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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Zero Tolerance for Racism of any kind...

It is hard sometimes to have empathy for someone when they are going through things you have not experienced. For instance, my poor wife is now dealing with “hot flashes”, a strange affliction where her own body suddenly acts as a furnace and she may well begin to perspire almost instantly. I can understand what is happening to her but of course I haven’t felt it…nor have I experienced the emotional and physical ups and downs associated with the menstrual cycle. I’m a guy so I never will really feel the things she feels. On the other hand, she can’t know what it feels like to be kicked in the “family jewels’, either, lucky for her.

I understand therefore that I have some difficulties really knowing what it would be like to be a black or African-American person in the USA. I have talked with black friends and acquaintances to try to grasp the situation and, frankly, if I was a person of color there would be times I would be angry and plenty of times I would be saddened by the idiocy and evil of racial prejudice. Most especially, it would hurt my feelings and make it hard for me to feel comfortable with white people until I had been around them for awhile, wondering if they secretly harbored prejudices and would later talk about me behind my back.

I can tell you, it makes me want to apologize to all people of color on behalf of the white race. I think racial prejudices are sickening and stupid and often cowardly. My experience is that prejudice is often rooted in fear of anything or anyone different. That, my friends, is cowardice. It is also hatred. It is also not limited to one race or even simply to race. “No Blacks, Jews or Irish” was a sign commonplace in New York City in the days shortly after the great Potato Famine immigration. Prejudice against Jews has been experienced by them around the world throughout the centuries. The history of India is one of prejudice as expressed through the caste system. A woman might suggest that prejudice against women is a problem still experienced here in the states and is actually part of Sharia law in Islamic nations. Catholics were once treated as second-class citizens in parts of the United States and, before his election, the fact that John F Kennedy was Catholic was considered to be a huge hurdle to a successful campaign. It is also true that there are many blacks that are prejudiced against whites. I have experienced this firsthand. It didn’t make me hate black people, but it was disturbing to be hated and mistreated because of the color of my skin.

But it is no excuse to hate back! I would be wrong to hate black people because numbers of them hate me. It doesn’t help end prejudice when more prejudice results. No black person in justified in hating whites for the color of their skin. Two wrongs will never make a right!

This brings me back to the matter of Barack Obama and the Trinity United Church of Christ. After discovering that both former pastor Jeremiah Wright and current pastor Otis Moss are followers of Black Liberation Theology, it was no surprise to me that video clips of Wright and Moss and guest speaker Father Pfleger would emerge showing them spewing anti-American and prejudicial hateful garbage.


I have blogged previously about how Black Liberation Theology is not Christianity. I have stated that it is not possible to truly believe in the precepts of both, for they are at odds with each other. This is BLT:

"Black theology cannot accept a view of God which does not represent God as being for oppressed blacks and thus against white oppressors. Living in a world of white oppressors, blacks have no time for a neutral God. The brutalities are too great and the pain too severe, and this means we must know where God is and what God is doing in the revolution. There is no use for a God who loves white oppressors the same as oppressed blacks. We have had too much of white love, the love that tells blacks to turn the other cheek and go the second mile. What we need is the divine love as expressed in black power, which is the power of blacks to destroy their oppressors, here and now, by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject God's love." [A Black Theology of Liberation, p. 70] - James Cone

And this, from the same source:

"For the gospel proclaims that God is with us now, actively fighting the forces which would make man captive. And it is the task of theology and the Church to know where God is at work so that we can join him in this fight against evil. In America we know where the evil is. We know that men are shot and lynched. We know that men are crammed into ghettos...There is a constant battle between Christ and Satan, and it is going on now. If we make this message contemporaneous with our own life situation, what does Christ's defeat of Satan mean for us?...The demonic forces of racism are real for the black man. Theologically, Malcolm X was not far wrong when he called the white man "the devil." The white structure of this American society, personified in every racist, must be at least part of what the New Testament meant by the demonic forces." [Black Theology and Black Power, pp. 39-41] - James Cone

See - Cone, Wright, Trinity UCC and black liberation theology

Let me go on. Barack has left the church, as of Saturday. However, he stated that he would not denounce the church because it is not “worthy of denouncing.” So now I will share a personal story, for, you see, I have been there and done that. I understand where Barack is and has been and I think I can speak to the situation.

When Radar met the racial boogeyman!

Like Barack Obama says about himself, I was led to Christ by a pastor who immediately became my spiritual mentor. I joined that pastor’s church and began reading the Bible and attending church regularly. I named my firstborn son after this pastor and my father-in-law. He was a big influence on me. I will call him Pastor W. Within a few weeks I began going on visitations with the Associate Pastor, who I will call Pastor Moose (a nickname). I learned to speak to people on matters of faith and how to study the Bible from these two men.

After a few months, I was considered capable of more ministry responsibilities and became a Bus Captain. I would go out to my assigned territory, which was half of the town of Niles, Michigan, and seek to bring children, teenagers and adults to church via a church bus. I had a 66 passenger bus, a driver and two and sometimes three teenaged helpers, plus my wife, to help me. Now, this bus usually had brought 10 to 15 people to church each week and had never had more than 21 people ride it to church before. But I was enthusiastic and worked hard to bring in new people. Within a few weeks I was bringing 30, 40, even 50 people to church and my little ministry was very much alive. We sang songs, we presented puppet shows and I would teach from the Bible as we drove to church. Then on the way home we would spend time talking to people as we dropped them back off after church.

I got to have personal relationships with many of the kids who came with us. We had a few sleepovers and parties at my house. We spoke to their parents. It was considered a great feat if we could get the parents to come to church, and “graduation day” would happen when a family would begin to go to church as a family. It would always mean that parents would come by car because the bus was very kid-oriented, so that meant I would lose some riders when the kids would go with the parents. But those rare graduation days were great victories as well and made all of us on the bus very happy.

I was a bus pastor for over two years. On one special day my bus set the attendance record for a one-bus route of 72 people (more than, legally, that bus should have held) not counting the driver and workers. My last year we averaged over 45 riders per Sunday. We saw all sorts of people accept Christ and many of them became baptized and members of our church. But then came the boogeyman.

Pastor Moose asked to have a private meeting with me. I had no idea why, but I was very involved in church. I sang solos and sang in the choir. I was in charge of child evangelism after Sunday School every other Sunday. I was a Bus Captain. I suspected he wanted me to take on another duty and found myself wondering if I could handle anymore responsibilities added to what I was doing on top of being a husband and father and working man.

Like any such meeting, he praised my work in the Bus Ministry and my overall efforts for the cause of Christ. He then got to his point. I was to quit doing part of what I was doing. Most particularly, I was to quit bringing black people to church! He pointed out that my bus was one of only two which was bringing black folks to church and that the other bus had a group of about 10 blacks who had been coming regularly for months, even years. But my bus had no black riders at all when I took over the ministry and now almost half of my riders were black! One of my bus workers was black. He said that people were complaining and they were afraid that I was trying to turn the church into a black church!!!

I was beyond shocked. I never gave any thought to how many of my kids and teens were black. I knew most of them came from poor homes and many of them came out of the door dirty and wearing shoddy clothing. I gave them food and often got their hands and faces washed and me and my bus workers loved them as best we could. I think I was the best male role model some of those kids got. They weren’t numbers or colors or social classes to me, they were PEOPLE. I couldn’t believe he was asking me to do this. Naturally, I flat refused and told him that I was going to take this right to Pastor W. He then told me that Pastor W agreed with him. I didn’t believe it.

So of course I called Pastor W and told him I had to meet him right away. I had often gone to his office to discuss issues regarding Bible passages or tricky moral dilemmas that had come up in the light of Biblical teachings but never anything like this. I told him what Pastor Moose had told me and how wrong it was to even suggest that I change things. Pastor W asked me if I would compromise. Would I promise to quit finding new black riders and just keep the old ones? No, I said, because my black kids, just like my white kids, were encouraged to ask their friends to come to church with them and that was one way I had built up the route and brought more people to church and to Christ. Well, in that case I could either agree to not adding any more stops in the black neighborhoods than I already had so he could assure the membership that I wasn’t going to convert the church into a black church or he was going to take the route away from me. Stunned and confused, I agreed.

Can you imagine how I felt at that moment? There were so many kids and teens that depended on me, I didn’t see how I could abandon them. The church I loved, where my friends were, had exposed a dark underside to me. I didn’t see how I could go on there. I decided to soldier on while I thought my way through.

Let me tell you what I did…I convinced kids to just get their friends to meet them at their houses before the bus came, so I could still bring in even more black kids to church. That way I could be obedient to the Pastor’s demand and yet obey the greater command of Jesus to go out and preach the Gospel to the world and bring them in. So I kept on bringing people to church, but the whole thing stuck in my craw.

I thought on these things. I realized that the bus routes of the church went north and east and west, but avoided the far west and the south where the major black population of the area lived. I realized that Niles didn’t have a huge black population, but my route had found it. I knew that racial prejudice was never taught at my church but that there were almost no black members other than those who came on the buses or had been originally brought in on the buses. I realized that racial prejudice was an unspoken reality at my church. Maybe my generation was not part of the problem, but the older members had been the ones complaining and that sad-but-truth also meant that the leadership was going to kowtow to them. I realized that I would have to leave the church. Within three months I had given up my bus route and left that church. I was able to find someone to take the route so that it wouldn’t be eliminated. It was all I could do. My heart had been broken at the thought that my spiritual mentors would agree with and even share prejudicial views. I knew that my God was on my side. I knew I had no other choice.

Keep in mind that racial prejudice was never preached at my church, ever! Keep in mind that sermons that focused on hate never happened. Yet it only took me three months to shake the dust off of my feet and leave the church after the attempt was made to slow down or stop the growth of the black side of the congregation, specifically on my bus route. Three months. Because I saw that something was very wrong and it was wrong at the very top.

Barack Obama attended that church for 20 years. 20 years of listening to racial rhetoric and the socialist Black Liberation Theological rants of Jeremiah Wright. 20 years of being part of a congregation that would get up and laugh and shout and dance as white folks were demonized and parodied and the United States of America disrespected. Now he says he is leaving but that the Trinity UCC is “not worthy of denouncing.”

Racial hatred is not worthy of denouncing? A church that preaches BLT instead of Christ is not worthy of denouncing? What Trinity UCC preaches from the pulpit every week (or at least most weeks, judging from all the video clips and audio clips out there) is ten times worse, one hundred times worse than the hidden prejudices at my old church and he doesn’t care to denounce it? To me, a man who has been there and done that, he is therefore condoning everything they say and do. He agrees with the hatred and evil of the rhetoric. He agrees with the ungodly BLT teaching that turns God into a social worker with a communist party membership card in His back pocket and a hatred for the white race.

Why doesn’t the news media make a big deal over things said at Hilary’s church? Probably because they teach normal Christian doctrine, which reporters would find boring. I suspect the same is true of McCain’s church. Barack Obama belonged to the black equivalent of the KKK for 20 years and it calls into question not just his judgment, but most of all it calls into question what kind of person he is and what he really believes. It would seem that Barack was comfortable at Trinity UCC for 20 years because he didn’t hear anything that worried him. That, my friends, is what worries me about Barack Obama.

Related links:

What is Liberation Theology?

"It is the same Marxist, revolutionary, humanistic philosophy found in South American Liberation Theology and has no more claim for a scriptural basis than the South American model has. False doctrine is still false, no matter how it is dressed up or what fancy name is attached to it."

The Real Agenda of Black Liberation Theology

"Keeping blacks who fall into the orbit of a Reverend Wright at a near-boil is a card used by leftist agitators to serve their ends: they want bigger and more pervasive government -- and they want badly to run it. "

The Marxist Roots of Black Liberation Theology

"Black Liberation Theology, originally intended to help the black community, may have actually hurt many blacks by promoting racial tension, victimology, and Marxism which ultimately leads to more oppression. As the failed "War on Poverty" has exposed, the best way to keep the blacks perpetually enslaved to government as "daddy" is to preach victimology, Marxism, and to seduce blacks into thinking that upward mobility is someone else's responsibility in a free society."

"Black Theology, Black Power,and the Black Experience"

" Salvation for Cone primarily has to do with earthly reality, not heavenly hopes. "To see the salvation of God is to see this people [i.e., the blacks] rise up against their oppressors, demanding that justice become a reality now and not tomorrow."...Hence, though Cone often speaks of Jesus as the Liberator, in practical terms he emphasizes the human work of self-liberation among blacks and downplays divine help."

33 comments:

cranky old fart said...

To paraphrase Ben Slime in his one and only honorable screen appearance:

Hartnett? Hartnett?

cranky old fart said...

And as for all this Obama leaving his church blather, please keep in mind that the only reason most of these politicians pretend to be buddies with Jesus is because they have to.

No man with the intelligence of Obama, Hillary, McCain, Romney, etc. (and no, that doesn't include Bush) believes in fundie babble. Unfortunately, prejudice against atheists is still more ingrained in this country that race prejudice.

radar said...

I have a math brain who agreed to go over the math for me...He is, among other things, an officer in the Army Reserves who has been posted overseas previously but is stateside now and I think had weekend duty, so he is probably not going to respond before Monday.

radar said...

"No man with the intelligence of Obama, Hillary, McCain, Romney, etc. (and no, that doesn't include Bush) believes in fundie babble. Unfortunately, prejudice against atheists is still more ingrained in this country that race prejudice."

You gotta be kidding! I know Christians who are actual geniuses...and what prejudice against atheists? No one asks you if you are an atheist before they seat you for dinner or takes your application to buy a house.

cranky old fart said...

"what prejudice against atheists?"

You're joking, right?

Check out this exchange from August 1987, shortly after Bush 41 announced his run for President:

Reporter: "Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are atheists?"

George H.W. Bush: "No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."

What other group would a Presidential candidate feel free to insult with such bigoted remarks, knowing there would be no consequence?

scohen said...

I love how blogger still doesn't print the date of comments, but it's now Wednesday and still no response from your math guy.

Surely there's someone within a short drive that knows how to do integrals? A math teacher at the local high school perhaps?

Radar, did Hartnett ever publish a technical paper on the time dilation issue? I'd love to see if I could get through it, as astrophysics is a hobby of mine. Not that I'm under the delusion that he'll ever give an actual cause for the dilation other than god did it. A black hole or other large body with enough gravity to dilate time would pretty much rip the earth and the rest of the solar system to shreds (unless, of course god prevents it). There is math that shows how gravity dilates time, and it should be fairly easy to calculate both the size and/or distance of the object. I wonder if Hartnett bothered.

cranky old fart said...

No prejudice?

cranky old fart said...

Radar,

Does your inability to find someone who understands calculus speak more to the general math illiteracy of the country, or just those in your neck of the woods?

Where do you live anyway?

scohen said...

Cranky,
Don't be mean. Radar can easily find someone who understands calculus, it's just not that important to him to do so. A short drive to the local high school is all that stands between him and the realization that he's being duped, but there's power in not taking that drive.

Radar lives somewhere in Indiana, deep in the heart of math country.

cranky old fart said...

Radar's willful ignorance is to be expected.

All one really needs is to have faith in Hartnett's math. Facts will only confuse the issue.

Faith is what's important here.

scohen said...

Radar,
I don't want to believe you haven't bothered to go to your local high school yet, what's the deal?

Do I need to post a tutorial on integrals?

Your friend,
Scohen

cranky old fart said...

Scohen,

Back off. Dude is clearly having a crisis of faith. He may have to give up believing in Australians.

It hurts man. It hurts.

Jordan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PoLiTiCaL AnImAl said...

I can assure all of you that Radar is currently having the calculus problem worked on!

PoLiTiCaL AnImAl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
scohen said...

Any particular reason it's taking longer than five seconds?

It's not like the thing makes sense.

cranky old fart said...

"having it worked on"?????

This isn't something that requires a team of MIT math wizards.

Now trying to spin the obvious, that could indeed take some time...

PoLiTiCaL AnImAl said...

Cranky,
No Radar believes that it can be figured out by knowing simple calculus and he has contacted someone about it. Someone new because the others haven't gotten back to him.

scohen said...

So, do you, like Radar, believe that the universe is only 6000 years old?

If you do (and it's a shame if you do) would you mind printing those graphics out and taking them to your high school and asking one of the math teachers to take a look? Don't give them any context, the math should speak for itself.

cranky old fart said...

What kind of social circles does radar travel in, that he knows no one with math skills?

Why is he speaking through you all of the sudden?

Just curious.

radar said...

Okay, the local high school is shut down for the summer...what kind of schedules do you guys have around there, anyway??? Going to the HS is not available.

My first source has failed me. I know he is busy working plus having Army Reserve commitments plus preparing for his upcoming wedding, so...

Yesterday I saw one of my young friends who has just gotten home from college for the summer. He is a calculus wiz. I emailed him the problems. Political Animal knows this because he knows both of us and was there when I asked Nathan if he would mind checking the math.

I am not going to believe scohen or Hartnett without having someone I know personally check the issue out. I have put my blog schedule on hold while I get my answer back. I really don't think the world is going to end while I wait for Nathan to tell me what is up. If it does? Hey, I have plans, baby!

PoLiTiCaL AnImAl said...

"I have plans"

LOVE THAT!

scohen said...

We have a bunch of year-round schools here, and don't you guys have summer school?
Anyways, how about a community college?

What I don't understand is why a calculus wiz wouldn't be able to figure out the BS in three seconds.

cranky old fart said...

"What I don't understand is why a calculus wiz wouldn't be able to figure out the BS in three seconds."

Well, given the circumstances, the student may attend a school where they teach faith based math. Dude's gotta check his bible and pray on it before the "answer" will be revealed.

scohen said...

I asked two more people today about the integral, and the answer was the same:

Integrals don't make sense without a variable.

One was a Physics undergrad, and one was has a Masters in Mathematics. It took both of them less than a second to come up with the conclusion that it was BS.

cranky old fart said...

Do I hear crickets?

cranky old fart said...

Ok radar, I'll do your work for you.

The devil made Hartnett lie about the math, hoping to sow the seeds of disbelief.

Get behind me Hartnett!!

cranky old fart said...

For those of you playing at home, it's now June 16, 2008, 8 P.M. Central.

Anonymous said...

Cranky--

I think you've made your point. It is kind of like whatever at this point--- radar'll find someone to tell him it is BS math and accept it or ignore it or he won't find someone with basic calculus skills.

If radar doesn't respond eventually, then yes, credibility gets called into question--- but we all have (or should have) lives outside of the internet. If he doesn't run in circles with people who know calculus like scohen, then it will take a little more time and effort.

If you want to contact the man himself, here is his contact information:

John Hartnett

University of Western Australia
35 Stirling Hwy, Crawley
WA 6009, Australia
Tel: +61 8 6488 3443 (lab)
Tel: +61 8 6488 2718 (office)
Fax: +61 8 6488 1235
Mob: +61 419 040 587
email: john@physics.uwa.edu.au

~lava

scohen said...

Just for clarity, scohen knows *very* little calculus --that's why he was so surprised to spot an error.

cranky old fart said...

The death watch continues. June 20, 2008. 7:00 P.M.

Still no calculus conversant person to be found in all of creation(ism).

Sam said...

As a reader of your blog for the past couple of years, I am quite disappointed with you lack of interest in responding to the issues scohen has brought up. I now have concerns with much of what you have written. Don't you check your sources. Do you cut and paste without reading the articles. You owe us answers.

cranky old fart said...

June 26, 2008. 4:40 CST