Monday, March 30, 2015

Something to Talk About

So, the CEO of Starbucks wants his charges to begin conversations about race relations. How quaint, yuppies sipping their $7.50 frosted lattes conversing about race with minimum wage earners. That will certainly be a great start in saving the world. Then we have ELCA presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton using her bully pulpit to put in her two cents worth by addressing racial equity, or what the ELCA so often describes as, “white privilege”. From Eaton’s letter to members of the ELCA, “Overt forms of racism are no longer legally sanctioned, but the legacy of racism, sadly, endures. Institutional policies and practices still privilege some while limiting access and opportunities to others. Today, the Voting Rights Act has been weakened by the removal of federal oversight of local voting laws and millions of poor and people of color fill the cells of our criminal justice system.” The emphasis upon promoting racial justice reminds one of former presiding Bishop Mark Hanson’s little two step dance of placing his “so-called” gospel of radical inclusiveness on equal terms with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Let’s address Eaton’s contentions point by point;

The legacy of racism, sadly, endures. Apparently, forgiveness is not considered by the misguided leader of the ELCA. Eaton and her predecessors side with the progressive left and call out any and all perceived slights to anyone of color. When a black man dies at the hands of the police, none of our progressive brothers and sisters notice that criminal behavior initiated the police action. When a black man commits a crime against a white person, even when witnesses report the perpetrator using racial epithets, our justice system determines that it is not a hate crime. When a police officer is targeted, they deserved it. Seems that racism is a one way street in this country. “Hands up, don’t shoot!’ is the rallying cry by the progressive left, even when this is discredited as a false narrative. The legacy of racism endures with the race baiters like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and the progressive left.

Institutional policies and practices still privilege some while limiting access and opportunities to others. The institutional policies that tend to limit access and opportunities are the same entitlement programs that shackle those in poverty, giving them just enough to survive, but not enough to escape poverty. And these benefits enable the poor to afford a few creature comforts. Yet they remain loyal to the party that panders to them, offering entitlements for votes while they demonize those who succeed as “privileged”.

Today, the Voting Rights Act has been weakened by the removal of federal oversight of local voting laws. Here Eaton evidences her lack of understanding of the law by parroting progressive talking points. The voting rights act was amended due to the fact that the states continue to provide equal access to all to vote. The voting rights act was implemented to stop states that put up barricades to persons of color in an attempt to deter them from voting. Most of those states that regularly violated the rights of persons of color to vote were southern states run by democrats. Funny how history has a way of being remembered the way a person wants to remember it. Voter ID is also decried as a way of subverting the vote and discouraging persons of color from voting. It does nothing of the sort. In Milwaukee County Wisconsin, the 2008 presidential election had more that 5500 more votes tallied than persons that had cast votes. The only thing voter ID will do is make it more difficult for persons to vote illegally.

Millions of poor and people of color fill the cells of our criminal justice system. The question should be, “Why do persons of color commit so many crimes?” We need to diagnose and treat the disease, not simply treat the symptoms. The lack of a father in many poor families, particularly the African American community is the disease. There is a reason that God created them male and female. Jesus said in Mark 10:6-9, “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” A mother and father is how God intended to be a family, and together they would raise their children. Each has a defined role. Eliminate the father and a void exists, often to be filled by joining a gang and/or engaging in criminal behavior. The progressive left wants the government to replace both the father and God in the family. Eliminate the father and God, and everyone looks to the government and is beholding to it. Shame on you Bishop Eaton, you side with those that wish to make you and your God irrelevant.

Perhaps if the leaders of the ELCA would concentrate on bringing the lost to Christ, many of the ills of society would begin to heal themselves. Perhaps if less emphasis was given to social justice, more effort could be spent on preaching the Gospel to the world. Perhaps if forgiveness was not a word that is apparently foreign to the progressive left, we could truly begin to love one another. Jesus said in Matthew 6:14-15, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Let us begin with forgiving others as He has forgiven us. Pray that the Spirit will fill more and more hearts with the love of Christ. This is how we will overcome our many differences.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Matter of Respect

Disrespect; noun, meaning a lack of respect or courtesy. "There is a growing disrespect for the rule of law". It is interesting, with the current demonstrations against law enforcement, that the Google dictionary chose that particular phrase to illustrate the word disrespect. In urban culture “disrespecting” another can cause much angst, often subjecting a person who committed a “perceived” disrespectful act to suffer retribution that often includes violence. And a perceived act of disrespect can be as simple as gazing upon someone who is simply looking for an excuse to act out in violence. Unfortunately, most of those who seem to be the most offended are those who have done nothing to merit respect. Those young men who father numerous children, yet take no part in their children’s lives are not due respect until they decide to accept their parental responsibility. Those young men, who place little value in women other than to be their bitches or hoes, deserve even less respect than they show to those women. Those young men who are able bodied, yet choose to be a drain on society by engaging in crime and violence have earned the frustration of society and are due no respect at all.

In our society there are those who do not need to earn the respect of the citizenry. Parents, teachers, clergy, your boss and yes, the police officers that are charged with maintaining the peace and protecting you are due the respect of society simply because of the positions that they have earned. Yes, earned. Hatred towards those that place their lives at risk on a daily basis is escalating at an alarming pace. Systemic racism is cited as permeating our law enforcement community. Black lives matter, is the rallying cry on all the banners that are all conveniently professionally printed. Ever wonder who pays for all those signs? Here’s some statistics for you to consider. From 1999-2011 police officers shot and killed 2151 persons described by race as white, 1130 persons described by race as black, and 2133 police officers were killed in the line of duty. In 2012, 49 police officers were shot and killed by assailants. In 2012, 123 black Americans were shot and killed by police. In 2012, 326 white Americans were shot and killed by police. Granted whites make up a majority of the population, but the results are not as skewed as the liberal media would have you believe. Roughly 62% of the US population is categorized as non-Hispanic white, 22% black and mixed race according to the 2010 US census bureau. In 2013, 59% of police shooting deaths were white, 41% black. This refutes those liberal estimates that state that blacks are as much as 30 times more likely to die at the hands of the police than whites. The numbers are still troubling, but are definitely not as disparate as some would like you to believe.

Most troubling, is the lack of any honest discussion about the underlying issues that cause more blacks to die at the hands of police, a ratio that greatly exceeds their percentage of the US population. Why are black men or anyone, regardless of race, placing themselves in the position to confront law enforcement authority? And let’s be honest about this. After almost thirty years in law enforcement, I dealt on daily basis with “No people” of all colors. Those were the persons, who violated a law, sometimes simply traffic violations, yet had the temerity to challenge authority, when they understood that their behavior was clearly unlawful. As the myth of “driving while black” is shouted from the rooftops by the liberal media, more and more black men are choosing to become “No people”, choosing to challenge and confront, rather than cooperate with police. This places more people at risk of escalating what may be no more than a simple traffic stop, into an arrest or worse.

Needless to say, personally I was more inclined to simply ignore simple traffic violations by persons of color, rather than run the risk of an incident that could spiral out of control. My tactic to avoid conflict was not an isolated occurrence in the law enforcement community. Sometimes it is just not worth it to get involved in the low priority incidents that, based upon the color of a person’s skin alone, would have a greater probability to spiral out of control and lead to any number of negative outcomes, both for the offender and the officer. Does having law enforcement turn a blind eye to the little things benefit the greater community? No consequences for those involved in minor offenses more often lead to greater offenses committed later, so I was indeed, doing my community a disservice. When the first black president, Barack Obama (although the US census would consider Obama mixed race, which would put him into the white American classification) was elected in 2008, it was to be the beginning of the end to racism. Not so much, as racial animosity is reaching a fever pitch.

In God’s eyes, there is but one race, the human race and all human beings are His children. All of God’s children are either my brothers and sisters in Christ or those brothers and sisters only waiting to hear the word and believe. 1 John 3:1, 16-18, ”See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” The color of our skin does nothing to differentiate us from each other. We are all the same in our Father’s eyes.

Progressives conspire to foment distrust among God’s children. Many of His churches stand with the progressive left and denounce those charged to protect and serve. ELCA leaders demonstrate to bring attention to homicides "committed" by police, inferring that crimes were committed by police. Are the ELCA, UCC and Episcopal churches upholding God’s will by promoting that His children love one another or are they blindly performing the evil one’s work by circumventing God’s commands with words that divide rather than unite? 1 John 4:9-12, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” No one’s life matters more than any other and proclaiming otherwise diminishes God’s kingdom.

As this post is being written, news of two New York police officers ambushed, shot and killed in their squad car is announced as breaking news. The evil one wins this battle, but we know who wins the war. It is time that we open our eyes and recognize that our relationship with Christ brings us all together. Our worldly desires and goals are what push us apart. When we focus upon that life giving cross, every other thing is simply a distraction meant to divert us from building His kingdom. We ought to learn to love one another if we want to properly love and respect our Lord and Savior. If we first live for Christ, we can then live together in love.