Ok Middle Class White Male, Let’s Talk About It Then

To My White Middle Class Friends and Acquaintances: This one is all about you.  Let me start with some words spoken by the outgoing President.  These quotes are from his last speech.

If every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hardworking white middle class and an undeserving minority, then workers of all shades are going to be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves.

For blacks and other minority groups, it means tying our own very real struggles for justice to the challenges that a lot of people in this country face — not only the refugee, or the immigrant, or the rural poor, or the transgender American, but also the middle-aged white guy who, from the outside, may seem like he’s got advantages, but has seen his world upended by economic and cultural and technological change. We have to pay attention, and listen.

I’ve heard the dialogue for the last several years:

White males in this country feel left out.  The ‘left’ only care about their liberal sensibilities which include minorities and immigrants.  Since 2008 we have been neglected and our interest are no longer prioritized.  This is why I voted for Donald Trump. I may not agree with everything he says.  But he cares about the needs of me and my family. 

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I have found these sentiments both alarming and insulting.  There are a plethora of reasons that I won’t get into as this is not about me.  Against my first thought I recently picked up and read a book called, “Hillbilly Elegy,” A Memoir of A Family and Culture In Crisis, written by J.D. Vance.  The book focused on what would seem to be the idea Trump voter.  Vance grew up in Rust Belt towns in Kentucky and Ohio.  They are the epitome of  America’s white working class America.  I was hesitant to give it the time of day initially.  I knew that Vance was going to attempt to explain a group of people who have some ideas about people who look like me that I wouldn’t find amusing.  But I kept hearing it wasn’t that simple. With that I scooped it up.

I found the book to be riveting.  I found parts of his family to be a little crazy.  I also found some of them to be endearing if not equally tragic.  Even with some ratchet behaviors that could rival any family’s, they had their principles, values and specific codes they lived by.  They are perfectly understandable codes.  I was able to understand more than I previously figured.  But that didn’t exactly allow me to understand why and what it was that promoted this mindset that they were being mistreated or disenfranchised in whole or in part because they were Caucasian.  I didn’t understand what was so attractive about a man like Donald Trump to them.  What was he telling them that endorsed these ideas of victimization and more importantly what did they believe Trump would actually offer them?

I tried to get these answers previously before the election.  But I couldn’t get a straight answer.  I got soundbites and talking points about the opposite candidate.  But I never got anything concrete that I could believe or take seriously.  I don’t even believe the people telling me these things believed them either.  But nevertheless, I write this today asking for understanding.  I ask this in all sincerity.  What is it that white males are going that’s different than what I’m dealing with?  How are your needs been neglected what are you afraid of someone else getting that you won’t because you happen to be a White male?

There is but one condition.  While it’s not mandatory to agree, the conversation must be 100% intellectually honest.  There is no reason to waste one another’s time.

You talk, I’ll listen, then we shall see if there is a an opportunity for more dialogue.  I am seriously and honestly wanting to get this.

But we’re not where we need to be. And all of us have more work to do.  If every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hardworking white middle class and an undeserving minority, then workers of all shades are going to be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves. – President Barack Obama

 

 

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The Blessing in The Bulls#@!

This is a Facebook thread in which I was engaged in yesterday.  It’s long… but the ending is where the gem is!

It starts with the photo below posted from a previous friend of mine.  This was my attempt to work through it.

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Christopher McCaleb #disappointed 😦

Like · Reply · 1 hr

 

Cari Atkinson Sorry…I will not leave myself in any situation that I could get injured.

Like · Reply · 55 mins

Christopher McCaleb But you would drive the truck or advocate to injure or murder those who are using their constitutional right to assemble and protest?

Like · Reply · 53 mins

Cari Atkinson Christopher McCaleb Not advocating anything, but not ok with the protests that are blocking any persons right-of-way. Protests could be made without making people late to work, blocking medical needs, etc. Again, I will not leave myself in a possible situation to where I could be in danger.

Like · Reply · 49 mins

Christopher McCaleb One may or may not agree with the WAY a protest is done. The thing about them…is that by nature they tend to be uncomfortable. That’s kind of the point. That being said, regardless the image of the truck is saying… = those who protest run the over! It’s very explicit and prolific. The person posting, liking the photo are saying, “run them over!” That is the solution… to a specific group of people. This could be me, my sons, daughters, friends, (white and black) I’ve supported your fight to live at all cost. This is what supporters of protest are doing as well…fighting for the right to live and be protected. Making statement or posting images that they should be run over, that they don’t have jobs, is horrifically insensitive at best, hateful at worst. I’m speaking to you not as a critic, but a friend. I hope you will reconsider this position and take into consideration what I am saying… if you consider me a friend as well. Which I believe you do!

Like · Reply · 42 mins

Cari Atkinson I did not state any of the protesters didn’t have jobs! I stated I will not be late for my employment, late for a medical procedure or emergency because of the right-of-way being blocked. Protests can be done without shutting down highways! I again will not leave myself or my family in danger. I do consider you my friend, we just have different views on closing down highways or businesses!

Like · Reply · 29 mins

Cari Atkinson My fight against cancer and my life has not stopped anyone from anything!

Like · Reply · 27 mins

Christopher McCaleb I agree… but everyone I know is pretty united on standing with our friends who are fighting cancer. And if cancer treatment and research were to be halted, not fully endorsed by society and people died, you may find it worth interrupting the normalcy of life. Well, you would let’s just affirm that. I definitely don’t recall large numbers of anyone missing medical service because of a protest.

Like · Reply · 23 mins · Edited

Christopher McCaleb Jobless post you posted today…

 

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Like · Reply · 23 mins

Cari Atkinson Let it go Christopher McCaleb…we have total different mind sets and will never agree. I would never block a highway or close down a business because of cancer!

Like · Reply · 20 mins

Christopher McCaleb Even if you wouldn’t Cari Atkinson, saying that protesters don’t have jobs, (which is a harsh, unfair and UNTRUE statement, and you DID post it though you denied it initially) and posting a truck photo that says it’s going to run protesters over… (does not mention emergency vehicles…it mentions being late for work) is therefore very offensive, is not misleading. These two photos paint a very insensitive and hateful narrative. Would you disagree in this light?

Like · Reply · 12 mins

Cari Atkinson I am ending this conversation…I posted what I posted because I will not be blocked from work or medical needs, etc and in potential danger due to protests. Everyone needs to get back to work and trust that things will work out the way it should. These protests are not peaceful and are causing more damage then good as far as I am concerned. I am one of the nicest people you will ever met and have never done harm to anyone! If you cannot accept this then please feel free to delete me…sorry!

Like · Reply · 6 mins

Christopher McCaleb End it if you must. What you cannot do is veil your so called niceness while dismissing the hatefulness withing the dismissal of a people who cannot wait and trust that things will work out the way it should. No change in the history of the world every happened that way. FOR ANYONE including women. Your words and photos speak for your character in this case. Meanwhile, if that bothers you, then you are free to do the deleting.

Like · Reply · 2 mins

Christopher McCaleb In a nutshell this is what those post say to me: All you black folk screaming Black Lives Matter need to go somewhere and get a job. Stop protesting. People like Philando Castille and Alton Sterling and every other one deserved what they got. If I had this truck and you were in my way while I’m going somewhere, I would love to use it to batter my way through you all inconveniencing my life!

Nicole Richardson Protesting is fine when it is not keeping others from getting to where they’re going. It is not OK to block roads, why do protesters feel that what they are doing comes before others and where others are going? Smh…this is not peaceful protesting goi…See More

Like · Reply · 2 · 3 hrs · Edited

Tompall Gibson If law biding citizens were protesting, there would not be a need for such a truck. With that being said, over the last couple of years we have all witnessed these protests being more about criminal actions rather than a well-educated debate on fairness & equality.

Like · Reply · 2 · 2 hrs

Cari Atkinson Well stated…thank you!

Like · Reply · 1 · 2 hrs

Christopher McCaleb Let’s examine this a bit before I go about my merry way. #1) There is NO data that says that the protest do more harm than good. That seems to be theme with you guys but its unsupported. The same goes for the protest not being peaceful. Again looking at DATA, not hyperbole and bullshit – of the hundreds of thousands of protestors nationwide, the number of incidents and individuals who protested in anyway but peaceful is miniscule. That’s just a fact!
#2) What you are really saying… by not acknowledging these law abiding citizens as relative and relevant is that you look at them and their mere presence as an affront to your own comfort zone.
3) Imagine if someone had said, “If police didn’t kill unarmed innocent black boys and men, there would be no need for a sniper to kill 5 police officers? YET you are totally comfortable with speaking of the need for the truck. This is because you don’t value the lives of black people who are fighting for survival.
4) And this is the best point of all. Today in my class where I teach Critical Thinking Debate Skills, I taught my young students, (only ONE who happens to be black) the concept of sacred cows. After explaining the origins and definitions, I used examples of people worshipping their sacred cows using examples of police and BLM. Then I showed them the photos of the truck, and the frog, and read each of our written statements to the class. I didn’t make any judgements but I did ask them to make sure to let me know if I was in anyway sassy, threatening or unreasonable. I did NOT ask them to comment on anything any of you said.

As it turned out, each student found the truck photo horrifyingly hateful. They were disgusted. I never commented one way or the other. Upon reading your reasoning and responses, to a person they commented that your comments were condescending at best, racist at worst. They were surprised that I reacted with reason in stayed the course in an attempt to gain at least a small bit of consensus…something we could all agree on.

Afterwards, and after they shared their own thoughts without my comments, I told them the story of how I met Cari, how we helped raised over $100,000 for Backstoppers. I told them how we remained friends and how I supported her along with many others during her fight against cancer. Then I explained that when it comes to MOST of the white friends I met during this event and others, they were good with me as long as I was with them and supported their causes. But when it came to my life or the lives of those who look like me, they were not willing to stand with me at all. Not only that, but when I tried to have intelligent and heartfelt conversations with them, they would prove like Cari, dismissive, combative and put off. My students recognized that the cops for you guys are sacred cows. That you disdain anything that comes between your concepts of challenging your comfort level of white superiority. THESE WERE WHITE KIDS! I explained that whenever I am having racial conversations with these particular set of white friends, they never give an inch about anything. For instance, though I have protested before, I wouldn’t block a street or a highway. But I can empathize with those who would. I’m willing to concede that this may not be the best way to get a point across. But Cari nor any of you are willing to back off this image and message of a truck running over American citizens as if this were Tiananmen Square. Not even one…  ”Well Chris, I can see what you mean by the image being threatening and offensive.  NOPE… can’t give an inch. NOT ONE BIT.  So next time people say WE should come together, remember it takes two people. Its easy to see from the thread, that my friend Cari does not value my life nor is she concerned about police violence as it relates to people like me. She’s refuses to VALIDATE me or my experiences or engage in a serious discussion. My students should do better. Kill their sacred cows and argue from a position geared towards respect and solutions.

One white student in particular came to me and said, Mr. McCaleb this was really great. My parents are like those people in the post. They are really sacred towards the police. Won’t give an inch in any discussion. I used to be that way too. I’m white, middle class, private school. This issue really bothers me.  And this entire environment scares me!   But I was so afraid to talk about it. This class was a safe place to do so. I feel so much better.

For that I say, THANK YOU to you all for giving me content to teach our youth. I have hope for them. And while you may dismiss me, I am out here making a difference and changing lives for the better…for all people INCLUDING my own.

Like · Reply · Just now

 

…..AND WITH THAT SHE DELETED ME!  And she took down the post… not because she thought better of it, but because her racism was exposed and undeniable!

 

Obama vs Errbody! Part 1 “Am I Dreaming? In my Lifetime?”

Obama vs. Errbody is a series of short post summarizing my personal view of the 44th President of the United States…who happens to be Black.

Official portrait of President-elect Barack Obama on Jan. 13, 2009. (Photo by Pete Souza)

Official portrait of President-elect Barack Obama on Jan. 13, 2009.
(Photo by Pete Souza)

Mentally I comprehended the victory of Barack Hussein Obama II on November 4, 2008.  All the votes were in.  His 332 electoral votes were official.  All the networks had confirmed this victory. Social media was abuzz all over the world. As he stood in Chicago’s, Grant Park on November 4, 2008 in front of some 240,000 excited citizens, it had all the makings of a historical moment.  The Illinois senator was to be known as the first African-American president.  Still it was a surreal moment for me.  Through the election season he was drawing record crowds whenever he appeared onstage.  A multitude of people would gather as if he was a rock star of epic proportions.  Now, in spite of my disbelief, the reality was that I witnessed something that I never thought I would during my lifetime; if ever!

On January 20, 2009 President Obama was inaugurated.  This too was a monumental moment filled with hundreds of thousands of people flooding Washington D.C.  This despite the rather blustery and frigid weather.  A who’s who of performing artist, movie stars such as Spike Lee, Kerry Washington, Hill Harper and Bradley Cooper just to name a few joined a multitude of American idealist looking to witness and embrace; something they could tell their grandchildren.  It started to dawn on me just a little bit more.  A man that looks like me, is the President of the United States!  But it wasn’t 100!  I kept believing that someone would snatch the moment from me, from us.  There would be some legal technicality revealed just for this occasion.  There would be a Supreme Court decision led by Scalia and Thomas in order to thwart this moment.  Surprisingly, and at least publicly, no such diabolical plan surfaced.  But I still wasn’t 100% convinced in the reality that my country pulled this off.

A month or so later I went to the social security office.  I don’t remember what for.  Perhaps because the most significant moment for me during that visit had nothing to do with why I went there in the first place.  All I remember is that after getting my number, while waiting in a chair for my number to be called, I saw a photo on the wall.  It was the photo that changed the game for me. Where I recall seeing Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and then another Bush in my public schools, the United States Air Force, and then state and federal governments offices, including the DMV and now the social security office, was a photo of Barack Obama.  Striking a rather benign pose, in a blue suite, with the flag behind his right shoulder looking presidentially astute, was indeed… The President.  This was the moment that I was fully persuaded that the man of Kenyan descent, by way of Hawaii, Harvard, then Chicago’ a man with cocoa skin, was the President of the United States. It was legitimate. It was real.

Why I Could Never Again Be a Christian in America

First clarifying a couple things:

I dislike or hate people of Christian faith: To the contrary.  My mother is a Christian woman who’s faith shapes everything she is about.  She is a loving, wise, and generous soul.  Of the many times we talk, rarely does a conversation end without her talking to me about prayer.  She says often that, “God hears your prayers, son.”  She doesn’t say that like, ‘God hears everyone’s prayers.’ It’s one of those, ‘you have a gift and because your heart is good, God hears you,’ kinds of things.  Many of my close relatives, friends and social heroes are Christians.  Coming from a Christian background myself, there was a time when I based everything I lived on what I was taught within it.  If only I had a dollar for every time I was told I was going to be a preacher!

I am not an atheist:  I am a believer in evolution by the truest definition. There is easily accessible evidence that people and nature evolves and has been since the beginning. No way in hell do I trust that all that is glorious and magnificent in the universe is random.  It’s simply unintelligent to witness science, which is also merely discovering what is already, be fascinated by the wonders of what we could never duplicate, witness how nature and the world works together to sustain order and still somehow arrogantly believe it’s all by chance.  What I tend NOT to believe however, is that if we were to somehow be privy to the genesis of the universe, the answers would revolve around a religious mandate.  In other words, I don’t believe the Architect, if you will, would be obsessed with him/her/itself.  “Hey guys, its all about ME!  Worship ME!  Sing about ME!  Pray to ME!  Want rewards?  Come to ME!  Avoid destruction?  Come to ME!  ME ME ME!  Anytime there is an obsession with the WHO of God, there is by extension a narrow distinction which separates and isolates those who are not within that same group.  Basically it’s a group of people saying they have the market cornered on the WHO, and if you don’t accept their version of this entity, you are doomed for all eternity.

I’m courageous enough to ask critical questions and live within the journey as things unfold.  My faith tells me that anything I need to know to live my best life in this world is available to me.  This world is the only one I am present in and therefore assuredly accountable to.  

With that, there are many schematic reasons why I cannot embrace Christianity.  But I am not going to quibble with theology, dogma or doctrine.  My frustration is simply the wildly selective, inconsistent, hypocritical and vile display of all the worst in human nature that cuts against every basic principle taught by Jesus himself.  Though this is nothing new, specifically as it relates to Christian Conservatism.  I remember going to church during George W Bush’s re-election campaign.  The pastor of a local church here in St. Louis, named Raphael Green said, “I’m not going to tell you who to vote for.  But as a Christian you shouldn’t vote for anyone who is for killing babies.”   Translation – Vote for Bush.  Nothing wrong with being anti-abortion.  But being pro-life in all phases of humanity is consistent with the teachings of Christ.  It is now as it was then that Christians tend to care a helluva lot about the unborn, while caring little for the child who has ventured past the womb.  During that election cycle the church by in large took the position that the areas of abortion, gay rights and school prayer were the only issues that really mattered when choosing a given candidate.

I look at today’s embracing of Donald Trump by Christian Conservatives now as,”the more things change, the more they stay the same”.  The reality is that those Trump supporters who carry Christianity as a banner are race and religious separatists.  These are the same people who hate Barack Obama with all of their hearts.

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Let’s look at Mr. Obama (regardless of politics). Married to one woman; faithful husband and father of two daughters, has brought no scandal to the White House whatsoever during his 8 years in office.  His daughters are stellar and controversy free!   Christians should love them for modeling ‘traditional’ family, right?  No.  Their lives as a witness never stopped Evangelicals from railing against him at every turn.  Never did they stand up to birthers who questioned the president’s citizenship.  Christians refused to acknowledge the President’s own claim to the Christian faith.  According to Pew Research Center, 70% or Republicans are white evangelicals.  80% of Mormons are Republicans. According to The Hill, 43% of Republicans still believe the POTUS is a Muslim.  These evangelicals have never embraced President Obama on any subject matter.  There were even preachers who hate him so much they had the nerve to say God hates him, and even prayed for his death!  Imagine that!  I never heard the Christian Right criticize this or other ministers who used their pulpits in churches as platforms for attacking the president’s character and at times calling for his literal execution (from White or Black preachers).  Meanwhile, unemployment numbers are down to record lows.  The stock markets rose to epic levels even after the deepest recession in decades in 2008.

Now let’s look at Donald Trump.  The Donald, a serial adulterer, who publicly flaunted his new women while being married to the old ones.  He had a child with #2 while being married to #1.  He ‘joked’ that if Ivanka wasn’t his daughter, he would sex her up as well.  Not a big deal?

But let’s put Barack Obama in Trump’s shoes and then tell me if the person who takes this point of view is going to feel the same.  Trump claims to be Presbyterian, but openly admits that he has never and will never ask God for forgiveness regarding anything.  This eliminates him from the possibility of being a Christian according to Christian teaching.

“Why do I have to repent, why do I have to ask for forgiveness, if you are not making mistakes? I work hard. I’m an honourable person. I have thousands of people who work for me. I have employed tens of thousands of people over the years.” – Trump on Anderson Cooper 360 July 2015

This dude is so biblically inept that he blamed his ‘Two Corinthians” comments on the Evangelical Minister Tony Perkins who gave him his talking points for his speech at Liberty.

“Tony Perkins wrote that out for me. He actually wrote out the 2, he wrote out the number 2 Corinthians. I took exactly what Tony said, and I said, ‘Well, Tony has to know better than anybody.'”

Militarily, Trump criticized Arizona Senator John McCain for ‘getting caught’ as a POW.  Of McCain he said, “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”  He refuses to attend a debate because Megan Kelly is a moderator, saying he’s going to raise money for wounded veterans.  I wonder why?  I would think he would be more approving of veterans who didn’t get shot or wounded from IADs.  The reality is, he doesn’t want to be a part of any situation where he does not control 100% of the narrative.  All of this and yet… he is the leading GOP candidate among American Christians.

I was watching CSPAN the other morning.  The subject for the open phone section was for Conservative Christians as to whether they were voting for Trump or Ted Cruz.  Most all of them chose Trump.  The moderator asked a few of the callers if they believed Trump was a Christian.  One lady said she believes he is.  When the moderator talked about how he didn’t feel the need to ask for forgiveness, she said, “I know.  He’s still a Christian in my heart.”  WTF????   I guess its the way he mocked a mentally disabled journalist that was indicative of the character of Jesus.

When asked about Trump’s comments about having so much support that he could shoot someone and still not drop in the polls, another Christian caller laughed it off and said it was funny. When asked about Trump’s 3 wives and history of infidelity, another Christian caller said, “As long as he keeps it with women!” 

This isn’t just for white Christians either.  A plethora of Black Conservative Christians that came out the wood-work early on slobbered all over Trump for his money.  They tout his business savvy in spite of several bankruptcies.  When questioning that logic they say, “Well he just took advantage of the system the way it’s set up.”  Not quite like calling him a welfare businessman or predicting he would be a food stamp president as Newt Gingrich called President Obama.  I wonder if these people know that ultimately the tax payer picked up the tabs for these business decisions that put thousands out of work?  Now these Christians who criticized Obama for being ‘ungodly’ after almost a decade when confronted with Trump’s shenanigans, all of a sudden say they are electing a president and not a pastor.  The hypocrisy revealed by irony has been on warp speed in 2015 and the start of 2016.

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The Trump phenomenon is just an example. The rest of the Christians favor Ted Cruz.  This is a man who’s father tags along with making statements like, “What many people don’t understand, is the fact that Obamacare was actually put in place to act as a bridge for ISIS terrorists. A bridge that’s supposed to enable them to come here illegally and pose as doctors who allegedly want to help. And that’s not surprising, considering the fact that fewer and fewer doctors in our country are actually Caucasian, which is something Obama is well aware of, hence Obamacare as his weapon of choice. Do you understand what I’m saying? Our president is actually helping terrorists come to this country and not only that, he has created a permanent way for them to be able to wreak havoc all across America.”   Ahh, just let that sink in a moment!

I’ve talked to some of my black and white conservative friends about this subject.  Most of them are so blinded by their hatred of abortion, and same sex marriage, all the other scriptures regarding love, truth, justice and righteousness seem irrelevant.  For instance:

Mass Incarceration: These are the numbers for the federal prison population increase for mostly low level drug offenses:

1990 – 64,936

1995 – 100,958

2000 – 145,125

2005 – 187,394

2010 – 210,227

For states the total is well over 2 MILLION!  In most of these states prison is privatized and in addition, these institutions are guaranteed by the state to have a certain percentage of inmates. Where is the church on this?

We have a water crisis of epic proportions in Flint, Michigan.  This was caused by men who decided that poisoning an entire mostly minority and impoverished community was suitable.  Where is the outcry from the church regarding how Jesus said that how you treat the least of them is how you treat him?  I remember when Pastor Marvin Winans, in Detroit, refused to baptize a young woman’s child because the woman had the baby out of wedlock!  Won’t hear a word from him on this!  Black ministers are the worst for being fixated on material things, building mega churches and flying in private jets. If you held your breath waiting on them to speak on other issues like what Michigan’s governor did to residents in Flint, you would pass out.

I’ll tell you some of the reasons why they won’t say a word.

  1. They are bought and paid off.  These ministers make much of their money by networking with other ministers.  They don’t want to jeopardize those relationships and compromise future earnings from speaking engagements and perdiems.
  2. White Evangelicals have defined the metrics for what is moral vs what is ‘just the devil, and is therefore ignored.’  While they railed against gay rights and abortion at the turn of the century, they ignored the lies by a previous Christian president (Bush) that got us into war, murdered tens of thousands Iraqi civilians and mentally destroyed thousands and thousands of US servicemen and women. Clearly for them God only moral emphasis deals with who has sex with whom, and whether women keep the babies they are impregnated with, even if they are raped.  Many black ministers were given their biblical points of emphasis and marching orders by their white counterparts.  Since these white ministers are the majority that provide the gateways to get wealth, they close their eyes and ignore the obvious.
  3. Tribalism: Like most other religions, there is an US vs THEM state of mind.  If you’re not in the group, there is reticence to ask serious question and challenge any thought that doesn’t already support the status quo.  When 5 Americans were released from Iran recently, one of my Facebook friends only mentioned Christian pastor Saeed Abedini’s release as ‘an answered prayer.’  In other words, to hell with them other dudes.  I guess they’re just lucky or got to roll on the pastor’s coattail.

I’ve had conversations with black ministers.  There is only one that I know who agrees with me.  The others tell me that I am using my intellect too much.  When I challenge their ideas of traditional marriage with facts about the historical precedence of marriages being arranged for money, class, and inheritance, or how the god in the bible never challenged men who had multiple wives, even Solomon who had 700 of them along with 300 extra concubines, they say I am rejecting the word of God with my rebellious logic.  When I ask them which sex hermaphrodites should choose and who are they to marry, I get nothing but a dismissive smirk.  I’m sorry, but I just cannot accept this American Western civilization’s version of morality and base my life on it.  I cannot suspend serious questions just to make it into their heaven.  I cannot suspend critical thinking for the sake of the fear that I won’t have fire insurance. I cannot live in a bubble that ignores police brutality, and mass incarceration, while denying climate change.  I refuse to submit to a theology influenced and based on (that continues to be filled with) White Supremacy.

The Black church, while never perfect, used to be about something.  Going back to the 50s  and 60s, ministers like Martin King would use his influence to force those in government to hear the issues of the poor, those who were discriminated against and so forth.  In the tradition of Moses they echoed they cried, “Let my people go,”  when those at the bottom were being trampled upon. Today’s preachers just want to be in Pharaoh’s house. They want to rub shoulders with him and speak of his great virtues.  “He’s a billionaire and knows how to make money!”  They have become concerned with prestige and profits instead of being prophets.  These days far too many black churches have allowed themselves to be spiritually manipulated into fighting culture wars. I’ve had to debate black Christians who have defended Kim Davis for breaking the law of the Supreme Court.  And yet Kim Davis would never ever stand up for them if they were profiled and shot dead unjustly by police. She doesn’t desire to worship and associate with black Christians.  Think about it.  THE most segregated hours in America remain on Sundays between the hours of 10:00 am and Noon.

Martin Luther King Jr., with the Rev. Ralph Abernathy (center) and the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, defied an injunction against protesting on Good Friday in 1963. They were arrested and held in solitary confinement in the Birmingham jail where King wrote his famous "Letter From Birmingham Jail."

Martin Luther King Jr., with the Rev. Ralph Abernathy (center) and the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, defied an injunction against protesting on Good Friday in 1963. They were arrested and held in solitary confinement in the Birmingham jail where King wrote his famous “Letter From Birmingham Jail.”

Can you imagine Martin King, Fred Shuttlesworth and Ralph Abernathy caping up for Trump, Cruz, and Huckabee over same sex marriage, abortion and guns?

Encouraging enough, some of my Christian friends praise me for my stances and the challenges I bring to their thought process.  More of them pay attention to my social media posts than I ever imagined, though they rarely make it publicly known.  I appreciate that.  My goal is only to provoke thinking and searching.  If something is true, it will continue to be true after further investigation.  If it’s not, one should strive to grow beyond remaining in a comfortable lie.  It was very difficult for me to walk away from that which I knew my entire life.  But I am thankful to have the courage to ask questions and not be afraid of the journey.  The problem with religion is that it doesn’t trust people with that journey. It has to tell us what to do and how to find God it’s way.  It sets the perimeters and doesn’t allow for any personal discoveries.  It’s controlling.  I’ve always said that if technology progressed like religion, we would still be riding camels and horses.  We certainly wouldn’t have computers and smart phones.  Technology is growing by leaps and bounds simply because of a hunger and thirst to learn more and reach for the possibilities.  And yet everything we are supposed to know about The Divine and our own lives has been completed hundreds of years ago?  I appreciate the United Church of Christ for their slogan, “God is still speaking.”  It gives us hope.  **Shout out to Rev. Tracie deVon Blackmon, a real 21st Century warrior and an excellent example of the teachings of Christ!

I am for a faith that is concerned with promoting all that is good, that speaks out against all wrongs without any sacred cows.  A faith that isn’t too afraid to think, question, challenge and grow from it’s evolution.  A faith that loves justice, grace and kindness.  If all this Evangelical Jesus cares about are the things they emphasize, as Curtis Mayfield once said, “If there’s hell below, we’re all gonna go!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Hell With Politics, This is WAR!

Several months ago I thought to myself, “You know, I hope President Obama wins a second term and I believe if he does he can get more things done than even his first.  But if Mitt Romney becomes president, it won’t be the worst thing that could have happened.”

Sure he’s pretty slick, but he certainly didn’t appear to be an off the chain loony like some of the previous candidates, i.e. Rick ‘Niggerrock’ Perry, Rick ‘No Birth Control’ Santorum, Michelle “Blame Obama for Everything” Bachmann and Herman “999 White Honeys I Screwed” Cain.  Romney seemed like the reasonable choice among republicans.  Much of his policies and politics in Massachusetts were fairly moderate for a Republican.

Since becoming the Republican nominee, I’ve done 180 on Mitt.  I’ve always said I don’t mind having a president whose policies I may differ with as long as I believe he/she truly cares about the nation and wants to serve it’s citizens.  Yes, one has to be ambitious to want to be the president, but ambition as the sole motivation presents a clear and present danger to the citizens of whom this person seeks to govern.

Mitt Romney is very rich. I’m perfectly fine with that.  However, when one has such a monetarily prosperous upbringing, it can be difficult to be in touch with or understand the plight of those who aren’t so prosperous.  Even that in itself shouldn’t be punished.  What is problematic instead, is when that same person has no interest in being made aware this plight.  What is downright unacceptable and morally reprehensible is when this same person goes out of his way to judge, demean and attack said people.  This is what we have in Mitt Romney.

Every time Romney opens his mouth regarding the majority of Americans he says something that either shows his willful ignorance or complete disdain for those who are not like him.

To college students at Otterbein University in Ohio he told them that if they don’t have the money to start a business to, “borrow money from your parents.”

****Keep in mind that the median family income for the 89 counties in Ohio is less than $60,000 per year. 

When he showed up in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac, (I have no idea why because he couldn’t do anything about it) he consoled Jodie Chiarello, 42, who lost her home in Isaac’s flooding by telling her, “There’s assistance out there,” go home and call 211.”

**Well, he must meant her SECOND or third home.  Well as it turns out she doesn’t have one of those.

Now in speaking at a private fundraiser he really let his true feelings known.

Exhibit A: On the disadvantages of being a rich White male in America:

“My dad, as you probably know, was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company. But he was born in Mexico. And had he been born of Mexican parents, I’d have a better shot of winning this… But he was unfortunately born to Americans living in Mexico. He lived there a number of years, and I mean I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be Latino.”

**Apparently he believes this so much he painted his face in such a dark brown so that he can look the part!.  It’s hard to imagine this rich white man actually wants us to believe that he think he would be better off if he were Latino.  How amazing is that?

Exhibit B: On people who are not the wealthiest and richest in America:

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what.”

…”So my job is not to worry about those people, I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the 5 to 10 percent in the center that are independents that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending upon in some cases emotion, whether they like the guy or not, what he looks like.”

Juxtapose that to what President Obama said about those not voting for him in 2008, “What I said on election night was, even though you didn’t vote for me, I hear your voices, and I’m going to work as hard as I can to be your president.”

Look, this guy doesn’t want to show us his own personal tax returns over the last decade because he’s afraid of what they will reveal.  He has a shitload of off shore accounts to hide his personal fortune, and not only criticizes 47% of Americans who cannot afford to hide what little money they have in Switzerland or the Cayman Islands, but admitted that he doesn’t cares about them anyway!

As far as I’m concerned, the dye has been cast!  This is a guy who after passing universal healthcare in the state he governed, that the emergency room is an acceptable plan for folk who don’t have insurance now.  This is clearly THE most expensive way to handle ‘healthcare’.  Not only that, this defeats the purpose of the emergency room…which is to treat emergencies!  It’s not healthcare!

So memo for a few groups out there.

Racist White Conservatives: You can continue to believe the hype and buy into this racial crap if you want to.  But if you aren’t making serious bank Mitt’s policies are not going to pay dividends for your family!  Would you rather have a money in your pocket with a black man as president, or be broke as a joke with a white one?  I know many of you would take the former, but I’m appealing to some of you who have better sense and will think about your finances and get over losing the Civil War!

Black Conservative Christians: I’ve already talked to you before.  The bible says to get wisdom, and with that get understanding.  Mitt isn’t going to overturn abortion. And he can’t outlaw homosexuality.  That horse it out of the barn!  You’re going to have to deal with gays and lesbians for the duration.  Regardless of what you believe personally or scripturally, you still have a responsibility to vote on more than social issues.  We are already making less than white folks as it is for the same jobs. Unemployment and incarceration hurt us more than anybody else.  Don’t be fools and end up more jobless and broker than ever, only to end up praying in church to God about delivering you from financial ruin!  So many of the challenges we face are not the devil, it’s you and us making decisions totally opposite of what is in our own best interest.

Pastors, if your congregation ain’t working, ain’t no tithes and offerings coming through the door!  Smarten up and lead the people with a purpose beyond what mainstream White Christians and White Christian radio is telling you!

To the rest of us, I say make sure you get out there and vote for Barack Obama.  Make sure your friends and family members are registered to vote and do the same!  Don’t take anything for granted.  Mitt, the hard right Republicans and The Tea Party are not playing with you.  You better take this seriously and understand the ramifications of the times we are living in.  This is indeed war on American and American families!  You best to soldier up unless you want to get run over!

Think about yourself and your families! Participate in the destinies of our lives so that we can have the best possible chances at thriving in our America too!

The Politics of Race, Religion, and the Person of Jesus

This is a serious question for my Evangelical Christian friends who are hoping that Mitt Romney is the next president of the United States. I am not being flippant at all but wanting to understand a question central to your faith in Jesus and the way you generally express that faith as it relates to local and national politics.

My question is how do you justify supporting Mitt Romney for president when he is a Mormon?

My personal experience in church, evangelical churches in particular focuses on the central personhood/divinity of Jesus Christ as not only the Son of God but being God Himself.

Matthew 16:13-18

13When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

14And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

15He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

16And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

17And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

18And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

This has been the litmus test for a ‘legitimate Christian’. And truth be told regardless of the denomination, this central core of the identity of Jesus at the very least united the fold.

Romney_2012_04285Mitt Romney

This is slightly different than Catholics.  Even the hard right ones tend to vote for the political persuasion of candidates rather than looking for them to specifically be Catholics.  JFK is the one Catholic president we’ve had.  Therefore, being Catholic is not a deal breaker when voting for president.

Evangelicals don’t share that same standard.  For instance, George W Bush’s conversion to Christianity after alcoholism was a really big deal to White and Black Conservative Christians.  In addition to his alignment with the pro-life, anti-gay, anti-stem cell stances, he was an easy choice religiously; so much so that the rest of his politics were automatically supported.

The subject of Mormonism had come up earlier in the primaries.  Initially the Evangelical community were tremendously reticent on supporting Romney for this reason.  It was only after the likes of Perry and Santorum were dismissed that the litmus test was rescinded.  

In the Christianpost.com, a potential conflict played out between the views of mega preacher Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church in Houston and Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church of Dallas differed.  Osteen who many would consider a less controversial and less confrontational preacher said he accepted Romney as a ‘believer’ in Christ.

Said Osteen, “What I see about Gov. Romney is that he says ‘I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He’s raised from the dead and he’s my savior.’ I see him as being a believer in Christ like me.”

Contrast this with Robert Jeffress, who said, “Rick Perry’s a Christian. (Former presidential candidate) He’s an evangelical Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ. Mitt Romney’s a good moral person, but he’s not a Christian. Mormonism is not Christianity, it has always been considered a cult by the mainstream of Christianity.”

Jeffress-copy-264x200Robert Jeffress

This certainly fits with what I understood Christians to believe for many years now.  I was taught this about Mormons in my own church experience.  More specifically, the differences centered on several scriptural beliefs that including the one aforementioned regarding the person of Christ.  Here are more from an article also posted in Christianpost.com.

Other differences that Mormons don’t believe that are key to Christian doctrine are items such as the Trinity.  Mormons don’t believe in it. Nor do they believe in original sin of Adam, salvation through grace and faith in Jesus Christ, and among other things that the Book of Mormon is equal to the bible.  Further study of Mormonism would reveal a lot more than that Christians would find strange and rather off beat in comparison to their own beliefs.  I won’t get into those specifics here but I wanted to focus on core doctrinal differences in posing my original curiosity.

Ironically enough, since Romney became the Republican nominee Jeffress has now changed his tune saying that he endorsed Romney all along.  He goes on further to say that President Obama ‘opposes biblical principals.’

Lets just see now… Barack Obama, Christian man who has been married to one woman, father of two, the quintessential family guy, claims Jesus Christ as his savior,  church going and former community organizer opposes biblical principals.  This president even targets his policies and campaign partially on issues that Jesus Himself found important according to scripture, i.e. the poor, the downtrodden, the sick and so forth.  But the Mormon whose religion Christians have been calling a ‘cult’ for decades, who has not done anything to show forth the works and concerns of Jesus in the marketplace should now get the vote over Obama?  It doesn’t add up!

First Family 2President Obama & Family

Strangely enough, Jeffress believes Romney and other Mormons are going to hell.  He also says that he believes that President Obama is a Christian.  But yet he will vote for the man he believes is going to hell not the one he believes serves the same lord and savior he claims to serve himself.

Now in hoping that my friends on the right are willing to give me honest and sincere answers, let me first offer two answers that won’t cut it.

A) Obama is not pro-life.

I have yet to meet anyone who is pro-abortion.  The ability for a woman to choose whether to carry pregnancy to term has several complicated factors within it.  They range from poverty, rape, incest, life of the mother and so forth.  Church denominations have always differed in the level of importance they’ve held to this topic.  Most do not see this as a central theme of faith but a personal choice whose merits will ultimately be decided by God’s providence.  Even former Vice President Dan Quayle said that if his wife were raped and became pregnant she would have a DNC.  This is clearly a distinction without a difference.  The truth is that rich women have and always will be able to obtain the safest care in terminating a pregnancy regardless of the laws or what they claim to believe in public.  With all of these factors, surely one cannot with a straight face make a presidential choice based on an opinion that he has that is already the law of the land anyway.

B) Obama’s faith is not ‘like ours.’  Look at his former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright

Christians cannot legitimately rail on Wright as an excuse to say bad things about Obama’s faith.  Not when they have their own pool of radical preachers who’ve said controversial things like Pat Robertson, who said of the US State Department in Washington DC, "Maybe we need a very small nuke thrown off on Foggy Bottom to shake things up."  Then there’s Jerry Falwell who said, "AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals. To oppose it would be like an Israelite jumping in the Red Sea to save one of Pharaoh’s charioteers … AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals; it is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals."  I can only imagine what would happen if Wright had said something encouraging terrorism and violence against American citizens.

Obama  has had one wife and two children.  He’s never had any family scandal, and his wife and kids are a reflection of the American dream.  They show what one can do when starting with little and making the very best of what they have.  They were not born into wealth.  They are both highly accomplished people in large part because they worked their asses off and on top of that, they used those talents to help others not just themselves.  Till this day.  President Obama’s biggest income generators has been the books he’s written.  This is more of an example of Jesus than any other candidate that has run for president in several decades in the least.

So I am asking for real answers.  It seems to me even when it comes to Christianity, many Christians are willing to compromise when it comes to the politics of race.  I can only imagine if President Obama were claiming some other religion where there was a history of polygamy, an unwillingness to ordain white men in ministry as recently as less than 40 years ago, there is no doubt to me that this religious thing would be a much bigger issue than it is now among White and Black evangelical Christians.  He would be perceived as having an un-American womanizing anti-Christ belief system. Right leaning Christians would easily be comfortable rallying against him all the way through November on faith principals alone.  Instead, right wing Christians have totally given Mormonism a free pass, while turning their backs on the Christian already in the White House.  I’m merely curious as to how it is justified.

Shhhh, Where are the Right Wing Tyrants?

Ed Rollins says President Obama was right to authorize the rescue attempt for a freighter captain held by pirates.

I like Ed Rollins because he always keeps it real regardless of political affiliations.  Which is why I have to give it to him for his praise of President Obama in handling the Somali pirate crisis and saving the life of a ship’s captain. 

Where the hell are Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and the likes on this matter?  I can’t hear them at all.  I’m certain they would rather things gone awry regardless of the captain’s ultimate fate since it would give them fodder to spill their hate filled rage against the man. 

Instead of the praise they should offer as Americans… all we have is silence!