John Lewis Likens Ferguson to Selma

john lewis

On a recent episode of the Roland Martin radio show, Representative John Lewis (D-GA) took Martin’s bait and irresponsibly compared the shooting of blacks by police officers- including Michael Brown- a “modern-day Selma.”

Think about that. Blacks being shot by police officers are equated with the March to Selma, Alabama in 1963.

For far too many blacks, it will always be the 1960’s. No matter how much visible and overtly obvious progress the country has made in overcoming racial discrimination, in the minds of still too many blacks, we still haven’t “overcome.”

And in reality, the fact that every incident involving race- no matter how peripherally- is intentionally and desperately compared with past incidents like Selma, actually proves how much of a non-factor systematic racism is in today’s America.

Back to the racial instigator- the ‘civil rights icon’, John Lewis.

Lewis told Martin-

Selma was the turning point. And I think what happened in Ferguson will be the turning point. I think people are waiting, they’re watching, and we’re gonna see within the next few days what’s going to happen — and that would be massive, nonviolent protests all over America. When we were beaten on that bridge in Selma, people couldn’t take it, for they saw it, they heard about it, they read about it, and it lit a sense of righteous indignation. When we see a miscarriage of justice in Ferguson, they’re going to have the same reaction they had towards Selma.”

“Miscarriage of justice?”

First- to say this is to suggest that Michael Brown was innocent. The information released and leaked so far indicates that Brown wasn’t the gentle giant his family and the media claimed he was, nor was Brown out “spreading the word of Jesus Christ”- a lie his cousin offered up at Brown’s funeral.

Based on the same leaked information, Michael Brown was culpable in his own death. Further- is Lewis calling for officer Darren Wilson’s indictment even if the evidence demonstrates Wilson’s innocence? Where’s the justice in that?

Were the protestors who marched in Selma, Alabama for voting rights the moral equivalent of Brown stealing a box of cigarillos and attacking a police officer?

Were those who peacefully marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge the moral equivalent to the “peaceful demonstrators” who’ve looted, damaged businesses and organized chaos in Ferguson Missouri?

Is Bloody Sunday the moral equivalent to the criminal disobedience the country has witnessed in Ferguson since August?

It’s clear that the statements of John Lewis- emblematic of the average ‘hands up don’t shoot,’ Michael Brown supporter- isn’t concerned about justice. He- along with every other person who’s emotionally involved in this case already has his or her minds made up. The narrative of ‘racist cop shoots innocent, unarmed back teen’ as proof of unending white racism can’t- and won’t- be pierced, regardless of what evidence to the contrary the grand jury reveals.

With all due respect to John Lewis and what he experienced during the actual march to Selma-including a severe head wound, engaging in emotional manipulation by racially inciting the black residents of Ferguson discredits what he and many others personally witnessed in Selma. With statements as reprehensible as these, he trivializes what Selma marchers experienced on Bloody Sunday while giving credibility to the self-destructive, anti-social behaviors of Ferguson protestors.


Where’s The Black Church?


The problems that have infected and affected the black community need to be immediately addressed in a serious and sincere manner.  Most of these problems have at their center a lack of morality that was once readily present and recognizable in black America but has become increasingly rare.  Considering the depths and consequences of these issues, there needs to be a focused and concentrated effort- originating from inside the black church- that renews the minds and hearts of black Americans.  This renewal should focus on Christian character development and discipleship as the corrective to the pervading troubles that now afflict black America.

That blacks are in need of spiritual (and social, and economic) renewal is no secret.  Certain segments of black America have given themselves over to behaviors that most people label counterproductive, destructive and undignified- from the astronomically high numbers of black children born outside of wedlock and disproportionately high rates of abortion; black-on-black violence, to what has been termed, ‘flash robs.”  Frankly, these behaviors are embarrassing and morally disturbing. We know that the black church has failed its moral and spiritual obligation of leadership because the effects of the cultural degradation are too abundant to ignore or claim otherwise.  Of course, not all black churches have failed.  But collectively they have.

What’s worse is that many of these behaviors are now accepted and referred to as “culturally authentic.”

Because of the postmodern trappings of “tolerance,” “diversity” and moral relativism, blacks have willingly relinquished the painful process of self-critiquing their own community.  The moral and spiritual deficiency have led black culture to define “authenticity” as comporting oneself with behaviors and stereotypes that the generations of many black grandparents and great-grandparents sought to avoid and overcome.  In other condescending terms, this “authenticity” has been equated with “acting black.”

Many well-meaning white people- Christian and non-Christian alike- are almost equally complicit in this destructive form of “tolerance”.  For out of fear of verbal- and potentially, physical- reprisals, such as being labeled “racist,” “insensitive,” or worse, they refuse to speak out and condemn these unacceptable behaviors, passively accepting and legitimizing a form of conduct that they would never accept from anyone in their own family. The soft bigotry of low expectations comes to mind here.

Recognizing the silence and impotence of the black church, we must assume that black ministers have been evasive regarding the discussion of personal and communal sin.  The sermons regarding the guilt and shame of socially self-destructive and damaging behaviors don’t contain the condemnation they once did.  Again, this truth is self-evident, predicated upon the preponderance of detrimental activity that proliferates within black culture. This behavior is troubling, and the unbecoming conduct represents moral and spiritual captivity, which is very much in need of redemption.  The first slavery was obvious- it was an existential reality recognized by blacks and though accepted as reality, it was challenged as a moral evil and was eventually abolished.   This second slavery, however, is much more reprehensible than the first because though blacks are physically free, spiritually, they’re very much still bound while being, physically, the freest blacks, ever, in the history of the world.

Martin Luther King Jr.

I’m angry and sad that a community whose heritage and dignity once coalesced around the lordship of Jesus and his church has allowed itself to come to this. The timidity of the black pulpit in not properly teaching the gospel of truth regarding spiritual liberation along with the kind of character that’s centered on the fruit of the Spirit, as well as not holding their congregations to a higher standard of personal and communal morality has had disastrous effects.  The black church is a storied and hallowed institution in American history and we’ve seen the power of the black church as evidenced by its historical stands against slavery and Jim Crow, as well as its morally-influential presence during the era of civil rights.  During these times, the black church truly was a moral beacon of light and hope. It spiritually sustained generations of blacks during periods of time in our country’s history when America was much more racist and unbecoming than it is now.  It fostered an elevated level of moral character that included “blessing one’s enemy” while, “turning the other cheek” when circumstances made it exceptionally difficult to do so.

Many argue that because of the Church’s spiritual complacency, its influence on American culture is fading; some of these arguments have merit.  The voice of the American church has been morally compromised when it comes to religious and ethical positions on abortion, same-sex marriage, high rates of adultery and divorce affecting natural marriage; justice, and righteousness when dealing with immigration and poverty to name a few.  But the lack of moral influence that the black church has had on America in general over the past forty years is nothing short of disheartening.

Blacks must realize that cultural and spiritual redemption won’t come at the tip of a pen from a progressive politician; if so, it would’ve happened by now.  It will only come by moral renewal- re-engaging in the process of sanctification by repenting and returning (metanoia) to the biblical values contained in the Christian faith of the Bible- the faith of their fathers- facilitated by a church that steadfastly bears witness to that reality in the pulpit by holding their congregations accountable.


“Rights” Groups

Whenever I see groups who claim to be victims’ rights advocates, I wonder why these people have taken the responsibility of anointing themselves the arbiters and guardians of the so-called rights of specific and politically targeted groups are generally silent when those people whom they claim to protect are violated and in need of defending.

For example, the so-called women’s rights’ groups who loudly and publicly proclaim their fight against any and all forms of sexism that infringes on the freedom of women by advancing what amounts to a radical form of feminism.  They proclaim even louder their intentions to perpetually fight to maintain the legality of a woman’s ‘right’ to ‘choose’.

That a woman has the “right” to legally kill her unborn baby without fear of prosecution and imprisonment, is proof the woman is nothing but free.  Second the sexism they usually dispute is subjective and typically involves an underlying political motive.

If these women were truly concerned about the “rights” and freedoms of women, why are they consistently silent when example after example presents itself in the Muslim world of women being tortured, dehumanized and killed based on false testimony and no evidence? It seems as if they would prefer to fight for women to have the legal right to kill their babies rather than fight for the rights of women not to be killed themselves.

What about so-called gay-rights groups? They spend their time and money trying to force the culture-changing redefinition of marriage down America’s throats because to do so is a matter of “acceptance,” “tolerance” and “civil rights.” These “rights” groups falsely claim that gays and lesbians are being discriminated against because the majority of Americans refuse to give into their radical demands which stand against traditional American culture and all cultures that preceded America during the course of recorded human history.

But why are these groups not fighting for the rights of gays and lesbians in the Muslim world who are castrated, stoned, tortured and killed simply for being gay? Why aren’t they fighting for gays that are imprisoned because their sexual preference is thought to be contagious? These so-called gay rights groups are always denouncing homophobia- real but mostly imagined- yet are consistently silent regarding the treatment of homosexuals in third-world countries where actual- and many times deadly- homophobia exists.

What about the so-called “colored” organizations? One organization which proudly and demonstrably proclaims itself as America’s oldest civil rights organization, a purposeful reliance on their historical pedigree for moral credibility to justify their relevance on contemporary issues– claims to fight against the racial discrimination- real or imagined- of people of color.

Yet they refuse to fight against racial discrimination such as slavery that currently exists in many African countries and parts of the middle East where Arab Muslims still trade and own African slaves.  Why are they not acknowledging the violation of the human rights of those enslaved Africans?  Closer to home, why are they silent regarding the slaughter of blacks by other blacks in the city of Chicago? The situation has gotten so bad that the city has been nicknamed Chicongo because of the increasing violence and heightening murder rate, which topped 500 in 2012 and eight days into this year, is currently outpacing that number.

What about the Latino “rights” organizations? They fight for the rights of illegal immigrants who proudly and publicly flaunt their illegality, arguing that their criminality shouldn’t preclude them from receiving social, economic benefits and pleasures at the expense of legal immigrants and American citizens. Yet they conveniently ignore how harshly and inhumanely the Mexican government treats Guatemalans and other ethnically-Latino groups who attempt to emigrate from Central America into Mexico.

What these groups demonstrate is their hypocrisy regarding their stated missions and actual intentions. These groups intend to slowly and ‘progressively’ imbibe America with a destructive political and ideological worldview. They’re not concerned with the rights of those victims who are violated and in desperate need of voices to help mitigate their suffering.  I think it’s indicative of the fact that we live in such bored, secured and pampered society that so many people would rather invent representations of evil to self-righteously fight, rather than having the courage to fight against the actual evil that pervades our world.