Tavis Smiley Is Right

 

Last week, Tavis Smiley garnered attention for what he said on Sean Hannity’s program.  Specifically, Hannity asked Smiley if black Americans were better off after five years of the presidency of Barack Obama.

 

Smiley’s answer- which should have been a shock and surprise to exactly no one was that blacks aren’t better off and that eventually the socio-economic data would demonstrate that blacks will have certainly lost economic ground in all categories when the Obama administration culminates.

 

Again, what he said isn’t shock.  Conservatives- particularly black conservatives have been saying this for years.

 

The so-called shock is that Smiley, a black liberal, broke taboo and said it publicly.  And he said it on FOX News, no less.

 

Since January 2009, blacks have suffered economically- be it consistently high unemployment numbers, the statistical drops in income and wealth, and a drop in homeownership- in comparison to their own numbers prior to Obama’s inauguration and in comparison to their white peers.

 

Look at the unemployment rate which has devastated the economic potential of blacks as the first indicator.  Since Obama was elected, black unemployment has been below thirteen percent only twice- January of ’09 and July ’13. Twice. It’s been at or above fourteen percent, forty times and it’s been at or above sixteen percent, eleven times.

 

Black teens have fared much worse.  During this same period, black teen unemployment has never been below thirty percent. Not once. It has been at or above forty percent, thirty times.

 

That black teen unemployment has maintained such a high number isn’t a bad indicator for black America’s current reality; it is disastrous for the future of black America.  Diminishing the opportunities for black teens to enter the workforce delays their exposure to- and development of- the necessary skill set(s) that create prospects of economic ascendency which comes as a result of increased wages and or promotions into employment accompanied by salaries rather than wages.

 

This situation is compounded because many of these same black teens are subjected to substandard public education (dominated by teachers unions that fund the party that blacks vote overwhelmingly for). Coupling that substandard education with the lack of economic opportunity and prosperity and a (permanent?) underclass is intentionally being created which will be forced to seek financial support and economic stability from government provisions. Or worse, the underclass will seek economic prosperity through the black market and other violent and gang-related activities.

 

But is Obama to blame for this sorry state of affairs?  Yes, he’s partially responsible and as Smiley said, he should be held responsible. He is the president after all.

 

But more important to note and understand is that it isn’t necessarily Obama who’s the problem; it’s the party and the policies of his party that are ultimately to blame.  Whether Obama, Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden is president, these folks are simply emblematic figureheads and are ultimately interchangeable. It’s the economic policies that are the cause of so much economic destruction which is concentrated in black America.

 

This is what Tavis Smiley and his ilk intentionally and continually ignore.

 

Remember what the Congressional Black Caucus acknowledged– those wayward, black sheep who continue to embarrass themselves, Congress and black America?  They see and give lip service to the oppressive economic difficulty that blacks are subjected to.  But for them- and according to their own admission- racial solidarity and party policies are much more important than the economic well-being of their constituents.

According to Sentier Research and reported by the New York times- between June 2009 and June 2012, median annual household income for blacks fell 11.1 percent to $32,498 (from $36,567). The drop for whites was 5.2 percent; for Hispanics it dropped 4.1 percent.

 

According to Census Bureau reports (2010) and reported by CNN Money, whites ($110,729) had twenty-two times more wealth than their black counterparts ($4995).

 

Also, according to the same report, of all the homes who report receiving food stamps, 26.4 percent are black yet blacks are only 13 percent of the total population.

 

And this year, black homeownership has hit an eighteen-year low.

 

With these kinds of stats, it’s no surprise that the black poverty rate now stands at twenty-eight percent compared to just ten percent for whites.

 

Yet, exit polls from both the 2008 and 2012 election saw blacks give Obama and the Democrat party ninety-five and ninety-three percent of their votes, respectively.  In 2008 it was (emotionally) understandable; in 2012 it was neither understandable nor justifiable.

 

Sadly, blacks will continue to give whatever charlatan who receives the Democrat nomination for president in 2016 the majority of their support, continuing the humiliating pattern of reflexively voting against their own self-interest without a moment’s pause.

 

So yes, Tavis Smiley is absolutely correct.  Blacks have been- and will continue to be- worse off under the first black president and the president should be held responsible.

 

But blacks aren’t absolved from their contributions to these problems and should also be held responsible. Blacks actively underwrite their own socio-economic demise, particularly in favor of racial solidarity by continuing to demonstrate political loyalty without demanding anything of substance in return.

 

It’s far past time for blacks to understand that it’s increasingly difficult to generate sympathy for problems they’ve actively helped create.

 

Blacks aren’t victims; they’re co-contributors to their fate- in more ways than they care to admit.

 

Federal Judge Tosses NAACP Lawsuit Against State Ban on Race-Based Abortions

NAACP-NO

Several months ago, two so-called civil rights groups- the Maricopa County chapter of the NAACP and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, represented by the ACLU- sued the state of Arizona in an attempt to overturn a law that criminalized race and sex-based abortions.

 

The Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act of 2011, sought to criminalize any person who knowingly performed an abortion that was based on the race or sex of the preborn child or the parent.  The law also criminalized any person who coerces or pressures a woman into having an abortion as a result of the race or sex of the preborn child.  Lastly, the Arizona law required any woman who sought an abortion to sign an affidavit confirming that the abortion isn’t a result of the race/sex of the preborn child.

 

The lawsuit on behalf of the NAACP claimed that the law was discriminatory because it singled out and stigmatized black and Asian women, claiming the law violated women’s rights protected under the equal protection clause found in the Fourteenth Amendment.

 

Far from being discriminatory, the law sought to extend protections not only to preborn children, but also to those women whose families might emotionally or physically attempt to manipulate pregnant women into having abortions due to racial or sexual animus.

 

Well, thank God, U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell has ruled that the two parties who brought the suit didn’t have legal standing to do so and has tossed the suit out.

 

 

Unfortunately, to my knowledge, he didn’t call the plaintiffs foolish.

 

 

In any case, this means the law will continue to be enforced, protecting the lives of preborn children and the mothers who carry them from potential racial and sexual hostility.

 

I still maintain- which is obvious- that the law as it is written doesn’t discriminate against any person or group precisely because it’s applicable to everyone, equally.  No one can perform or receive a race or sex-based abortion; it criminalizes all who seek to do so. If the law had specifically singled out black or Asian women, it would be discriminatory and thus, unconstitutional.

 

That the NAACP would involve itself in a lawsuit against a statute that sought to minimize racial violence in the form of race-based abortions is stunning.  By participating in this lawsuit, it shows- among other things- that the NAACP believes more race and sex-based abortions qualify as ending discrimination.

 

Further, that they would sue a state to rescind a law that would have the obvious result of increasing the abortions blacks have, particularly in light of the disproportionately high numbers of abortions by blacks relative to their population, is a clear demonstration- again- of the moral confusion or immorality plaguing the NAACP.

 

The president of the Maricopa County NAACP is Rev. Oscar Tillman.  Tillman is also NAACP National Board Vice President.  A so-called reverend, so-called man of God, representing a “civil rights group” that advocates for (more) abortion.

 

Please.

 

With these kinds of “reverends” who purport to be called to be ministers of the gospel as “leaders” in the black community, it’s absolutely no wonder blacks are in such need of spiritual reformation and renewal.

 

Jesus says in Luke 17 that things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe unto that person through whom they come.

 

To the NAACP and the “Reverend” Oscar Tillman… woe indeed.

 


 

Jim Wallis And The ‘Unbiblical’ Government Shutdown

Jim Wallis offered his opinion on the government shutdown via YouTube on Tuesday.  As it happens, I rarely agree with Jim Wallis, biblically or theologically.  I did read his book On God’s Side and found myself agreeing with him on several issues pertaining to achieving what he calls “the common good.”

That aside, Jim Wallis and the so-called Evangelical Left (or is it evangelical Left) that he represents are generally Leftists first, evangelicals second.  That is to say, the people who embrace this nomenclature (evangelical left), particularly Wallis, have allowed their political ideology- which happens to be very left of center, affect their religious beliefs rather than having their religious beliefs affect their political ideology.

This video proves that very point.

I agree with his assertion that most of the talk regarding the government shutdown has been political.  The majority of it should be since by nature, government is political.  But I don’t agree with his position that there is a theological problem regarding the partial government shutdown.  There definitely is a moral problem that consumes our political culture and political class that’s responsible for- and has contributed to- the partial shutdown.   No question in my mind about that.  We can and should talk about the morality- or lack thereof- being a contributing factor to political discord and the current government shutdown, but we don’t need to discuss theology to do so.

According to Wallis, shutting down the government is, in his words, “unbiblical.” And to drive the point home, he repeats the assertion.   To buttress his position, Wallis cites Romans 13, noting that government’s role is to protect its citizens from evil and to promote the good- labeling it the common good, which is a backhand promotion of his book.

Wallis then appeals to several other books of the Bible, saying that not only is government responsible for how they treat the poor but that divine judgment of government will be based on this treatment.

I happen to believe Wallis’ sentiment regarding government’s role as protector and the arbiter of good and by extension, the punisher of evil.  I also believe in divine punishment for our actions- personal and corporate.

But he undermines himself by calling those he claims are responsible for the government shutdown, “political extremists.”  He doesn’t specify who these “extremists” are but it’s very clear based on Wallis’ political persuasion and public history, that he’s clearly referring to congressional Republicans.  Ok, fine, we all have our opinions.

But then Wallis gets away from himself.  He asserts that these political extremists, or “these people,” who are against government are unbiblical for two reasons.  The first is that “these people” want to “destroy the House and shut it down.”  This is a flat out lie, period.  The second is that because government has a biblical responsibility to care for the poor, and “these people” want to shut government down- by definition, they’re against poor people.  That’s right- based on Wallis’ convoluted thinking- hostility to the government equals hostility to poor people and thus, it’s unbiblical.

Lastly he says that the political extremists are guided by ideology triumphing over what “we” label good theology (who’s we, btw?).

I’m sorry, but isn’t there something unbiblical about lying? I can’t imagine invoking straw men arguments is in keeping with loving one’s neighbor. I also don’t think that disingenuously projecting or attributing malicious beliefs or actions onto people with whom one disagrees, hardly qualifies as treating others in similar ways in which one wants to be treated.

I don’t remember Wallis invoking Romans 13 when Barack Obama pushed an unread bill that forced (taxed) Americans into purchasing an unneeded or unwanted product through Congress without bipartisan support.  I also don’t remember him citing the directives against theft, coveting and envy when the president was campaigning for and receiving increased taxation on “the rich,” those who he incessantly demonized and maligned.

Where was Wallis warning or chiding the president and his party about the unbiblical nature of same-sex marriage as the president’s party undermined state and federal laws to push their ideological agenda?  Surely that wasn’t biblical or sound theology.  Although, Wallis would probably counter this proposition as being “sound theology” because he supports same-sex marriage, or “marriage equality,” claiming it is God’s way of “re-covenanting” marriage, whatever that means.

Why hasn’t Wallis articulated a theology of being created in God’s image and the directive against murder when the president’s party continues to worship abortion in the manner they do? Surely he sees and understands the effects abortion has on the poor?

Further, aside from Wallis intentionally distorting the situation on Capitol Hill, who exactly is against government?  How does he know? What was said and when was it said that gave him the understanding that these “political extremists” are against government?

Where is it biblically stated or theologically understood that being against government- which again, is an intentional distortion- is being against the poor?  Where did Paul say that?  Where did Jesus say it?  We can- and should- look to the prophets as Wallis asks.  But the political and cultural context discussed and lamented in the prophetic texts is in no way similar to our political or cultural context, period.  The poor in our context are rich by both biblical standards and by the world’s standards.

This doesn’t absolve us to give by any means, but it is reality.

For Wallis to conflate the notion of reduced government (which is what is actually sought) with being “against” or “hostile” to the poor isn’t just bad hermeneutics, it’s also bad theology and bad religion.

More specifically, it’s actually a transparent, ideological attempt to justify not only the size of government but the status quo of governmental dispensing of provisions to the poor.

Not many people are against giving to, or caring for, the poor.  At the same time nowhere in the Bible is caring for the poor- or being our brother’s keeper- predicated or dependent on the government being the primary facilitator.  Jesus and Paul both teach that we are to have a personal involvement in giving- which is relational in nature and spiritually edifying. The medium of government robs us of the subjective nature of giving, objectifying the recipients and destroying any interpersonal relationship that could potentially be gained.

“Giving” through government absolves us from the very spiritual act and responsibility of giving in that the government doesn’t “give” per se, it redistributes; and what it redistributes, it takes through punitive taxation through threat of fine or imprisonment.  I would argue that the nature in which government “gives” is the cause and source of much resentment when it comes to providing for the poor through social entitlements.

Wallis is guilty of the same thing the Left is guilty of- using poor people as political pawns to obtain ideological objectives- and both couch those objectives in religion to give their motives credibility and cover.  That’s a sin.  To understand this biblically, people have intrinsic worth because they’re created in God’s image, not because of the potential political capital they may hold.

I would say to Wallis that being against government expansion isn’t the same as being against the poor; that’s a foolish, foolish argument. We are not called to give to the poor through the mechanism of government.  Having government temporarily shut down, though inconvenient, can’t in this case be qualified as unbiblical or political extremism.

Wallis does a tremendous disservice to those who attempt to faithfully employ their religious convictions in the political arena by lying the way he does here.