Posted in Worldview Analysis

Post Verdict: Cherry Picking Narratives

INTRODUCTION:

A few days ago I started sharing some of my personal observations regarding the Kyle Rittenhouse case. My point in that article was that without the necessary background acting as a buffer to inform you of the events surrounding the situation, then your conclusions will be inaccurate. Which, oddly enough, is the nature of today’s post. As I stated at the close of my last article, there were a few layers to this onion that need to be peeled back and weighed in on.

It has been argued…strenuously so…in various social/corporate media outlets that this incident was instigated because of race. In other words, it has been said that the Rittenhouse shootings were racially motivated. I disagree with that sentiment. Racism, as it has been traditionally understood, was not what led to the death of two men and the injuring of a third. However, if we are speaking in light of reactions post verdict, there seems to be an element of truth to this notion. Just not in the direction that popularizers want you to see it. Before I get into that though allow me to admit something from the “get and the go” as it were. A buffering agent, if you will.

Admitting a few things…

Empathy1 demands that I at least consider the plight of others before I begin treading through this historic event offering my own insight. I’m not black. I didn’t live during the civil unrest of Martin Luther King Jr.’s day. I didn’t experience Jim Crow laws or feel the harshness of segregation. I wasn’t a slave in the antebellum south, but I can see those things for what they are. Horrible abuses of fellow human beings. Mistreatment based on externals. A demonstrable illustration of the moral depravity of mankind and its hatred for one another.

Given the current status of our cancel-culture’s wokeist ideological demands I realize that such comments, regardless of their sincerity, will fall deaf on ears. There will be some that will hear them, but not many. We do live in some interesting times. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised when a person or a community of persons disregards the expressed thoughts of another.

Why do I say that? Am I speaking about my own experiences? Well…I have had them. But, no, I’m not referencing my personal encounters here. I am, however, speaking about what I’ve heard after the Rittenhouse verdict.

The young man gave his testimony. He said, “This is the reason why I did what I did.”2 He felt like his life was threatened, and he acted in kind. The argument of whether you should bring a gun into the equation, and whether or not that disqualifies you from using “self-defense” as a legitimate reason for acting in the way he did on August 25, 2020 is something I want to address in another post. But let’s get something straight: he didn’t come to Kenosha to shoot someone. He didn’t come to Kenosha to incite violence. According to his own testimony, Rittenhouse came to Kenosha that night in order to protect his neighbors (members of his community) from harm.

What was heard…

What was heard in Rittenhouse’s testimony? What was seen in the eyes, in the minds of the watching populace? Racism. Not just in what Rittenhouse did, but in how his case was decided by a jury of his own peers. As a comment quoted by Mario Koran writing for The Guardian reveals:

“What happened today is not right,” [Brook Love] said. “Any reasonable person can see that. People call this a judicial system. I call it a non-system, because most systems work. This non-system is not working. It’s a miscarriage of justice. If a person of colour [sic] would have shot those people, they’d be under the jail. There’s a double standard. How dare anyone call this a judicial system?”3

Though I do not fault the 63-year old black woman who made this statement, I do blame the reporter for the Guardian. Had Koran did a little research before having his article published, he’d have seen that a similar situation occurred in 2017.

Counter Examples…

In that case, a black man named Stephen Spencer (31-years old) was acquitted of murder charges by a jury of his peers in October 2018. Spencer fatally shot an unarmed white man outside a bar in Pittston, PA. Spencer, like Rittenhouse, claimed self-defense. And, like Rittenhouse, he was found “not-guilty.” And to quote Spencer’s testimony after the verdict had been reached in his behalf, “Justice was served.”4

So was Koran being lazy, over zealous, or committed to a particular agenda when he wrote this recent article for The Guardian? I’m sure we’ll never know. But a man of integrity would have did a better job.

The Spencer case is not unique. There are others like it not reported in the media, nor spoken of that often in social media-verse. Like, for instance, Andrew Coffee.

Haven’t heard of him? Haven’t seen much on his trial and the circumstances surrounding it? No wonder, it doesn’t fit the popular narrative. Coffee was charged with six felony counts, but was found not guilty on five of them. The five dealing with the death of his girlfriend Alteria Woods. She was shot 10 times being “caught in the crossfire…during an early morning drug raid at [Coffee’s] home back in 2017.”5 As a part of his legal defense, “Coffee’s attorneys claimed that police did not announce themselves upon entering, and Coffee shot in self defense. Police fired back at him, and Woods was shot…later dying from her injuries.”6 Though Coffee was found not guilty in regards to the murder/attempted murder charges, he was found guilty of possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.7

What was (is) reality…

Two cases that prove the opposite of what is being claimed. If it was injustice that Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of wrong doing, when he defended himself against three criminal assailants, then how was it justice that Stephen Spencer (a black man) defended himself against what he claimed was a mob of white men? If the system is so broken (and I do not deny that there are many things wrong with it), then why was a man like Coffee (also black), a convicted felon in possession of a gun, found not guilty of murder in the first degree?

More importantly, why has the media been relatively silent on these things? What is the agenda here? Is there an agenda? One might be tempted to think, “No, there’s no agenda here.” There’s not? Really?

Let us look at one more case before I wrap this up. A couple days after the Rittenhouse verdict another mass killing took place. This time it was in Waukesha, WI.

What happened? Depends on who you turn to for your news. According to CNN, an “SUV plow[ed] into [a] Christmas parade killing 5.”8 An SUV killed and injured adults and children during a town Christmas parade. A vehicle, not a person? An object not an individual is said to be responsible. At least initially, until the progressive news organization experienced backlash.

The argument of bias here is blatantly obvious. Rittenhouse killed two and injured another, and the first word out of the media’s mouth is “racism.” It was a “white versus black thing.” Another stain on the American legal system that is against people of color. But a couple days after the “not guilty” verdict in Kenosha, WI, a black man named Darryl Brooks (39 years old) kills and injures a much larger group and its crickets. Even when it can be demonstrated that the individual (Brooks) hated whites.9

And when its not crickets its objects, not a person driven by evil motives. Not a person who has a criminal record. Not a person who has been known to be violent in his past. Nope. Nada. No way! Racism is only the “white man’s problem,” its never an issue for a person of color. Herein lies the element of truth that I hinted at in the beginning of this article. Color is an issue, but it is an issue that one group plays the hypocrite referencing it.

What We Know…

So what do we know? There is a blindness that has plagued our nation. A blindness to true justice. A blindness to right and wrong.

It would be bad enough if it were just the stereotypical attitude you sometimes find prevalent in various little clicks. You know, the kind of thing that you had to deal with in high school (or even middle school for that matter) where one group of people thinks and acts like they are better than all the rest. Not only that, but they will lie through their teeth in order to perpetrate the reality that they want others to believe in.

That is our current social-corporate media verse. The big names in Media, groups like CNN, MSNBC, and yes, I would throw FOX NEWS into that bunch depending on the subject matter (say like, pertaining to COVID-19), are purposely setting out to mislead and stir up strife within the American populace. Propaganda is being put on display as real news. This we witness on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and the like. The proof that this is in fact the case, and I’m not just blathering my own opinion, is seen in the great wash of censorship going on to any dissenting narratives. My only hope is that Americans are wise enough to catch on before its too late.

For my next post I want to look at the biblical argument for true justice, but until then have a great weekend.

ENDNOTES:

1Often confused with sympathy, to be empathetic means that you are not so emotionally detached that you cannot at least put yourself in another person’s shoes. If you want a more technical definition, here you go: “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experiences fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.” Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary & Thesaurus, def. 2, 2008 desktop version.

2 “Full video_Prosecutors Cross-Examine Kyle Rittenhouse.

https://www.rev.com/transcript-editor/shared/A7O97pOTyqr5Uhejo4HM7hpXs-vzdMLEc7w5J2_rk4uX-fpGgO6mwaRWXjymKd6V29htasJuffOuGIHHejB299YJJCM?loadFrom=SharedLink.


3Mario Koran, “As Kyle Rittenhouse walks free, Kenosha is left to pick up the pieces,” The Guardian, November 20, 2021, accessed 11/20/2021, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/nov/20/as-kyle-rittenhouse-walks-free-kenosha-is-left-to-pick-up-the-pieces.

4“Black Man Acquitted after Killing White Man During Racially Charged Bar Dispute,” BlackNews.com, August 12, 2019, accessed 11.29/2021, https://www.blacknews.com/news/stephen-spencer-black-man-acquitted-killing-white-man-racially-charged-bar-dispute/.

5Kimberlee Kaye, “Another self defense case, Andrew Coffee found not guilty on 5 counts, including murder, attempted murder,” Legal Insurrection, November 20, 2021, accessed 11/29/2021, https://legalinsurrection.com/2021/11/another-self-defense-case-andrew-coffee-found-not-guilty-on-5-counts-including-murder-attempted-murder/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=another-self-defense-case-andrew-coffee-found-not-guilty-on-5-counts-including-murder-attempted-murder&fbclid=IwAR23f_cY2igVRoXArMbcPBmbp7LYBdpLIrz392nTuPxboEX6La1hx5FA0Go.

6Leah Anaya, “Who is Andrew Coffee and Why is the Media Mostly Silent on His Acquittal?” Red Voice Media, November 21, 2021, accessed 11/29/2021, https://www.redvoicemedia.com/2021/11/who-is-andrew-coffee-and-why-is-the-media-mostly-silent-on-his-acquittal/.

7The truly sad note in this case is that Woods, Coffee’s girlfriend that died as a result of that fatal morning, did not receive justice. The defense blamed the SWAT team, and the prosecution blamed the young man who had a gun illegally and opened fire after the officers had announced themselves. Had Coffee refrained from getting a gun, had he withheld from pulling the trigger at police, then the events as they unfolded would have went much differently. Someone was responsible for the death of Woods. Someone ought to be held accountable. And the color of their skin, nor the type of uniform being worn, should factor into the decision. If the officers came in unannounced or if Coffee fired at them knowingly, someone should have been held accountable for that girls death; even if it was only accidental manslaughter.

8Aditi Sangal, Meg Warner, Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya, and Mike Hayes, “At least 5 killed after SUV plows parade into Wisconsin holiday parade,” CNN, updated (modified) November 23, 2021, accessed 12/2/2021, https://edition.cnn.com/us/live-news/wisconsin-waukesha-christmas-parade-car-plow-11-22-21/index.html.

9Lee Brown, “Darryl Brooks shared pro-Hitler memes, called for violence against white people,” New York Post, Updated November 24, 2021, accessed 12/3/2021, https://nypost.com/2021/11/24/darrell-brooks-called-for-violence-against-white-people/. Brown points out in his article that many of Brook’s “…disturbing memes and messages on social media…have been deleted since his arrest for Sunday’s [11.21.2021] deadly carnage” (par. 2).

Posted in dialogue

A Response to a Loved One Concerning Systemic Racism

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel” (Prov 12.15; NASB).

Dear “D”,

I don’t have Facebook, a decision I made a few years back and, in many ways, I think a wise one. I do however, from time-to-time, see how things progress in this social media giant’s haven. It is unfortunate that the free exchange of ideas has been censored by a Left-leaning ideology, but with the current way of things…to be expected.

I must admit that of all my family members (extended or otherwise) you have been one of my favorites. You have a loveable, sensitive disposition that draws many people. That and in some ways our shared sense of humor was always a delight to my own heart.

I say these things beforehand in the hope that you will see my critique not as mean spirited but as one guided by wisdom afforded to me through the Word of God. Surely, knowledge and wisdom in times like this ought to be coveted things. But this raises the question of being properly sourced. From where do we draw our knowledge and wisdom. From what fountainhead do we longingly drink deeply to help form our ideals?

I am reminded of a passage of Scripture that provides an astute warning to listening ears:

“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals’” (1Cor 15.33; ESV).

In other words, we must be careful what influences we allow to shape our outlook on life. For it is in our nature to replicate what we surround ourselves with. With this in mind, I would like to address a dialogue you have had with another individual of whom we both care for. He has graciously allowed me a venue in which I might respond to some of the claims that you have offered in light of the current debate being held nationally since the tragic death of George Floyd.

I will offer a point-by-point critique of what you have stated. You may respond or be silent on the matter, the decision I will leave to you.

It seems very clear to me that you believe systemic racism is a genuine problem here in the United States. A belief that is unsupported by actual facts and evidences, although often referred to in anecdotal settings.

You noted that a possible solution to what you believe is a real problem institutionally is:

“…we can support communities by ‘spreading educational funds…[provide] a healthcare system that will actually take care of poorer families…demand that our government do something to help the homeless population…[provide] access to mental health care”

Response:

It would appear that you assume the civil government is responsible for doing these things. They are the “we” that you expect to support the down trodden? I only note this now since you seem to believe that religion (specifically the Christian faith) should not be viewed as a viable solution. Interesting…we’ll return to this in just a bit.

Later you admit when pressed with evidence contrary to your claims (that which “J” cites in his dialogue with you) the following points:

There is no written law that promotes systemic racism, but instead is “captured in intent and execution…”

 Response:

That is to say you appear to be admitting that there are no laws on the books (“in word” as you put it) that disadvantage one group by raising another up. For example, in the past we could point to Jim Crow laws, laws enacted and upheld by members of the Democratic Party, but no such laws exist on the books today. This is unfortunate for your position, for if such laws existed then the debate over whether or not systemic racism was a real thing would be over. You would have positive evidence to support your claims.

Instead, you appeal to the motives of individuals or groups of individuals who perpetrate evil actions. Something that is extremely impossible to prove—for we cannot read people’s hearts—unless that individual or group confess that their actions (“execution,” as you put it) are indeed racially motivated.

Next you say:

“Not all peoples morals come from God and not all moral people are Christian.”

Response:

So then, “morals” come from where? Are morals the byproduct of societal consensus? Then, they are subjective, fluid and not static. If this is true, then relativism rules the day—Different strokes for different folks.

So then, why complain? If my morals, which according to you are not necessarily derived from our Maker—the God of the Bible, but myself, my community and culture, then why, or better yet, on what grounds, can you argue that my morals which may uphold “racism” and “white privilege”  (tongue in cheek here) are wrong and should be changed? Are you then guilty of forcing your ideals on others?

However, if morals are absolute (e.g., wrong to murder, wrong to oppress, wrong to rob, etc.) as a reflection of the Triune God of Scripture (revealed as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; one co-eternal, co-equal Being), then they must be pressed upon the society in which we live. Starting with myself, my community and culture. I have no doubt that you believe “Love your neighbor as yourself” is a command that ought to be pressed on all people, or else why argue at all that one moral behavior is right and another wrong?

You add:

“In fact many people in the past and today use Christianity as a reason for their continued issues.”

Response:

You do not identify what those “issues” are, but I will assume that you are attempting to highlight how professing Christians use the Bible erringly (past and present) in an effort to support immoral activity.

There is no question this has been done and will continue to be the case. This is true for a variety of reasons. Either the “Christian” is one in name only. Or, the “Christian” is ignorant of what the Bible actually teaches on an issue. Or, the “Christian” has faulty presuppositions that prevent him/her from properly interpreting the biblical text(s).

Since you did not come out and say what “issue” you were referring to where Christians have evidently got it wrong in the past, then I will assume that one issue is how there were some Christians in the past who used the Bible to validate slavery in the Antebellum South. However, all three reasons I cited above provide the answer to the problem issue in question:

  1. Not all slave owners that identified as Christian were really Christians (cf. Matt 7.21-24).
  2. Not all slave owners that identified as Christian knew all of what the Bible taught on the issue of slavery.
  3. Not all slave owners that identified as Christian properly interpreted what they read in the Bible because they possessed underlying biases, assumptions, traditions that filtered the truth of God preventing them from doing so.

But there were those who identified as Christians that did what was right in light of biblical precepts. For in having knowledge and wisdom dispensed to them from God in His Word, they sought to make right the societal wrongs being perpetrated in their day. (We will return to this in a bit).

However, while this has been the case (there have been those that have tarnished the Christian name and maligned the teaching of the Bible) you seem to suppose that this somehow gives you the moral high ground? Again, the question that needs to be asked and answered is “whose morals are right?” Is there one standard universally true, or are there many? Only by borrowing from the Christian faith can one legitimately bring a charge against such evils of the past. For if truth is not absolute, if morals are not derived from one standard, but many, then morals in and of themselves are regulated to the personal whims of the individual or group that purports them.

You continue:

“Also you can’t use God as a tool in order to change overall culture. Not in the short term or as things are trending in the long term either”

Response:

Who says? You? Others? That’s not what the Bible teaches at all. As Jesus said,

“You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God” (Matt 22.29; NASB).

It is written that all of creation, including humanity, is the creation of God.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1.1). It was God who decreed, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness; and let them rule…over the earth…God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it’” (Gen 1.26, 27-28a; NASB).

There are not many races, there is one race. Humanity is the creation of God and all have value as His creatures. For… 

“from one man [one blood] God made every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation (Acts 17.26; NASB).

In short, God made human beings to represent Him in all the earth. The dominion God gave mankind was in light of bearing the image of God into all creation. God delegated authority to humanity to rule according to His holiness and righteousness (from which all morals come). This Jesus repeated to those who bear His name (i.e., Christians). He commanded His people to

“…make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in[to] the name of the Father, the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matt 28.19-20a; ESV).

You say, that we cannot use the Christian faith to alter the course of culture either in the short or the long term, but this is inaccurate. History tells us otherwise. How was slavery abolished in England? Who helped lead the charge in its removal from our kindred across the pond? William Wilberforce, a white Christian who knew, believed and understood that the Bible taught that enslaving one ethnic group was morally wrong and spent his whole life fighting against it. This is true of many from the past here in the United States that fought to free other members of the human race from tyranny.

All of life is ethical. Everything is weighed in terms of right or wrong. Therefore, all of life is religious. Culture is a reflection of a person or groups religious faith-system. This “faith” will determine culturally what is viewed as right vs. wrong behavior (i.e., moral).

The only solution to the hate we seeing spewed in our world today is the gospel. Bigotry is sin, and sin is color-blind. If we refuse to repent of our sins before Christ, adopting His way of thinking and living, then we are destined to treat others, not like ourselves, but less than ourselves. The government is not God, only God is God. The government solutions you present would do nothing to stem hate, but only shift where the hate is being perpetrated.

I love you man and hope that you see my words in light of this love for you and yours. May Christ give you ears to hear and eyes to see.

In Christ,

Kristafal

Posted in Worldview Analysis

Peanut Butter Sandwich: Swallowing a Hard Truth

Have you ever eaten a peanut butter sandwich without a drop to drink? If your throat is well lubricated you make it through the most part easily enough, but eventually, if you continue, you will run into a bit of a problem. The food will begin to get stuck in your throat. Depending on how dry the peanut butter has made the way to your stomach, the process can begin to be a bit painful.

So can the following sentiment:

“In this way only we attain to what is not to say difficult but altogether against nature, to love those that hate us, render good for evil, and blessing for cursing, remembering that we are not to reflect on the wickedness of men, but look to the image of God in them, an image which, covering and obliterating their faults, should by its beauty and dignity allure us to love and embrace them.”[i]

It is easy to love those who do good to us, but another thing altogether to truly love those who have done evil to us. When we are wronged, we immediately sense within us a desire to strike back against the offender. Even after the initial act our yearning is not to let go, but to cling to that which has laid us low. Thus, the reason for the peanut butter sandwich illustration a moment ago.

Jesus tells us that we are to, “love our enemies.” Our response to the wicked person who is persecuting us is to pray for them (Matt 5.44b). We are commanded to “do good to those who hate [us]” (Luke 6.27), and to give of ourselves “expecting nothing in return” from them (Luke 6.35).

Real Life Example…

As I was chewing on these words yesterday, I thought of the recent Amber Guyger case. Here a female police officer (Amber Guyger) entered the home of another ending their life. She had come off a 13-hour shift, and wrongly assumed that the unlocked door that easily pushed open was her own apartment. Firing two shots at an apparent intruder, she killed Botham Jean with a trained shot to the chest.

Though she was found guilty of murder, the brother of the man she killed asked if he might be allowed to hug the lady having forgiven her for what she had done. Brandt Jean is a professing Christian and in spite of losing his own flesh and blood at the hands of another he offered a tender heart.[ii] So too, did the judge offer similar kindness (charity/love) when she presented the offender with her own personal Bible from her chamber. She pointed the woman to John 3:16 and told her that was her job during her sentence to focus on what was written there.

Of course, this act of love was seen as vile by a certain sect of our society. Writers at the Washington Post called it “an unusual display of public forgiveness.”[iii]The Freedom from Religion foundation began convulsing almost immediately over what they viewed as a violation[iv] of human dignity; similar to a recent judge’s ruling in the U.K. against the Bible.[v] If that was not enough, another sector of hate garbed in false love called the act of the young man who hugged and forgave and prayed for his brother’s assailant as a sign of “Black” forgiveness.[vi] To that malarkey I say, “No, sir you are wrong! In such comments you betray a bitterness in your own heart. What we witnessed at the trial was not “Black” forgiveness, but Christian forgiveness. A demonstration of Christ’s love for sinners; enemies who have harmed us.” Nor will I call the sharing of the gospel a “violation” of human rights or human dignity, but an act of selfless charity.

Lessons learned from Scripture…

One of my favorite verses that I memorized long ago is found in Ephesians 4:32. It reads,

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

For all the harping we hear today, the one who has truly been done wrong…truly, the only innocent person who was grossly violated due to hate is Jesus of Nazareth. And yet, he laid down His life seeing the horror that lay before Him in the crucifixion as a joy, because out of love He laid down His life for sinners (the sheep of His pasture). Are we better than He? Are we more loving? Are more righteous?

If we are not, then we need to learn to forgive as He has forgiven. Yes, this includes even our enemies. Yes, this means we need to be willing to hold no ill will towards them. Yes, this means we need to be willing to let go.

“Why? Why should I ever want to do that?” you ask.

There several reasons, but I will lay down a few.

  • We have been harmed, have we not also harmed others?
  • We have been spoken ill of, have we not also spoken ill of others?
  • We have been robbed, have we not also stolen from others?
  • We have been hated, have we not also hated others?
  • We have been coveted, have we not also coveted what others possess?

In all of these things, we have done likewise. And in some cases, we might even be worse than our neighbors who have harmed us. But what makes us different? Why should we response differently? What is the proper response? You already know what you ought to do.

Do you know the reason why?

People of all shapes and sizes, of all ages, of all colors and backgrounds, are intrinsically valuable because they too bear the image of God. Yes, in our fallen state the image of God is tarnished in sinners, but it has not been removed. Though the function of being an image bearer might be corrupted, the status as an image bearer has not.

If Christ died so that we might have life, do we know that He did not die for others as well? “But they are evil!” So, are we! But in Christ, because of Christ work, because the Father sent Him, because the Holy Spirit moves in this world, we have been “reconciled to God” (2Cor 5.20) so that “we might become the righteousness of God” (2Cor 5.21).

Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. And allow God to be God, for He will judge between us all (Rom 12.19). Our responsibility is to view fellow image bearers with a charitable love reminiscent of 1 Corinthians 13 in the hope that we honor God with our lives, and some might come to know Him as He truly is.

What helps us swallow hard truths is drinking from the fount of living water (John 7.38), the Word of God (Eph 5.26). Why don’t you take a drink.


ENDNOTES:

[i] John Calvin, Institutes for the Christian Religion, trans. Henry Beveridge, reprint (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1993), 3.7.6.

[ii] Michelle Mark, “Botham Jean’s brother gave Amber Guyger a hug after the former cop was sentenced for his brother’s murder in a powerful courtroom moment,” Business Insider, October 2, 2019, https://www.businessinsider.com/botham-jeans-brother-forgives-embraces-amber-guyger-2019-10.

[iii] Michael Brice-Saddler, Mark Berman and Wesley Lowery, “The Amber Guyger case has sparked emotional fallout across Dallas,” The Washington Post, October 10, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/amber-guygers-conviction-has-triggered-emotional-fallout-across-dallas/2019/10/10/7f12dafc-e9f8-11e9-9306-47cb0324fd44_story.html.

[iv] Carol Kuruvilla, “Secular Groups Claim Judge Crossed a Line by Giving Amber Guyger Her Bible,” HuffPost, October 4, 2019, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/tammy-kemp-amber-guyger-bible_n_5d975c9fe4b0f5bf7973da1d.

[v] Jeffrey Cimmino, “UK tribunal declares Christian doctor’s beliefs about gender ‘incompatible with human dignity,’” Washington Examiner, October 2, 2019, https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/uk-tribunal-declares-christian-doctors-beliefs-about-gender-incompatible-with-human-dignity.

[vi] Jemar Tisby, “White Christians, do not cheapen the hug and message of forgiveness from Botham Jean’s brother,” the Washington Post, October 3, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2019/10/03/white-christians-do-not-cheapen-hug-message-forgiveness-botham-jeans-brother/.

Personal Thoughts:

On this last citation I was particularly perturbed. The article is filled with racist sentiments that cause a mixture of emotions from sadness, anger, and nausea. My only response is where in the world do we have a right to label Christianity “white vs. Black?” Tisby writes towards the end of the article, “If white people expect all black people to extend forgiveness as quickly as Brandt Jean did, then they understand neither black people or black pain. Black grief is a community project…everyone is entitled to their own process.” NOT if Jesus is truly Lord, they are not. The belief that everyone can do what is right in their own eyes is a denial of Christ’s kingship (Judg 21.25), and an unearthing of the lies of the serpent in the garden “Did God actually say…” (Gen 3.1). Where is Scripture sir are you given permission to harbor resentment, bitterness and hate because of the wrongs that others have done. You are mingling cultural assumptions into biblical revelation.

Image by <a href=”http://Image by Robert-Owen-Wahl from Pixabay“>Robert Owen Wahl

Posted in Civil Rights, Musings

Civil Rights Enacted By Whom? More Musings from Black Yellow Dogs written by Ben Kinchlow

Perhaps one of the most important pieces of legislation to be signed in recent American history is the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Sad, really that it took so long for this nation to recognize at the national level that “created equal” entails all people regardless of their ethnic group. Even sadder is the fact that legislation had to be written and enforced in the law-code so that one groups rights were recognized that could not be infringed upon, and the other groups irrational bigotry could be legally dealt with.

Despite the popular notion entertained by a populace and political system that deems “hand-outs” the working arm of the Federal government. The primary responsibility of the civil governing authorities is the protection of her citizens domestic and abroad. Welfare—something the Christian Church used to be concerned about (you know the welfare of the society of image bearers living in our midst)—is not! Historically, orphanages, hospitals, schoolhouses were the realm of the servants of Jesus Christ. Lazy self-consumed pietistic professing believers gave those responsibilities to others, and I find that a sad state of affairs as well.

This is why I said earlier that it is sad that a legal statute had to be created to protect Blacks in America. Only an absolute moron would suppose that differences in facial structure, hair type, and skin pigmentation means they are subhuman, to be feared, downtrodden and enslaved. Many of those moron’s were professing believer’s, who ignorantly assumed they understood what they were reading in Scripture; and then, tried to enforce their backward beliefs on others. Fellow man-hating bigots jumped on board and took advantage of the opportunity to fill their pocketbooks, build the status quo, and increase their positions of power.

Civil Rights Act…

Listen to the following legislation and see if this does not seem reasonable to you:

“Whereas it is essential to just government we recognize the equality of all men before the law, and hold that it is the duty of government in its dealings with the people to mete out equal and exact justice to all, of whatever nativity, race, color, or persuasion, religious or political; and it being the appropriate object of legislation to enact great fundamental principles into law: Therefore,

Be it enacted, That all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of inns, public conveyances on land and water, theaters, and other places of public amusement; subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law, and applicable alike to citizens of every race and color, regardless of any previous condition of servitude.“[i]

…of 1875?

This was not written in 1964, but in 1875. And no, it was not the Democratic Party that wrote or even supported such legislation. Truth is they adamantly opposed it for nearly 100 years. This Civil Rights Acts that guaranteed what should have been commonly held to be true by American citizenry was written and voted in by a Republican led congress. They (the Republicans) lost their power in the election of 1874, but as a parting gift they fought to preserve what many during the Civil War fought for—free and equal treatment of their fellow “black” man, by passing the Civil Rights Act of 1875.

OH, Gentle Fox do Come In…

Why did things turn out that way? Why did a Democratic controlled congress fight against granting or upholding this legislation that was supposed to legalize the fair treatment of all citizens, regardless of their ethnicity? Because the ideologues of the Confederacy were allowed to be grafted into the political field. Similar to the error we find in allowing socialistic ideologues free reign in our educational system post War World II. It does not matter how kindly the fox smiles, or how innocent and endearing his eyes might look. Let him in the hen house and all bets are off. He’ll be smiling just the same as he’s picking his teeth clean from chicken.

A man by the name of Thaddeus Stevens,

  • “…a radical Republican an dedicated opponent of slavery, had grave concerns regarding the Democrats and the future of blacks…In 1865, Stevens said this: …They [Confederates] ought to never be recognized as capable of acting in the Union, or being counted as valid States, until the Constitution shall have been so amended as to make it what its framers intended…The first of those amendments is to change the basis of representation among the States from Federal numbers to actual voters….”[ii]

What Stevens was concerned about was the “Three-Fifths Clause” that formerly allowed slave owners in the south to count what they considered property (i.e. chattel) to vote. Republicans in the North long before the Civil War argued against this (around 1776).[iii] This law had never been redacted, and so Stevens warned by allowing those involved in the Confederate rebellion to maintain this, they would be guaranteed to have a majority in terms of voter representation in the south giving Democrats the ability to regain power.

  • “Less than ten years later [i.e. post 1865], almost as if they had been biblical prophecies, the predictions of Thaddeus Stevens materialized and brought with them almost 100 years of suffering for blacks who would be born in America. Although the Civil War was over, let the record show that in the South there had been no mass conversions. Southern gentlemen still favored slavery, and new constitutions could now be ratified by a simple majority vote in each state.”[iv]

Here’s what Previous Democratic Control Gave Us…

That is to say, for nearly a hundred years the Democratic Party, which controlled many southern states, and a majority at the federal level did all that they could to segregate one portion of the population from the other. Ironically, the party that today claims to be for the Black’s in our nation is the one that most adamantly opposed “created equal” status.

Here is a significant timeline that illustrates has been said thus far:

  •      1619: First Blacks Arrive

1865: Emancipation Proclamation Issued [by Republican’s]

1866: Thirteenth Amendment Ratified

1868: Fourteenth Amendment Ratified

1870: Fifteenth Amendment Ratified

1874: Democrats Regain Congress

1875: Civil Rights Act Passed by Outgoing Republican Majority

1877: Democratic ‘Redeemer Government’s’ Installed [To “redeem” means to remove the scourge of Northern/Yankee ideology, and limit Black freedom in the south—i.e. the Confederacy must live in some form or another!]

1878: Black Codes Instituted

1896: Plessy V. Ferguson Ruling/Jim Crow Laws [Democrat’s loved/supported this measure]

1941: FDR—Executive Order # 8802—Defense Contractors (A. Phillip Randolph Threatens March)

1948: Truman—Executive Order #9981—Military Integration (A. Phillip Randolph Threatens Civil Disobedience/No Draft)

1954: Brown v. Board of Education

1964: Civil Rights Act [Supported by an overwhelming majority of Republican representatives; opposed by a majority of Democrat representatives]

1965: Voting Rights Act[v]

In a weird sense of irony, the party that was responsible for putting down one ethnic group in the United States is now said to be the Party that really, truly, honestly represents them today!?!  And yet, a majority of my Black brothers and sisters support them in an overwhelming majority during elections seasons. However, from what I have read and heard from Blacks more often than not is that they do not believe in “abortion on demand,” “transgender politics,” or “anti-2nd amendment rights,” or “gay marriage,” or “segregation,” etc., etc. On social issues, my Black brethren are highly religious—a great number of them professing Christians—and yet they support a party that is antithetical on every point to those issues they claim to hold dear?

Still Letting in that Sly Old Fox…

Unfortunately, this attitude has seeped into many Christian churches and Christian thought as we have somehow developed a syncretistic mindset where Christ is married with Baal. Martin Luther King Jr., although not an orthodox Christian from what I’ve read, did make a valid point when he said that he longed for a day when the country he lived in “would judge his children for the content of their character and not the color of their skin.” Segregation was fought against on all fronts, as it rightly should have been. So why are professing Black Christian leaders today preaching/teaching a segregated Church? Why is Critical Race Theory gaining ground in our Evangelical institutions? Are we, who are in Christ, not one? Are we not joined by the same Spirit? Do we not have the same Lord? So, why are we playing colored politics against one another (i.e. separate yourself from “white man’s sin, white man’s Christianity?”) Why support a party that is blatantly opposed to the one who WE profess as Lord and Savior?

Maybe, I’m ignorant but I don’t get it. I am not claiming that there are saints, little cherubs with halo’s hanging over their heads on the other side of the aisle (i.e. Republican party), but I’d much rather have a Pharaoh of Josephs day over me, than a Nero of Paul’s.

ENDNOTES:

[i] Civil Rights Act of 1875, quoted in: Ben Kinchlow, Black Yellow Dogs: The Most Dangerous Citizen is Not Armed, but Uninformed (Washington D. C.: WND Books, [2008], 2013), 59-60. I cut back on the original quote of this legislation due to its length. By all means do your own research and check this material out. Become informed.

[ii] Ibid, 54.

[iii] Kinchlow writes, “At the time of the Constitutional Convention, it was one representative for every thirty thousand [citizens] counted. ‘In 1776, slaves comprised 40% of the population of the colonies from Maryland south to Georgia, but well below 10% in the colonies to the North.’ The southern states wanted slaves counted for the purpose of representation. The northern contingent was quite willing to count slaves provided they were: 1. Given their freedom, 2. Given the right to vote. The South was adamant; there would be no such condition! Slaves were property! The northern delegates countered, ‘We shall count our horse and cattle for representative purposes!’”

Kinchlow repeats, “The northern delegates insisted that they were perfectly willing to count slaves, provided they were freed and permitted to vote. The southern delegates were threatening to walk out and according to records the Constitutional Convention was on the verge of collapse,” therefore a compromise was proposed by James Wilson of PA, “to count every five slaves as three, thus ‘three fifths’ (60 percent) of the slave population would be counted for representational purposes. It was a compromise, though not a perfect solution, and many in the North saw it as unfair.” Ibid, 15. Italics in original.

[iv] Ibid, 55-56.

[v] Ibid, 61. Brackets sections added for clarity.

Posted in Christian Perspective

Black Hearts: False Narratives and American Slavery

Unfortunately, we live in a period of history that has forgotten its past. Not an uncommon occurrence by any stretch of the imagination. Some things are forgotten accidentally. Others are forgotten purposely. Those who want to control the narrative go to great lengths burying that which transgresses their view of reality.

Initial Motivations…

Take for instance the history of our nation’s immigration. What drove the first settlers to the New World in the early 1600’s (17th century) from their homes in Europe? How are we to know? Well it helps to look at the writings from the period.

Rather than seeking to dominate and bind the natives of this land under chains of oppression (a popular narrative today), the early pilgrims wanted an opportunity for a new life. The intention was not tyranny, but living freely and giving the gift of freedom found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is seen in one of the earliest documents of that age, the Mayflower Compact:

In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereigne Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britaine, France, and Ireland king, defender of the faith, etc., having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honour of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northerne parts of Virginia, doe, by these presents, solemnly and mutually in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politick, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enacte, constitute, and frame such just and equall laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meete and convenient for the generall good of the Colonie unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cap-Codd the 11. of November, in the year of the raigne of our sovereigne lord, King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fiftie-fourth. Anno. Dom. 1620.[i]

Later, John Winthrop would compare the desire of the Christian colonists from the Massachusetts Bay Colony to a “city on a hill,” a light of Christ for the world to see.[ii] A clear reference to Matthew 5:14:

  • “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”[iii]

Despite the popular narrative taught in public schools and in many of our prestigious liberal (progressive-leaning) universities, the desire of many who initially settled on this continent was gospel centered.

Making Proper Distinctions…

A useful distinction should always be made between those who bear the Name of Christ in name only. When people fail to offer proper category distinctions, then it leads to false, misleading statements about others (both present and past generations).

For example, the “Crusades” were anything but Christian. Though it is true that the name “Christian” is attached to those historic events, the nature of those wars was anything but Christian.  That is not to say that all wars are antithetical to the Christian worldview, some are. But pillaging, raping, and forcing people to “convert” to the Christian faith by the sword is not what Jesus meant when He told His disciples in the first century, “Therefore go and make disciples of all the nations…” (Matt 28.18). I have read some who have put “make” in the sense of brute force (fiat), but that is not at all what Christ intended for His people to do.

There is another misunderstanding that is common today, but nonetheless false. Those who control the narrative in education, in public media, in politics’, etc. love to push the idea that the white man—particularly those of European descent were all about enslaving the black man in the early colonies. There is no question that in the Antebellum South chattel slavery is a grave sin that this nation is guilty of. Sadly, those who bore the Name of Christ, sought to enforce this false ideology.

With the continued popularization of Critical “Race” Theory we are witnessing a growing divide not just in our nation, but within many of our Christian churches. I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, nor would I claim to be an expert on such things, but I’m not a fool. I know how to read and interpret the Bible, and so when I hear popular Evangelical leaders claiming white Christians need to repent of their wickedness—i.e. the sin of white racism—I get a little sick. The bile from my stomach metaphorically rises to the back of my throat and I want to vomit.

A knowledgeable Christian ought to know that we are all descended from one blood. In Adam, we all have our being in a physical sense. There are not multiple races, but one race: the human race. Yes, there are different ethnicities in this world. We don’t all look the same. We don’t all talk the same. We don’t all dress the same. We don’t all eat or drink the same things, listen to the same sort of music, or enjoy the same type of extracurricular activities. But if we are in Jesus Christ. If we have embraced the gospel of God, and have been born of the Holy Spirit. Then, we are all united in one Spirit, and all superficial distinctions have been wiped away:

  • “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3.28; italics added).

Recommended Read: A Needed History Lesson

Recently, I read a book by a fellow Christian named Ben Kinchlow entitled “Black Yellow Dogs.” I finished it about a month ago, but I wanted my wife to read it so it has taken me a bit to get around to talking about it. I would recommend the book to all who would like to learn a little history lesson on why we had chattel slavery in the past, and who for a hundred years sought to keep our own flesh and blood segregated because of skin color.

The first case of chattel slavery in the United States of America was not perpetrated by the evil white man, but an evil black man. Anthony Johnson, a former indentured servant along with the rest of his family, owned a sizeable plantation (900 acres) “on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.”[iv] Now I realize that some of you might not know what an indentured servant is, so I’ll give a quick explanation. A lot of the people who wanted to come to the New World didn’t have a lot of personal capital. In order to be able to make the voyage over here and start a new life, they would sell themselves to a wealthier person for a period of years (normally 7 years, sometimes less). The government of Virginia would grant such an individual “fifty acres of land”[v] upon completion of their service. Both white and black people did this, and they would also sell their own family members. This was how Anthony Johnson (a black man) was able to gain such wealth in a short amount of time.

Johnson is the first chattel slave owner in American history. He gained this right through a crooked judge. His former indentured servant John Casor (another black fellow) became the first slave on these shores in recorded history. The two individuals who fought to protect John Casor were a couple of white men:

  • “[Robert] Parker and one other influential landowner, both white, sided with Casor, [but] the court ruled for Johnson.”[vi]

According to Kinchlow, “Johnson may have been the first, but he was most surely [not] the only one!”[vii] From 1654, when the Court of Northampton sided with Johnson, until the 1830 census, chattel slavery not only became common practice in our country, but a large percentage of blacks enslaved blacks:

  • “Of the 10,689 free blacks who lived in New Orleans in 1830, more than 3,000 were slave masters. Almost 30 percent of the free blacks in that city own slaves…William Johnson, perhaps Mississippi’s best known free black, was a slaveholder. In 1834, this Adams County native owned roughly 3,000 acres in real property. He speculated in farmland, rented real estate; owned a bathhouse, a delivery firm, and a toyshop; and he rented out his slaves.”[viii]

Kinchlow reports that

  • “According to [the]…1860 census, 261,988 southern blacks were not slaves. One wealthy black sugar planter owned over 100 black slaves and had land holdings valued at over a quarter of a million dollars, making him one of the richest blacks in Louisiana, perhaps one of the richest blacks in the United States. A widow and her son (black) owned a plantation and worked more than 150 slaves. This same census lists several blacks owning sixty-five or more slaves. Blacks in one South Carolina city claimed over $1.5 million in taxable property, including slaves valued in excess of $300,000.”[ix]

Pretty amazing stuff. Not something you’ve probably ever heard. Certainly not something you’ve been taught in a classroom. When I was sharing this information with a fellow brother in the Lord he asked, “Why haven’t we heard this stuff before? How do you know that it is legit?”

My initial response is that the information is out there if you want to find it for yourself. The book by Kinchlow is thoroughly cited, many from primary sources. I also pointed out that worldview bias guides the narrative. This is why you find differences in how a progressive or conservative will report on the same issue.

Take gun violence for example. The way that is phrased tells a lot about the beliefs of one who is presenting the narrative. A progressive will attribute deaths (mass-shootings, etc.) perpetrated with a firearm as “gun violence.” You may run into conservatives using the same language since it is common speech, but their interpretation of the “violence” committed will be vastly different. Guns do not commit violence, people do. Progressives seek to limit the production, sale, and use of firearms; whereas, a conservative will tell a different narrative. They will look at a person’s mental health, previous history, etc., but in the end realize that guns are not the problem, wicked people are.

Back to the issue of slavery. There are those in certain circles that have a particular agenda that they want to thrust upon the public. They want control over a certain sector of society. They want to dominate the lives of others (while increasing their own power and wealth), and so they seek to control the narrative. The fact is “slavery” and/or “racism” are not issues regulated to a person’s melanin content. The issue is sin. This is a spiritual issue, not a colored one; unless you are referring to black hearts.

ENDNOTES:

[i] Bill Bailey, ed., “The Mayflower Compact,” The Federalist Papers Project, Adobe E-Book, 4. Emphasis added. Spelling differences found in the original. May be viewed or downloaded at—https://www.thefederalistpapers.org.

[ii] John Winthrop, “A Model of Christian Charity,” in America’s God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotations, William J. Federer (St. Louis, MO: Amerisearch, Inc., 2000), 425.

[iii] All Scripture unless otherwise noted shall be of the English Standard Version (ESV).

[iv] Ben Kinchlow, Black Yellow Dogs: The Most Dangerous Citizen is not Armed, but Uninformed (New York, NY: WND Books, [2008], 2013), 3.

May be found in: Original MS. Records of the County Court of Northampton. Orders, Deeds and Wills, 1651-1654, p. 10.

[v] Ibid, 1.

[vi] Ibid, 4.

[vii] Ibid, 5.

[viii] Ibid, 6, 7.

May be found in: Mississippi History Now. “A Contested Presence: Free Blacks in Antebellum Mississippi, 1820-1860.” Accessed December 27, 2012 http://mshistorynow.mdah.state.ms.us/articles/45/a-contested-presence-free-blacks-in-antebellum-mississippi-18201860.

[ix] Ibid, 7.

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