanding access to Medicaid and reducing red tape around oud medications. But underlying all these is a straightforward calculus that applies to all Americans, black or white: “It has to be easier to get treated than it is to continue using,” says Dr Kolodny. “You have to flip it.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine, Race/Race Relations

A Prayer for the Feast day of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Almighty God, who by the hand of Moses thy servant didst lead thy people out of slavery, and didst make them free at last: Grant that thy Church, following the example of thy prophet Martin Luther King, may resist oppression in the name of thy love, and may strive to secure for all thy children the blessed liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Church History, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

A front page NYT Profile piece on Prospective Supreme Court nominee and South Carolina Judge Michelle Childs

It was just before Christmas, and Jean H. Toal, then the chief justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court, was in a bind. She needed an emergency order drawn up, but the courthouse in Columbia, the state capital, was empty. She was relieved to reach someone who assured her, “Chief, I got it.”

It was J. Michelle Childs, then a state circuit court judge who had made a name for herself as one of the most adept on the bench.

“Within an hour she came back to me, and she had a complete order with footnotes and everything,” Judge Toal, now retired, recalled of the day more than a dozen years ago. “Days later, she delivered her child. So, she was über-pregnant and it was right at Christmas time, but she had her work ethic on full steam, as she always did.”

The memory sums up the reputation of Judge Childs, now a Federal District Court judge in South Carolina, who rose through the ranks of state schools, local government and the South Carolina legal system to the short list of potential Supreme Court nominees for President Biden, who has pledged to nominate a Black woman to replace Justice Stephen G. Breyer.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Office of the President, President Joe Biden, Race/Race Relations, Senate, Supreme Court, Women

Lack of action on racial justice is ‘chilling’, Lord Boateng tells C of E Synod

Lord Boateng, Chair of the Archbishops’ Commission on Racial Justice, told General Synod members that it was ‘chilling’, ‘wounding’ and a ‘scandal’ that there had been no action on a ‘long list’ of recommendations over the years to tackle racial injustice.

There is ‘no shortage of policy’ or good intentions in the Church of England, he said, but there is a ‘shortage of delivery’. Racism is a ‘gaping wound in the body of Christ,’ he said.

Paying tribute to the work of the Church of England’s Anti-Racism Taskforce, he said its report From Lament to Action, published last year, revealed a ‘chilling’ failure by the Church to implement recommendations made over the years on racial justice.

“The most chilling thing about this report, the most concerning thing about this report, are the appendices, the long lists of previous recommendations which have not been implemented, promises made that have not been fulfilled. It is chilling, it is wounding, it is a scandal, and it has to be addressed,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

(Premier) Diversity in C of E can only be addressed if black clergy stand up to it, says Bishop

Speaking to Premier, Bishop Joe says although the Church of England is putting measures in place to try to increase the number of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) clergy, they won’t be effective unless those clergy push for change and are vocal from within the structure itself :

“All the indications are that the Church of England have been trying to address racism. The question for me is whether the way the Church of England is going about it is likely to succeed.

“My fear is that historically, like much of the rest of society, the Church of England is trying to address the issue by trying to hold the feet of the church to the fire. I’m afraid no matter how long you hold the feet of the institution to the fire, it is not likely to be able to deliver what is required. What is needed is some activism that sees them as equal participants in this business of bringing about equality.

“Black people within the Church of England need to stand up as human beings – as Christians in their own right – not trying to somehow fit in with a white-ism that has its historic roots in slavery.

“What is needed is for the black people, particularly within the Church of England to stop pleading with the institution to change and to stand up to it and make it change.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

(NYT Op-ed) David Brooks–The Dissenters Trying to Save Evangelicalism From Itself

Of course there is a lot of division across many parts of American society. But for evangelicals, who have dedicated their lives to Jesus, the problem is deeper. Christians are supposed to believe in the spiritual unity of the church. While differing over politics and other secondary matters, they are in theory supposed to be unified by their shared first love — as brothers and sisters in Christ. Their common devotion is supposed to bring out the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

“We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord,” say the opening lines of a famous Christian song commonly known as “By Our Love.” In its chorus it proclaims, “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love.” The world envisioned by that song seems very far away right now. The bitter recriminations have caused some believers to wonder if the whole religion is a crock.

Russell Moore resigned from his leadership position in the Southern Baptist Convention last spring over the denomination’s resistance to addressing the racism and sexual abuse scandals in its ranks. He tells me that every day he has conversations with Christians who are losing their faith because of what they see in their churches. He made a haunting point last summer when I saw him speak in New York State at a conference at a Bruderhof community, which has roots in the Anabaptist tradition. “We now see young evangelicals walking away from evangelicalism not because they do not believe what the church teaches,” he said, “but because they believe that the church itself does not believe what the church teaches.”

The proximate cause of all this disruption is Trump. But that is not the deepest cause. Trump is merely the embodiment of many of the raw wounds that already existed in parts of the white evangelical world: misogyny, racism, racial obliviousness, celebrity worship, resentment and the willingness to sacrifice principle for power.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

(PRC) One-in-Ten Black People Living in the U.S. Are Immigrants

The Black population of the United States is diverse, growing and changing. The foreign-born segment of this population has played an important role in this growth over the past four decades and is projected to continue doing so in future years.

Roughly 4.6 million, or one-in-ten, Black people in the U.S. were born in a different country as of 2019, up from 3% in 1980. By 2060, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that this number will increase to 9.5 million, or more than double the current level (the Census Bureau only offers projections for single race groups).

Between 1980 and 2019, the nation’s Black population as a whole grew by 20 million, with the Black foreign-born population accounting for 19% of this growth. In future years, the Black immigrant population will account for roughly a third of the U.S. Black population’s growth through 2060, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

The Black immigrant population is also projected to outpace the U.S.-born Black population in growth. While both groups are increasing in number, the foreign-born population is projected to grow by 90% between 2020 and 2060, while the U.S.-born population is expected to grow 29% over the same time span.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Immigration, Race/Race Relations, Sociology

Martin Luther King Jr. in the Christian Century how I changed my Mind series in 1960–My Pilgrimage to nonviolence

I also came to see that liberalism’s superficial optimism concerning human nature caused it to overlook the fact that reason is darkened by sin. The more I thought about human nature the more I saw how our tragic inclination for sin causes us to use our minds to rationalize our actions. Liberalism failed to see that reason by itself is little more than an instrument to justify man’s defensive ways of thinking. Reason, devoid of the purifying power of faith, can never free itself from distortions and rationalizations.

In spite of the fact that I had to reject some aspects of liberalism, I never came to an all-out acceptance of neo-orthodoxy. While I saw neo-orthodoxy as a helpful corrective for a liberalism that had become all too sentimental, I never felt that it provided an adequate answer to the basic questions. If liberalism was too optimistic concerning human nature, neo-orthodoxy was too pessimistic. Not only on the question of man but also on other vital issues, neo-orthodoxy went too far in its revolt. In its attempt to preserve the transcendence of God, which had been neglected by liberalism’s overstress of his immanence, neo-orthodoxy went to the extreme of stressing a God who was hidden, unknown and “wholly other.” In its revolt against liberalism’s overemphasis on the power of reason, neo-orthodoxy fell into a mood of antirationalism and semifundamentalism, stressing a narrow, uncritical biblicism. This approach, I felt, was inadequate both for the church and for personal life.

So although liberalism left me unsatisfied on the question of the nature of man, I found no refuge in neo-orthodoxy. I am now convinced that the truth about man is found neither in liberalism nor in neo-orthodoxy. Each represents a partial truth. A large segment of Protestant liberalism defined man only in terms of his essential nature, his capacity for good. Neo-orthodoxy tended to define man only in terms of his existential nature, his capacity for evil. An adequate understanding of man is found neither in the thesis of liberalism nor in the antithesis of neo-orthodoxy, but in a synthesis which reconciles the truths of both.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

(1st Things) Richard John Neuhaus: Remembering, and Misremembering, Martin Luther King Jr.

As Abernathy tells it—and I believe he is right—he and King were first of all Christians, then Southerners, and then blacks living under an oppressive segregationist regime. King of course came from the black bourgeoisie of Atlanta in which his father, “Daddy King,” had succeeded in establishing himself as a king. Abernathy came from much more modest circumstances, but he was proud of his heritage and, as he writes, wanted nothing more than that whites would address his father as Mr. Abernathy. He and Martin loved the South, and envisioned its coming into its own once the sin of segregation had been expunged.

“Years later,” Abernathy writes that, “after the civil rights movement had peaked and I had taken over [after Martin’s death] as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference,” he met with Governor George Wallace. “Governor Wallace, by then restricted to a wheel chair after having been paralyzed by a would-be assassin’s bullet, shook hands with me and welcomed me to the State of Alabama. I smiled, realizing that he had forgotten all about Montgomery and Birmingham, and particularly Selma. ‘This is not my first visit,’ I said. ‘I was born in Alabama—in Marengo County.’ ‘Good,’ said Governor Wallace, ‘then welcome back.’ I really believe he meant it. In his later years he had become one of the greatest friends the blacks had ever had in Montgomery. Where once he had stood in the doorway and barred federal marshals from entering, he now made certain that our people were first in line for jobs, new schools, and other benefits of state government.” Abernathy concludes, “It was a time for reconciliations.”

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Letter from a Birmingham Jail

We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”–then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.

There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

Read it all.

Posted in History, Language, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Prison/Prison Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

(Local Paper) The needed Voice of a local Hero—The Rev. Anthony Thompson’s message of forgiveness shaped by tragedy, MLK

‘“It’s ‘You can’t destroy my spirit,’” Cone told the magazine. ”‘I have a forgiving spirit because that’s what God created me to be.’”

Thompson’s message doesn’t let Whites off the hook. White people must repent, he said. Though today’s White Americans haven’t participated in slavery, they reap the benefits, which are seen in today’s social and economic inequities, Thompson said.

Thompson, who was the speaker for this year’s MLK ecumenical service at Greater St. Luke AME on Jan. 16, sees a connection between his message and King’s philosophy of nonviolence. In his sermon “The Meaning of Forgiveness,” King preached that he saw forgiveness as the solution to the nation’s “race problem.” King saw forgiveness as a “weapon of social redemption.”

Similar to King, Thompson feels that forgiveness can bring about racial healing.

“Martin Luther King Jr. once said: ‘We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love,’” Thompson said at the service.’

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Death / Burial / Funerals, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Violence

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: I Have a Dream

You can find the full text here.

I find it always is really worth the time to listen to and read and ponder it all on this day especially–KSH.

Posted in America/U.S.A., History, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

A Prayer for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Almighty God, who by the hand of Moses thy servant didst lead thy people out of slavery, and didst make them free at last: Grant that thy Church, following the example of thy prophet Martin Luther King, may resist oppression in the name of thy love, and may strive to secure for all thy children the blessed liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Posted in America/U.S.A., History, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer

(NYT) A Safe Space’: Black Pastors Promote Vaccinations from the Pulpit

Dozens of people gathered at the Word of Life International Church in the South Bronx on a recent Saturday for its weekly food bank, but the pastor wanted to ask the crowd a question before the groceries were handed out: Did anyone know where to find the closest vaccination site?

“Yankee Stadium is always open!” shouted one woman, seated on one of the many folding chairs in the windowless, fluorescently-lit room. “Take the six bus, straight up.”

“174th street and 3rd avenue is 24 hours,” said another woman, standing up in the crowd. “You go there at 2 o’clock in the morning, it’ll still be open.”

The pastor, the Rev. John S. Udo-Okon, said he wanted everyone there — mostly Black residents, including seniors and mothers with small children — to know that the coronavirus vaccines were easy to find and, more important, that they would not harm them. More than 80 percent of adults in New York City have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, but there are significant racial disparities in the vaccination rate.

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Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

Archbishops’ Racial Justice Commission Members Announced

Commenting on the appointment of the Commissioners, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York said:

“We are delighted that these twelve Commission members have agreed to join the Racial Justice Commission.

“They represent complex interests and expertise, within and beyond the church, bringing a rich experience that will inform and meet the needs of the task that lies ahead. We pray for a transformation in our Church that will bring hope to the world. We look forward to their reports and pray for their work.”

Lord Boateng said: “These exceptional individuals bring wisdom and a passion for justice rooted in God’s love to the work of the Commission.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, Church of England (CoE), Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

Still More Food for Thought from Esau McCaulley

Posted in * Theology, Anthropology, Books, Race/Race Relations, Theology: Scripture

John Stott on William Wilberforce’s Great Example of Perseverance on Wilberforce’s Feast Day

It was in 1787 that he first decided to put down a motion in the House of Commons about the slave trade. This nefarious traffic had been going on for three centuries, and the West Indian slave-owners were determined to oppose abolition to the end. Besides, Wilberforce was not a very prepossessing man. He was little and somewhat ugly, with poor eyesight and an upturned nose. When Boswell heard him speak, he pronounced him ‘a perfect shrimp’, but then had to concede that ‘presently the shrimp swelled into a whale.’ In 1789 Wilberforce said of the slave trade: “So enormous so dreadful, so irremediable did its wickedness appear that my own mind was completely made up for the abolition…. let the consequences be what they would, I from this time determined that I would never rest till I had effected its abolition.

So abolition bills (which related to the trade) and Foreign Trade Bills (which would prohibit the involvement of British ships in it) were debated in the commons in 1789, 1791, 1792,194, 1796 (by which time Abolition had become ‘the grand object of my parliamentary existence’), 1798 and 1799. Yet they all failed. The Foreign Slave Bill was not passed until 1806 and the Abolition of the Slave Trade Bill until 1807. This part of the campaign had taken eighteen years.

Next, soon after the conclusion of the Napoleonic wars, Wilberforce began to direct his energies to the abolition of slavery itself and the emancipation of the slaves. In 1823 the Anti-Slavery Society was formed. Twice that year and twice the following year, Wilberforce pleaded the slaves’ cause in the House of Commons. But in 1825 ill-health compelled him to resign as a member of parliament and to continue his campaign from outside. In 1831 he sent a message to the Anti-Slavery Society, in which he said, “Our motto must continue to be PERSEVERANCE. And ultimately I trust the Almighty will crown our efforts with success.” He did. In July 1833 the Abolition of Slavery Bill was passed in both Houses of Parliament, even though it included the undertaking to pay 20 million pounds in compensation to the slave-owners. ‘Thank God,’ wrote Wilberforce, that I have lived to witness a day in which England is willing to give 20 million pounds for the abolition of slavery.’ Three days later he died. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, in national recognition of his FORTY-FIVE YEARS of persevering struggle on behalf of African slaves.

— John R W Stott, Issues facing Christians Today (Basingstoke: Marshall, Morgan and Scott, 1984), p. 334

Posted in Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations

(Gallup) Ratings of Black-White Relations at New Low

For the second consecutive year, U.S. adults’ positive ratings of relations between Black and White Americans are at their lowest point in more than two decades of measurement. Currently, 42% of Americans say relations between the two groups are “very” or “somewhat” good, while 57% say they are “somewhat” or “very” bad.

The most recent rating of Black-White relations in the U.S. is not statistically different from last year’s 44%. However, the reading has eroded nine percentage points over the past two years as the nation has grappled with the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent nationwide protests and calls for racial justice.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Race/Race Relations, Sociology

(Observer) God-given talent: Saka, Rashford and Sterling blaze a trail for black British Christians

In the reception area of Bukayo Saka’s old school, brightly-coloured pennants representing the competing nations in Euro 2020 have not yet been taken down. And last week, the 450 pupils at Edward Betham Church of England primary had one final euro-related task to complete. “We’ve been making a card to send to Bukayo,” said school head Caroline Chamberlain.

“A4 size with 15 sheets – one for each class. They’ve written to say how much he has inspired them and what a wonderful example he is setting. So many of our pupils have shared their disgust with us at the abuse England footballers had. They cannot understand the behaviour.”

England’s newest football hero maintains close links with the school on the outskirts of west London. Saka has previously donated a signed Arsenal shirt, which takes pride of place on the school’s “achievement wall”. A letter he sent to thank former teachers has been proudly framed. And for a school which actively promotes a Christian ethos, it would be hard to think of a better role model.

Like Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling, his England teammates, Saka wears his faith on his sleeve. Until he moved with his family two years ago, to be closer to Arsenal’s training facilities, he attended the Pentecostal Kingsborough Centre in Uxbridge. On winning the young London player of the year award this year, he tweeted “God’s Work”, making clear where he believed the credit for his starring performances truly lay.

“I love the way Bukayo speaks with such passion about his beliefs”, says Chamberlain, a churchgoing Anglican. “In days gone by you wouldn’t hear so much about people being practising Christians or practising Muslims. It seemed that famous people in particular didn’t really talk about their faith. I remember Alastair Campbell’s ‘we don’t do God’.”

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Posted in England / UK, Men, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Sports

(NYT Op-ed) Esau McCaulley–Why Christians Must Fight Systemic Racism

I wake up to messages on social media from other Christians calling me a racist, communist, false teacher. Such messages have become as ordinary as my cup of coffee before morning prayer. I receive them because part of my work as a Christian theologian addresses issues of systemic injustice. I never imagined such work would be controversial. Racism­ — personal and societal — still affects the lives of people of color in the United States. Part of the Christian witness involves addressing this among a host of other maladies.

Nearly every Christian of color I know who addresses these issues has been subject to similar attacks, no matter the nuance of our argumentation or the sources we cite. I have been accused of believing that all white people are irredeemably racist and of seeing humans as only victims or oppressors. None of this is true, but that does not seem to matter. They call us “woke,” but the disdain with which they use that word makes it feel like a stand-in for deeper and more cutting insults.

I remain puzzled as to why discussions of racism and injustice stir up so much venom from fellow believers. They do not simply disagree. They are angry. Despite this hysteria, there is simply no theological or historical reason for Christians to hesitate over acknowledging structural racism.

When people point out bias or racism in structures (health care, housing, policing, employment practices), they are engaging in the most Christian of practices: naming and resisting sins, personal and collective.

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Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture