Category : Race/Race Relations

(Local Paper) Remembering the Charleston 9 two Years Ago Today

Drums beat, a trumpet bellows and voices rise up in jubilant greeting of the morning, Pentecost Sunday. It’s a joyful day in the Christian church. Yet, here at Emanuel AME, sorrow still clings to the atmosphere, even two years later.

Memories of the nine who died here linger everywhere. They rest in worn spots on the pews. They float from the choir loft and resound from the pulpit. Downstairs in the fellowship hall, where blood flowed that night, bullet holes remain in the walls and tiles.

The date — June 17, 2015 — doesn’t feel very far away.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(BBC) Buxton anti-slavery monument unveiled in Weymouth

A monument commemorating the life of a leading anti-slavery campaigner has been unveiled in a dedication ceremony in Dorset.
Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, an MP for Weymouth in the 1800s, was a driving force behind the abolition of slavery.
There are already memorials to him in London, Jamaica and Sierra Leone.
The £90,000 monument, carved by Weymouth College stonemasonry students, is the result of seven years of work by the Thomas Fowell Buxton Society.

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Posted in Church History, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations

(Christian History) This Black Pastor Led a White Church—in 1788

Lemuel Haynes’s pastoral career spanned forty years. He began his life of Christian service as a founding member and supply pastor to the church in Middle Granville, Massachusetts. He served in Middle Granville for five years, then received ordination from the Association of Ministers in Litchfield County, Connecticut. Haynes completed his ordination in 1785 while serving a church in Torrington, Connecticut. However, despite his evident prowess as a preacher, he was never offered the pastorate of that church due to racial prejudice and resentment among some churches in the area. In 1783 Haynes met and married twenty-year-old Elizabeth Babbit, a young white schoolteacher and a member of the Middle Granville congregation. The couple bore ten chil­dren between 1785 and 1805.

On March 28, 1788 Haynes left the Torrington congregation and accepted a call to pastor the west parish of Rutland, Vermont, where he served the all-white congregation for thirty years—a relationship between pastor and congregation rare in Haynes’s time and in ours both for its length and for its racial dynamic. During his stay in Rutland, the church grew in membership from forty-two congregants to about three hundred and fifty as Haynes modeled pastoral devotedness and fidelity to the people in his charge. He also emerged as a defender of Calvinistic orthodoxy, opposing the encroachment of Arminianism, universalism, and other errors.

Read it all.

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

(ABC Aus.) Stanley Hauerwas–The Only Road to Freedom: Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nonviolence

Of all the silly claims sometimes made by atheists these days, surely one of the silliest is that Christianity was in no way determinative of the politics of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Just take Christopher Hitchens’s claim that, on account of King’s commitment to nonviolence, in “no real as opposed to nominal sense … was he a Christian.” Wherever King got his understanding of nonviolence from, argues Hitchens, it simply could not have been from Christianity because Christianity is inherently violent.

The best response that I can give to such claims is turn to that wonderfully candid account of the diverse influences that shaped King’s understanding of nonviolence in his Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, and then demonstrate how his Christianity gave these influences in peculiarly Christ-like form.

King reports as a college student he was moved when he read Thoreau’s Essay on Civil Disobedience. Thoreau convinced him that anyone who passively accepts evil, even oppressed people who cooperate with an evil system, are as implicated with evil as those who perpetrate it. Accordingly, if we are to be true to our conscience and true to God, a righteous man has no alternative but to refuse to cooperate with an evil system.

Read it all.

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

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 Church History, Race/Race Relations, Spirituality/Prayer

(CT) The deadliest incident faced by the persecuted church last Christmas wasn’t radical Islamists. It was alcohol.

The deadliest incident faced by the persecuted church last Christmas wasn’t radical Islamists. It was alcohol.

Liquor mixed with aftershave killed about 50 people at Christmas parties in a Pakistani village, and sickened about 100 more.

In Pakistan, as in many Muslim-majority nations where Shari‘ah law forbids drinking, alcohol is closely identified with Christianity. The nation’s primary alcohol producer, for example, riffs on the Bible in advertisements. Founded in 1860 by the British, Murree Brewery’s slogan, “Eat, drink, and be Murree,” echoes the repeated biblical idiom for short-term pleasures.

Perhaps as surprising as the existence of a Pakistani brewery is the fact that 12 Muslims were among the victims of the fatal Christmas parties.

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Posted in Alcohol/Drinking, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Pakistan, Race/Race Relations

(NYTBR) Ibram Kendi–A History of Race and Racism in America, in 24 Chapters

Many Americans might not know the more polemical side of race writing in our history. The canon of African-American literature is well established. Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, James Baldwin are familiar figures. Far less so is Samuel Morton (champion of the obsolete theory of polygenesis) or Thomas Dixon (author of novels romanticizing Klan violence). It is tempting to think that the influence of those dusty polemics ebbed as the dust accumulated. But their legacy persists, freshly shaping much of our racial discourse.

On the occasion of Black History Month, I’ve selected the most influential books on race and the black experience published in the United States for each decade of the nation’s existence ”” a history of race through ideas, arranged chronologically on the shelf. (In many cases, I’ve added a complementary work, noted with an asterisk.) Each of these books was either published first in the United States or widely read by Americans. They inspired ”” and sometimes ended ”” the fiercest debates of their times: debates over slavery, segregation, mass incarceration. They offered racist explanations for inequities, and antiracist correctives. Some ”” the poems of Phillis Wheatley, the memoir of Frederick Douglass ”” stand literature’s test of time. Others have been roundly debunked by science, by data, by human experience. No list can ever be comprehensive, and “most influential” by no means signifies “best.” But I would argue that together, these works tell the history of anti-black racism in the United States as painfully, as eloquently, as disturbingly as words can. In many ways, they also tell its present.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Books, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Race/Race Relations, Theology

ABC Nightline–Oscar-Nominated '13th' Documentary's Provocative Message

Watch it all. The film is available on Netflix for those interested.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Prison/Prison Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Theology

(Former Wofford President) Ben Dunlap's Ted Talk: The life-long learner

Wofford College president Ben Dunlap tells the story of Sandor Teszler, a Hungarian Holocaust survivor who taught him about passionate living and lifelong learning.

One of my friends recommended this–it is quite energizing and challenging; KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Education, Europe, Hungary, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Music, Race/Race Relations, Theology

Stanley Hauerwas-The Weapon of Love: How Martin Luther King, Jr. Became Nonviolent

ove, therefore, becomes the hallmark of nonviolent resistance requiring that the resister not only refuse to shoot his opponent but also refuse to hate him. Nonviolent resistance is meant to bring an end to hate by being the very embodiment of agape. King seemed never to tire of an appeal to Anders Nygren’s distinction between eros, phila and agape to make the point that the love that shapes nonviolent resistance is one that is disciplined by the refusal to distinguish between worthy and unworthy people. Rather agape begins by loving others for their own sake, which requires that we “have love for the enemy-neighbor from whom you can expect no good in return, but only hostility and persecution.”

Such a love means that nonviolent resistance seeks not to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win a friend. The protests that may take the form of boycotts and other non-cooperative modes of behaviour are not ends in themselves, but rather attempts to awaken in the opponent a sense of shame and repentance. The end of nonviolent resistance is redemption and reconciliation with those who have been the oppressor. Love overwhelms hate, making possible the creation of a beloved community that would otherwise be impossible.

Accordingly, nonviolent resistance is not directed against people but against forces of evil. Those who happen to be doing evil are as victimized by the evil they do as those who are the object of their oppression. From the perspective of nonviolence King argued that the enemy is not the white people of Montgomery, but injustice itself. The object of the boycott of the buses was not to defeat white people, but to defeat the injustice that mars their lives.

Read it all from ABC Australia’s Religion and Ethics site.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Christology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

Music for Martin Luther King Day–I'm gonna ride the Chariot in the morning Lord

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, Eschatology, History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology

(CT) Michael Emerson offers 4 lessons we Can Learn from Birhimgham for Martin Luther King Day

[Michael] Gilbreath (a CT editor at large) hearkens back to the 1963 Birmingham civil rights campaign, to the world of Martin Luther King Jr., Fred Shuttlesworth, and other heroic Christian leaders. Today, we idolize these figures for leading a beleaguered people to the Promised Land. But as Birmingham Revolution makes clear, the civil rights movement was no slam dunk. Uncertainty, scarce resources, and outside hostility could have ground its progress to a halt.

The Birmingham campaign was pivotal. On the heels of defeat in Albany, Georgia, victory in Birmingham restored the movement’s momentum. Failure could have crippled it, by drying up funding, discrediting the nonviolent method, and validating fears that the leaders were””take your pick””extremists, rabble-rousers, too Christian, not Christian enough, too Southern, or insufficiently urban.
How””amid the noise and ambiguity, the internal struggles and self-doubts, the bone-deep weariness and constant fear of death””did the Birmingham leaders maintain their focus? And how might their example instruct the church today? Gilbreath gives four answers.

Read it all

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Pastoral Theology, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

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 * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Politics in General, Prison/Prison Ministry, Race/Race Relations, Theology

Exploring the Grounds for Solidarity Mural from the New Natl Museum of Afr Am History

The National Mall is a seat of democracy, a site for protest, and the home of the Smithsonian Institution. These truths converged in 1968, when antipoverty demonstrators staged a six-week campaign on “America’s front yard.” The Smithsonian had a front seat to “Resurrection City, USA,” the protesters’ name for their encampment. Today, a salvaged mural from the often-forgotten event is back on the Mall, in the collection of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The slogans of solidarity inscribed on the mural inspired curators Aaron Bryant (NMAAHC) and Mireya Loza (NMAH) to reflect on the campaign’s multiethnic character, while Kendra Greendeer (NMAI) brings the legacy forward to recount how American Indians and allies traversed the same hallowed ground at a recent march across the Mall.

Check it all out.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Art, History, Race/Race Relations

(Local Paper) Speaker at Ecumenical Service: America must be just to be great

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump remembers representing the family of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black male who was fatally shot in February 2012 in Sanford, Florida.

The shooter, George Zimmerman, was a neighborhood watch volunteer who was found not guilty in a high-profile murder trial.

The verdict, among others Crump has seen, has left minority communities feeling like second-class citizens, he said Sunday at Morris Street Baptist Church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, * South Carolina, Ecumenical Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues