Month: July 2013

The Soapbox: Correcting the sins of our fathers

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“We still commit murder because of greed, spite, jealousy. And we still visit all of our sins upon our children. … We refuse to accept the responsibility for anything we’ve done. … You cannot play God and then wash your hands of the things you’ve created. Sooner or later, the day comes when you can’t hide from the things you’ve done anymore.” — Edward James Olmos as Cdr. William Adama, Battlestar Galactica

North America was built on the backs of slaves and the disenfranchised, brought to this continent by its European forefathers to work the land.

It is a difficult reality to face, but it’s the truth, and something that most people have owned up to in one sense or another in the centuries since.

Slavery has been condemned, its practitioners for the most part chastised, and the practice abandoned. But the grim fact remains that settlers from England, France and other nations abducted men and women from their homes in Africa and the Caribbean and moved them here against their will to work without compensation.

It is one of this content’s darkest moments. Coupled with the treatment of the First Nations people in Canada and south of the border, it paints a very clear picture of the horrors of colonialism in a time when the rights of human beings had not fully been established or acknowledged.

But times have changed. The bulk of the Western world now lives in nations built on the tradition of a constitution, in which the rights of every man, woman and child are protected.

The same cannot be said for many of the nations from which those slaves were taken.

This is the assertion of Ralph Gonsalves, prime minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

According to the Huffington Post, Gonsalves has been spearheading an effort by more than a dozen Caribbean nations to demand recompense and apologies from the three European nations responsible for much of the Atlantic slave trade: Britain, France and the Netherlands.

Though constitutions and promises and other measures exist to curb the impact of slavery at home, and there have been some efforts to restore nations whose economies were jeopardized by the practice, it holds true that the actions of those men who first settled North America — the slave traders who abducted innocent individuals — have echoed through the centuries.

The economic disparity, discrimination and disenfranchisement that entire segments of populations in the Caribbean and even within our own countries feel is a direct result of the practice.

“The apology is important but that is wholly insufficient … we have to have the appropriate recompense,” Gonsalves told the Associated Press.

He’s absolutely correct. No amount of money will fix the intangible damages done by the slave trade, but it could go a long way to helping these nations.

And a genuine apology just might reverberate within those European nations — and across the world.

The alternative? Let the disparity, discrimination and disenfranchisement continue.

Which seems the better option to you?

Help Us To Know Your Ways

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John 13:7
The Message (MSG)
7 Jesus answered, “You don’t understand now what I’m doing, but it will be clear enough to you later.”

In this life, we have an incomplete view of God’s dealings, seeing His plan only half finished and underdeveloped. Yet once we stand in the magnificent temple of eternity, we will have the proper perspective and will see everything fitting gracefully together!

Imagine going to the mountains of Lebanon during the reign of Israel’s great King Solomon. Can you see the majestic cedar? It is the pride of all the other trees and has wrestled many years with the cold north winds! The summer sun has loved to smile upon it, while the night has caused its soft leaves to glisten with drops of dew. Birds have built their nests in its branches, weary travelers and wandering shepherds have rested in its shade from the midday heat or taken shelter from the raging storms. And suddenly we realize that this old inhabitant of the forest has been doomed to fall victim to the woodsman’s ax!

We watch as the ax makes its first gash on the cedar’s gnarled truck. Then we see its noble limbs stripped of their branches as the tree comes crashing to the ground. We cry out against the wanton destruction of this “Tree of God,” as it is distinctively known, and express our anger over the demolition of this proud pillar in the forest temple of nature. We are tempted to exclaim with the prophet Zechariah, “Wail, O pine tree, for the cedar has fallen…!(Zech. 11:2), as if inviting the sympathy of every less-majestic plant and invoking inanimate things to also resent the offense.

We should not be so quick to complain but should follow the gigantic tree as the workmen of “Hiram King of Tyre” (2 Chron.2:3) take it down the mountainside. From there we should watch it being sailed on rafts along the blue water of the Mediterranean. And finally, we should behold it being placed as a glorious and polished beam in the temple of God. As you contemplate its final destination, seeing it in the Holy of Holies as a jewel in the diadem of the Almighty King, can you honestly complain that this “crown jewel of Lebanon” was cut down, removed from the forest, and placed in such a noble setting? The cedar had once stood majestically in nature’s sanctuary, but “the glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house”(Hag.2:9)

So many people are like these cedars of old! God’s axes of trials have stripped them bare, and yet we can see no reason for such harsh and difficult circumstances. But God has a noble goal and purpose in mind: to place them as everlasting pillars and rafters in His heavenly Zion> And He says to them, “You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God”(Isa.62:3). I don’t ask my cross to understand, my way to see-Better in darkness just to feel Your hand, And follow Thee.

1950, 1963,2013, What’s It Matter- We Still Hate

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What do the deaths of Sanford, Fla., teenager Trayvon Martin, Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi and former Marine Kenneth Chamberlain have in common? The fact that they are perceived as “the other” by mainstream society, due to the fact that they were not white (Martin and Chamberlain) or straight (Clementi). It is this “otherness” which compels people to dismiss their deaths as acts of racism and homophobia. Racism and other phobias have evolved into the demonization of “the other,” a reflection and byproduct of changing demographics, and the inability of those to adapt to these changes due to either fear or the wish to return to the “good old days.”These are not isolated incidents but a symptom of a new racism that is not perpetuated just by white but also by people of color, as in the case of George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin’s killer who is of Hispanic descent. This new racism stems from the need to identify with the dominant ideal of being American, which in our society still means being heterosexual and white. These perpetrators have internalized the new racism (and homophobia) by seeking to be a member of the dominant society and targeting individuals whom they don’t consider their equals. Examples of this disturbing trend abound in the press and are highly influenced by socio-economic factors such as education and class. In the case of Clementi, it was a young man of Indian descent who felt it was right to harass his white roommate as he felt his alleged homosexuality was his “otherness,” an excuse to victimizing him. In the shooting of Trayvon Martin, it was the same “otherness” which compelled Zimmerman, a man of mixed heritage, to single out and target a young black boy perceived as “the other” assumes he was “up to no good.” Often people choose to believe hate crimes happen are isolated incidents and that they don’t reflect the feelings of the larger society. They prefer to define the criminal(s) as just “bad people” who are not necessarily racist or homophobic. But the reality is different and it reflects a still pervasive racism, or fear of “the other,” by mainstream, white and heterosexual society. These expressions of racism are not limited to actual killings. Every time a person thinks of the other as being less educated, or immigrants, or a from a different ethnicity, styles of dress or any reasons to justify the denomination of someone, this new racism is at work. Something we all should reflect as we see these hate crimes increasing in front of our eyes.

 

 

 

 

Racist polarization, promoted in theatrical fashion by the corporate media, distracts people from the real cause of class and racial division — an economic and social system designed for exploitation and predation by a hereditary elite. If we are feeding on each other, if we perpetually with the passing of each generation fall victim to class and racial warfare, we will never recognize the real criminal class victimizing us all.

 

What’s going on here? What are the figures in the picture of gummy bears thinking? [This guy’s different; why is he a different color? Why is she not the same as us; others seem to feel the same way; should we eat it?] What is the figure in the middle thinking? [Why are they surrounding me? I feel pretty uneasy here; why are they all pink? Where are my friends? Are they going to eat me? I wish I was at home in bed] Have you ever felt this way? Out of place. In the wrong place at the wrong time. In the minority? Surrounded by difference and the unfamiliar? Perhaps the object of derision? Perhaps a victim Today we’re going to be looking at three different things…three “ism’s”. Racism. Sexism. Classism. The reason for this is that, even though compared to our various class of people we may feel, as Americans, that we are pretty much ok regarding these three words…the reason is that these “ism’s” exist in our country, in our province, in our city, in our neighborhoods and, shockingly perhaps, even here…in us. Now we probably think of ourselves as a pretty tolerant people.

 

America prides itself on its diversity. Since the days of Immigrants migrating to America we have valued the fact that we’re a multicultural society. We’re multi-ethnic, multi-language, multi-faith, multi-everything people. There was an ad recently in the newspaper of a middle-eastern country that had encouraged radical fundamentalists to kill a Canadian. An Australian dentist, in response wrote the following to help define what a Canadian is, so they would know one when they found one. A Canadian can be English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian, Jamaican, Romanian or Greek. A Canadian can be Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, from the Islands, Korean, Guinean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, Arab, Pakistani or Afghan. A Canadian may also be a Cree, Metis, Mohawk, Blackfoot, Sioux, or one of the many other tribes known as native Canadians. A Canadian’s religious beliefs range from Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu or none. So, apparently, Canada is a pretty diverse country. Yet in all of its diversity I want to suggest that we are not immune from these three “ism’s”, among others. Let me ask you: What is racism? [The belief that differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.] What is sexism? [Discrimination or devaluation based on a person’s sex, as in restricted job opportunities; esp., such discrimination directed against women]. What is classism? [a biased or discriminatory attitude based on distinctions made between social or economic classes.] So these are biases. Prejudices. Boxes that we put people in. Decisions that we make about people before we know them…based on what they wear, what kind of money they have, or based on the color of their skin and based on being male or female. So…so what? Isn’t that just part of life? Isn’t it best just to accept this stuff and get on with the difficult business of living? And if these kind of attitudes show up in the church…well…what do you expect?…the church is made up of people just like everybody else…nobody’s perfect, right? Hmm. I wonder. Well…the church belongs to God, right? What does God have to say about all this? First, let’s look at a passage from James that pretty much hits the nail on the head regarding social equality. James 1:1 My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 2 Suppose someone comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor person in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the one wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the one who is poor, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. James, the brother of Jesus, is addressing a problem that was both a common practice in general and something that was going on in the early church in Jerusalem. And it’s something that happens today. The first thing James does is identify the problem: Favoritism. And then he explains what he means. An interesting little tidbit of information…this verse, or the issue that this verse addresses, is part of the reason CATM exists. You see, back before Church at the Mission emerged out of a merger between Alamo Community Church and Battle Street Mission’s Church on the Street at Lincoln Ave, and before Church on the Street existed, we had a problem. A great many youth and older folks who were coming to the mission on Battle Street became Christians. That wasn’t the problem. The problem was, we didn’t see ourselves as a church. So when people became Christians we would send them off to churches around the city. They would go, and they would feel extremely out of place. Extremely uncomfortable, kind of like our friends here. Maybe it was due to their clothing. Maybe it was due to the formality they found. Maybe it was their aroma. Whatever the reason, they would go to these churches and then they would come back to us, by the dozens, and say to us: “We are comfortable at the mission. We don’t fit anywhere else”. So we would go with them and try to coach them through connecting with a local congregation. They would come back to us by the dozen and tell us: “The mission is where we learned about Jesus. This is where we accepted Christ. This is where we are being discipled. This is where we are accepted for being who we are. This is where we were baptized. So…you…be…our…church”. We heard that about a hundred times and then we started to wonder: “Do you think God is saying something to us?” So, because our friends who were coming to Jesus were not welcomed and not made to feel accepted or comfortable at other churches, we started Church on the Street, which eventually merged with Alamo Community Church and became “us” today. That’s a little history for you. It’s important to know where we came from. So…back to James. The first thing James does is identify the problem: Favoritism. And then he explains what he means. James 1:1 My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favouritism. 2 Suppose someone comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor person in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the one wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the one who is poor, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Notice here the way James sets this up. He’s observing a distinction between the way believers and non-believers act. The distinction, and why it matters, is based in Jesus. Those without a connection to Jesus, those who do not know Jesus as Lord, may act in an opposite manner as it suites them. But for us…for those who recognize the beauty and glory and majesty and Lordship of Jesus, there is a different standard. That standard is rooted in God’s attitude, most notably expressed in Romans 2:11 “For God does not show favouritism”. That seems pretty clear. James talks here about the way a person presents. Do we have nice jewellery? Fine clothes? Things that I want, that I have? “Hmm, you’re one of us…Oooo…please, please sit here and enjoy the best seat in the house. Let me tuck in your bib”. Why might that approach be less than desirable to God for His people? [Superficial preference; it’s about our comfort with familiarity over being welcoming to others] Or, “Do your clothes need a wash? Are they worn? Do you mind standing, it seems we’re short of chairs. Or better yet, sit on the floor by my feet and I’ll toss you some bread”. What’s going on there? [Superficial preference; viewing people’s worth through their clothing, status] Unspoken Scripture on PPT: “1 Sam 16:7b The LORD does not look at the things human beings look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” Now we might think that we’re just accustomed to feeling comfortable with people who dress like us, who have what we have. We might be inclined to say: “It’s only natural”. But James, in his rather blunt way, says: “No. That’s not it. Don’t be deceived. “Have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” Ouch. So what I consider “natural” social difference, “normal” distinctions, perhaps I would even like to frame it as a type of positive ‘discrimination’, James is saying; God is saying: These are evil thoughts. Thoughts that are not of God. Social class distinctions are counter to the Kingdom of God. They separate us when God is about unity. They divide along superficial lines when God’s intention is to unite all people in Jesus. James goes on: 5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. James hits on a profound truth that’s been true for a very long time. Wealth…where we live and how much padding is in our bank account…insulates us from suffering but also from each other. And the privileges of wealth tend to hide from people their neediness. If we’re not aware of physical hunger, we may not be able to identify spiritual hunger. If we’re not tuned into the neediness in the depths of our stomachs we may have a great deal of difficulty tuning into the neediness in the depths of our souls. Of course it’s natural to want to be safe. To have enough. To have what is necessary to live. To avoid suffering at all costs. There’s a built in problem here though. I sometimes hear people responding in shock to the experience of suffering, when it happens to them. When a loved one dies or a child develops diabetes or we find ourselves less-able that we use to be in some fashion. We can quickly question God. Where were You when my child died, God? Where were you when my brother died? When that child was abducted? When I was suffering and going through hell? And I have to ask something…why wasn’t I asking that same question when a hundred other children were suffering? When someone else’s brother or sister or mother or father was dying? Why wasn’t I upset enough to question God then…Why did it take my own suffering to make me wonder, to make me ask my questions? Wealth insulates you from my suffering, if you’re wealthy. My wealth prevents me from entering your pain…enough to really care for you, enough to be enraged at the injustice of life. Enough to be close to the suffering of others, in part so that when I suffer personally…when my child is in hospital or my brother is dying…I have a connected perspective. Suffering is not new to me, because I have dared to be close to others who are suffering. The Bible’s condemnation of classism is nothing more or less than a rejection of the notion of people separating themselves along lines that DO NOT matter. God’s intention is that the church be a place where all people come as equals under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. There are other lines that DO NOT matter. There are other ways that people distinguish themselves from each other which are counter-Kingdom. Paul talks about some of these lines. Galatians 3:26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. TNIV An American couple adopted a son from Korea and named him Eric. Several years went by. Eric was now five years old. The family was having lunch in a restaurant, and Eric made conversation with a boy at the next table. The boy asked Eric, “Why don’t you look like your mom?” Eric replied, “Cause she’s a girl.” This passage of Scripture from Galatians is about what family Christians belong to, and what Christians look like. We look like our father. Galatians 3:26 says, “In Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.” Briefly, Paul’s main concern as he wrote to the Galatians was the fact that there were some within the ranks of the Galatian church who said that the ritual of circumcision had to happen before a person received Christ. They were locked into the notion of fulfilling this requirement of the Old Testament law. If you didn’t agree, you were second-class at best. This of course was a serious threat to the gospel. Paul counters this argument effectively in many ways earlier on in the letter to the Galatians, but here…here he gets at the heart of the matter. Differences between people that used to matter…racial differences– being a Jew or a Gentile (a non-Jew)…does it matter any more in Christ? No! Are there differences? Of course! Do they matter enough to separate us? Of course not! Class differences-Paul uses the biggest class difference of his day and a terrible, unavoidable reality of his day-Paul use the biggest class difference he could think of to illustrate his point– If you were a slave or a free person…does it elevate or diminish you in God’s Kingdom, in the church of Jesus Christ? Of course not! And what about gender differences? Are there differences between the sexes? Of course! Do they matter so that those differences should impact our communal life together? Of course not. But why? Why don’t obvious differences make any difference to God? V.26 “In Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith…” We have “clothed ourselves with Christ”. And this most important thing that we have in common…we are children of God through faith in Jesus Christ alone…this similarity dwarfs and actually eradicates any other difference. And this does not just apply to salvation. Some would say that Christ unites us across racial lines and class lines and gender lines for salvation only, but that for things like leadership in the church and elsewhere, those lines still have relevance. The only problem with that is Paul is not separating salvation and function in his statement. Slaves in the church were precise equals with free-people. A slave was as likely to be an elder in a church as someone who was not a slave. People of different classes were to be precise equals with each other. A poor person was just as likely as someone wealthy to be a deacon or elder. And men were to be precise equals with women. That’s why we have examples in the Scriptures of women who were in key leadership roles like Priscilla, Dorcas…and one of them – Junias sometimes translated Julia – was, as Paul said in Romans 16: “Outstanding among the apostles”. A female apostle!?! Hmm! That’s why in a society in which women were not counted as full members of a Jewish congregation and were discouraged from studying the law, Jesus taught women along side men. Christ is the One who breaks down barriers and blurs distinctions. There are no such lines of discrimination in Christ. The reason the Word of God speaks out against racism and classism and sexism is those things are all AGAINST LOVE. And it is love to which we are called…to live lives of love among one another and in our community and more profoundly toward God. And as profound as love for God can be and should be, God truly, truly cares about how we treat one another. And God has made it very, very clear that we are to treat one another as equals, as fellow children of God. We talk about these things because we believe in the value of understanding the Word of God and one another. We believe in regularly challenging our attitudes to make sure they line up with the Word of God. So when the world comes to the door of this mission…when every tribe and every tongue shows up here at CATM, we can welcome one and all with open arms. When leaders in the church emerge from every grouping, we can celebrate our unity in Christ in the midst of our racial and ethnic and economic diversity. When you see pastors standing before you, male or female…you have the liberty to celebrate that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Amen? Amen!!!

 

 

Been There, Done That, Now What?

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Ethical Culture (also sometimes called Ethical Humanism) is the name of an evolving body of ideas that inspires Ethical Societies. Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity (Humanist Manifesto III). For Ethical Humanists, the ultimate religious questions are not about the existence of gods or an afterlife, but rather, “How can we create meaningfulness in this life?” and “How should we treat each other?”

Ethical Humanism is clear about the essential role that ethical principles play in human relationships. Despite how uncertain we might feel about our personal standards–or how best to apply them–for an Ethical Humanist, there are unquestionably acts that are good and evil, right and wrong. In order for human beings to have good lives, love must prevail, truth must be respected, honesty esteemed, justice secured, and freedom protected. Learning how to realize these ideals in personal and political relationships is the purpose of Ethical Societies.

I am not surprised by the moral decay of our leaders in congress nor the church, we are humans. There has been contingencies made by our “Ancient of Old” He gave his only Son for us to have life more abundantly. We are called to pray for our human community, the lost and regenerated. I remember not long ago I practiced serving my own desires. I thank God His spirit convicted me today of the thoughts I entertained to go back to that vomit He delivered me from. These men are no different than you and I. Use your God given discernment and not judgment to learn from these public officials that had it not been for the grace of God, there go I.

This is a generation with unparalleled opportunity:
We have travelled further faster than any people before us.
Any area we cannot visit in person, we can virtually experience via the technology of video.
Our music is replayed from Compact Discs providing fidelity unimagined twenty years ago. The next techology, DVD’s that provide higher highs and lower lows.
Immediate world-wide communication is available via the internet. I can begin plumbing the research depths of some of the world’s most outstanding libraries within five minutes of sitting down at my computer.
Education is available in any method you want to receive it.
Knowledge is doubling every seven years.
Somehow, in spite of, or perhaps because of some of these things, we have become a jaded people. It is hard to excite us. We are a set of phlegmatic personalities. We have seen too much, been too many places, dome too many things. In the words of young people who refuse to admit being outdone by one of their peers – Been there, done that!

Partied all night – “Been there, done that!”
Man, I had a hang over like you wouldn’t believe – “Been there, done that!”
Spent the night with her, (or him) – “Been there, done that!”

I. The jaded face of “Been there, done that!” – Drugs and Alcohol
A. In the U. S. 1) 70% of high schoolers have tried marijuana; 2) 62% of teens believe drinking is bad, but continue to drink.
B. Teenage drinking, to use of the words of the Surgeon General, is “out of control.” Statistics from his office show that of the 20.7 million middle school and high school students nationwide, eight million of them drink alcohol at least once a week. Nearly 18% of them admit that they “binge” (take five or more drinks at one sitting) every week.
C. About 9% of the babies born each year (375,000+) have been exposed to illegal drugs in the womb. U.S. News & World Report, Dec 13, 1993
D. Cocaine was used by about 6 million Americans in the month before a survey was taken by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
E. Each year some 375,000 babies (approximately ten percent of all newborns in the United States) are exposed before birth to illegal drugs, most commonly cocaine. Some hospitals in major cities like New York and Los Angeles report that 20% or more of their newborn patients suffer from prenatal exposure to narcotics. “Innocent victims” by Anastasia Toufexis. Time, May 13, 1991. Pages 56-60.
F. The drug problem in America has become a national scandal. It is believed that use of marijuana, LSD, and heroin are no longer the major problem. Rather it is the 4 to 6 million regular users of cocaine, especially in its easy to use form called crack. Cocaine addiction and use knows no social or economic boundaries. A high lasts only 5 to 20 minutes from one dose, and is followed by an immediate crash.
G. “Crack is cocaine fast food.” It has been processed to a ready- to-smoke stage. When smoked, it can produce a full-blown high in less than 10 seconds. But the high doesn’t last long, and addiction may occur after one binge; with depression following. The setting for these binges centers around crack spots, where crack is sold for take-out, or crack houses where a high can be bought and experienced.
H. The problems most often addressed in company-sponsored employee assistance programs, according to The Wall Street Journal, are: substance abuse, dealt with by 99% of companies surveyed; . . .
I. Drunk drivers are responsible for the deaths of 20,000 people on U.S. highways each year, and another 300,000 are injured in alcohol-related auto accidents. In addition, 90,000 Americans die from alcohol-related conditions (cirrhosis of the liver, certain types of cancer, etc.) annually. Each year 5,000 infants are born with fetal alcohol syndrome. Drinking drives the crime rate higher, too: 49% of all murders or attempted murders, 52% of all rapes and sexual assaults, and 68% of all manslaughter convictions involve alcohol. Friends Journal, Sep 1993
J. Church leaders seem blind to the drug problem within their congregations. 92% of pastors surveyed said drug abuse was a problem in their communities; only 18% saw it as a problem in their congregations. Yet, surveys of churched and unchurched youth don’t bear out that optimism. 80% of churched youth reported drinking beer as compared to 88% of the unchurched; 38% of the churched have tried marijuana, while 47% of the unchurched have done so. 22% of the churched have tried amphetamines/barbiturates with compared with 28% of the unchurched. 11% of the churched have used cocaine in comparison to 14% of the unchurched. “The church’s drug of choice” by David Lynn. Eternity, Nov 1988. Page 20.
K. In negotiating a new seven-year, $1 billion contract to televise its basketball tournament, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) decided to limit the playing time of beer commercials to 60 seconds per hour. NCAA officials said university administrators identify alcohol abuse as the number- one problem on campuses across the country
L. At 14, star actress Drew Barrymore had been in drug/alcohol abuse treatment twice. Group, Apr 1989. Page 12.
M. Almost 50% of U.S. college students are binge drinkers, according to a nationwide survey of 17,592 students, the results of which were recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Washington Post Weekly, Dec 12, 1994
N. “An estimated 10.5 million Americans are alcoholics, but that is only a fraction of the number of people affected by the disease.” Approximately 67 million Americans (43% of adults in the United States) have had to cope with alcoholism in their families.
O. The economic costs of alcohol abuse, currently some $128 billion a year, are projected to hit a whopping $150 billion by 1995. “Everybody loves a drunk” by Joe Schwartz. American Demographics, Mar 1992. Page 13.

II. Sexuality –
A. 60% of 16-18-year-olds have had sex.
B. 1.1 million girls will become pregnant this year; about 400,000 will abort their babies.
C. Almost 33% of births are to an unmarried mother.
D. The median number of sexual partners for the American male is 7.3, according to a survey of 3,321 men aged 20 to 39. The study also found that nearly one out of four said they had had more than 20 sex partners, and slightly more (28%) reported having had only one to three partners. Single Adult Ministries Journal, Issue 99, 1994

III. We are a “Been there, done that!” generation. “If it feels good, do it, is the adage of our day.” We have become hard to shock, we have seen it all, heard it all, done it all. My question for this evening – “What happens when you’ve been there, done that and none of it has brought you satisfaction.” There are two individuals in the scripture who can give testimony.

IV. One is Solomon, the son of David. He is the writer of the book of Ecclesiasties. It is a virtual history of his life. Let’s listen in on Solomon’s quest for satisfaction in life.
A. Eccl 2:3 (KJS) I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what [was] that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life. {to give…: Heb. to draw my flesh with wine} {all…: Heb. the number of the days of their life} . . . 2:10And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour.

B. Wine – Solomon could say, “Been there, done that!” Now listen to his testimony. I’m sure yours will agree.

C. v. 11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all [was] vanity and vexation of spirit, and [there was] no profit under the sun.

D. Now listen to his testimony concerning promiscuous sexuality, the free-love of our age – Eccl 7:25 (KJS) I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason [of things], and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness [and] madness: 26 And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart [is] snares and nets, [and] her hands [as] bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.

E. So Solomon, you’ve “Been there, done that, now what?” Eccl 12:13 (KJS) Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether [it be] good, or whether [it be] evil.

V. Woman at Well
A. John 4:13 – Married five times, now living in adultery
B. John 4:13 (KJS) Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. 16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.

VI. When your “Been there, done that” is religion.
A. Nicodemus – John 3:
B. John’s Disciples – Acts 19:1-6
1. Baptized 20+ years ago
2. Received a revelation.

VII. The thing they both discovered could satisfy them – God

Thankfully, the Lord treats all of us alike, and He wants us to treat each other the same way.
In matters not what race or gender,
Rich or poor or great or small,
The God who made us is not partial;
He sent Christ to die for all.
Bribery displays partiality; love displays justice.

When Will I See “We Shall Overcome” In America?

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Are African Americans part of the “Lost Tribes” mentioned in the Bible? Discover the true 10,000 year history of Black people — and why others tried to erase it! What happened to the doctors, writers, scientists, builders, educators and spiritual leaders from Africa’s Golden Age? And who did they really capture and sell into slavery? Are all African Americans suffering from mental illness because of this conspiracy to hide the truth? Read Psychic Trauma, and take the test on page 22 of this book and find out!

I speak today for the dignity of man and the destiny of Democracy. I urge every member of both parties, Americans of all religions and of all colors, from every section of this country, to join me in this cause.

At times, history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man’s unending search for freedom. So it was at Lexington and Concord. So it was a century ago at Appomattox. So it was on the night of February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, United States. There, long suffering men and women peacefully protested the denial of their rights as Americans. Many of them were verbally assaulted. Many blacks have fallen in this part of the country without reprisals.

There is no cause for pride in what has happened in Sanford, Florida. There is no cause for self-satisfaction in the long denial of equal rights of millions of Americans. But there is cause for hope and for faith in our Democracy in what is happening here and now. For the cries of pain and the hymns and protests of oppressed people have summoned into convocation all the majesty of this great government–the government of the greatest nation on earth. Our mission is at once the oldest and the most basic of this country–to right wrong, to do justice, to serve man. In our time we have come to live with the moments of great crises. Our lives have been marked with debate about great issues, issues of war and peace, issues of prosperity and depression.

But rarely in any time does an issue lay bare the secret heart of America itself. Rarely are we met with a challenge, not to our growth or abundance, or our welfare or our security, but rather to the values and the purposes and the meaning of our beloved nation. The issue of equal rights for African Americans is such an issue. And should we defeat every enemy, and should we double our wealth and conquer the stars, and still be unequal to this issue, then we will have failed as a people and as a nation. For, with a country as with a person, “what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

There is no Black problem. There is no Southern problem. There is no Northern problem. There is only an American problem.

And we are met here today as Americans–not as Democrats or Republicans; we’re met here as Americans to solve that problem. This was the first nation in the history of the world to be founded with a purpose.

The great phrases of that purpose still sound in every American heart, North and South: “All men are created equal.” “Government by consent of the governed.” “Give me liberty or give me death.” And those are not just clever words, and those are not just empty theories. In their name Americans have fought and died for two centuries and tonight around the world they stand there as guardians of our liberty risking their lives. Those words are promised to every citizen that he shall share in the dignity of man. This dignity cannot be found in a man’s possessions. It cannot be found in his power or in his position. It really rests on his right to be treated as a man equal in opportunity to all others. It says that he shall share in freedom. He shall choose his leaders, educate his children, provide for his family according to his ability and his merits as a human being.

To apply any other test, to deny a man his hopes because of his color or race or his religion or the place of his birth is not only to do injustice, it is to deny Americans and to dishonor the dead who gave their lives for American freedom. Our fathers believed that if this noble view of the rights of man was to flourish it must be rooted in democracy. This most basic right of all was the right to choose your own leaders. The history of this country in large measure is the history of expansion of the right to all of our people.

Many of the issues of civil rights are very complex and most difficult. But about this there can and should be no argument: every American citizen must have an equal right to vote, the equal right to life and liberty and prosperity. There is no reason which can excuse the denial of those rights. There is no duty which weighs more heavily on us than the duty we have to insure those rights. Yet the harsh fact is that in many places in this country men and women are kept from voting and simply walking the streets and working simply because they are Black.

Every device of which human ingenuity is capable, has been used to deny these rights. The Black citizen may go to register only to be told that the day is wrong, or the hour is late, or the official in charge is absent. And if he persists and, if he manages to present himself to the registrar, he may be disqualified because he did not spell out his middle name, or because he abbreviated a word on the application. And if he manages to fill out an application, he is given a test. The registrar is the sole judge of whether he passes this test. He may be asked to recite the entire Constitution, or explain the most complex provisions of state law. He may even be asked for Identification and the most ingenious new question, “Are you a felon”? All of which have been devised to oppress a tribe of people that only want equality.

And even a college degree cannot be used to prove that he can read and write. For the fact is that the only way to pass these barriers is to show a white skin. Experience has clearly shown that the existing process of law cannot overcome systematic and ingenious discrimination. The “Stand Your Ground Laws” Disenfranchisement laws for equality to work for felons and let us not forget the NRA’s secretive believes such as “WWB’ and BWWH.(walking while black or Black wearing hoody) laws that allows all blacks to be open season for those who care to get a stab at the American dream of book deal after the senseless murder of black humans. No law that we now have on the books, can insure the right to vote, work or live or co-exist with a white supremacy agenda when local officials are determined to deny it. In such a case, our duty must be clear to all of us. The Constitution says that no person shall be kept from voting or equality because of his race or his color.

And we shall overcome.

A century has passed–more than 100 years–since equality was promised, and yet the Black is not equal. A century has passed since the day of promise, and the promise is unkept. The time of justice has now come, and I tell you that I believe sincerely that no force can hold it back. It is right in the eyes of man and God that it should come, and when it does, I think that day will brighten the lives of every American. For Blacks are not the only victims. How many white children have gone uneducated? How many white families have lived in stark poverty? How many white lives have been scarred by fear, because we wasted energy and our substance to maintain the barriers of hatred and terror?

And so I say to all of you here and to all in the nation tonight that those who appeal to you to hold on to the past do so at the cost of denying you your future. This great rich, restless country can offer opportunity and education and hope to all–all, black and white, North and South, sharecropper and city dweller. These are the enemies: poverty, ignorance, disease. They are our enemies, not our fellow man, not our neighbor.

And these enemies too–poverty, disease and ignorance–we shall overcome.

Now let none of us in any section look with prideful righteousness on the troubles in another section or the problems of our neighbors. There is really no part of America where the promise of equality has been fully kept. In Chicago as well as in Los Angeles, in Sanford Florida as well as Washington, D.C., Americans are struggling for the fruits of freedom.

This is one nation. What happens in Sanford and Chicago is a matter of legitimate concern to every American. But let each of us look within our own hearts and our own communities and let each of us put our shoulder to the wheel to root out injustice wherever it exists.

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“Right-wing conservatives and left-wing radicals here in the U.S. must be willing and able to sit down at the same table, look across the table at each other and see not an enemy, a target or a statistic, but a brother, a sister, a fellow American, another child of God. We must expand our hearts and enlarge our identity beyond ‘my people’ to include and embrace all of Creation.”

You don’t have to teach people how to be human. You have to teach them how to stop being inhuman.
Eldridge Cleaver

I feel that I am a citizen of the American dream and that the revolutionary struggle of which I am a part is a struggle against the American nightmare.
Eldridge Cleaver

What America demands in her black champions is a brilliant, powerful body and a dull, bestial mind.
Eldridge Cleaver

The “paper tiger” hero, James Bond, offering the whites a triumphant image of themselves, is saying what many whites want desperately to hear reaffirmed: I am still the White Man, lord of the land, licensed to kill, and the world is still an empire at my feet.
Eldridge Cleaver

I have always said that the basic problem in America is confusion. I know I am an American; I am an Afro-American, which means that I’m Afro and I’m American. I know the American people, and I know the ideals that are instilled in one. I know how they are imbedded in the heart, you see. You have to look at the process of the formation of the American character structure, look at the children in American grammar schools, the high schools and look at the ideals that are implanted in them there. The children of America are the ones I consider to be the citizens of the American dream. First this foundation, all these ideals–the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and the Rights of Man, the Lord’s Prayer, all of these things that no one can really attack, these things that have inspired people everywhere–are implanted in the hearts and minds of the children of America. (Conversations With Eldridge Cleaver, 1970)

Eldridge Cleaver, convict and black activist, wrote Soul on Ice, his memoir to illustrate his view of America’s black population prior to and during the 1960s. America, the staunch supporter of liberty, yet the vehement condoner of slavery, had its paradox hurled at its face. The nation awoke to grim reality—America’s innards, the basis of 200 years of political action, were being ripped to shreds. Realizing that the nation was on the highroad to political equality, Cleaver plunged into a reverie of self-discovery. At first, he loathed the white man, showing his hatred by raping white women because he felt compelled to avenge his black sisters raped by white slaveholders. Then, he joined the Black Muslims, who followed Elijah Muhammad and his racist gospels. However, the revolutionary zeal of the white youth snared at him, and he was soon arm in arm with Malcolm X and his acceptance of white civil rights supporters. Revealing America’s racist innards inside its façade of equality and fraternity, Cleaver’s Soul on Ice communicates the militant and disgusted mindset of black power supporters.

Cleaver first grew aware of his status as a Black American at San Quentin prison. He instantly hated the white oppressors and America’s elevated slavery. Resenting “how the white man…used the black woman” in the days of slavery, Cleaver rapes a white girl, spitting on the white man’s laws, and reaping pleasure from “defiling his women.”1 He repudiates the notion that black men find white women attractive; rather, the white supremacy drills its idea of beauty into the black man simply by its omnipresence. From their youth, blacks were forced “to see the white woman as more beautiful and desirable than his own black woman.”2 Thus, the rape was a rebellion—a way to get back at the overlords. Cleaver’s fellow black convicts feel the same way about white women and would do the same thing. This vehement anger and resentment turns slowly to Cleaver’s loneliness. With passionate rhetoric, Cleaver longs for a woman’s company to feel warm and radiant once more, and Beverly Axelrod, his lawyer, fills that need. They fall in love, and correspond. Cleaver believes this is unusual: the convict does not “hold on [to] the ideals and sentiments of civilization,” because all society “shows the convict its ass” and expects him to “kiss it.”3 Although it was strange for a convict to fall in love with such a mindset, the fact that he feels this love towards his lawyer makes the situation astonishing. No matter how bizarre the relationship, Cleaver claims that she was the beacon that pulled him out of dark, slow death.

Cleaver dives into a passionate recalling of “the Christ”, the man who taught him to be tolerant of other races. “The Christ,” whose actual name was Lovdjieff, refused to grade Eldridge Cleaver’s paper because it was racist, and forced him to entertain the thought of unity with the white race. The next few pages follow Eldridge Cleaver through his day at Folsom prison, where the librarian refuses to give him books about sex or controversial issues. Eldridge Cleaver comments on the Watts revolution, and expresses the pride of several of the black prisoners: “Watts was a place of shame,” but blacks soon exclaimed, “I’m from Watts, Baby!”4 The uprising at Watts had made the blacks proud because they saw a usurpation of the American social order.

The black people were an ignorant bunch. Cleaver claims that in the 1960s, most of them were afraid of General Motor, and in the dark as to how to get their share of money. Most blacks “have no bank accounts, only bills to pay.”5 The poverty of the black people limit them from rising to any kind of economic power level that might influence politics. The police also subdue blacks as well. As the armed “guardians of the social order,” they are the only serious threat to the black population’s march for freedom. Cleaver states that there is a great sense of property amongst Americans as seen through the soldier in Vietnam is only following orders like a mindless toy, like he belongs to someone else. It’s this property mindset that keeps the black people in constant humiliation—they have nothing.

Cleaver sums up the rest of his memoir with passionate letters to Miss Beverly Axelrod, his lawyer, and an analysis of sexuality in society’s classes. The “Omnipotent Administrators” prefer mind over body: “he is markedly effeminate and delicate by reason of his explicit repudiation …of his body.”6 These men are of the elite, and their women, the “Ultrafeminine,” abdicate their domestic functions to become, in contrast to weak elite men, more delicate. Ultrafemininity bathes in the envy of the women of the lower classes. The Ultrafeminine reject the domestic apparatus of the female hemisphere, and thrust it onto the women of the lower classes: the Amazons. The Amazons envy the Ultrafeminines. They are attracted to the power embodied in the elite man because he is the mind, while the “Supermasculine” Menial, men of the lower classes, are the body. Power, the primeval envy of the Amazon, attracts her to elite men, but “she is also attracted to the body of the Supermasculine Menial,” for physical strength.7 Thus she is lost between two worlds. Cleaver explains that men and women of the elite and lower classes are opposing sides of a Primeval sphere, which for the reasons of strength and power—physical and mental—pull one toward the other.

In harsh, unforgiving tones, using key events of the Sixties as examples, Cleaver hurls accusations at the white race and reveals the mindset of many Black Power activists of the Sixties. Muhammad Ali vs. Floyd Patterson, the confrontation between the rebels and the “Uncle Toms,” rocked America’s foundations. Ali “was the first ‘free’ black champion ever to confront” the “Uncle Toms,” black suppressors of the Negroes. Consisting of movie and sports celebrities, Uncle Toms cooled the revolutionary masses down in the name of the white overlords, promising extensive reforms and quoting any minute civil rights bill. The Uncle Toms were the white man’s slave: Floyd Patterson “reflected a desire to force the Negro …back in his ‘place.’”8 When Muhammad Ali knocked Patterson out, the older generation received a concussion to its head. America was a land of paradoxes with no common ground in between. The differences therefore had to be kept separate and the ugly sides to the land of freedom had to be buried. This odd paradox existed because of the notion of white superiority. In order to justify slavery and segregation, the white man “elaborated a complex and pervasive myth which at one time classified the black man as subhuman beasts of burden.”9 With the guiding star of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, both forged by white men, he believed justice was bestowed upon all; the white received the privileges since they possessed the intellect clearly seen on the plantations, and the black received what the pea-brained, good-for-nothing slave justly deserved in white eyes. On the plantation, it was easy to differentiate the black and the white; the white did the thinking and gave the orders, the black did the work. This practice created the myth of white man’s superior intelligence.
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Attorney General Eric Holder blasted “stand-your-ground laws” in the wake of the acquittal of George Zimmerman for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin—saying such laws cause more violence than they prevent.

Mr. Holder, speaking to the NAACP Annual Convention in Orlando, Fla., not far from where Mr. Zimmerman was acquitted last week, took direct aim at stand-your-ground laws, which say a person can use force in self-defense without first attempting to retreat from the situation.

“Separate and apart from the case that has drawn the nation’s attention, it’s time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods,” Mr. Holder said, according to his prepared remarks.

In speaking out publicly against such laws for the first time, Mr. Holder is taking aim at the gun-rights groups that promote such laws and linking them to the death of Trayvon Martin.

Twenty-five states, including Florida, have adopted some version of stand-your-ground laws. While the law was a factor in the initial investigation of the Martin shooting, lawyers for Mr. Zimmerman didn’t base their defense on the law, arguing instead that their client had no option of retreat, and therefore the stand-your-ground principle didn’t apply.

The speech marked the second day in a row that Mr. Holder spoke publicly about the Martin killing. Mr. Zimmerman over the weekend was found not guilty of all charges in the case, a decision that sparked protests across the country, and some rioting in Los Angeles Monday night.

Mr. Martin, a black teenager, was walking to his father’s house in Sanford, Fla., from a nearby convenience store in the early evening when he was spotted by Mr. Zimmerman, a neighborhood-watch volunteer who thought Mr. Martin was suspicious. Mr. Zimmerman, who is Hispanic, called 911 and began following Mr. Martin, leading to a confrontation in which the 29-year-old Mr. Zimmerman shot the teenager.

Mr. Holder’s Justice Department is investigating Mr. Zimmerman to see if he should be charged with federal hate crimes or civil-rights violations, but legal experts say the chances of such charges being filed—or won in court—are small.

Mr. Holder’s remarks echo comments made by gun-control advocates following the Zimmerman verdict, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has said “stand your ground” promotes a “shoot first” approach to public confrontations.

“These laws try to fix something that was never broken,” Mr. Holder argued, saying pre-existing self-defense law allowed the use of deadly force if no safe retreat is possible. If a person is attacked in their own home, there is no duty to retreat.

“By allowing—and perhaps encouraging—violent situations to escalate in public, such laws undermine public safety,” Mr. Holder said. “We must stand our ground to ensure that our laws reduce violence, and take a hard look at laws that contribute to more violence than they prevent.”

In his turn of the century treatise, The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. Du Bois wrote,

“Between me and the other world there is ever an unasked question: unasked by some through feelings of delicacy; by others through the difficulty of rightly framing it. All, nevertheless, flutter round it. How does it feel to be a problem?”

Everyone has problems. It is the human condition. No amount of wealth. No racial privilege. No righteousness of purpose and action leads to a life without problems. Everyone has them.

But Du Bois was pointing to something different. Not just having problems, but being a problem. How does it feel to be a problem? To have your very body and the bodies of your children to be assume to be criminal, violent, malignant.

How does it feel to be trapped on the roof of your home as the flood waters rise and be called a refugee?

How does it feel to wear the symbol of your faith and be assumed to be a terrorist threat to your own nation?

How does it feel to have the president who looks like you demanded to produce proof of his citizenship?

How does it feel to know that when you speak the language of your parents, you will be assumed to be illegal?

How does it feel to know that if you marry the person you love, some will say you are destroying the very fabric of the nation?

How does it feel to fear sending your son to the 7-Eleven for a bag of Skittles on a rainy night?

Du Bois wrote of black men,

“He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American, without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without having the doors of Opportunity closed roughly in his face. This, then, is the end of his striving: to be a co-worker in the kingdom of culture, to escape both death and isolation, to husband and use his best powers and his latent genius.”

This is the dream that will guide us as we continue the struggle.

Another African American Experience

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President Obama Joins the “I Am Trayvon Martin” Chorus

President Obama reminded the world that he is a black man in America. Who knew? At a surprise appearance on Friday at the White House, Obama spoke for the first time on the verdict in the Trayvon Martin murder trial. Obama reminded the world that the African-American experience in America, particularly for men, creates a set of circumstances where black men are used to being feared and accustomed to the disparity with which they are treated by the law.

Obama personalized the experience of the black man in America by saying he too knows what it is like to have drivers lock their doors and women clutch their purses in his presence. Obama echoed the experiences of Eric Holder who recently said that he too had experienced what it was like to be a target simply because you are a black man.

Obama brought the bully pulpit to bear in describing the imbalance of justice afforded black men in America. In so many ways, he gave America a taste of the “conversation” that Holder spoke about having with his 15-year-old son and that Geraldo Rivera talked about having with his sons.

It is that conversation that fathers of minority children have when explaining how to deal with a biased criminal justice system in a day-to-day existence. It is a conversation with a goal of providing pragmatic advice to combat a system that targets and arrests black men at higher rates than any other ethnicity in America.

In Obama’s speech he basically recounted what we know already. The rules of the game, based on past and current history, are stacked against black men. We already know the statistics. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that one in 15 African-Americans are incarcerated and one in three can expect to be incarcerated in their lifetime. Black men are profiled at alarmingly higher rates than others in America. They receive longer sentences for similar crimes holding constant for age, criminal history, and location. Dennis Parker, director of the ACLU’s Racial Justice Project, notes that a Department of Justice report on racial profiling found that “black people are three times more likely to be searched during a traffic stop, twice as likely to be arrested, and almost four times as likely to experience the use of force during encounters with the police.” The Sentencing Project found that African-American youth have higher rates of juvenile incarceration and are more likely to be sentenced to adult prisons. The Department of Education found that African-American students are arrested more than white classmates. Black men are arrested at four times the rate of white men for possession of marijuana, even though usage rates among blacks and whites are numerically equivalent.

Scott Rasmussen wrote, “There’s a reason most black Americans believe our justice system is out to get them.”

When, Trayvon Martin was murdered, Obama gave a speech where he said if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon. Today he reminded the world that he looks like Trayvon too.
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A recent article on PolicyMic in the wake of the Trayvon Martin verdict sparked my interest, not because of the contents of the article itself, but because of the comments that followed. The young white woman in the video that the article linked to claimed that middle-class whites who take up the “I am Trayvon Martin” rallying cry are, in fact, deluding themselves if they believe the cultural education that they have received doesn’t teach fear of black people. Most of the white commenters responded angrily, denouncing the video and claiming that they were never taught to be racist. I could not adequately respond in the comments so I decided to write a letter and publish it here.

Dear White People of America,

I know you weren’t taught to be racists. Your parents were/are good people who worked hard and never hated anyone. You went to decent schools and have lived in diverse places. You publicly espouse tolerance for everyone. I know you weren’t taught to be racists. But somehow many of you have absorbed, if not racist attitudes, then certainly prejudiced ones.

Though I know that it will be viewed as such in many quarters, I don’t intend this opening to be inflammatory. What I want is to spark a real conversation around race, privilege, and perception, a conversation that has been sorely lacking in America and which is not happening in any meaningful way even in the wake of the Zimmerman verdict. Whites, blacks, and other minorities keep talking past each other regarding race. If we are to prevent the tragic deaths of more children, then this has to stop.

America’s current issue with race is not the problem of old. The KKK doesn’t roam the streets looking for people to lynch anymore. Nooses no longer adorn trees, dangling “strange fruit” as a warning to black people to stay in their place. Governors don’t stand in school house doors proclaiming the never-ending reign of segregation. Our current problems are deeper and much harder to talk about. They are as deep as our thoughts, and few alive today were taught by any authority figure in our formative years to actively hate. But somehow, we have absorbed the lesson that we should actively fear.

That’s what George Zimmerman did. He actively feared a young black kid walking home from the store in the dark. Why? Zimmerman’s father was a judge, someone dedicated to upholding a colorblind law. I seriously doubt that he taught his soon that black people were a threat. So who did? Why did George Zimmerman, and why do so many of you, so actively distrust and fear black youth that laws that could justify the killing of such youth are allowed?

How did this irrational fear creep into our national culture and indoctrinate us? I have no real answers to that question. I suspect that it has something to do with media portrayals of black people coupled with the realities of minority poverty. Shows that portray white criminals tend to do so in a sort of fantasy of storytelling. Who is likely to meet an Italian mobster in their everyday life? Conversely, shows like The Wire and Oz purport to portray a “slice of life” in black neighborhoods. We are much more likely to meet people like those characters, black men with a violent streak. Hip-hop has, for years, been one-dimensionally viewed as violent and disruptive. And who makes hip-hop? Black males. The murder statistics out of Chicago are appalling and splashed all over the news. Black kids are shown as dropouts and dope dealers, gang-bangers and thugs. With so many violent and negative portrayals, it’s no wonder that many of you unconsciously think of black men as a threat.

Here is a painful admission. I, a black man, harbor much of this fear as well. I too have been indoctrinated to fear black males. My heart rate quickens and I begin to look for possible avenues of escape when I see an unknown black man approaching on the street, especially if he is wearing “thug clothes.” I roll up my windows when a black person pulls up next to me in a jacked-up Cadillac blasting rap.

If I can own up to the fear, white people, I think you should too. Let’s all stop hiding behind the “I’m not a racist” excuse and admit that we do fear the Other, especially if the Other is a black male. Let’s look at what we consume in the media and how our culture shapes us and admit that it just might be affecting how we think about minority males.

White people, I know you weren’t taught to be racist. But if the effects are the same — if innocent kids can be gunned down and the killers can get off and even be defended by whites as “being within their rights,” if you can still pass laws that disenfranchise and impoverish minorities without protest, if you can carry on as if everything is OK when black people are dying in the streets of our cities — then how am I to tell the difference? I’ll take you at your word that you’re not racist and weren’t taught to be so. But until you can admit that many of you harbor an irrational fear of black men, then we can’t really begin the process of making all of us safer.

Sincerely,

A Black Man

FELONY DISENFRANCHISEMENT

Nationally, an estimated 5.85 million Americans are denied the right to vote because of laws that prohibit voting by people with felony convictions. Felony disenfranchisement is an obstacle to participation in democratic life which is exacerbated by racial disparities in the criminal justice system, resulting in 1 of every 13 African Americans unable to vote.

Supreme Court Invalidates Key Part of Voting Rights Act

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday effectively struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by a 5-to-4 vote, freeing nine states, mostly in the South, to change their election laws without advance federal approval.

The court divided along ideological lines, and the two sides drew sharply different lessons from the history of the civil rights movement and the nation’s progress in rooting out racial discrimination in voting. At the core of the disagreement was whether racial minorities continued to face barriers to voting in states with a history of discrimination.

“Our country has changed,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority. “While any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.”

The decision will have immediate practical consequences. Texas announced shortly after the decision that a voter identification law that had been blocked would go into effect immediately, and that redistricting maps there would no longer need federal approval. Changes in voting procedures in the places that had been covered by the law, including ones concerning restrictions on early voting, will now be subject only to after-the-fact litigation.

President Obama, whose election as the nation’s first black president was cited by critics of the law as evidence that it was no longer needed, said he was “deeply disappointed” by the ruling.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg summarized her dissent from the bench, an unusual move and a sign of deep disagreement. She cited the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and said his legacy and the nation’s commitment to justice had been “disserved by today’s decision.”

She said the focus of the Voting Rights Act had properly changed from “first-generation barriers to ballot access” to “second-generation barriers” like racial gerrymandering and laws requiring at-large voting in places with a sizable black minority. She said the law had been effective in thwarting such efforts.

The law had applied to nine states — Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia — and to scores of counties and municipalities in other states, including Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx.

Chief Justice Roberts wrote that Congress remained free to try to impose federal oversight on states where voting rights were at risk, but must do so based on contemporary data. But the chances that the current Congress could reach agreement on where federal oversight is required are small, most analysts say.

http://nyti.ms/148VK31

True Rewards Of A Committed Life To Jesus

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commitment


2 Chronicles 16:9
The Message (MSG)
7-9 Just after that, Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said, “Because you went for help to the king of Aram and didn’t ask God for help, you’ve lost a victory over the army of the king of Aram. Didn’t the Ethiopians and Libyans come against you with superior forces, completely outclassing you with their chariots and cavalry? But you asked God for help and he gave you the victory. God is always on the alert, constantly on the lookout for people who are totally committed to him. You were foolish to go for human help when you could have had God’s help. Now you’re in trouble—one round of war after another.”

Wow!!, God is looking for men and women whose hearts are firmly fixed on Him and who will continually trust Him for all He desires to do with their lives. God is ready and eager to work more powerfully than ever through His people, and the clock of the centuries is striking the eleventh hour. The world is watching and waiting to see what God can do through a life committed to Him. And not only is the world waiting but God Himself awaits to see who will be the most completely devoted person who has ever lived: willing to be nothing so Christ may be everything; fully accepting God’s purposes as his own; receiving Christ’s humility, faith, love, and power yet never hindering God’s plan but always allowing Him to continue His miraculous work.

There is no limit to what God can do through you, provided you do not seek your own glory. George Mueller, at more than ninety years of age, in an address to ministers and other Christian workers said, “I was converted in November 1825, but I didn’t come to the point of total surrender of my heart until four years later, in July 1829.
It was then I realized my love for money, prominence, position, power, and worldly pleasure was gone. God, and He alone, became my all in all. In Him I found everything I needed, and I desired nothing else. By God’s grace, my understanding of His sufficiency has remained to this day, making me an exceedingly happy man. It has led me to care only about the things od God.

And so, dear believer, I kindly ask if you have totally surrendered your heart to God, or is there something in your life you refuse to release, in spite of God’s call? “Before the point at which I surrendered my life, I read a little of the scriptures but preferred other books. Yet since that time, the truth He has revealed to me of Himself has become an inexpressible blessing. Now I can honestly say from the depth of my heart that God is an infinitely wonderful Being. “Please, never be satisfied until you too can express from your innermost soul, ‘God is an infinitely wonderful Being!'”

My prayer tonight is that God would make me an extraordinary Christian in Jesus name..

Perfect Fit

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perfect

Exodus 26:1-11 (The Message)
1 “Make The Dwelling itself from ten panels of tapestry woven from fine twisted linen, blue and purple and scarlet material, with an angel-cherubim design. A skilled craftsman should do it. 2 The panels of tapestry are each to be forty-six feet long and six feet wide. 3 Join five of the panels together, and then the other five together. 4 Make loops of blue along the edge of the outside panel of the first set and the same on the outside panel of the second set. 5 Make fifty loops on each panel. 6 Then make fifty gold clasps and join the tapestries together so that The Dwelling is one whole. 7 “Next make tapestries of goat hair for a tent that will cover The Dwelling. Make eleven panels of these tapestries. 8 The length of each panel will be forty-five feet long and six feet wide. 9 Join five of the panels together, and then the other six. Fold the sixth panel double at the front of the tent. 10 Now make fifty loops along the edge of the end panel and fifty loops along the edge of the joining panel. 11 Make fifty clasps of bronze and connect the clasps with the loops, bringing the tent together.
Ephesians 2:21 (The Message)
21 that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day – a holy temple built by God,

Too long, Too short. Too big. Too small. Too tight. Too loose. These words describe most of the clothes I try on. Finding the perfect fit seems impossible. Finding a church that is a “perfect fit” poses similar problems. Every church has something that’s not quite right. Our gifts aren’t recognized. Our talents aren’t appreciated. Our sense of humor is uncomfortable.

We feel as if we don’t fit. We struggle to find our place. We know, however, that God wants us to fit together with one another. The apostle Paul said we are being “built together to become a dwelling in which God lives” (Eph. 2:22 NIV).

The believers in the church today, like the tabernacle in the days of Moses and the temple in the days of Solomon, are the dwelling place of God on earth. God wants us to fit together-for there to be no divisions in His church. This means that we, the building blocks, are to be “perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgement”. No church will be a perfect fit, but we can all work at fitting together more perfectly.

Christ’s love creates unity in the midst of diversity.

They Don’t Really Know About Us!!!!!

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For the second time in a week, a conservative blog has published excerpts from what it described as a Twitter feed maintained by Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager who was shot and killed last month by a neighborhood watch volunteer patrolling a gated community.

The new blog post on the dead teenager’s social media account, which features an image of him making an obscene gesture and quotes from a message that includes an abbreviation for an obscenity, was posted on The Daily Caller, a site founded by Tucker Carlson, a conservative pundit, and Neil Patel, who once worked as an adviser to former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Since it was reported later on Thursday that a white supremacist hacker recently broke into social media accounts apparently maintained by Trayvon Martin, it is possible that the photograph of the obscene gesture could have been created through digital manipulation and might not be genuine.

In an update to the original Daily Caller post, the blog points out that The Orlando Sentinel had published an almost identical image of the teen, in which he was not making that gesture. Perhaps unaware that the teen’s Twitter account had reportedly been hacked, the Daily Caller blogger did not raise the possibility that the gesture might have been added recently in Photoshop, writing: “It’s likely that the two images were successive photos shot from the same camera at roughly the same time. It’s also remotely possible, but less likely, that Martin himself added the hand before posting the image to his Twitter account.”

Like the site’s previous post on another Twitter feed apparently maintained by Trayvon Martin, the information published on Thursday seems to have been selected to reinforce the argument that the victim of the fatal shooting was a menacing figure who might plausibly have been mistaken for a criminal. That impression is reinforced by the fact that while the post mentions and links to what appears to be a MySpace account set up by Trayvon Martin in 2009, The Daily Caller’s editors chose not to display any of the many photographs posted there that show him in a far softer light: holding up a birthday cake with his name on it, fishing with his father, dressed in a suit for his prom, looking excited to inspect an aircraft engine.

Similarly, the selection of Twitter updates published on Monday by The Daily Caller was accompanied by what appears to be a profile photograph he used, in which he was wearing a grill, a type of removable dental jewelry associated with rappers, but did not show or discuss the eight other Twitpic photographs associated with and linked to from the account. Those images — a bag of candy, a pencil drawing of the name ‘Tray’ sketched by his girlfriend; a school lunch; a tattoo of his mother Sybrina’s name; portraits of two girls; a football field; a new pair of sneakers — which remain online even though the associated Twitter account has been closed, paint an image of a fairly ordinary teenager’s life.
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The Daily Caller’s selection of messages posted to that account — which used a nickname featuring a word that is a racial slur on African-Americans, but has been reclaimed by some young people as a term of endearment — includes several riddled with obscenities, but excludes others that might make the author seem more sympathetic, like a poignant update posted last month that read: “You never notice da bad until all da good gone away.”

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BILL HAS GONE AND DONE IT AGAIN…

They’re standing on the corner and they can’t speak English.
I can’t even talk the way these people talk:
Why you ain’t,
Where you is,
What he drive,
Where he stay,
Where he work,
Who you be…
And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk.
And then I heard the father talk.
Everybody knows it’s important to speak English except these knuckleheads. You can’t be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth.
In fact you will never get any kind of job making a decent living.

People marched and were hit in the face with rocks to get an Education, and now we’ve got these knuckleheads walking around.
The lower economic people are not holding up their end in this deal.
These people are not parenting. They are buying things for kids.
$500 sneakers for what?
And they won’t spend $200 for Hooked on Phonics.

I am talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit.
Where were you when he was 2?
Where were you when he was 12?
Where were you when he was 18 and how come you didn’t know that he had a pistol?
And where is the father? Or who is his father?
People putting their clothes on backward:
Isn’t that a sign of something gone wrong?
People with their hats on backward, pants down around the crack, isn’t that a sign of something?

Isn’t it a sign of something when she has her dress all the way up and got all type of needles [piercing] going through her body?
What part of Africa did this come from??
We are not Africans. Those people are not Africans; they don’t know a thing about Africa …..

I say this all of the time. It would be like white people saying they are European-American. That is totally stupid.
I was born here, and so were my parents and grand parents and, very likely my great grandparents. I don’t have any connection to Africa, no more than white Americans have to Germany , Scotland , England , Ireland , or the Netherlands . The same applies to 99 percent of all the black Americans as regards to Africa . So stop, already! ! !
With names like Shaniqua, Taliqua and Mohammed and all of that crap ……… And all of them are in jail.

Brown or black versus the Board of Education is no longer the white person’s problem.
We have got to take the neighborhood back.
People used to be ashamed. Today a woman has eight children with eight different ‘husbands’ — or men or whatever you call them now.
We have millionaire football players who cannot read.
We have million-dollar basketball players who can’t write two paragraphs. We, as black folks have to do a better job.
Someone working at Wal-Mart with seven kids, you are hurting us.
We have to start holding each other to a higher standard..
We cannot blame the white people any longer.’

~Dr.. William Henry ‘Bill’ Cosby, Jr., Ed..D.

WELL SAID, BILL
It’s NOT about color…
It’s about behavior!!!
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Lance Gross Shares Letter To George Zimmerman: This Is ‘What It’s Like To Be A Black Man’

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Stevie Wonder won’t be performing in Florida anytime soon.

In the wake of the George Zimmerman acquittal, the singer said he would not be performing in the Sunshine State until its Stand Your Ground law is “abolished.” He also said he would not be performing in any other state that recognizes the law, which some say contributed to Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26, 2012.

“I decided today that until the Stand Your Ground law is abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again,” Wonder said Sunday while performing in Quebec City. “As a matter of fact, wherever I find that law exists, I will not perform in that state or in that part of the world.”
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George Zimmerman’s recent acquittal in the fatal 2012 shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin has sparked widespread protests and reactions across the country, with many of Hollywood’s elite leveraging their social influence to add their voices in response to the trial’s verdict.

Actor Lance Gross is the latest celebrity to weigh in on the jury’s decision. Gross took to his Instagram account on Sunday to share an open letter, written by Alex Fraser, that was addressed to the 29-year-old former neighborhood watchman:Zimmerman was found not guilty of second-degree murder for fatally shooting the teen on Saturday evening. Following the verdict, the Department of Justice released a statement on Sunday detailing that they’re continuing to evaluate whether federal prosecutors should file criminal civil rights charges against the neighborhood watchman.


Some people are too quickly satisfied with Jesus’ blessings, others are never satisfied with Jesus’ blessings. These extreme types remind me of two stories.
A food editor of the local newspaper received a telephone call from a woman inquiring HOW LONG to cook a 22-pound turkey. “Just a minute,” said the food editor, turning to consult a chart. “Thank you very much,” replied the novice cook, and hung up!
In a region of Mexico HOT AND COLD SPRINGS are found side by side. Because of the convenience of this natural phenomenon the women often bring their laundry, boil their clothes in the hot spring and then rinse them in the cold spring. A tourist watching this procedure commented to his Mexican guide, “They must think mother nature is generous to freely supply such ample clean hot and cold water.” The guide replied, “No, señor, there is much grumbling because she does not supply the soap.”

hopeless and depressed group of lepers had huddled together outside one of the many villages on the border of Samaria and Galilee. They were marked men and possibly women, for their inflamed, scaly, splotchy skin condemned them as people to be avoided. Their common misery forced different races of outcast together, in spite of inter-racial hatred, as, in a flood, wolves and sheep will huddle close on a spot of high ground.
It was a despised fellowship drawn together in mutual wretchedness and in permanent separation from others. [They were outcast like many in third world countries who have AIDS are today.] Into this deplorable seemly hopeless scene walks Jesus and lives are given the opportunity to change. Those lives that day sought and received external physical change for that was all they were after. Being satisfied they went on their way. Those that did missed out on the greatest blessing Jesus offers to the one who returns to Him.
May I ask you a personal question? Have you too been satisfied with the external blessings that you have received from Jesus and gone on about your life? Or, in your gratitude, have you returned to Him and received an internal change that is eternal and for which you are continually grateful?

I. THE LEPERS’ CRY, 12-14a.
II. THE HEALING OF THE OBEDIENT, 14b.
III. THE RETURN OF THE THANKFUL, 15-16.
IV. THE LORD’S REACTION, 17-19.

While Jesus was headed toward His crucifixion He passed through Samaria. The Jews had no dealings nor friendship with these mix breeds and considered that even meeting them made one [ceremonially] unclean. But it seems that the diseased and afflicted of all races joined together in leper colonies. Verses 11-13 begin the story of the encounter Jesus had with ten lepers. “And it came about while He was on the way to Jerusalem; that He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. And as He entered a certain village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; and they raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
Levitical law prescribed the distance that lepers were to be separated from non-infected people (Lev. 13:38-46; Num. 5:2-4). Thus in order to be heard they had to cry aloud. It must have been an effort for one of the effects of leprosy is a hoarse whisper. Desperate need though often gives the body heightened physical power.
Their cry for mercy indicates that they had some knowledge of Jesus. They had heard stories of the Compassionate Healer that ministered health to those with incurable physical debilities. They had heard He was coming or perhaps they recognized Him, but in any case they addressed Him from afar.
They called Him by name, “Jesus, Master have mercy on us.” The word Master in the Greek means “Chief Commander”[ έπιστάτα -epistáta]. They recognized that Jesus was commander and chief even over disease. The question was would Jesus have mercy. Would one such as He help those such as them? Those who have been beaten down by people and difficult circumstances in life don’t often find persons capable and compassionate enough to help.
So they cry out for mercy because in Him they experienced a germination of hope and faith touching them in their desperate need. But even their dire situation had not caused them to look at their deeper even more serious need, so they called out for Him to meet their physical need. They want Jesus to be nothing more than a fixer of life, a healer of body and circumstances. As earthy and fleshy as their desires were, they did open themselves up to Jesus so that His mercy could touch them. Jesus’ mercy is ever ready to flow into every situation and life, just as water naturally flows to the lowest levels.

The answer to the ten lepers comes quickly from what we discover in verse 14a. “And when He saw them, He said to them, Go and show yourselves to the priests.”
Jesus seems to have approached the lepers for it was when He saw, not when He heard, that He spoke to them. Jesus was not one to cry aloud in the streets, nor does He simply cure from afar but He draws near to those He heals that they may see His kind face and be touched by His compassion and love.
His command to show themselves to the priests recognized and honored the law (Lev. 14:1-32), as the unclean had to be declared clean to reenter society. But the main purpose of His command was no doubt to test and thereby to strengthen the lepers’ faith. For them to set out to the priests while they saw and felt themselves full of leprosy would seem absurd, unless they believe that Jesus could and would heal them. He gives no promise that He would heal but asks for obedience and in the obedience there was the implication of healing. He utters no outward word of sympathy. His compassion is not released through His words or treatment. He simply speaks a command. [Maclaren, Alexander. Expositions of Holy Scripture. Baker. Grand Rapids. 1974. pp. 128-129.]
You too may be told to be obedient and never experience the compassion that Jesus has for you. Yet never doubt that His direct commands come from a heart of love. We too will sometimes be asked to act on the assumption that Jesus will grant our request even when we see no evidence of it. We too will sometimes need to set out in obedience as we, so to speak, still feel the leprosy or affliction.

II. THE HEALING OF THE OBEDIENT, 14b.
In the second half of verse 14 we learn what occurred on the walk to Jerusalem. “And it came about that as they were going, they were cleansed.”
The ten of them set off at once. They had gotten the word they wanted from the Lord and thought little more about Him. So they turned their backs on Him and headed off. How strange the experience must have been. For as they walked in obedience to His command they begin to feel the gradual creeping sense of soundness returning to their bodies! How much more joyful and confident their steps must have been as health returned and asserted itself in their bodies! The cure is sent forth in silence from Christ. His very thought and their obedience to His word effected the cure. He willed, and as they walked in obedience to His word, it was done.
The lepers responded in faith and Jesus healed them on the way. Many times our spiritual, mental, emotional and yes physical healing comes to us as we respond in faith to Jesus’ forth-right commands. Be it to wash in the Jordan [2 Kings 5:1-14] or to minister the Word of life to a neighbor or in far off Africa, we need to heed His word to us. Is your trust in God so strong that you will act on what He says even before you see evidences that it will work? I hope we do not need to be reduced to the desperate need of a leper to be so inclined.

III. THE THANKFUL RETURN, 15-16.
Verse 15 records the one recipient with a responsive, grateful soul. “Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice.”
One man was moved by gratefulness to acknowledge the significance of what had been done for him. When he realized that he was healed, thanksgiving and praise awakened within him. So he turns back to offer praise. Was it disobedient to turn back to give thanks? It is never disobedient to be thankful. A grateful heart knows that its first and highest duty is to give thanks. How like us all this scene is. God does something marvelous and we hurry away clutching our blessings and never cast a thought back to the Giver!
What a miracle had occurred. The awful incurable disease that had rob them of life and isolated them from life was taken away in a simple act of obedience. You might have expected all ten to return rejoicing and praising Jesus and thanking Him for a new start in life, but only one does. This leper’s voice had returned to Him and His loud public praises were very different from the strained croak of his plea for healing. He knew that he had two to thank, God and Jesus. He did not yet realize that these two were one.

Verse 16 continues to tell of the exuberant thankfulness of the responsive soul. “And he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan.”
Because of His healing he can come much nearer to Jesus now. So he runs to Jesus and falls at His beautiful feet. At the feet of Jesus in a posture of worship he pours out the love in his heart with thanksgiving. Thankfulness brings us close to Jesus and knits our heart to Him.
Jesus healed all ten lepers, but only one returned to thank Him. It is possible to receive God’s great gifts with an ungrateful spirit–nine of the ten men did so. Only the thankful man, however, learned that his faith had played a role in his healing; and only grateful Christians grow in understanding God’s grace. God does not demand that we thank Him, but He is pleased when we do so. He then uses our responsiveness to teach us more about Himself.
Jesus notices those who come back to say, “Thank you.” In fact, according to Malachi 3:16, what we say concerning the things the Lord has done for us, His blessings to us, His faithfulness to us are written in a Book of Remembrance. Some parents keep a book in which to record their children’s first words, first steps, and growth. So, too, the Lord keeps a books recording the words, walk, and growth of His children. The question is, how big is yours? I suggest the Lord needs many volumes to contain the thanksgiving of some of His kids. For others, a single pamphlet will do.
When a prostitute began to wash Jesus’ feet with her tears and dry them with her hair, Jesus said to his host, “When I came into your home, you didn’t greet Me with a kiss or wash My feet”—which means that Jesus not only notices what people do, but what they fail to do for Him (Luke 7:44–46). How many blessings has the Lord given me today without my even pausing to say “Thank You”? [Courson, Jon: Jon Courson’s Application Commentary. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2003, S. 386.]
Again Luke points out that the grace of God is for everybody. This new man was a Samaritan. A race despised by the Jews as pagan idolatrous half-breeds. The heathen and the rejected who have no reason to expect mercy often are deeply touched by kindness when others who always think they deserve more are never grateful for what they do receive.

In the trial of Trayvon, the US is guilty – Opinion

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When I was a child I watched policemen beat a man nearly to death, and I watched my country acquit them. I was shocked that police would attack a man instead of defending him. I was shocked that someone would record the attack on video and that this video would mean nothing. I was shocked that people could watch things and not really see them. I was shocked because I was a child. I was shocked because I am white.

Twenty-one years after the Rodney King verdict, Americans have proven again that in a court of law, perception matters more than proof. Perception is rooted in power, a power bestowed upon birth, rectified through experience, and verified through discrimination masked as fairness and fact.

Trayvon Martin is dead and the man who killed him walks free. Americans are afraid there will be riots, like there were after the King verdict in 1992. But we should not fear riots. We should fear a society that puts people on trial the day they are born. And after they die.

Recession-fueled racism

The Trayvon Martin trial was not supposed to happen. This is true in two respects. The Trayvon Martin trial only took place because public outrage prompted Florida police to arrest George Zimmerman, the man who killed him, over a month after Martin’s death. The Trayvon Martin trial took place because that same public went on to try Martin in his own murder, assessing his morality like it precluded his right to live. It was never a trial of George Zimmerman. It was always a trial of Trayvon Martin, always a character assassination of the dead.

Over the past few decades, the US has turned into a country where the circumstances into which you are born increasingly determine who you can become. Social mobility has stalled as wages stagnate and the cost of living soars. Exponential increases in university tuition have erased the possibility of education as a path out of poverty. These are not revelations – these are hard limitations faced by most Americans. But when confronted with systematic social and economic discrimination, even on a massive scale, the individual is often blamed. The poor, the unemployed, the lacking are vilified for the things they lack.

One might assume that rising privation would increase public empathy toward minorities long denied a semblance of a fair shot. But instead, overt racism and racial barriers in America have increased since the recession. Denied by the Supreme Court, invalidated in the eyes of many by the election of a black president, racism erases the individual until the individual is dead, where he is then recast as the enemy.

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Trayvon Martin was vilified for being “Trayvon Martin”. If he were considered a fully human being, a person of inherent worth, it would be the US on trial. For its denial of opportunity, for its ceaseless condemnation of the suffering, for its demonization of the people it abandons, for its shifting gaze from the burden of proof. The Trayvon Martin case only sanctioned what was once tacit and disavowed. A young black man can be murdered on perception. A young black man becomes the criminal so that the real criminal can go free.

Americans should not fear riots. They should fear a society that ranks the death of children. They should fear a society that shrugs, carries on, and lets them go.

A tragedy

A friend of mine on Facebook posts updates from a website called ” Black and Missing but Not Forgotten “. The site exists because the default assumption is that a black and missing child will be forgotten. It exists because the disappearance of a black child is considered less important than the disappearance of a white child. It exists because a large number of Americans has to be reminded that black children are human beings.

In June, the Supreme Court invalidated part of the Voting Rights Act , stating that “our country has changed”, implying that discrimination against African-Americans was a thing of the past. In May, the city of Chicago shut down majority black public schools. In April, a black high school student, Kiera Wilmont, was prosecuted as an adult after her science project exploded. In February, The Onion called nine-year-old black actress Quvenzhane Wallis an extremely vulgar name. The US that proclaims racism a thing of the past abandons and vilifies black children.

Many Americans, of many races, will be outraged that George Zimmerman has gone free. They will advocate for tolerance and peace. This is a noble sentiment, but what the US needs is a cold, hard look at social structure. We need to examine and eliminate barriers to opportunity, some of which are racially biased in an overt way, but many of which are downplayed because they are considered ambiguous social issues – social issues, like decaying public schools, low-wage labor and unemployment, that affect African-Americans at disproportionate rates.

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Trayvon Martin was murdered before we could see what kind of person he would become. But the truth is, he had a hard road ahead of him no matter what he did. He would have confronted an America of racial and class barriers that even the most ambitious young man cannot override without a good deal of luck.

In a US of diminished opportunities, luck is nothing to bank on. Neither is hope, or dreams, or the idea, espoused by President Obama, that for young black men, “there’s no longer any room for excuses”. Trayvon Martin shows that there is plenty of room for excuses. There is even more room for social and economic reform, for accountability, and for change.

Above all, there is room for responsibility. The death of Trayvon Martin is a US tragedy. He was part of a broken system we all experience, but that black Americans experience in ways white Americans cannot fathom. The children who grow up like Trayvon Martin, discriminated against and denied opportunity, are everyone’s responsibility. Providing them a fairer, safer future should be a public priority.

Americans should not fear riots. They should fear apathy. They should fear acquiescence. They should not fear each other. But it is understandable, now, that they do.

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The Manosphere’s Largest Political Influence

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It is typically assumed that The Manosphere, as it evolves and gains steam, will somehow “counteract” feminism. But the truth is we don’t have such grandiose hopes or dreams of it bringing the universe “back to balance” in some kind of Jedi Knight sort of way. Matter of fact we have no dreams at all, truthfully. It is really just more of a visceral and self-respecting backlash against the communist tyranny cowardly and hypocritically disguised under the cloak of “women’s rights.” Men don’t carry out “crusades” of a political sort. We just fight back our enemies till they don’t bother us again and get back to enjoying our lives (feminists should take note of that).

However, I did realize something and was able to connect two VERY FAR apart dots. And this connection made me realize just how much of a threat The Manosphere is NOT to feminism, but to the general trend and political movement of socialism, communism and tyranny. A threat most liberals and leftists are completely unaware of.

Most of you right now are thinking that this must go through the eye of “feminism=socialism veiled for women’s rights attack destroy” sort of thing. While that is true AND The Manosphere does fight against socialism in that way, the two dots I connected are much further apart, completely different, AND much more significant.

Namely:

Black men, and by extension, minority men.

Anecdotal evidence started piling up as I entered The Manosphere. Houseboy was an ounce of ingredient. My readership being disproportionately black/Hispanic/minority was another ounce of ingredient. And it wasn’t until I saw some traffic coming from this that I realized I was genuinely onto something and my observation was most likely true.

In short, black men are pissed.

Pissed at what?

How black women treat them.

And it is here that I must take the liberty of consolidating an infinite amount socio-political observations of millions of black men and hope that I don’t miss the mark too much.

In short, black American men are further down the feminist rabbit hole than any other American male racial group. Specifically, government feminist policies that, in short, replace the father and men with a government check. Please point to me a community where government check replacing a man has been more successful than in the black community. Single motherhood is the standard with 70% of black births being out of wedlock. Politicians at the state, federal and local levels are all too eager to show how much they care for not just “heroic” single mothers, but single MINORITY mothers to garnish more votes and bribery money. The results to anybody who has been paying attention is obvious. Black men have literally been replaced by the government. They have been discarded, they have been outsourced, they have been replaced by society.

But what is the cost?

Frankly, MULTIPLE lost AND ALIENATED generations of black males.

With generation after generation of black males brought up without fathers, who are taught they are nothing, who have nothing to look up to or mold themselves after, and can simply be replaced with a government check, can you imagine the psychological destitution and torment this wreaks upon a male psychology?

Furthermore, how do you compete?

“Compete against what?” you might ask?

Compete against the politician who uses the trillions of dollars of taxpayer money to pose as the ultra-wealthy bachelor suitor you can never beat. No one single man (again, regardless of skin color) can beat the politician who has access to trillions of dollars of taxpayer money and promises it to you and your children (as long as you vote for him). No strings attached, no discipline or “father is the head of the household” necessary. No, just “here’s the money sweetheart, vote for me!”

Meanwhile black males are relegated (sadly, and I don’t mean this to sound derogatory, but to point out the truth and sadness of it all) to sperm donors with nothing much else to live for.

And you wonder why crime is higher amongst black males.

The reason is there’s nothing left to live for. There’s nothing great or better than themselves. No wife, no family, no children, no future. Thank you politician douchebag for stealing my woman, stealing my family, stealing my children and stealing my future. What else do I have to pursue in my life?

Now, I’m not socio-psychologist. But in my philosophizing and mental meandering I have realized that it is other people that matter the most. Have the most advanced X-Box 360 game, nothing is more engaging, entertaining and mentally stimulating than another human. Humans are dynamic, they are not finite or programmed like an X-Box and they conscientiously CHOOSE to spend their time with you IF they deem you WORTHY enough to hang out with. And that is the TRUE proof or “reward” to another human being that they are worth something. That somebody else “confirms” or “corroborates” that you are a worthwhile human being in the fact they spend their time with you.

Now ask yourself.

What kind of message do we send to the average black man (or any man, I guess) when we tell him that his intellect, his persona, his soul and his personality doesn’t even compare to a government check. That a piece of paper that warrants purchase of other goods is better than him himself.

Well I’ll tell you what that tells him. “You’re a worthless and COMPLETELY unnecessary POS.”

We getting anywhere here now? We starting to realize the situation here?

Now, my political conclusion or “epiphany” should be pretty obvious by now.

Black (and minority men, as well as all men) have been completely screwed over by feminism. However, in the fact that for all men a wife and (maybe) family is the ultimate, darwinistically programmed goal into their genetic DNA, many of them are waking up to the fact that modern day feminism is a bunch of bullshit. Feminism is against a male father figure, it is against men simply being men, and it PREFERS to replace men with the government. However – and this is where the VERY INTERESTING political ramifications come in – NO OTHER RACIAL GROUP has suffered MORE THAN BLACKS under FEMINISM which is NOTHING MORE THAN SOCIALISM DISGUISED UNDER THE RUSE OF “WOMEN’S RIGHTS.”

So what do you think black males are going to do?

My humble opinion is that black males will wake up, if not (by evidence of the links above) they already have. And the primary reason is because political socialism, under the guise of feminism, has destroyed anything for them to live for. Socialists/democrats have taken away their would-be wives, and thus, their would-be children. Socialism under the guise of “feminism” have taken away their families and thus taken away any sort of future for them. And it is here that The Manosphere I believe has it largest potential.

Forget fighting feminism

Forget fighting against single motherhood.

Forget whatever feminist goal post we wish to destroy.

The true political influence of The Manosphere is that we delivered the red pill to black males (as well as all other minority males).

And can you imagine what would happen to the political dynamics of the US if all of the sudden all black American males started to man up and started voting republican?

It is here I believe that political bonds are stronger via gender than race. If push comes to shove EVERY man wishes to have the same thing. If the Chinese were to invade, a whole lot of racist blacks and a whole lot of racist whites would set aside their differences and repel the red horde.

I ask why can’t we unite to fight the much more serious, realistic and present communist feminist horde?

Your Change is Coming

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Change can be very hard. The world is changing so quickly that we awaken with new anxieties each day. Rick Joyner once said that, “change is coming on the world so fast, that the only thing we can count on is change.”

Change even affects the church. Worship music is changing. Worship service is changing. Denominations are changing. Teaching methods are changing. And some of the changes are good, and very good. And others are not so good. We’re all familiar with the expression, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.” Sometimes that’s how it feels in the church. We can be too quick to adapt to worldly influence, especially in the area of music, and in the process we are throwing out the old traditions that moved our parents and grandparents from sin to salvation.

We serve a God of tradition AND a God of change. He is ever changing His methods to reach the lost and dieing, but His message always stays the same.

The most dramatic change a man may face in his lifetime is the change from sinner to saint. God desires that all mankind would experience this change, and He never stops trying to reach each of us with His special delivery message of love. The trouble is that many people miss their opportunity to experience this transformation. So I thought we’d examine the story of Abram’s change to Abraham, to single out the three steps God uses to change a man.

God did three things with Abram that changed his whole life. First, He communicated with Abram; second, He converted Abram; and third, He consecrated Abram.

God communicated with Abram. God can’t do a thing with us until He first establishes a line of communication with us. God actually spoke to Abram, and he listened. He responded positively to God’s conversation. He paid attention and demonstrated his interest in what God had to say. I know what you’re thinking. “If God spoke to me, I’d listen too!” But God speaks to us every day through His Word, and many Christians pick and choose what they will listen to.

• God tells teens to honor their father and their mother, but some just decide to ignore God.
• God tells us to bridle our tongue and refrain from gossip, but some flap their jaws anyway.
• God tells us to be faithful to the church and “forsake not the assembling of yourselves together”, but some visit church only on Christmas, Mother’s Day and Easter. They have a denomination all their own…we call them CME Christians.
• God tells us to forgive our enemies, but we hold grudges for decades.
• God tells us to be faithful to the tithe, but we leave a tip.
• God tells us not to steal, but we take the extra sweeteners from the restaurant so we don’t have to buy them at the supermarket.
• God tells us not to commit adultery, but we buy Harlequin novels, and watch Rated R movies, and listen to music with suggestive lyrics.
God IS speaking to us. The problem is that we have trouble listening. God spoke to all mankind from Calvary’s mountain, through the sacrifice of His only Begotten Son on the Cross. If that doesn’t get our attention, what will?

God said to Abram, “Walk before me, and be thou perfect.” And Abram HEARD God. God may be speaking to you right now. If He is…your change is coming!

God converted Abram. Once God has your attention, He’s not going to leave you in your present state. He’s going to cause a change in you. He’s going to transform you from someone who has a deaf ear to His word, to someone who HEARS His Word and desires to know more about Him. You can be sure that once God’s conversion process is started…your change is coming!

Once God had Abram’s attention, He converted ABRAM from just a FATHER, and changed his name to ABRAHAM, which meant FATHER OF MANY NATIONS.

When God starts to change you, He may have to take away some things.
• He may have to take away a lying tongue.
• He may have to take away a taste for alcohol and crack or weed
• He may have to take away a fondness for gossip.
• He may have to take away a hardened heart.
But He won’t leave you empty. He’ll replace the emptiness with love, joy, peace, patience, meekness, goodness and more…much more!

God made a covenant with man through Abraham…the purpose of which was to be a binding contract between God and His creation, Man. And it changed everything. For New Testament believers…(pause) turn to your neighbor and say, THAT’S US! …(continue) we have a new covenant through Jesus Christ. Our covenant changed everything too. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” In other words, if you accept Christ….your change is coming!

God wants us to change. He wants us to move our lives forward, away from the pain of the past, away from past regrets, away from temptation and sin. God wants to transform us into men and women who act wisely, who live holy, who speak sweetly, and who perform dutifully. He wants us to achieve the utmost that he wants for us.

Which brings me to the third thing God did for Abraham. He consecrated Abraham for service. He didn’t give the details of His plan to Abraham in advance. He just said, “Get up and Go!” And Abraham went. He trusted God. Faith is that pause between knowing what God’s plan is and seeing it actually take place. So Abraham took his new faith, and obeyed God without knowing where it would lead him. He left the familiar city he had called home, the city of UR, and he traveled to a new destination as yet unrevealed by God, because God had consecrated, or set him apart, for a great work.

God wants each of us to reach the destiny He has chosen for us. But He doesn’t convert us and put us on auto-pilot, just because we belong to Him. As Christians, we have to cooperate and participate with the plan of God, so we can move toward all that He has for us.

That’s what Abraham did! He cooperated with God. He put God first, followed the covenant agreement God laid out for him, and sought to live separated from the world…separate and PERFECT.

Each of us has a God-given destiny for success. It’s part of the inheritance we have as God’s children under the new covenant. It’s a spiritual inheritance that showers us with blessings of love, joy, peace and other fruits of the spirit. But it is also an inheritance that provides for us material things…houses, land, and other things for our general comfort. Material things are just as important for the advancement of God’s kingdom as are the spiritual things. Your job is to be like Abraham, and possess the portion that God has given to YOU…and if you obey and follow, your change is coming!

God gave Abram a new ear to hear God’s voice; a new name with which to sign a new covenant, and a new assignment.

God wants to do the same for you! He’s using the same three steps that He used with Abraham.

Step One – Hear His voice!
Step two – Be converted through belief in His Son, Jesus Christ.
Step Three – Be consecrated, and claim your inheritance.

There’s a change in the wind, and it’s a good change.
For some, it’s the voice of God calling you to listen and heed.
For others, it’s the voice of God saying, “Get up and get moving!”

Just because God desires for you to have something, that doesn’t make it a GIVEN that you’ll get it. You have to become an active participant in the process. God is sovereign…YES! He is the Author and Creator of our existence…YES. But God gave you FREE WILL. You were not created as a puppet…but as a participant. To claim your inheritance, you have to REACT and then you have to REACH.

Run to the end:
Abraham had FREE WILL. He could have disobeyed God, but he chose to obey, to trust, and to travel. Maybe its time for you to put on your traveling shoes, and move forward to where God wants YOU to go, not just materially, but spiritually.

If you hear God’s voice, your change is coming!
If you trust God’s promise, your change is coming.
If you submit to God’s Will, your change is coming.
If you bask in God’s peace, your change is coming!
If you embrace God’s love, your change is coming!
If you succumb to God’s power, your change is coming!
If you focus on God’s hope; your change is coming!
If you surrender to God’s grace, your change is coming!

Why did Marissa Alexander get a 20-year sentence despite invoking ‘Stand Your Ground’?

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It’s been 50 years and we as a nation of people of a dark decent haven’t made any head way to equality. I am so appalled at the tragedy of this “Young black man” that never got to say good night mom and dad. It’s been 50 years and we still can see the water hoses being sprayed on us because we want justice and equality. Its been 50 years and I can see our struggle still existing.

I served this country well, distinguished service. I came home to nothing but the same thing that was here when I left. I turned 50 this year and I am seeing my young black men, babies being executed. I see the puzzle being set-up for future blacks and humans to be locked up or on drugs or families subjected to war torn country mental abuse. “STAND YOUR GROUND” Jesus love “US”.

injustice
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yspZ30TSuu0&feature=player_embedded
Late Saturday evening, George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The issue of self-defense played a central role in Zimmerman’s not guilty plea and his defense’s argument against the second-degree murder charges, and his acquittal is drawing comparisons in the media to the verdict of another high-profile Florida shooting incident: the case of Marissa Alexander.

Alexander, an African-American Florida woman, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2012 for shooting what she described as warning shots into a wall during a confrontation with her husband. Alexander’s lawyers claimed self-defense in the case, and said her husband had a history of abuse in their relationship. They invoked Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which gives people the right to use lethal force if they feel their life is threatened. The jury ultimately sided with prosecutors in deciding Alexander’s actions were not in self-defense, WJXT reported.

Her sentencing fell under the guidelines of what’s known in Florida as the “10-20-Life” law, which set certain mandatory minimum sentences for crimes committed with a firearm. The law enacted in 1999 requires that any crime committed with a gun earns the perpetrator a minimum ten year sentence, as the Florida Department of Corrections explains. If the firearm is discharged, the convicted will receive a 20-year minimum sentence, and if shots fired from the gun injure or kill anyone, the minimum sentence is 25-years to life.

Angela Corey, who oversaw the prosecution of Zimmerman, also tried the case against Alexander, and defended the sentencing at the time.

“When she [Alexander] discharges a firearm in the direction of human beings, the legislature says it’s dangerous,” Corey said, according to the Florida Times-Union. “And one of the reasons is because the bullet went through the wall where one of the children was standing. It happened to deflect up into the ceiling, but if it had deflected down it could have hit one of the children.”
http://youtu.be/nay31hvEvrY

shuttlesworth

•Baptist minister and civil rights leader who preaches leftwing politics
•Admires and publicly honors leftists like Danny Glover and Cynthia McKinney
•Rallied to defense of Jean-Bertrand Aristide while condemning the U.S.
http://youtu.be/OUWHc5k6ld4

Born in 1922 in Alabama, the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth emerged as one of the most active and storied figures of the early civil rights movement. In 1957 Shuttlesworth allied with Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph David Abernathy, and Bayard Rustin to found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). It was the late Dr. King who would describe the famously fiery Shuttlesworth as the “most courageous civil rights fighter in the South,” a distinction well earned by the man who survived bombing attempts, vicious beatings by chain-wielding racists, and widespread discrimination in his fight to further the cause of black civil rights and overturn America’s Jim Crow laws. The story of Shuttlesworth’s civil rights activism was later chronicled in a 1999 biography, by Andrew M. Manis, titled A Fire You Can’t Put Out: The Civil Rights Life of Birmingham’s Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth.

These accomplishments notwithstanding, Shuttlesworth’s stint as the president of the SCLC would make for a decidedly less inspired book. After the SCLC’s board of directors suspended Shuttlesworth in early November 2004, he resigned in bitterness over the financial mismanagement and internal bickering that had marred the organization’s operations in recent years. Lamenting that the SCLC was at “the low point in its history,” Shuttlesworth penned an incendiary resignation letter in which he charged: “For years, deceit, mistrust and a lack of spiritual discipline and truth have eaten away at the core of this once-hallowed organization.”

Shuttlesworth was far less forthcoming about his own responsibility for the SCLC’s much-maligned reputation. In March of 2004, for instance, he enlisted his credentials as a respected civil rights leader in the service of defending Haitian dictator Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Working in partnership with the Congressional Black Caucus, Shuttlesworth, rather than condemning the crimes of the Aristide government—which included fraudulent elections, pervasive drug running, and a banking racket that had brought about the ruin of the country’s diminutive middle class—chastised the United States, calling for a special investigation to look into the U.S. role in Aristide’s ouster. Demonstrating the kind of moral equivalency that has become a cornerstone of the SCLC in recent years, Shuttlesworth saw fit to draw parallels between Haitian autocracy and American democracy in order to score a political point against the U.S. government.

Claimed Shuttlesworth, “As a nation of laws, we cannot randomly choose when to stand up for the principles of Democracy. How can we in good consciousness claim to be building a democratic society in Afghanistan and Iraq on the other side of the world, while sitting idly by while a democratically elected leader is forced from office less than two hundred miles from the shores of the United States. Such conduct further weakens the United State’s moral authority to hold countries accountable for human rights abuses.”

Nor did Shuttlesworth confine himself to this diatribe. Indulging a penchant for race-baiting that has become the SCLC’s modus operandi, Shuttlesworth unsubtly intimated that the Bush administration’s unwillingness to abide the Aristide regime was actuated by an underlying indifference to the welfare of blacks: “In reality we should not expect anything else from this current administration, as it has done nothing to protect the interests of people of African descent,” Shuttlesworth proclaimed.

Shuttlesworth is a great admirer of such leftist activists as Danny Glover. Though a notorious apologist for the human rights abuses perpetrated by Cuba’s Stalinist regime, the actor was deemed a worthy recipient of the Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award, which he received, in November 2003, at a gala dinner in Birmingham, Alabama. And Glover was not the only leftist activist commended by Shuttlesworth. At the SCLC’s 46th annual convention in August 2004, organized by Shuttlesworth as a de facto campaign for the Democratic Party (and featuring an address by Democratic Vice Presidential nominee John Edwards), a “Human Rights Luncheon” honored none other than Cynthia McKinney, a hard-left congresswoman from Georgia who accused President Bush of having had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks but remaining silent about it.

On occasion, Shuttlesworth himself has not been above casting unfounded aspersions on his political foes. Seeking to mobilize black voters against the administration of George W. Bush, Shuttlesworth, in his editorial in the Spring 2004 issue of SCLC Magazine, suggested that the President had not been legitimately elected. “It will be a time for people to know that not all of those who gained high offices in 2000 were the true victors,” Shuttlesworth wrote. Channeling the rage for which he was known in the civil rights era, Shuttlesworth insisted in the same editorial that black Americans were “oppressed minorities,” and exhorted black voters to “organize, mobilize, and agitate for our people’s total Freedom!”

Trust What God Says!!!!!

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1 John 5:4

The Message (MSG)
The Power That Brings the World to Its Knees

4-5 Every God-begotten person conquers the world’s ways. The conquering power that brings the world to its knees is our faith. The person who wins out over the world’s ways is simply the one who believes Jesus is the Son of God.

It is easy to love Him when the blue is in the sky,
When the summer winds are blowing, and we smell the roses nigh;
There is little effort needed to obey His precious will
When it leads through flower-decked valley, or over sun-kissed hill.

It is when the rain is falling, or the mist hangs in the air,
When the road is dark and rugged, and the wind no longer fair,
When the rosy dawn has settled in a shadowland of gray,
That we find it hard to trust Him, and are slower to obey.

It is easy to trust Him when the singing birds have come,
And their songs of praise are echoed in our heart and in our home;
But it’s when we miss the music, and the days are dull and drear,
That we need a faith triumphant over every doubt and fear.

And our blessed Lord will give it; what we lack He will supply;
Let us ask in faith believing–on His promises rely;
He will ever be our Leader, whether smooth or rough the way,
And will prove Himself sufficient for the needs of every day.

Trusting even when it appears you have been forsaken; praying when it seems your words are simply entering a vast expanse where no one hears and no voice answers; believing that God’s love is complete and that He is aware of your circumstances, even when your world seems to grind on as if setting its own direction and not caring for life or moving one inch in response to your petitions; desiring only what God’s hands have planned for you; waiting patiently while seemingly starving to death, with your only fear being that your faith might fail–“this is the victory that has overcome the world”; this is genuine faith indeed.

Rent due, Mortgage due, car note due, children acting a fool, fear whaling up behind this Zimmerman debacle, moral decay of a nation right before your eyes, student loans out of reach, criminal proceedings against you, friends forsaken you, family speaking ill of you, betrayed, hungry, laid off, broken marriage or relationship, scream Jesus! Jesus! in faith. Hold on to your faith amidst the storms of your journey but not your destination.

I encourage you to have Jesus while getting squeezed. You can only have Him by meditation, repentance, prayer, confession of Roman 10:9, read it for yourself ask for help to understand it. Make your stance against the on-slaught taking place and remind God to do as He said He would to His servant. Get into position with God and His Son and put on the Whole Armor of God.

O.B. Markers

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Jeremiah 5:21-31 (The Message)
21 Listen to this, you scatterbrains, airheads, With eyes that see but don’t really look, and ears that hear but don’t really listen. 22 Why don’t you honor me? Why aren’t you in awe before me? Yes, me, who made the shorelines to contain the ocean waters. I drew a line in the sand that cannot be crossed. Waves roll in but cannot get through; breakers crash but that’s the end of them. 23 But this people – what a people! Uncontrollable, untamable runaways. 24 It never occurs to them to say, ‘How can we honor our God with our lives, The God who gives rain in both spring and autumn and maintains the rhythm of the seasons, Who sets aside time each year for harvest and keeps everything running smoothly for us?’ 25 Of course you don’t! Your bad behavior blinds you to all this. Your sins keep my blessings at a distance. To Stand for Nothing and Stand Up for No One 26 “My people are infiltrated by wicked men, unscrupulous men on the hunt. They set traps for the unsuspecting. Their victims are innocent men and women. 27 Their houses are stuffed with ill-gotten gain, like a hunter’s bag full of birds. Pretentious and powerful and rich, 28 hugely obese, oily with rolls of fat. Worse, they have no conscience. Right and wrong mean nothing to them. They stand for nothing, stand up for no one, throw orphans to the wolves, exploit the poor. 29 Do you think I’ll stand by and do nothing about this?” God’s Decree. “Don’t you think I’ll take serious measures against a people like this? 30 “Unspeakable! Sickening! What’s happened in this country? 31 Prophets preach lies and priests hire on as their assistants. And my people love it. They eat it up! But what will you do when it’s time to pick up the pieces?

Psalm 119:75

The Message (MSG)

With your very own hands you formed me;
now breathe your wisdom over me so I can understand you.
When they see me waiting, expecting your Word,
those who fear you will take heart and be glad.
I can see now, God, that your decisions are right;
your testing has taught me what’s true and right.
Oh, love me—and right now!—hold me tight!
just the way you promised.
Now comfort me so I can live, really live;
your revelation is the tune I dance to.
Let the fast-talking tricksters be exposed as frauds;
they tried to sell me a bill of goods,
but I kept my mind fixed on your counsel.
Let those who fear you turn to me
for evidence of your wise guidance.
And let me live whole and holy, soul and body,
so I can always walk with my head held high.

Tonight I need to be reminded that everything is being watched by God, even how I accept what He allows. In watching this George Zimmerman verdict, I am appalled, but I need to resolve my inner man to trust God to protect and strengthen us as a people to trust in Him to vindicate us when we feel or are unjustly accused or not given a righteous judgment by “man”. I am soliciting anyone and everyone to pray for us as a nation or tribe that seems to be not considered worthy of honor. I want you to honor yourselves and those of the same spirit to “Trusting” God as so many of our forefathers had to do.

In the game od golf, out-of-bounds or O.B. makers designate when a ball has gone out of play. If a player’s ball goes out-of-bounds, a one stroke penalty is imposed. The prophet Jeremiah warned the southern kingdom of Judah about their persistent rejection of God’s boundaries for them. He said that even the sea knows that the sand on the seashore is its O.B. marker, “an everlasting barrier it cannot cross”(Jeremiah 5:22). Yet the Lord’s people had defiant and rebellious hearts(v.23). They grew rich on deceit(V.27) and ignored the pleas of the disadvantaged(v.28).

God has given moral boundaries in His word for us to live within. He gave them not to frustrate us but so that by keeping within them we may enjoy His blessings. David wrote: “I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right”(Psalms 119:75). God told Israel through Moses, “I have set before you life and death, blessings and cursing; therefore choose life”(Deuteronomy 30:19).

Don’t test God’s boundaries and invite His correction. Make wise choices to live within His O.B. markers in His Word.

The Lord has given us commands,
And told us to obey;
Our own designs are sure to fail,
If we neglect His way!

A small step of obedience is a giant step to blessings.

Napolitano:How the Government Breaks the Law

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It should be against the law to break the law. Unfortunately, it is not. In early 21st-century America, a dirty little secret still exists among public officials, politicians, judges, prosecutors, and the police. The government – federal, state, and local – is not bound to obey its own laws. I know this sounds crazy, but too many cases prove it true. It should be a matter of grave concern for every American who prizes personal liberty.
When I became a judge in New Jersey, I had impeccable conservative Republican law-and-order credentials. When I left eight years later, I was a born-again individualist, after witnessing first-hand how the criminal justice system works to subvert and shred the Constitution. You think you’ve got rights that are guaranteed? Well, think again.

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, particularly when it comes to the American criminal justice system. Nowhere else does the state have greater raw power over an individual’s life, liberty, and property. And nowhere else are our constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms under such a relentless, subtle, and ultimately devastating attack.

The deck is grossly stacked in the government’s favor. No wonder, as a recent New York magazine cover story put it, referring to the government’s long winning streaks in criminal trials, “The Defense Rests – Permanently.” No wonder that in 2003 fewer than 3 percent of federal indictments were tried; virtually all the rest of those charged pled guilty.

Being an American means having certain rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. That’s what it has always meant, and that’s what it will continue to mean in the troubled times before us. Most of us take these guaranteed rights and liberties for granted. Most of us live comfortable lives that never bring us in conflict with the criminal justice system. But in many ways, that’s a bad thing, for if you had seen the system as I did, you would never take your guaranteed rights for granted again.

Breaking the Law to Enforce the Law:

As a judge, I once heard an infuriating case involving the owner of a small Italian restaurant, an immigrant from Italy who was visited by two well-dressed gentlemen who introduced themselves and asked for weekly payments of a hundred dollars. In return, they promised the restaurant owner that his garbage would be collected on time, he would not have any trouble with labor unions, he would not be the victim of any crime, and no competing restaurant would open in his neighborhood.He threw them out. They returned unannounced about six times and every time their demands increased, eventually to a thousand dollars a week, each. After he rebuffed that demand, they said they’d be back the following week with guns, and he’d better get one. Terrified of this threat, and afraid as most immigrants are to involve the police, the restaurant owner borrowed a friend’s gun.

When the two gentlemen returned and asked if he had a gun, the restaurant owner reached into a drawer, pulled out the gun, and pointed it at them. They immediately slapped handcuffs on him! Unbeknownst to him, they were New Jersey state troopers who were trying to either shake him down for money or coerce him into breaking the law.
His prosecution for carrying a gun was assigned to me, along with a similar case involving a nearby Italian bakery.

Before the cases began, I ordered the troopers to appear in my courtroom, to inquire if their schemes were self-directed or authorized by their supervisors. They refused to be so interrogated, whereupon the prosecutors asked me to dismiss both cases, which I did.

The bakery owner was so delighted, he proclaimed in a classic Sicilian accent: “The Judga, he can eata for free for the resta his life!” I never took the owner up on his offer, but I appreciated his sentiments.

Torture and Psychological Abuse

Political ambition can be a powerful motivating factor for government abuse of our rights. Consider one of the cases that helped propel Janet Reno to national stardom. In 1984, Reno faced a serious challenger in her bid for reelection as Dade County’s state attorney. In August of that year, Frank Fuster and his wife, Ileana Fuster, were arrested for sexually abusing more than 20 children who attended their home daycare center. Reno began the case by soliciting Laurie and Joe Braga, both billed as “child abuse experts” with no psychology training, to interview the children.

The Bragas used suggestive and misleading interview techniques to elicit false accusations from the children in the case. The children were brainwashed with fantasies of sexual abuse involving masks, snakes, drills, and other objects, and eventually came and other objects, and eventually came out of the interviews thinking they were victims.

Of all the children alleging sexual abuse against Fuster, Reno’s office only presented physical “evidence” that one child was abused. The prosecution invoked a laboratory test suggesting that a child had tested positive for gonorrhea of the throat. However, the lab test that was performed is very unreliable and often gives false positives. Reno’s agents tested for the family of bacteria to which gonorrhea belongs rather than specifically for gonorrhea; other bacteria that could have caused the false positive are harmless and are frequently found to live in children. Of course, the state ordered the lab to destroy the evidence three days later, thereby preventing the defense from challenging the state’s “evidence.”
Recognizing that the case against Fuster was weak, Janet Reno’s final straw was to torture Ileana Fuster physically and mentally to the point where she could be coerced into implicating her husband.
Reno had Ileana isolated from the prison population and placed in solitary confinement, naked. Ileana described her treatment in a 1998 interview: “They would give me cold showers. Two people will hold me, run me under cold water, then throw me back in the cell naked with nothing, just a bare floor. And I used to be cold, real cold. I would have my periods and they would just wash me and throw me back into the cell.”

Late one night, the naked Ileana, according to her lawyer, received a visit in her darkened solitary cell from an intimidating 6-foot-2 woman. The woman told Ileana that she knew that Ileana and her husband were guilty. “But how can that be? We are innocent,” Ileana proclaimed. “Who are you?” “I’m Janet Reno,” the woman said. Ileana repeatedly told Reno that she was innocent, and Reno kept repeating, “I’m sorry, but you are not. You’re going to have to help us.” Reno made several more solitary, nightly visits to the naked Ileana, each time threatening Ileana that she would remain in prison for the rest of her life if she didn’t tell Reno what she wanted to hear.
Finally, Reno hired two psychiatrists from a company called Behavior Changers Inc., who met Ileana 34 times in a one-month period. These psychiatrists claimed to be able to help individuals “recover memories,” but their technique was simply to hypnotize Ileana so that she could be brainwashed into believing that Frank Fuster was a child molester. The coercion eventually worked: with the psychiatrists present and with Janet Reno squeezing her hand, Ileana implicated her husband.

Ileana’s trial testimony against her husband put the final nail in Frank Fuster’s coffin. Reno won the conviction, her reelection bid, her name in the newspaper headlines, and a stepping stone to a position as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer. However, Ileana Fuster has repeatedly retracted her confession and testimony, swearing that she and Fuster never abused any of the children, and that her confession was the product of brainwashing.

Yet, thanks to Janet Reno, an innocent Fuster remains incarcerated for 165 years without the possibility of parole.

Messing with Texans
It is unfair, unwise, and un-American for police to break the law in order to enforce it. A corrupt police officer in Tulia, Texas, a small rural town of about five thousand people, engaged in what one commentator deemed an “ethnic cleansing of young male blacks.”

Thomas Coleman, an undercover narcotics officer, committed one of the worst police atrocities in recent years by arresting 46 people on July 23, 1999. Of those arrested, 39 were black, which amounts to approximately half of the town’s adult black population. Many others were involved in the family or personal relationships with black Americans in an otherwise overwhelmingly white community. Coleman’s previous law enforcement employers knew that Coleman himself had once been arrested for theft during an undercover operation, that he used racial epithets, and that he had a widespread reputation in the Texas law enforcement community as being unreliable and untrustworthy.

Nonetheless, on the basis of Coleman’s testimony, 38 individuals arrested on that day were found to be guilty of drug dealing. Some were sentenced to up to 90 years in prison! Some were coerced into accepting plea bargains under the threat of lengthy imprisonment.

What is most shocking is that the prosecution’s only evidence against these defendants was the testimony of Coleman, the dirty cop. The testimony was uncorroborated: no witnesses or other police officers could confirm that Coleman bought drugs from these defendants. And Coleman could not offer any audio or video surveillance verifying his undercover drug purchases. Not even fingerprint evidence was introduced.

Coleman’s testimony was based solely on notes he scribbled on his stomach and his leg. He did not keep a permanent notebook. At the time of their arrests, these 46 supposed drug dealers possessed no guns, no drugs, and no money. Coleman claimed to have purchased $20,000 worth of cocaine from these “dealers.” Furthermore, some of the individuals who were arrested established that they were miles away from Tulia that day. A few of them neither worked nor lived in Tulia. All of the people arrested that day were either convicted by juries or pleaded guilty. In 1999, Texas attorney general John Cornyn – now a U.S. senator – named Coleman the outstanding law enforcement officer of the year.
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The Tulia, Texas, debacle attracted national media attention and a coordinated, multidefendant habeas corpus campaign, coordinated by the NAACP and many law firms. About four years later, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals exonerated the victims of Coleman’s fraud. Coleman had previously acknowledged that the convictions were based on nothing more than his testimony. While he stated that he was “pretty sure” that all the defendants “deserved” to be behind bars, he admitted to several “mess ups” and stated that some of his own sworn testimony was “questionable.” It is a rare anomaly that police abuses such as that perpetrated in Tulia, Texas, are overturned. You can’t help but wonder how many wrongfully convicted defendants never had the luxury of seeing justice served. It shouldn’t be a luxury.

Coleman currently faces trial for perjury, but the buck does not stop at Thomas Coleman. Coleman’s activities were financed by the federal government’s war on drugs, as he was part of the Panhandle Regional Narcotics Task Force. The Department of Justice encourages officers like Coleman to rack up as many arrests as possible, since the money is allocated to the task forces on the basis of number of arrests, not convictions. Because there is no distinction between high-quality and low-level arrests, the federal government creates an incentive for officers like Coleman to engage in sloppy investigations against low-level offenders, and against the innocent.
Rights No More

The war on terrorism has increased the need to protect vigilantly our civil liberties. In July 2003, the U.S. Department of Justice held a celebration at which it handed out honors and praises to federal agents and lawyers involved in the prosecution of the Lackawanna Six.

It should have handed out indictments instead, because those prosecutors – or at least some of them – violated their oaths to uphold the Constitution in order to coerce six soccer-playing young men from Lackawanna, New York, with no criminal records, into accepting long jail terms, well out of proportion to their alleged crimes.
The six – all Arab Americans in their early 20s, five of whom were born here – were charged in federal court in the Western District of New York with providing aid and support to a terrorist group, before September 11, by attending camps in Afghanistan, learning about weapons, and listening to Muslim clerics preach hatred toward the United States.

They were charged with listening to others – including, in the case of one of them, Osama bin Laden himself – talk about causing America harm and with training for some undefined jihad, even though they said that once they arrived and met the people in the camps, they wanted nothing to do with it. The government actually told a federal judge that since the clerics being heard by the six were preaching violence, the six had committed crimes of violence.

The court rejected that argument out of hand. After reviewing the evidence against the six, the judge wrote that these defendants – like all defendants – are guaranteed due process, and that federal courts should do more than just pay lip service to the guarantees of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution; they should enforce them.

“We must never adopt an ‘end justifies the means’ philosophy,” the judge wrote, “by claiming that our Constitutional and democratic principles must be temporarily furloughed or put on hold in cases involving alleged terrorism in order to preserve our democracy. To do so would result in victory for the terrorists.”
But within mere yards of where this fair judge sat when he wrote those words, the government lawyers who once swore to uphold the Constitution were plotting to put it on hold.

According to a lawyer for one of the six – himself a former federal prosecutor – the government lawyers implicitly threatened the six during plea negotiations that if they did not plead guilty, if they did not speak up as the government wished, if they did not cooperate in their own prosecutions, if they insisted on their due process rights, the government would declare them to be enemy combatants.

In that case, the so-called defenders of the Constitution threatened, the six would have no due process rights, no trial, no lawyers, no charges filed against them, and they would receive solitary confinement for life.
There is no reported case in American history in which a court allowed a defendant to be told that his insistence on due process would result, not in prosecution and conviction, but in punishment without trial. It has always been the case that when entering a guilty plea – and when negotiating for that plea – the defendant’s fears of punishment were limited to that which the law provides. Today, for the government to threaten that the punishment can be increased by fiat by the president after the crime has been committed is not only unconstitutional, it is tyrannical.

Liberty: Void Where Prohibited

It is only a warped view of American history, culture, and law that could seriously suggest that constitutional rights are discretionary – that any president can strip a person of his due process rights. Let’s be clear: There is no Supreme Court case supporting or authorizing presidential enhancement of punishment, and the Justice Department knows that.

So if it is constitutionally impossible for the government to strip a person of his due process rights, why did the lawyers for the Lackawanna Six let their clients plead guilty and accept six-to-nine-year jail terms? Because they knew that the government had suspended rights before and gotten away with it. They knew that the president had actually declared three people to be enemy combatants and kept them locked up without charges and away from their own lawyers. And before the Supreme Court stepped in, he appeared to be getting away with it.

Protecting Freedom

Ultimately, the fate of American liberty is in the hands of American voters. Though we are less free with every tick of the clock, most of us still believe that the government is supposed to serve the people – fairly, not selectively.

There are some surprisingly direct ways to address the excesses I’ve described. First, Congress and the state legislatures should enact legislation that simply requires the police, all other law enforcement personnel, and everyone who works for or is an agent of the government to be governed by, subject to, and required to comply with all the laws.

That would eliminate virtually all entrapment, and it would enhance respect for the law. If the police are required to obey the same laws as the rest of us, our respect for them and for the laws they enforce would dramatically increase, and their jobs would become easier. In short, it would be against the law to break the law.
Second, Congress and the state legislatures should make it easier to sue the federal and state governments for monetary damages when they violate our constitutional liberties.

The federal government and many states have rendered themselves immune (called “sovereign immunity”) from such lawsuits if the lawsuit attacks the exercise of discretion by government employees. That is nonsense. You can sue your neighbor for negligence if his car runs over your garden or your dog. You can sue your physician if he leaves a scalpel in your belly. You should be able to sue the local police, state police, and the FBI under the same legal theories if they torment you, prevent you from speaking freely, bribe witnesses to testify against you, steal your property, or break the law in order to convict you.

If the Constitution is enforced selectively, according to the contemporary wants and needs of the government, we will continue to see public trials in some cities and secret trials in others; free speech suppressed on inexplicable whims; police targeting the weak and killing the innocent; and government lying to its citizens, stealing their property, tricking them into criminal acts, bribing its witnesses against them, making a mockery of legal reasoning, and breaking the laws in order to enforce them.

This is not the type of government we, the people, have authorized to exist, and it is not the type of government that we should tolerate. We can do better. If government crimes are not checked, our Constitution will be meaningless, and our attempts to understand it, enforce it, and rely on it will be chaotic.

The Power of Creative Writing

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A writing workshop in Arkansas is teaching kids about diversity and acceptance.
Teaching kids how to express themselves through writing is invaluable.

Jontesha wants to start her own business, Aaliyah plans to attend law school, and Marla hopes to become a Broadway actress.

These goals are written on the teenage girls’ coat of arms in a summer program called “In Our Own Voices.”

Sponsored by Just Communities of Arkansas, a nonprofit that seeks to bring people together to achieve inclusion, equity, and justice, the workshop aims to teach students about themselves and others through creative writing projects.

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“From our work with young people, we know that they need to be encouraged to find their own voices, and to be confident that what they think and feel is important,” Ruth Shepherd, executive director of Just Communities of Arkansas.

“Giving these youngsters an opportunity to explore the themes of diversity, identity, neighborhood, parents, and other important adults and institutions in their lives makes it possible for them to become more introspective, more thoughtful about how they present themselves, and how they interact with others.”

The class is based on a curriculum to foster social justice created by Kelly Ford, a graduate of the Clinton School of Public Service.

Ford writes in her curriculum paper: “Young people can benefit from a structure that encourages them to think, share and listen face to face. And if, in the doing of these things, they find their voice, improve their communication skills and self-esteem, or develop an affinity for reading and writing, wouldn’t we call that impact?”

On a recent Wednesday at the newly opened Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center in Little Rock, neighborhood is the topic. Students are asked to close their eyes and imagine their house and its surroundings. When prompted by the moderator, the students share what they see.

“A garden with colorful flowers,” a child says.

Another one says, “A brown house that needs to be cleaned.”

“A big, loud dog,” says one girl.

From there, the students write about their neighborhoods on bright, yellow pieces of paper. They are timed as a way to work quickly. After a few minutes, they are asked to share their work with others at their table.

They then take their thoughts and write a poem that will be placed in their binder. Students are asked to read their poems, and after a reading, everyone snaps their fingers for positive feedback.

Other daily projects include creating a coat of arms about what makes each student unique, writing an ode to something they like and a writing exercise about who raised them. The latter project’s goal is to teach “diversity, self-esteem, acceptance and understanding,” according to the curriculum.

At the end of the two-week class, the students will host a party to “share their voices” with family and friends and read their best piece of writing. They will also have a book with their writing in it to keep.

Just Communities of Arkansas plans to share the curriculum with its affiliate organizations around the country. Ford says she believes the power of the arts—literary, performing and visual—can effect change.

“Writing is a way for students to discover how they really think and feel about some things. It’s an opportunity for them to dream, to mourn, to explore situations (hypothetical or real), and more,” Ford said.

“I think we learn empathy from reading and writing. Hopefully, this curriculum is structured in such a way that the students find much within themselves of which to be proud.”

Is sentencing juveniles to life in prison without parole constitutional?

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We’ve all done something bad. But imagine doing something bad, so bad that you go to jail for the rest of your life, with no chance of parole. Would this be considered a violation of the Eighth Amendment, which protects us from “cruel and unusual punishment”?

That is the heart of the issue of the Supreme Court cases Sullivan v. Florida and Graham v. Florida. In both cases, the juveniles were found guilty of offenses in which no one was killed, and they received life sentences without the chance of release. These two are among the over one hundred cases across the country in which a juvenile was sentenced to life in prison without parole for non-homicide offenses.
In Sullivan, Joe Sullivan was sent away for life for raping an elderly woman when he was 13. The case of Graham focuses on Terrance Graham, who was implicated in armed robberies when he was 16 and 17. In both cases, the judge ruled against the advice of the Department of Corrections and gave the stiffest punishment allowable by law.

In Sullivan, the judge said that he was “beyond help,” and the judge who sentenced Graham to life without parole stated during sentencing: “If I can’t do anything to help you, then I have to . . . protect the community from your actions.”

These cases come after the 2005 Supreme Court case Roper v. Simmons, where the court ruled 5 to 4 that it is unconstitutional to execute anyone convicted of a crime when he or she was a juvenile.

Now the issue is whether letting a juvenile spend the rest of his or her life in prison is constitutional. Furthermore, the issue of whether prisons are meant to rehabilitate criminals or keep them away from society is being raised.

Bryan Stevenson, who represents Joe Sullivan, concedes that there is a difference between the death penalty and life without parole. But he says that a life term is different from other prison sentences because it denies the prisoner any hope for a future. “They’re just two different kinds of death sentences,” he said before the court. “One is death by execution, the other death by incarceration.”

Nineteen states, including Louisiana, have filed a brief supporting life sentences without parole for juveniles in non-homicide cases. “I disagree that the juvenile crimes are any less culpable than the adult crimes,” said Louisiana Attorney General James “Buddy” Caldwell in an NPR interview. “These are young criminals. That’s what they are, and the ones who are getting these sentences are the worst of those.”

The court seemed divided on the issue. Justice Stephen G. Breyer said, “The confusion and uncertainty about the moral responsibility of a 13-year-old is such that it is a cruel thing to do to remove from that individual his entire life. You see, we are at the extreme.”

Justice Samuel Alito disagreed with Breyer, remarking, “You are saying that, no matter what this person does, commits the most horrible series of non-homicide offenses that you can imagine, a whole series of brutal rapes, assaults that render the victim paraplegic but not dead, no matter what, the person is sentenced, shows no remorse whatsoever, the worst case you can possibly imagine, that person must at some point be made eligible for parole?”

In a victory for the rights for juveniles, the Supreme Court ruled, 5-4, that a sentence of life without parole is unconstitutional for anyone under 18. The majority opinion, which follows a 2005 ruling that executing minors is unconstitutional, said the punishment must be interpreted in light of the country’s “evolving standards of decency.”

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion, went on to say, “By denying the defendant the right to enter the community, the state makes an irrevocable judgment about that person’s value and place in society.” Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote a dissenting opinion, said that interpreting the Eighth Amendment with the changing societal standards is “entirely the court’s creation.” He argued that the “question of what acts are ‘deserving’ of what punishments is bound so tightly with questions of morality and social conditions as to make it, almost by definition, a question for legislative resolution.”

Please let me hear from you on what you think about this issue. I have two young adults sentenced to life one in Maryland and one in California. I lost my daughter at the age of 18 and my son at the age of 19 and it haunts me every day. I can’t Imagine losing a younger child at the age of 13 to 14 years old.

‘Fruitvale Station’: The Angry Life and Death of Young, Black Oscar Grant

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A man stands next to a photo of Oscar Grant during a protest against Grant’s killing in Oakland, California, June 12, 2011.

Ryan Coogler’s film ‘Fruitvale Station’ strips the polemics from the news story of Oscar Grant, a man shot to death by police while handcuffed, and presents the victim’s 22-year struggle warts and all.

In the early morning hours of New Year’s Day, 2009, 22-year-old Oakland resident Oscar Grant was handcuffed and shot in the back at point blank range on a subway platform by Bay Area Transit Police officer Johannes Mehserle.

Shocked onlookers captured the entire incident on video. Oscar Grant, who is African-American, succumbed to his injuries the next day at a local hospital, and the video of his killing went viral. The images of the cuffed young man being shot set off a wake of protests and riots in Oakland—and drew a degree of national attention to the issue of police brutality that hadn’t been as intense since the beating of Rodney King by LAPD officers in 1992.

In the days and weeks that followed, Grant’s story devolved into a shouting match in the national media. To some he became a saint who died standing up against police mistreatment. To others, the victim was a scourge whose previous crimes (Oscar Grant served multiple prison stints) somehow justified his killing.

The reality of Oscar Grant’s life and the tragic shooting that ended it is far more complicated than either polarized view—and is the subject of a new feature film, Fruitvale Station, by rookie director Ryan Coogler. The winner of both the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and opening in select theaters July 12, Fruitvale Station strips Grant’s story of its polemics and focuses on the man himself.

“I wanted to take all the politics out of this film,” Coogler recently told an audience gathered to see a screening of Fruitvale Station at the University of Southern California. “He was 22 when he was shot. I was 22. His friends could have been my friends. That could have been me.”

In 2009, Coogler was a USC film-school student spending his winter break back in Oakland. Oscar Grant’s shooting, he says, was a “gut punch” for both him and his community. Coogler immediately knew he wanted to tackle the issue in some capacity. Through a friend, he was able to land a job with the lawyers in Grant’s civil trial. He worked as an archivist for the cell phone footage taken the night police shot Grant.

Coogler’s access to the specific details of Grant’s case allowed him to piece together the moment-to-moment details of Grant’s last day on Earth—and fleshed out his feelings for Grant as a human being, beyond the black-and-white sketches he’d seen in the media.

After penning an initial script for Fruitvale Station, Coogler, through the lawyers he worked for, convinced Oscar Grant’s family to participate in the film. They provided the filmmaker with achingly intimate memories of Grant, including some they might have choosen to forget if they could.

The result, instead of a hagiography, or a trumped up ode to a soldier martyred in the struggle for social justice, is that Coogler’s film plays like a meditation on the consequences of anger.

Despite a well-intentioned attempt to reboot his life in the wake of a prison sentence, Oscar Grant on the screen in Fruitvale Station is an angry man. His short trigger alienates him from his family, compromises his job prospects and, ultimately, paves the way for the incident that left him dead at the hands of police.

No, he did not deserve the fate he was dealt on that subway platform, but when you put as much anger into the world as Grant did, Coogler seems to be saying, it shouldn’t be suprising when something comes back.

The man who most of us have seen bleeding on a subway platform on YouTube is human. He is neither a martyr, nor a scourge, and he was far from being an aberration.

Oscar Grant was not alone in his anger, and his anger did not emanate from a vacuum. The world has no shortage of young people whose furious dissatisfaction is fueled by and based upon the circumstances they have been born into.

The fact that American audiences cannot help but identify with Oscar Grant is the deep reality that gives this movie its award-winning power, a “gut punch” that is felt long after the screening has finished.

Deception The Number One Device Of The Enemy

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When someone has every material gain the world has to offer, when you are somewhat happy in the pursuit of happiness associated with life. If you are successful in establishing yourself to share a future of comfort. Why do you leave out the need for Christ in the equation?

Rev 20:3
3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

Rev 20:7-8
7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth,

The greatest power that Satan possesses is the power of deception. He is the great deceiver.

Deceive – To cause to believe what is not true;
If Satan can make you believe something that is not true, then he can control you.

I am afraid that today many of us govern our lives through the deception of evil people in high places who are under the control of Satan, and the deceptions are so subtle that we are not even aware of them.

As I have said before, we come to conclusions and form our beliefs based on what we are fed.

Other than the Word of God I don’t know what is true anymore.

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Deception:

I talk to people who say that you don’t have to go to church, I can worship God at home.
I believe I’m going to heaven because I don’t cuss, or drink, or run around on my spouse. I am a pretty good person.

What Satan does not tell you is that salvation is not based on how good you are, but on what Jesus did on the cross and you placing your faith and trust in Him as your savior and Lord.

2 Cor 11:3
3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

John 8:44
When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Luke 15:11-24
11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:
12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.

Luke 15:30
30 thy son hath devoured thy living with harlots,

14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

Imagine living in an environment where fear controlled your life, constantly insecure, what you ate was determined by what you could scrounge up, clothed with what you could find that was thrown out by someone else, where hate and selfishness filled your environment, where joy and happiness is only a distant memory.

But also imagine living in an environment where there was no reason to fear, and there was always plenty to eat, clothes to wear, always a loving and caring environment and a happy atmosphere.

Why would this boy make such a terrible choice?

What was he thinking?
James 1:14-15
14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

He was deceived in thinking that the grass was greener somewhere else.

Deception causes people to throw their lives away.
Other examples;

David and Bath-sheba (2 Sam 11:2)
What was he thinking? I am king and answer to no one, no one will know, just one little fling, that’s all,
Now he finds out that she is expecting. Bring home her husband to sleep with her. He wouldn’t, so cleverly have him killed. He marries her.
What was the deception? I can do this and not get caught.

Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1)
What were they thinking? We want to look as religious as all the other givers.
What was the deception? We can do this, look good, and have money to blow.

Isa 14:12
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

It was deception that he used and is still very successful at it today.

Today, abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia, and divorce are become a norm in our society and are accepted in many religious organizations.

You have got to recognize the voice speaking to you.
John 10:27
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

If you commit any sin, it was because of a deception.
Every sin is the fruit of a deception.
1. I won’t get caught. (no one will know about this, or see me)
2. This will gratify me. (Temporary gratification is not worth the pain)
3. This will make me happy.
4. This will make me rich.
5. I can be my on boss.
6. I don’t have to obey. (rebellion)

If we can believe that we can provide sustenance, better health, a better lifestyle, better entertainment, than God can provide, feel that we have no spiritual need, we have been deceived.

John 14:6
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

1 John 1:7
walk in the light, (Truth, know your Bible and you won’t be deceived)

“Better safe than sorry.”

We use this cliché often when dealing with worldly issues when buying or not buying things, taking medicines, but how about in matters that involve eternal choices? We try to make careful choices in the area of health, safety, finances, etc: because we would rather be safe than sorry, but do we become careless in decisions that matter most?

We want our salvation safe and secure. Safe is good, sorry is bad.

We sense a place of safety in all the promises of God if all the conditions are met.

Ps 4:8
8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.

Prov 18:10
10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.

Deut 11:26-28
26 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;
27 A blessing(safe and secure), if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day:
28 And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God,

Josh 24:15
choose you this day whom ye will serve; (make the right choice).

Heb 11:7
7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

Luke 17:26-30
26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;

29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.

1 Cor 15:30
30 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?

TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES

2 Cor 1:22
22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

Eph 1:13
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Eph 4:30
30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

~African-Americans and Independence Day-‘What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?’~

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On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglass —once called America’s most famous fugitive slave—delivered a speech to the Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society in Rochester, N.Y. His oration is often considered a radical denunciation of America’s political tradition; he characterized the Fourth of July as a hypocritical sham from the point of view of the millions living in the country who were still enslaved.

The speech, which is now widely titled “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?,” has become a staple of high-school and college education. In my class atSyracuse University, students read Douglass’s speech alongside other famous texts on slavery, abolition and free labor. Of these, Lincoln and Douglass are arguably the most readable and popular.

Douglass in particular makes his points in a way that is simultaneously generous, mean, cruel, funny and memorable. Like a good tweet. Perhaps for this reason, social media have recently picked up on Douglass’s writings. And students can now choose from a growing variety of online deliveries by James Earl Jones, Morgan Freeman, Danny Glover and stage actors. But as with all great works, popularization has its hazards.


July 4, 2013 is America’s Independence Day — and still the babies are not free.

Acts 17:24, 26, 27 states: “God made the world and everything in it. He is lord of heaven and Earth. And he made of one blood, all nations of people to dwell on all the earth, and determined the places where they would live; that they should seek the lord and find him.”

In the United States, Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a national holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the kingdom of Great Britain.

Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, political speeches and ceremonies, and various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States.

Independence Day is the national day of the United States.

During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the American colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia.

After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author.

Congress debated and revised the declaration, finally approving it on July 4.

Nearly a century later, the war for freedom continued on this continent. During this time, President Abraham Lincoln prayed to God to end slavery in America. In his prayer, he asked God that if slavery was wrong, to please allow the North to win the war.

The North won of course.

The battle for freedom still continues today, with the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that Protestants and Catholics, gentiles and Jews will sing “Free at Last” together.

We must remember that all of this started with the prayers of the founding fathers of America.

Along with the founding fathers usually listed in history books, a notable African American, John Hanson, is sometimes listed as one of the founding fathers, along with James Armistead, and Peter Salem. Also, other notable blacks such as Benjamin Banneker and Crispus Atticus are credited with helping to establish our nation’s independence.

This year during the Juneteenth Celebration, members of Congress and former black Congressman J. C. Watts recognized the work of black slaves in building our nation’s Capitol.

So today, we celebrate the ongoing march towards true liberty for all Americans, born and unborn.

Please take a moment now to remember the word in the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Were there African-American founding fathers?

Were there African Americans present at the founding of America? We know that most African Americans were slaves when this nation was founded, and we also know that many of the Caucasian founding fathers were slave owners.

However, it is not widely know that some black Americans also owned slaves during that time in history. Slavery is an evil form of oppression, not always demarked by the skin color of the slaves and the slave owners.

We know that African-American slaves were forced to exert manual labor to help build the first White House. The question remains, what were some of the other important roles of African Americans in our country’s independence?

The official name “The United States of America” was determined by the Second Continental Congress in 1977.

It would be nearly 100 years later, in 1863 at the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln, that African Americans would legally be freed from the forced servitude and labor called slavery.

Let us examine the roles of some African Americans at the time of the founding of America.

One of those was Peter Salem, who can be found in a painting of the Battle of Bunker Hill.

In the painting of the Battle of Lexington, the people assembled here are members of Rev. Jonas Clark’s congregation. They were a congregation of both black and white Americans. One of those men was Prince Estabrook, a black American.

Remember the famous painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware? Near the front of the boat you will see Prince Whipple helping row the boat, as well as a woman.

All Americans were involved in winning our independence.

There is another painting of Marquis de Lafayette, the Frenchman who so greatly helped George Washington with our troops, and James Armistead. Armistead was an American double-spy who helped get information from the British and in turn fed the Brits bad information about us.

His service was pivotal to our success at the Battle of Yorktown . . . which effectively won the American Revolution for us.

David Barton is founder of Wall Builders and author of “American History in Black and White.”

Another noted historian of the founding of America is Dr. Lucas Morel, a professor at Washington and Lee University in Virginia and author of “Lincoln’s Sacred Effort.”

These historians write in great detail about Armistead’s role in American history, as well as the friendship between Lafayette and Armistead.

They also write about Wentworth Cheswell, who is considered the first black American elected to public office. We all know about Paul Revere’s famous ride warning that the British were coming, but Cheswell rode in another direction to give the same warning.

While we know that most blacks were slaves in America during the time of its founding, many do not know or have forgotten that there are also African-American founders.

Since many of these black founders show up in various paintings of the Revolution, we have evidence about the role of black Americans in our founding. Somewhere along the way, like many historical facts, this has been forgotten.

Many attempt to connect Frederick Douglass, who is a better known African-American leader, to the founding of America.

Yet, since he actually lived years later, it would be more accurate to place him in history as a “re-founder, emerging during the time of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.”

Douglass once believed the “Three-Fifths Compromise ” was a terrible affront to enslaved black Americans and that it rendered the U.S. Constitution totally corrupt. However, when he studied the Constitution along with the notes from the Constitutional Convention, he realized it was an anti-slavery document.

According to Barton, some of the Caucasian Founders were anti-slavery, recognizing that slavery was wrong and was counter to the ideals of freedom upon which the American Revolution was based.

However, there were many in the South who wanted to preserve slavery in the United States, and the impasse threatened the union of our fledgling nation. As a compromise, they came up with the idea of counting slaves as “three-fifths” for the purposes of representation and apportionment.

If a slave was not worthy of freedom like any other American, then he should not really be counted for the purposes of representation and apportionment.

Of course, the Southern states saw how this would hurt them in the federal government, so they compromised by counting slaves at three-fifths of a free person.

It made it harder for pro-slavery states to get as much representation in Congress; thus the anti-slavery states would have greater representation in apportionment . . . and in making laws for the nation in general.

This gave the Southern states an incentive to free their slaves so that their overall population numbers would increase and thus give the Southern states greater representation and apportionment.

Through the years, this flawed effort continues to be interpreted as considering blacks to be three-fifths human. Even now, in the twenty first century, the battle continues to resolve the right of blacks the full and equal right of the vote.

Thomas Jefferson spoke out against slavery while owning slaves. He even had a Caucasian wife and a slave mistress, Sally Hemming.

Most people don’t know that Sally was Martha’s half-sister, they had the same father, a slave owner.

According to written historical accounts, she looked like Martha. Sally moved into the White House after Martha died of a broken heart. How strange it must have been for Jefferson to be constantly reminded of his dead wife.

Sally’s children were the only slaves Jefferson freed; he did so upon his death, but by that time a couple of Sally’s children had already escaped. Being so fair-skinned, they passed into white society, keeping their past a secret.

While many of the founding fathers were like Jefferson, some were not. One example is John Quincy Adams.

Adams denounced slavery more strongly than did any other early American presidents, calling slavery “a sin before the sight of God,” an “outrage upon the goodness of God,” and “the great and foul stain upon the North American Union.”

In an especially eloquent statement, Adams wrote: “It is among the evils of slavery that it taints the very sources of moral principle. It establishes false estimates of virtue and vice: for what can be more false and heartless than this doctrine which makes the first and holiest rights of humanity to depend upon the color of the skin?”

The reality of America’s history, both good and bad, should be revised and rewritten, to include the truths that have been hidden.

Black leaders like Lemuel Haynes who was a black American, born to a white woman and a black man became a minister and pastored a church with a white congregation, and also fought in the militia in the American Revolution.

There was also Benjamin Banneker, a black American who was involved in the planning of Washington D.C. and who was said to be very intelligent and involved with building clocks and predicting eclipses.

Of course, Black slaves were forced to provide the manpower for the hard labor of building our nation’s Capitol. And Blacks would be used cruelly as slaves in America until 1863.

Some did not realize they had been freed until even later.

The Bible says that when Jesus Christ sets a person free, that person is free indeed. Understanding this, we know that the real formula for liberty for everyone is in Jesus Christ.

One question is this, why didn’t the Caucasian Founding Fathers follow God’s pattern for freeing slaves? It is found in the book of Leviticus, chapter 25, where slave owners were charged to free slaves after seven years, and send them away with goods and property.

This never happened in America.

Today, while many African Americans thought that having a United States president with brown skin would set them free, we must realize that our liberty comes not from human might, power or ability, but true freedom comes from accepting the salvation and lordship of Jesus Christ.

The first jubilee is in the Bible, and a slave liberator named Moses, a Man of God was used to lead his people to freedom. There are also modern-day leaders who lead people to truth and liberty.

In the 1950s and ’60s a man of God named Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was called by God to lead a people to the Promised Land. Martin Luther King, Jr. didn’t get there with us, yet he looked over and saw a time of liberty.

Dr. King once said this:

“A religion true to its nature must also be concerned about man’s social conditions . . . Any religion that professes to be concerned with the souls of men and is not concerned with the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them, and the social conditions that cripple them is a dry-as-dust religion.”

According to the Bible in Acts 17, there are no separate races of human beings (male and female), there is only one human race.

This is why the age-old battle of racism is so tragic. Truly there can be no independence for a nation or a people group until all people are recognized as human beings. Of course this truth applies to skin color, age, physical conditions, and the whole host of human elements that people experience during their lifetimes.

It is human nature to equate liberty with the opportunity to do everything that feels good to individuals without considering the needs of humanity as a whole. It is also human nature to debate over divine order, while all the while humanity as a whole suffers from a poverty of spirit.

Throughout our history, people have made vast and notable contributions to our history. Yet, we all have not been treated fairly by a system that was formed in hypocrisy.

Today, babies in their mothers’ wombs are treated with inequity. And there are still the issues of racism, sexual perversion, and reproductive genocide to overcome. Humans try to fix problems and eradicate sin with manmade laws. Yet, imperfect manmade laws have caused our nation to operate under a curse.

This curse must be broken in order for America to prosper.

Today, many people in America and the world live in bondage. Too many are enslaved by the sins of fear, violence, racism, reproductive genocide, sexual perversion, economic idolatry, sickness and greed. These issues must now be addressed with agape love and truth.

May July 4, truly become a symbol of freedom, not just for some, but for all.

“So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” John 8:36 NLT

Dr. Alveda C. King grew up in the civil rights movement led by her uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She is a pastoral associate and director of African-American outreach for Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries. Her family home in Birmingham, Ala., was bombed, as was her father’s church office in Louisville, Ky. Alveda herself was jailed during the open housing movement. Read more reports from Dr. Alveda C. King

Real Wealth Is In The Word

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Paul prays #1 for STRENGTH. Tonight we will look at some additional requests in this prayer that ends the first half of the book of Ephesians

Years ago there was a song that went, ‘My love is higher than the highest mountain, softer than a sigh, my love is deeper than the deepest ocean, wider than the sky, my love is brighter than the brightest star that shines every night above, and there is nothing in the world that can ever change my love’.
We would all agree that this person has a highly exaggerated expression of human love but if you change the words from My love is to God’s love is then you suddenly have a song that reflects truth instead of exaggeration.
PAUL SECOND REQUEST IS THAT OF LOVE

REQUEST #2: LOVE (17) …and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, (18) may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, (19) and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge,..
· Three things necessary for Paul’s kind of love

1. FIRST: It is something we are to be rooted & grounded in
a. This means to be established/stabilized in the
Superior love that comes from God.
b. The world has it’s own brand of love which is very
self -centered. Paul prays that we will be
established by God’s definition of what love really is.

Two words: One is agricultural while the other is architectural. One means to get our roots solid into the soil. The other means to be stable so as to not be collapsible. Our love is firmly rooted in our relationship with Jesus and the storms of the world cannot make our love fall apart.

c. It is one thing to be rooted and grounded in doctrine or
even in service in the church but being grounded in
God’s kind of love is an even deeper walk with God.

Parallel verse to this would be Romans 5:5 ‘the love of God has been shed abroad/poured out in hearts through the Holy Spirit’.
Thought of swabbing the decks, pouring water everywhere, or for us today ‘laying carpet’. Covers every area, ‘wall to wall’. Missing 6 inches on one side would look odd.
We are to be so rooted/grounded in love that it effects every part of our life. Every relationship, ministry, attitude, action.

SOMETHING WE ARE TO BE ROOTED AND GROUND IN
2. SECOND: Something we strive to know the extent of.
Able to comprehend what is the breadth, length, height,
depth
a. ABLE – idea of being a full strength, full capacity.
When we are spiritually at optimum place then we
begin to understand some tremendous things about
God.
b. Comprehend means more than just to know something
but it literally means to lay hold of something so as to
make it your own, to know and to feel.
To understand it to the point that it has a deep impact
upon who you are as a person.

You might tell somebody a joke and ask, ‘Do you get it?’
Louis Armstrong said about JAZZ, ‘Man, if I’ve got to explain it, you ain’t got it’.
We get our word for a monkey’s tail from this word.

b. Comprehend(grasp 4 things)
The Breadth of Love: wide enough to encompass all mankind
The Length of Love: long enough to last for eternity
The Heighth of Love: high enough to take us to heaven
The Depth of Love: deep enough to reach the most
despicable sinner
CAN YOU EVEN BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND THAT KIND OF LOVE
AND TO MAKE IT YOUR OWN.
AND TO LOVE LIKE THAT YOURSELF.
Paul prays that you do. Imagine a church like that.
Comprehend with all the saints..

SOMETHING TO BE ROOTED AND GROUNDED IN SOMETHING TO KNOW THE FULL EXTENT OF
3. THIRD: It is something we see the fullest expression in
Jesus. (19) and to know the love of Christ which
surpasses knowledge.
a. This is actually a pretty funny statement by Paul.
He is praying that we will know what is unknowable.
The love that is in Christ is beyond human knowledge.

Lit. ‘to throw beyond’. I am playing shortstop but God’s thought keep going over the center field fence. I will never catch them, they are too far beyond my position.

b. KNOW is an intimate word like the love between a
husband and a wife. Paul prays that we will have an
intimate knowledge of the love of Christ.

Don’t ask me to explain the love of Christ but if you ask me if I know what it is then I can say I do, I have experienced it.

STRENGTH LOVE
REQUEST #3: FULLNESS (19) …that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (20) Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,
1. Paul prays that we might be filled with God’s fullness.
This word for filled means to be filled over the top, a full
supply.
a. Paul is praying that we will be overwhelmed the
presence of God. Think that sounds like an inviting
prayer?
b. To pray this prayer means that we want God to so fill
us with Himself that there is nothing left of me.

Demonstrate this kind of attitude by some men who were called the Cambridge Seven.
In 1884 they were seven of the finest cricket players in England and were each students at Cambridge University.
They each gave up wealth, privilege, and comfort to bring the gospel to the people of China.
This would be equivalent to a Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa or Ken Griffey Jr. quitting baseball in their prime to go to the mission field.
The most notable was a man named C.T. Studd who also gave up a sizable inheritance to serve as a missionary in China, India, and Africa for 45 years.

Verse 20 is a wonderful verse that opens up the truth
about the heart of God towards us. If we can just get
self out of the way then look what God is waiting to give
when we embrace His fullness. Illustrates Paul’s fourth
request.

REQUEST #4: Glory (20) Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, (21) to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. AMEN
1. This great prayer of Paul that we would have God’s
strength in our service, have God’s love in our hearts, and
have God’s fullness in our lives is all for a purpose.
That purpose is to bring glory to God.

a. It is all meant to draw attention to the one behind the
curtain who makes the kind of life we live possible.
2. When we live DYNAMITE CHRISTIAN lives then verse 20
describes the kind of God the world will begin to see.
a. HIM WHO IS ABLE – That will be the testimony our life
teaches. God is able in all of life’s struggles, He is
more than sufficient
b. ABLE TO DO EXCEEDING ABUNDANTLY BEYOND:
1) TO DO: create, perform, bring forth. No matter
what the challenge God can bring forth lemonade
out of lemons, healing out of hurts,
2) EXCEEDINGLY ABUNDANTLY BEYOND: three
straight superlatives. Beyond was used to describe
a river above capacity or at flood stage.
Exceedingly beyond capacity. God can do more
than our life could ever contain.

Like the little boy asked by his grandparents about how big the grand canyon was, ‘Way big, way way way way big’

c. BEYOND ALL THAT WE ASK OR THINK: More than our
life could contain and more than our minds could
imagine. I don’t know about you but I can think of a
lot of things but God is able to do more than that.

CONCLUSION: The world knows God can do these things because He is doing them in the lives of His people. Those who:
1) Those who surrender through faith to His Spirit so that His power might strengthen our lives.
2) Those who experience the extend of His Amazing Love and so share it with the world
3) Those who are filled to overflowing with His presence as they lose themselves in Him.
All these things bring Him glory in the church…to all generations forever and ever.
Didn’t end with Paul or the Apostles. This prayer was not just for the Churches in that day but for every generation forever and ever. IT IS FOR US!

God alone deserves glory for He alone is glorious.

The Tondelayo

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In the Fall of Fortresses, Elmer Bendiner tells of a miracle that happened to him and a few others aboard their B-17 bomber, The Tondelayo. During a run over Kassel, Germany, Nazi antiaircraft guns barraged the plane with flak. That was nothing unusual, but on this particular flight, the plane’s fuel tanks were hit. The crew was amazed that the twenty-millimeter shell piercing the tank didn’t cause an explosion. The following morning, the pilot, Bohn Fawkes, asked the crew chief for the shell as a souvenir of their unbelievable luck.

Bdownloadohn was told that not just one shell had been found in the gas tanks, but eleven! Eleven unexploded shells-it truly seemed to be a miracle. The shells were sent to the armorers to be defused, and intelligence picked them up there. later, they informed the Tondelayo crew that when they opened the shells, they found no explosive charges in any of them. They were clean and harmless. One of the shells, however, was not completely empty. It contained a carefully rolled up piece of paper. On it was scrawled in the Czech language: “This is all we can do for you now.” The miracle had not been one of misfired shells, but of peace-loving hearts.

If we want peace in our homes, we need to disarm our weapons-hurtful words, prideful looks, and harmful attitudes. When we do all we can, God does all He can. He floods our home with His peace and love. Peace is not made at the council tables, or by treaties, but in the hearts of men. I ask you all, are there weapons in your life “You” need to disarm? If so let me hear from you after you release them to Elohim.
images (2)

 

 

Empower A Felon
Empower A Felon

Fusion Man

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Psalm 55:1-8 (The Message)
1 Open your ears, God, to my prayer; don’t pretend you don’t hear me knocking. 2 Come close and whisper your answer. I really need you. 3 at the mean voice, quail before the evil eye, As they pile on the guilt, stockpile angry slander. 4 My insides are turned inside out; specters of death have me down. 5 I shake with fear, I shudder from head to foot. 6 “Who will give me wings,” I ask – “wings like a dove?” Get me out of here on dove wings; 7 I want some peace and quiet. I want a walk in the country, 8 I want a cabin in the woods. I’m desperate for a change from rage and stormy weather.

Yves Rossy accomplished something people have dreamed of since the ancient myth of Icarus. He has flown. Known as “Fusion Man,” Rossy built a set of wings with an engine pack that uses his body as the fuselage of the aircraft, with the wings fused to the back of his heat resistant suit. His first flight took place near Geneva, Switzerland, in 2004, and he has since had numerous successful flights.

The psalmist David longed to have wings so he could fly away. In a time when he was being pursued by enemies who were seeking to take his life, Israel’s king cried, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest “(Psalms 55:6).

Like David, when we’re facing pressure, mistreatment, hardship, or grief, we might wish we could sprout wings and fly away. But Jesus offers a better way. Rather than fleeing our struggles, He invites us to flee too Him. He said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me… and you will find rest for your souls”( Matthew 11:28-29). Rather than wishing we could fly away and escape life’s problems, we can bring them to Him. Escape cannot give us rest, but Jesus can.

O give me a spirit of peace, dear Lord,
Midst the storms and tempests that roll,
That I may find rest and quite within,
A calm buried deep in my soul.

God gives us strength to face our problems, not to flee from them…

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Bearing Fruit

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No greater thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.

Epictetus

To what extent do we have shared or unique perceptual experiences? We examine how the answer to this question is constrained by the processes of visual adaptation. Adaptation constantly recalibrates visual coding so that our vision is normalized according to the stimuli that we are currently exposed to. These normalizations occur over very wide ranging time scales, from milliseconds to evolutionary spans. The resulting adjustments dramatically alter the appearance of the world before us, and in particular alter visual salience by highlighting how the current image deviates from the properties predicted by the current states of adaptation. To the extent that observers are exposed to and thus adapted by a different environment, their vision will be normalized in different ways and their subjective visual experience will differ. These differences are illustrated by considering how adaptation influences properties which vary across different environments. To the extent that observers are exposed and adapted to common properties in the environment, their vision will be adjusted toward common states, and in this respect they will have a common visual experience. This is illustrated by considering the effects of adaptation on image properties that are common across environments. In either case, it is the similarities or differences in the stimuli – and not the intrinsic similarities or differences in the observers – which largely determine the relative states of adaptation. Thus at least some aspects of our private internal experience are controlled by external factors that are accessible to objective measurement.


2 Chronicles 7:14
The Message (MSG)
12-18 God appeared to Solomon that very night and said, “I accept your prayer; yes, I have chosen this place as a temple for sacrifice, a house of worship. If I ever shut off the supply of rain from the skies or order the locusts to eat the crops or send a plague on my people, and my people, my God-defined people, respond by humbling themselves, praying, seeking my presence, and turning their backs on their wicked lives, I’ll be there ready for you: I’ll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health. From now on I’m alert day and night to the prayers offered at this place. Believe me, I’ve chosen and sanctified this Temple that you have built: My Name is stamped on it forever; my eyes are on it and my heart in it always. As for you, if you live in my presence as your father David lived, pure in heart and action, living the life I’ve set out for you, attentively obedient to my guidance and judgments, then I’ll back your kingly rule over Israel—make it a sure thing on a sure foundation. The same covenant guarantee I gave to David your father I’m giving to you, namely, ‘You can count on always having a descendant on Israel’s throne.’

An Arab proverb illustrates the concept that as the tares and wheat grow, they show which of these God has blessed. The stalks of wheat bow their heads because God has blessed them with abundant grain. The more fruitful they are, the lower their heads. The tares lift their heads up high above the wheat, for they are empty of grain.

D.L. Moody once said, “I have a pear tree on my farm that is very beautiful; it appears to be one of the most beautiful trees on my place. Every branch seems to be reaching up to the light and stands almost like a wax candle, but I never get any fruit from it. I have another tree, which was so full of fruit last year that the branches almost touched the ground. If we only get down low enough, my friends, God will use every one of us to His glory….The holiest Christians are the humblest.”

When our prayers focus only on ourselves and our needs, they bear little fruit. When our prayers are focused on the Lord and His desires, they produce a great harvest. To yield what we want to what He wants is not only the key to prayers, but also the key to success in every area of our lives. Humility is the principle aid to prayer. If we see more humility than pride our adaptations of what is real, true and pleasing to God would recalibrate itself to believe those visuals rather than what we so often put our adaptations and normalizations on.

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“The Reason why the colored American is not in the World’s Columbian Exposition,”

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In spite of the progress that has been made in the United States since the Civil Rights Movement toward achieving racial justice, racism remains the single most destructive force in American society. Social problems such as poverty, unemployment, urban decay, deteriorating educational opportunities, crime and violence are all elevated by the persistence of racism in our society.

To reduce all forms of discrimination including racism, it is important that we keep moving forward with the necessary legal reforms. But past history reveals that we cannot legislate an end to racism. People must address racism in personal relationships and in their daily lives. Racism must be challenged in our workplace, schools, the media, and in every institution of our society.
test

Do standardized achievement tests unfairly advantage white and Asian students and disadvantage the rest? According to a group of educational organizations and civil rights groups the answer is yes. The recently filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education pointing out that black and Latino students in New York score below whites and Asians on standardized tests so consistently that although they are almost 70% of the overall student body, they are only 11% of students enrolled at elite public schools. As a result, the complaint argues that New York City is in violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act because schools rely on a test that advantages one racial group over another.

This is not the only instance where race has become an important factor for how standardized tests are used in public education. Just last month public schools in both Virginia and Washington D.C. announced targets for how many students in each racial group must pass for schools to remain in good standing. For example, in Virginia only 45% of black students in each school must pass standardized math tests while 68% of whites, and 82% of Asians must do the same. Officials say that these plans are not discriminatory because students who are the farthest behind must progress the most, but critics reason that if one expects less from some students, those lower educational expectations will become a self-fulfilling prophecy for school districts and those students will fall even farther behind.

The Convict Lease System and Lynch Law are twin infamies which flourish hand in hand in many of the United States. They are the two great outgrowths and results of the class legislation under which our people suffer to-day. Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington claim to be too poor to maintain state convicts within prison walls. Hence the convicts are leased out to work for railway contractors, mining companies and those who farm large plantations. These companies assume charge of the convicts, work them as cheap labor and pay the states a handsome revenue for their labor. Ninetenths of these convicts are Negroes. There are two reasons for this.

(1) The religious, moral and philanthropic forces of the country — all the agencies which tend to uplift and reclaim the degraded and ignorant, are in the hands of the Anglo-Saxon. Not only has very little effort been made by these forces to reclaim the Negro from the ignorance, immorality and shiftlessness with which he is charged, but he has always been and is now rigidly excluded from the enjoyment of those elevating influences toward which he felt voluntarily drawn. In communities where Negro population is largest and these counteracting influences most needed, the doors of churches, schools, concert halls, lecture rooms, Young Men’s Christian Associations, and Women’s Christian Temperance Unions, have always been and are now closed to the Negro who enters on his own responsibility. Only as a servant or inferior being placed in one corner is he admitted. The white Christian and moral influences have not only done little to prevent the Negro becoming a criminal, but they have deliberately shut him out of everything which tends to make for good citizenship.

To have Negro blood in the veins makes one unworthy of consideration, a social outcast, a leper, even in the church. Two Negro Baptist Ministers, Rev. John Frank, the pastor of the largest colored church in Louisville, Ky., and Rev. C. H. Parish, President of Extein Norton University at Cane Spring, Ky., were in the city of Nashville, Tennessee, in May when the Southern Baptist Convention was in session. They visited the meeting and took seats in the body of the church. At the request of the Association, a policeman was called and escorted these men out because they would not take the seats set apart for colored persons in the back part of the Tabernacle. Both these men are scholarly, of good moral character, and members of the Baptist denomination. But they were Negroes, and that eclipsed everything else. This spirit is even more rampant in the more remote, densely populated plantation districts. The Negro is shut out and ignored, left to grow up in ignorance and vice. Only in the gambling dens and saloons does he meet any sort of welcome. What wonder that he falls into crime?

(2) The second reason our race furnishes so large a share of the convicts is that the judges, juries and other officials of the courts are white men who share these prejudices. They also make the laws. It is wholly in their power to extend clemency to white criminals and mete severe punishment to black criminals for the same or lesser crimes. The Negro criminals are mostly ignorant, poor and friendless. Possessing neither money to employ lawyers nor influential friends, they are sentenced in large numbers to long terms of imprisonment for petty crimes. The People’s Advocate, a Negro journal, of Atlanta, Georgia, has the following observation on the prison showing of that state for 1892. “It is an astounding fact that 90 per cent of the state’s convicts are colored; 194 white males and 2 white females; 1,710 colored males and 44 colored females. Is it possible that Georgia is so color prejudiced that she won’t convict her white law-breakers. Yes, it is just so, but we hope for a better day.”

George W. Cable, author of The Grandissimes, Dr. Sevier, etc., in a paper on “The Convict Lease System,” read before a Prison Congress in Kentucky says: “In the Georgia penitentiary in 1880, in a total of nearly 1200 convicts, only 22 prisoners were serving as low a term as one year, only 52 others as low as two years, only 76 others as low a term as three years; while those who were under sentences of ten years and over numbered 538, although ten years, as the rolls show, is the utmost length of time that a convict can be expected to remain alive in a Georgia penitentiary. Six men were under sentence for simple assault and battery — mere fisticuffing — one of two years, two of five years, one of six years, one of seven and one of eight. For larceny, three men were serving under sentence of twenty years, five were sentenced each for fifteen years; one for fourteen years, six for twelve years; thirty-five for ten years, and 172 from one year up to nine years. In other words, a large majority of these 1200 convicts had for simple stealing, without breaking in or violence, been virtually condemned to be worked and misused to death. One man was under a twenty years’ sentence for hog-stealing. Twelve men were sentenced to the South Carolina penitentiary on no other finding but a misdemeanor commonly atoned for by a fine of a few dollars, and which thousands of the state’s inhabitants (white) are constantly committing with impunity — the carrying of concealed weapons. Fifteen others were sentenced for mere assault and battery. In Louisiana a man was sentenced to the penitentiary for 12 months for stealing five dollars worth of gunnysacks! Out of 2378 convicts in the Texas prison in 1882, only two were under sentence of less than two years length, and 509 of these were under twenty years of age. Mississippi’s penitentiary roll for the same year showed 70 convicts between the ages of 12 and 18 years of age serving long terms. Tennessee showed 12 boys under 18 years of age, under sentences of more than a year; and the North Carolina penitentiary had 234 convicts under 20 years of age serving long terms.”

Mr. Cable goes on to say in another part of his admirable paper: “In the Georgia convict force only 15 were whites among 215 who were under sentences of more than ten years.” What is true of Georgia is true of the convict lease system everywhere. The details of vice, cruelty and death thus fostered by the states whose treasuries are enriched thereby, equals anything from Siberia. Men, women and children are herded together like cattle in the filthiest quarters and chained together while at work. The Chicago Inter-Ocean recently printed an interview with a young colored woman who was sentenced six months to the convict farm in Mississippi for fighting. The costs, etc., lengthened the time to 18 months. During her imprisonment she gave birth to two children, but lost the first one from premature confinement, caused by being tied up by the thumbs and punished for failure to do a full day’s work. She and other women testified that they were forced to criminal intimacy with the guards and cook to get food to eat.

Correspondence to the Washington D.C. Evening Star dated Sept. 27, 1892, on this same subject has the following:

The fact that the system puts a large number of criminals afloat in the community from the numerous escapes is not its worst feature. The same report shows that the mortality is fearful in the camps. In one camp it is stated that the mortality is 10 per cent per month, and in another even more than that. In these camps men and women are found chained together, and from twenty to twenty-five children have been born in captivity in the convicts’ camps.

Some further facts are cited with reference to the system in use in Tennessee. The testimony of a guard at the Coal Creek prison in Tennessee shows that prisoners, black and dirty from their work in the mines, were put into their rooms in the stockades without an opportunity to change their clothing or sufficient opportunity for cleanliness. Convicts were whipped, a man standing at the head and another at the feet, while a third applied the lash with both hands. Men who failed to perform their task of mining from two to four tons of coal per day were fastened to planks by the feet, then bent over a barrel and fastened by the hands on the other side, stripped and beaten with a strap. Out of the fifty convicts worked in the mines from one to eight were whipped per day in this manner. There was scarcely a day, according to the testimony of the witness, James Frazier, in which one or more were not flogged in this manner for failure to perform their day’s task. The work in the mines was difficult and the air sometimes so bad that the men fell insensible and had to be hauled out. Their beds he described as “dirty, black and nasty looking.” One of the convicts, testifying as to the kind of food given them, said that the pea soup was made from peas containing weevils and added: “I have got a spoonful of weevils off a cup of soup.” In many cases convicts were forced to work in water six inches deep for weeks at a time getting out coal with one-fourth of the air necessary for a healthy man to live in, forced to drink water from stagnant pools when mountain springs were just outside of the stockades, and the reports of the prison officials showing large numbers killed in attempting to escape.

The defense of this prison is based wholly upon its economy to the state. It is argued that it would cost large sums of money to build penitentiaries in which to confine and work the prisoners as is done in the Northern States, while the lease system brings the state a revenue and relieves it of the cost of building and maintaining prisons. The fact that the convicts labor is in this way brought into direct competition with free labor does not seem to be taken into account. The contractors, who get these laborers for 30 or 40 cents per day, can drive out of the market the man who employs free labor at $1 a day.

This condition of affairs briefly alluded to in detail in Tennessee and Georgia exists in other Southern States. In North Carolina the same system exists, except that only able-bodied convicts are farmed out. The death rates among the convicts is reported as greater than the death rate of New Orleans in the greatest yellow fever epidemic ever known. In Alabama a new warden with his natural instincts unblunted by familiarity with the situation wrote of it: “The system is a better training school for criminals than any of the dens of iniquity in our large cities. The system is a disgrace to the state and the reproach of the civilization and Christian sentiment of the age.”

Every Negro so sentenced not only means able-bodied men to swell the state’s number of slaves, but every Negro so convicted is thereby disfranchised.

It has been shown that numbers of Negro youths are sentenced to these penitentiaries every year and there mingle with the hardened criminals of all ages and both sexes. The execution of law does not cease with the incarceration of those of tender years for petty crimes. In the state of South Carolina last year Mildred Brown, a little thirteen year old colored girl was found guilty of murder in the first degree on the charge of poisoning a little white infant that she nursed. She was sentenced to be hanged. The Governor refused to commute her sentence, and on October 7th, 1892, at Columbia, South Carolina, she was hanged on the gallows. This made the second colored female hanged in that state within one month. Although tried, and in rare cases convicted for murder and other crimes, no white girl in this country ever met the same fate. The state of Alabama in the same year hanged a ten year old Negro boy. He was charged with the murder of a peddler.

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“A Black Holocaust in America.”

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“Eugenics is the study of the agencies under social control that may improve or impair the racial qualities of future generations either physically or mentally.”
– Francis Galton, first cousin and associate of Charles Darwin, circa 1883

“Natural selection must be replaced by eugenical artificial selection. This idea constitutes the sound core of eugenics, the applied science of human betterment.”
– Theodosius Dobzhansky. Heredity and the Nature of Man. 1964



If you are still drinking yourself to death, stop! If you are still using the poison made to kill you, like cocaine and all other drugs, stop! If you are committing constant crimes and you have no desistance to eradicate the madness you find yourself participating in, let this post be enough to synergize desistance and change the way you view television, food, habits and activities. Please pass this education on to your family because It’s still happening in America today and it is called “Eugenics”.

Ron Wallace: co-author of Black Wallstreet: A Lost Dream Chronicles a little-known chapter of African-American History in Oklahoma as told to Ronald E. Childs. If anyone truly believes that 9/11 attack on the federal building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma was the most tragic bombing ever to take place on United States soil, as the media has been widely reported, they’re wrong,plain and simple. That’s because an even deadlier bomb occurred in that same state nearly 75 years ago.

Many people in high places would like to forget that it ever happened. Searching under the heading of “riots,” “Oklahoma” and “Tulsa” in current editions of the World Book Encyclopedia, there is conspicuously no mention whatsoever of the Tulsa race riot of 1921, and this omission is by no means a surprise, or a rare case. The fact is, one would also be hard-pressed to find documentation of the incident, let alone an accurate accounting of it, in any other “scholarly” reference or American history book.

That’s precisely the point that noted author, publisher and orator Ron Wallace, a Tulsa native, sought to make nearly five years ago when he began researching this riot, one of the worst incidents of violence ever visited upon people of African descent. Ultimately joined on the project by colleague Jay Jay Wilson of Los Angeles, the duo found and compiled indisputable evidence of what they now describe as “A Black Holocaust in America.”

The date was June 1, 1921, when “Black Wallstreet,” the name fittingly given to one of the most affluent all-black communities in America, was bombed from the air and burned to the ground by mobs of envious whites. In a period spanning fewer than 12 hours, a once thriving 36-black business district in northern Tulsa lay smoldering-A model community destroyed, and a major Africa-American economic movement resoundingly defused.

The night’s carnage left some 3,000 African Americans dead, and over 600 successful businesses lost. Among these were 21 churches, 21 restaurants, 30 grocery stores and two movie theaters, plus a hospital, a bank, a post office, libraries, schools, law offices, a half-dozen private airplanes and even a bus system. As could be expected, the impetus behind it all was the infamous Ku Klux Klan, working in consort with ranking city officials, and many other sympathizers. In their self-published book, Black Wall street: A lost Dream, and its companion video documentary, Black Wall street: A Black Holocaust in America!, the authors have chronicled for the very first time in the words of area historians and elderly survivors what really happened there on that fateful summer day in 1921 and why it happened. Wallace similarly explained to Black Elegance why this bloody event from the turn of the century seems to have had a recurring effect that is being felt in predominately Black neighborhoods even to this day. The best description of Black Wall street, or Little Africa as it was also known, would be to liken it to a mini-Beverly Hills. It was the golden door of the Black community during the early 1900s, and it proved that African Americans had successful infrastructure. That’s what Black Wall street was about.

The dollar circulated 36 to 1000 times, sometimes taking a year for currency to leave the community. Now in 1995, a dollar leaves the Black community in 15 minutes. As far as resources, there were Ph.D’s residing in Little Africa, Black attorneys and doctors. One doctor was Dr. Berry who also owned the bus system. His average income was $500 a day, a hefty pocket of change in 1910. During that era, physicians owned medical schools. There were also pawn shops everywhere, brothels, jewelry stores, 21 churches, 21 restaurants and two movie theaters. It was a time when the entire state of Oklahoma had only two airports, yet six blacks owned their own planes. It was a very fascinating community. The area encompassed over 600 businesses and 36 square blocks with a population of 15,000 African Americans. And when the lower-economic Europeans looked over and saw what the Black community created, many of them were jealous. When the average student went to school on Black Wall street, he wore a suit and tie because of the morals and respect they were taught at a young age.

The mainstay of the community was to educate every child. Nepotism was the one word they believed in. And that’s what we need to get back to in 1995. The main thoroughfare was Greenwood Avenue, and it was intersected by Archer and Pine Streets. From the first letters in each of those names, you get G.A.P., and that’s where the renowned R&B music group The GAP Band got its name. They’re from Tulsa. Black Wall street was a prime example of the typical Black community in America that did business, but it was in an unusual location. You see, at the time, Oklahoma was set aside to be a Black and Indian state. There were over 28 Black townships there. One third of the people who traveled in the terrifying “Trail of Tears” along side the Indians between 1830 to 1842 were Black people. The citizens of this proposed Indian and Black state chose a Black governor, a treasurer from Kansas named McDade. But the Ku Klux Klan said that if he assumed office that they would kill him within 48 hours. A lot of Blacks owned farmland, and many of them had gone into the oil business. The community was so tight and wealthy because they traded dollars hand-to-hand, and because they were dependent upon one another as a result of the Jim Crow laws.

It was not unusual that if a resident’s home accidentally burned down, it could be rebuilt within a few weeks by neighbors. This was the type of scenario that was going on day-to-day on Black Wall street. When Blacks intermarried into the Indian culture, some of them received their promised ’40 acres and a Mule,’ and with that came whatever oil was later found on the properties.

Just to show you how wealthy a lot of Black people were, there was a banker in a neighboring town who had a wife named California Taylor. Her father owned the largest cotton gin west of the Mississippi [River]. When California shopped, she would take a cruise to Paris every three months to have her clothes made. There was also a man named Mason in nearby Wagner County who had the largest potato farm west of the Mississippi. When he harvested, he would fill 100 boxcars a day. Another brother not far away had the same thing with a spinach farm. The typical family then was five children or more, though the typical farm family would have 10 kids or more who made up the nucleus of the labor.

On Black Wall street, a lot of global business was conducted. The community flourished from the early 1900s until June 1, 1921. That’s when the largest massacre of non-military Americans in the history of this country took place, and it was lead by the Ku Klux Klan. Imagine walking out of your front door and seeing 1,500 homes being burned. It must have been amazing.

Survivors we interviewed think that the whole thing was planned because during the time that all of this was going on, white families with their children stood around on the borders of the community and watched the massacre, the looting and everything—much in the same manner they would watch a lynching.

In my lectures I ask people if they understand where the word “picnic” comes from. It was typical to have a picnic on a Friday evening in Oklahoma. The word was short for “pick a nigger” to lynch. They would lynch a Black male and cut off body parts as souvenirs. This went on every weekend in this country. That’s where the term really came from. The riots weren’t caused by anything Black or white. It was caused by jealousy. A lot of white folks had come back from World War I and they were poor. When they looked over into the Black communities and realized that Black men who fought in the war had come home heroes that helped trigger the destruction. It cost the Black community everything, and not a single dime of restitution—no insurance claims-has been awarded to the victims to this day.

Nonetheless, they rebuilt. We estimate that 1,500 to 3,000 people were killed, and we know that a lot of them were buried in mass graves all around the city. Some were thrown in the river. As a matter of fact, at 21st Street and Yale Avenue, where there now stands a Sears parking lot, that corner used to be a coal mine. They threw a lot of the bodies into the shafts. Black Americans don’t know about this story because we don’t apply the word holocaust to our struggle. Jewish people use the word holocaust all the time. White people use the word holocaust. It’s politically correct to use it. But when we Black folks use the word, people think we’re being cry babies or that we’re trying to bring up old issues. No one comes to our support. In 1910, our forefathers and mothers owned 13 million acres of land at the height of racism in this country, so the Black Wall street book and videotape prove to the naysayers and revisionists that we had our act together. Our mandate now is to begin to teach our children about our own, ongoing Black holocaust. They have to know when they look at our communities today that we don’t come from this.

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Oneness Intergration Projects: Will It Work In America’s Philosophy?

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Music can also be a sensual pleasure, like eating food or sex. But its highest vibration for me is that point of taking us to a real understanding of something in our nature which we can very rarely get at. It is a spiritual state of oneness.
Terry Riley


Being “one with the tiger” is a popular goal in the modern world, and our leaders are forever leaping into tiger dens in the hopes of becoming one with the beast.

In the Bronx Zoo, David Villalobos was rescued from a tiger den after leaping inside to, in his own words, “Be one with the tiger.”

Being “one with the tiger” is a popular goal in the modern world, and our leaders are forever leaping into tiger dens in the hopes of becoming one with the beast. These leaps of faith end about as well as they did for Villalobos who was mauled by the tiger, but like Villalobos they never seem to draw the proper conclusions about the dangerous nature of tigers.

British, French and German leaders did not hop into tiger enclosures in the London Zoo, the Parc Zoologique de Paris and the Berlin Zoological Garden. Instead they turned these cities into open air safaris where the natives were encouraged to mingle with the tigers. The multicultural safari has not been going well, with the tigers mangling the natives, burning their cars and chewing on their police officers. The European Union zookeepers have been wondering loudly what they can do to fix their oneness integration project, while releasing still more tigers into the streets of London, Paris and Berlin.

The United States did not jump into a tiger den in the Bronx Zoo. That would have been fairly sane compared to its leap into Libya. With the Arab Spring, the tigers were freed and men like Christopher Stevens jumped inside. The bloody marks on the walls of the Benghazi consulate are a grim reminder of what tigers eventually do to the men who move into their dens.

In his Cairo speech, Obama let the Muslim world know that he wanted us to be one with the tiger.

“I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles.”

Three hundred million Americans and one billion Muslims would no longer be exclusive; they would overlap, like a plane overlapping with a skyscraper, a bomb overlapping with a consulate and a falling man overlapping with the open mouth of a tiger.

Oneness is a noble goal, but unlike seeking oneness with the universe, when seeking oneness with a tiger it is best to consider the terms on which that oneness will be achieved. While the man’s idea of becoming one with the tiger is to give it a big hug, the tiger’s idea of becoming one with the man is to devour him. Both are forms of oneness but only of them is survivable for the man.

The Islamist mobs burning embassies, smashing cars and assaulting police officers are the tiger’s growl warning us of the terms on which that overlapping oneness will occur. Islamist rulers in Turkey and Egypt are giving interviews telling us that oneness with them will depend on our willingness to accept their values and laws. The question is whether, like Villalobos, we will be as besotted with the tiger as to accept oneness with it on those devouring terms.

There is a Chinese proverb that says, “If you ride a tiger, it is difficult to get off.” Riding the tiger is difficult enough, but getting off it is even harder.

The United States leaped on the back of the tiger when it began its dangerous relationship with Saudi Arabia. Europe tumbled on when it allowed itself to be flooded with Muslim immigrants who established Islamist mosques and schools in its cities. Both the United States and Europe have been mauled by the tiger, but still believe that there is nothing to do but to go on riding the beast deeper into the jungle until it becomes convinced of our common overlapping values and stops trying to eat us.

The deeper we go into the darkness, the harder it is to tell whether we are riding the tiger or the tiger is riding us. As newspapers tremble at the thought of a Mohammed cartoon and government officials beg YouTube to take down a Mohammed trailer that offends the tiger, it seems as if the tiger is riding us.

According to police detectives, Villalobos became obsessed with tigers. The West has in its own way become obsessed with the Muslim world. Westerners going off to seek oneness with the mysterious east are not a new phenomenon, but a hundred years ago they did not drag entire countries and civilizations them with into the tiger’s maw. Today the new Lawrence’s of Arabia are no longer playing with Eastern empires; they are trifling with the survival of the West.

When Villalobos jumped into the tiger’s den, there were police officers and zookeepers there to rescue him. But as the West leaps into the tiger’s den, who will be there to save us?

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Controversy Of The Cross

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the CrossRun But Can't Hide

1 Corinthians 1:17-25 (New International Version)
17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel–not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
Christ the Wisdom and Power of God
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” 20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.

A case before the US Supreme Court focused on whether a religious symbol, specifically a cross, should be allowed on public land. Mark Sherman, writing for Associated Press, said that although the cross in question was erected in 1934 as a memorial to soldiers who died in World War 1, one veteran’s group that opposed it called the cross “a powerful Christian symbol” and “not a symbol of any other religion.”

The cross has always been controversial. In the first century, the apostle Paul said that Christ had sent him “to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God”. As followers of Christ, we see the cross as more than a powerful Christian symbol. It is the evidence of God’s power to free us from the tyranny of our sin.

In a diverse and pluralistic society, the controversy over religious symbols will continue. Whether a cross can be displayed on public property will likely be determined by the courts. But displaying the power of the cross through our lives will be decided in our hearts.

Christ takes each sin, each pain, each loss,
And by the power of His cross
Transforms our brokenness and shame
So that our lives exalt His name.

Nothing speaks more clearly of God’s love than the cross…..

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The Deception: Jihad In America

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Jihad

Jihad is holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community.

John O. Brennan
I find it to be no surprise about the mask America wears to concede to any measure in operating and implementing the pieces of the puzzle called deception. If Christopher Columbus used deception to defraud the Indians and tribes of old for food and more this nation is not beyond the same practices. I am looking at so many vantage points of religion and politics and I must say I am not appalled at any findings thus far.

Steve Emerson and The Investigative Project on Terrorism’s documentary Jihad in America: The Grand Deception is a powerful film that should be shown across America -in high schools, on college campuses, in our houses of worship, and most importantly, throughout the state and federal governments. It turns the concept of political correctness that has dominated our learning institutions, government bureaucracies, and media and entertainment organizations on its head as the viewer is left in wonderment at the self-induced and resulting indoctrination that has overwhelmed American culture.

Emerson’s documentary exposes the stealth war that the Muslim Brotherhood has been conducting behind the scenes in America as its influence has infected academia, Hollywood, journalism, law enforcement, and the highest echelons of government. Throughout the film, undercover video and audio clips are interspersed between interviews with law enforcement officials and MB experts to describe the evolution of an organization that was founded in Egypt in 1928 in order to bring Muslims back to their Islamic values and create an Islamic caliphate across the world. From founder Hassan al-Banna: “It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its laws on all nations and extend its power to the entire planet.”

With the MB’s migration across the globe, its presence in the U.S. should be no surprise. What is surprising is the film’s exposure of the extent to which the MB has infiltrated so many influential aspects of our society. Through the establishment of a complicated network of front groups seemingly legitimate on their face, the group has gained respectability without accountability and successfully camouflaged its true agenda of destroying Western civilization from within.

A disturbing lesson from the film is that the U.S. government — from the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, and State to the F.B.I. — has full knowledge of the MB’s intricate network and agenda. In the face of that knowledge, the officials whom we have entrusted with national security and protection of our freedoms and values have either willfully turned a blind eye or been utterly complicit in furthering the nefarious goals of radical Islam.

For instance, the viewer learns of a declassified FBI document that states, “…the IKHWAN (Muslim Brotherhood) in the United States has as its ultimate goal political control of all non-Islamic Governments in the world.” And yet, instead of isolating the MB, the government has engaged them and shut down decades-long FBI investigations into their activities. Dr. Mamoun Fandy, a MB expert featured in the film observed, “The West is tremendously naïve about the danger of these various Islamic organizations.”

My viewing of the film was particularly timely in light of IPT’s recent report on the White House meeting between staff members of the National Security Council and an Islamist cleric who is the vice president of a Hamas-supporting group founded and headed by MB spiritual leader, Yousef Qaradawi (featured prominently in the film stating, “We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America! Not through sword, but through da’wa.”) While the MB’s infiltration in, and influence over, government institutions did not begin during the Obama administration, it has certainly flourished over the past several years as MB members serve openly in the administration, meet with high-ranking officials, and are labeled “moderates.” By granting legitimacy to the various MB organizations that have been established as part of the “tangled web” (an FBI code word for the group’s network), the government is abetting the advancement of the “grand deception” that is their “jihad in America.”

It is ironic that while Americans seem singularly focused on the illegal immigration and societal integration of Hispanics, few have taken notice of legal Muslim immigrants who are self-described in the film by a leader of the Islamic Society of North America (a MB front group) who states, “Ultimately, we can never be full citizens of this country because there is no way we can be fully committed to the institutions and ideologies of this country.” So much for the concept of America as a melting pot.

And while the millions of illegal immigrants are here in order to pursue the American dream, the film illustrates that members of the network of MB institutions are pursuing quite a different dream. Zudhi Jasser, founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, summarizes:

Their dream is the creation of an Islamic state. Their utopia is having the law be Sharia. So their strategy in America, I believe, is to use America’s freedoms and liberties in order to achieve that dream.

Nathan Garrett, a former FBI agent and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, expounds:

[There are] so many organizations working on so many fronts to use our very system, the systems that they deplore, our democracy, our Constitution, our rule of law, our tolerance. That’s what they use to exploit their message. That’s what they use to protect themselves and create a façade around them that would allow them internally to operate and seek to achieve their true and often unstated objectives.

For any doubters of the veracity of those statements, recalling the domestic terrorist attacks of 9/11, Ft. Hood, and the Boston Marathon should serve as a reminder that this film is an honest – and scary – portrayal of a growing threat to our democracy.

But the film makes clear that jihad takes on many forms. While terrorism is but one strategy – it is not the only tool that the jihadists are using to achieve their goals. The film elucidates the various stealth strategies by which the “grand deception” is succeeding including:

– the use of the media (one board member of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, another MB front group, is heard advising his audience that, “It is very important, media in the United States is very gullible.”)

– false accusations of racism and Islamaphobia made against critics of radical Islam (for acknowledging the “moral corruption within a certain segment that is using [Islam], hijacking it for a theopoitical movement,” Jasser has been labeled a clown, an Uncle Tom Muslim, and a self-hating Muslim)

– political camouflage (an ISNA representative stated, “You don’t get involved in politics because it’s the American thing to do. You get involved in politics because politics can be a weapon to use in the cause of Islam.”)

– language manipulation (former Muslim militant Abdur-Rahman Muhammed featured prominently in the film states, “Their type of radical Muslims know that if anyone caught wind of their agenda, they’d be done so they have to hide it. They mask it. Hide it in plain site.”)

– portraying the fight as against all Muslims rather than just radical Islam (this is the lie promulgated by Anwar al-Awlaki, aka “the bin Laden of the internet” who has radicalized homegrown terrorists including Maj. Hassan).

Douglas Farah, a former reporter for the Washington Post, acknowledges in the movie just how difficult this information is for people to comprehend, as they label it “crazy talk.” But Jasser and Muhammed point out that Americans’ tolerance, desire to be fair-minded, and fear of being labeled a bigot actually enable the MB’s success. For those of us living in reality, free of guilt and intellectually honest, The Grand Deception is a warning that should be heeded as the MB’s infiltration into basic societal institutions moves it closer to its goal of worldwide Islamic domination.

The war we face is one we can win if only the ruling classes dominated by the PC police bring themselves to acknowledge its very existence. One of the more entertaining parts of the film is a clip of Eric Holder testifying before the House Judiciary Committee in 2010. He simply cannot bring himself to use the term “radical Islam” to describe one of the possible causes of terrorism. What a perfect illustration of the government’s complicity in moving the MB agenda forward.

The viewer must watch to the very end of the film as its credits are interspersed with clips from another Congressional hearing addressing the homegrown terrorist threat to the country’s military communities in the aftermath of the Fort Hood terrorist attack (yes, despite the government’s refusal to label the shootings terrorism, sensible humans recognize the tragedy for what it was). Eerily robotic-like, Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Stockton refuses to acknowledge that we are at war with violent, Islamist extremism – or that violent, Islamist extremism is at war with us. In response to pointed questions he repeats, “No sir” like a brainwashed automaton. Were it not such a serious matter, the exchange would be laughable.

Serious matters call for serious dialogue, serious policy, and serious minds. At the moment, this country is lacking on all fronts. The Grand Deception is an important first step in moving the country toward saving itself from institutions, policies, and ideologies that would otherwise lead to the demise of our way of life. It has deservedly won numerous awards including Best Documentary at the 2013 Beverly Hills Film Festival and Myrtle Beach International Film Festival and most recently was given the special award of Best USA Documentary on a Political Subject at the NYC International Film Festival.

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The Pollution Is Not Just In The Air; But In our Society & Government

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I cannot tell you how blessed I am to be an American citizen. I love this nation and highly respect all that our founding fathers did to establish this nation upon Godly principles. However, as I look around at the spiritual condition of our nation today, my heart grieves.

In the book of Habakkuk, we see the prophet of God burdened by the sin and lawlessness of the nation of Judah. He begins to cry out to God saying, “O Lord, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear?” “There is strife, and contention arises. Therefore the law is powerless, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore perverse judgment proceeds.”

As I read the words of Habakkuk, I could almost feel what the prophet was feeling as he wept over his nation.

In the beginning of this prophetic book, we find Habakkuk praying faithless prayers. There was violence all around and everything looked absolutely hopeless.

As the book continues to unfold, we hear the Lord respond to the questions of this burdened prophet. But, the reply that comes forth from the Lord is not exactly what Habakkuk wanted to hear. The Lord declared that He would send Babylon (Judah’s enemy) as His chastening rod against the nation of Judah.

Judah had consistently refused to repent of her sinful ways and the Lord’s wrath was about to be manifested against her in a mighty way. The Lord had given Judah many opportunities to repent and turn back to Him, but they refused to do so.

I believe that America is very close to being in the same sinful position that Judah found herself in. God has poured out His mercy upon this nation for years. He has continued to bless America in spite of her abominable and sinful ways. The message of repentance has been preached throughout this nation by mighty men and women of God via every means of technology available to man. Yet, this nation continues to go its own way, doing its own thing rather than going God’s way and doing God’s thing.

September 11th seemed to wake the church up for a season, but once the terrorism stopped, so did our repentance and prayers.

The outward appearance of our nation today looks great. America seems to be doing very well with technology booming and a military force that makes all the nations tremble.

Most homes in America have one or more computers and one or more cars. Thousands of people carry credit cards in one pocket and a cell phone in the other. Everything looks great on the outside, but what’s happening within?

Let’s take a quick glance at America’s past and present:

• From 1960 to 1990 there has been a 560% increase in violent crime, a 419% increase in illegitimate births; a quadrupling in divorce rates; a tripling of the percentage of children living in single-parent homes; more than a 200% increase in the teenage suicide rate; and a drop of almost 80 points in SAT scores.

• In 1962, organized prayer was taken out of public schools.

• On January 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized unrestricted abortion.

• Since 1973, there have been more than 40 million abortions.

• Dr. Billy Graham stated that, according to his research, over 90% of the Christians in America are living defeated spiritual lives.

• 60% of all websites on the Internet are pornographic websites.

• 85% of kids surveyed said their parents didn’t know what they did on the Internet.

• Internet pornography now ranks highest of all causes of divorce.

• Addiction to pornography is rampant among Christian men, and greed, sexual sins, and dishonesty abound in the Christian church.

• Homosexuality is now called “an alternative lifestyle” instead of an abomination in the sight of Almighty God.

• In 1990, Disney’s Magic Kingdom began Gay Days, which began as a one day event, has now evolved into a week of celebration designated for the LesBiGay community ‘to wear red and be seen’ while visiting the world’s most popular theme park.

• August 21, 2003 – According to CNSNews.com, an online sperm bank geared toward lesbian couples and single women recorded its first birth. This allows babies to be born to homosexual couples.

• American Airlines can’t pay its pilots, but it can pay to sponsor a bisexual conference in California which will include sexual demonstrations. (http://www.rfcnet.org)

• The divorce rate among Christians in America is now higher than the divorce rate among non-Christians.

• August 5, 2003 – The House of Bishops voted to confirm the Rev. Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire, making him the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church’s history.

• As of July 1, 2000, Vermont recognizes same-sex unions by law.

• 12 million children live in households where people have to skip meals or eat less to make ends meet. That means one in ten households in the U.S. are living with hunger or are at risk of hunger. (www.bread.org)

• It is estimated that over 3 million teens between the ages of 14 and 17 in the United States today are problem drinkers. Nearly 14 million Americans—1 in every 13 adults-abuse alcohol or are alcoholic. Alcohol contributes to 100,000 deaths annually. An estimated 6.6 million children under 18 live in households with at least one alcoholic parent.
(http://www.alcoholaddiction.info/alcoholism-statistics.htm)

This list of statistics and facts could go on and on. The more I read, the more grieved I become.

The America church has become desensitized to sin as a result of her continued compromise with the world.

Romans 12:2 – Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

The church of Jesus Christ today stands guilty before Almighty God. We have allowed the world to conform the church instead of the church conforming the world.

We have allowed the evil one to deceive us with his subtle schemes and demonic teachings. “If it feels good, do it! There’s nothing wrong with having a little fun once in a while.”

As a result of these perverted and twisted teachings, many in the church have given in to the temptations of the enemy and have fallen into sin. Now, caught in the snare of the fowler, they are too embarrassed to cry out for help.

How many Christian men are addicted to pornography on the Internet? How many Christian homes are being torn apart because they have allowed the enemy to come into their homes and reap havoc?

How can we be so ignorant of the enemy’s devices? How can we allow him to come into our homes and destroy that which God has blessed? How can we just stand around and watch as the enemy snatches our children right out of the palm of our hands?

Why are we so busy that we neglect those things that are needful? Where are we when our children need us? Why is work more important than relationship with our families?

A book published in 1947 by Dr. Carle Zimmerman entitled “Family and Civilization” defines eight specific patterns of domestic behavior that signal the downward spiral and imminent demise of every culture:

a) Marriage lost its sacredness; it was frequently broken by divorce.

b) Traditional meaning of the marriage ceremony was lost. Alternate forms and definitions of marriage arose, and traditional marriage vows were replaced by individual marriage contracts.

c) Feminist movements appeared, and women lost interest in child bearing and mothering, preferring to pursue power and influence.

d) Public disrespect for parents and authority in general increased.

e) Juvenile delinquency, promiscuity, and rebellion accelerated.

f) People with traditional marriages refused to accept family responsibilities.

g) Desire for and acceptance of adultery grew.

h) Increased tolerance for sexual perversions of all kinds, particularly homosexuality, with a resultant increase in sex-related crimes.

The research results listed above were found to be true in 1947. As I read through this list, I felt like I was reading today’s newspaper. Everything listed above is currently taking place in our nation. Are we so desperately blind that we cannot see it?

As God began to unfold His plan to the prophet Habakkuk, the prophet’s faith began to increase. He began to cry out to God from a different perspective. He began to see things through the eyes of faith instead of through the eyes of faithlessness. The final words of this prophetic book are in the form of a prayer of faith and rejoicing. The prophet’s eyes were opened to see that judgment and mercy go hand in hand.

As I have studied and prayed over this article, I have sensed the Lord’s presence as well as His grief. I see storm clouds gathering on the horizon.

My prayer for America is that she will acknowledge her need for God, repent and be saved. My prayer for the church is that she will arise and stop compromising with the world. May she shake off the sin that so easily besets her and become alive once again unto God and His righteousness. May God have mercy on America, her people and the church.

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The decline of morality in our society

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gall.cheating
Today the major English-speaking nations watch as a storm of problems draws ever nearer, a storm created by hostile forces that blurred and weakened their sense of morality. Does the Bible indicate where we will go from here?

A recent article in USA Today captures the essence of present discontent in the United States. It laments: “In poll after poll, two-thirds or more of Americans say the country is on the wrong track. Oil prices are near an all-time high. The president’s popularity hovers near record lows over a deeply unpopular war. Millions of homeowners are in danger of losing their houses to foreclosure. And many more Americans fear the loss of their jobs”

The article goes on to compare the country’s plight today with its tumultuous national picture in the 1970s: “Americans were shocked by the ’70s. We seemed to be running out of everything: oil, beef, even toilet paper. Prices were rising, and so was unemployment. Both the president and vice president resigned from office. The long struggle in Vietnam ended in a desperate retreat from Saigon by helicopter.”

Comparisons with recent history can be very instructive, but we should not ignore ancient times. The biblical “song of Moses” also invites historical perspective. It reaches down through the generations and suggests meaningful comparisons with the past: “Remember the days of old , consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; your elders, and they will tell you” (Deuteronomy 32:7
, emphasis added throughout).

If young and middle-aged Americans were to ask the country’s “greatest generation” of World War II what they thought of our current cultural behavior, what would the answer be?

Would they be full of praise for our national conduct? Are they pleased with what passes for entertainment on television during the evening of their lives? Would they not think that what’s really wrong with the nation is its steep moral decline over the last half century?


The other day I was talking with a man who is worried about his 15 year old daughter. His concern came when he found she was seeing a young man of 21 in an inappropriate manner, and his daughter could not see anything wrong with the relationship no matter how hard this man tried to explain it. And as we were talking about this at a function weeks later, one of the teenagers who overheard our discussion on the topic also saw no problem, and went on to inform us how things like this occur on a daily basis in and away from school, and began to boast how he could have sex with just about any girl from the age of 14 on up with no problem.

He explained the different sites where ads are put out for free, where anyone can write about anything that can be concocted in the human mind, and get replies. I asked him for the site, and he gave it to me. It was then I decided to browse through and actually see one of the most shocking sites I have ever seen. On the outside, it looks like a fairly innocent trader magazine type site, with people selling cars, furniture, electronics, and labor services. But one can go to the Personals section and look under the various types of personal ads beginning with the typical men and women seeking each other, etc. Then it goes into the homosexual and other misc. sections. What I saw were people posting their ads, some with nasty pictures included, requesting things with other people I had no idea of. But my teenage friend was correct. The ads had young women and men attempting to sell themselves for money or drugs, and whatever else.

The appalling thing to me was that this site is free, and has nothing except a button that allows the user to claim they are of legal age before entering. Any child can easily walk right in and read some of the most deranged postings that can be conceived. But it was not just the teenagers that bothered me; I saw many posts for married people looking for trysts and other strange requests. Many of these people were between their mid-twenties and on into their forties.

There were young women who wanted to stay married, yet wanted to glean extra money on the side by selling their various services, and married men who posted desires to exchange money for those similar acts. I will not even get into the rest of what was there. But it made me look deeper at why so many people, especially our youth, are so enamored with sex and money to the point they would cheapen themselves and think it perfectly alright. And of course there are many reasons I believe. The Liberal views that took root in the 60’s have begun coming to full fruition. The Sexual Revolution as the Women’s Movement called it took hold. How they ever figured it would benefit women is beyond me, but they pushed it. Then the Gay movements arrived, and took hold in a militant form that has an agenda to have our children taught that their lifestyle is just fine, and should be explored. Reading some of those ads, it also became evident that roots had strongly taken in our society. It is quite evident that having “fun” is more important than traditional; values such as hard work and fidelity.

Then the massive thrust of television and theaters that taught these same people that sex, and alternative lifestyles, marital infidelity, and divorce are all to be accepted as normal. The violence from Hollywood has also inundated the minds of our society, and has taken root as well. And even further, is the Liberal PC movement that takes into regard many of these lifestyles and embraces them as acceptable, all the while bashing Christianity and its value system. We have allowed in this nation to have the Bible, and mention of Christian values taken from society and have allowed all these other immoral and destructive behaviors and lifestyles to become seen as normal.

Yet, women are finding now that the militant Feminist movement has trapped them rather than liberated them. We now have many more abortions, many more single women trying to raise children due to divorce, or never having been married at all because for decades, this has been rewarded by one sided divorce rulings that offered no consequence for infidelity or real abuse. Why commit to marriage when divorce is so easy and so profitable?

We have allowed Hollywood to flood our homes with garbage sitcoms and movies that endorse and glorify these strange values. And we have allowed the alternative lifestyles to be taught to our children as acceptable, because God forbid we ever be called Homophobes by the Left thinkers.

And in this age of technology and mass media where we have to power and ability to use these things for the good of our society, we use them for its corruption and degradation. And we see the battle everywhere now, in our homes, in the office, in schools, in the court systems, and in our politics. And for anyone who has a sense of decency and morality, this is heart breaking at best.

And the Conservative Voice must be heard again in this nation. We need to disregard PC, disregard the small minority who wants God from our society and gladly pay for one way tickets to a Communist nation where those ideals are favored. We need to demand a moral government and we need to hold those politicians responsible for their example. Bill Clinton himself no doubt had a huge impact when he basically proclaimed that what he did was no big deal. To cheat on ones’ wife, to humiliate the office of President, to lie about it, our children saw and absorbed. After that episode, I talked to many teens who felt it was no problem as well and also took on those traits. Our children, our future, and they are of the mindset that infidelity is acceptable and just run from problems by divorcing or aborting human life is just fine when the going gets tough. We see our daughters and sons degrading each other, and we see wives becoming prostitutes and husbands refusing to live as men as an example to their children and wives.

We see a nation of self centered ideology where the upcoming generations desire all their parents have without the hard work. We have a very large population of young men in their 20’s and 30’s still living at home with little ambition. Because they know when the parents are gone they will inherit what they now have. Why become educated? Why work? Just have fun until Pay Day arrives in the form of a funeral. Why get a job when there are so many men willing to pay for a woman’s body? Why stay married when things get shaky, when a divorce and another spouse will make everything better?

We have seen to roots of Liberalism take a strong hold, and we are now reaping the fruits of it in our society. Because a nation is no stronger than its family structure I do not care how wealthy or powerful. Rome fell to decadence and Liberalism, and extreme taxation, and they last for 1200 years. We have achieved that decadence and immorality in just 200 years. This in the area of mathematical probability means we will also fall much faster if we do not return to our original roots. And as it says in Deuteronomy about the nation that walks from God, our children will be servants of the foreigners, our food that we grow will be eaten by those who do not inhabit the land, we will see diseases that cannot be controlled or cured, and eventually we shall ebb into the past where Babylon, Alexandra, Rome, and others have passed before us.

Or we will reclaim our roots and our morality and take back what has been stolen from us by the Liberal and immoral tenets that have soaked the minds of the generations coming up after us.

Or the roots that we now step over will strangle the life of this nation.

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One-Size-Fits-All Prison Sentencing Fits No One: End Mandatory Minimums!

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Demand reform of mandatory minimum sentencing, draconian predetermined prison sentences based solely on the weight of the drug and not on the individual case, which creates a one-size-fits-all punishment for nonviolent drug offenders.

Dear Aaron,

Big things have happened because of YOU! By signing our petition to end mandatory minimum sentencing you made a difference for thousands of prisoners otherwise serving decades of unjust sentences. Now, for the first time since 2010 a sentencing reform bill has bipartisan support in both houses of Congress!

The Justice Safety Valve Act would create a brand-new, broad “safety valve” that would apply to all federal crimes carrying mandatory minimum sentences. If it becomes law, it would give judges flexibility to end the injustices caused by mandatory minimum sentences!

Tell Your Representatives to Support Ending Mandatory Minimum Laws Take Action Families Against Mandatory Minimums, is persistent in presenting this issue to Congress, and the petition you took was critical in demonstrating the publics support of changing the system.

But the fight isn’t over! Write to your members of Congress today and tell them to support H.R. 1695, the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013!

Today a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in United States v. Blewett, held that the Fair Sentencing Act’s modification of mandatory minimum sentences for crack cocaine must be applied retroactively. Judge Merritt, joined by Judge Martin, wrote for the panel. Judge Gilman dissented.

Judge Merritt’s opinion for the court begins:

This is a crack cocaine case brought by two currently incarcerated defendants seeking retroactive relief from racially discriminatory mandatory minimum sentences imposed on them in 2005. The Fair Sentencing Act was passed in August 2010 to “restore fairness to Federal cocaine sentencing” laws that had unfairly impacted blacks for almost 25 years. The Fair Sentencing Act repealed portions of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 that instituted a 100-to-1 ratio between crack and powder cocaine, treating one gram of crack as equivalent to 100 grams of powder cocaine for sentencing purposes. The 100-to-1 ratio had long been acknowledged by many in the legal system to be unjustified and adopted without empirical support. The Fair Sentencing Act lowered the ratio to a more lenient 18-to-1 ratio. However, thousands of inmates, most black, languish in prison under the old, discredited ratio because the Fair Sentencing Act was not made explicitly retroactive by Congress.

In this case, we hold, inter alia, that the federal judicial perpetuation of the racially discriminatory mandatory minimum crack sentences for those defendants sentenced under the old crack sentencing law, as the government advocates, would violate the Equal Protection Clause, as incorporated into the Fifth Amendment by the doctrine of Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497 (1954) (Fifth Amendment forbids federal racial discrimination in the same way as the Fourteenth Amendment forbids state racial discrimination). As Professor William J. Stuntz, the late Harvard criminal law professor, has observed, “persistent bias occurred with respect to the contemporary enforcement of drug laws where, in the 1990s and early 2000s, blacks constituted a minority of regular users of crack cocaine but more than 80 percent of crack defendants.” The Collapse of American Criminal Justice 184 (2011). He recommended that we “redress that discrimination” with “the underused concept of ‘equal protection of the laws.’” Id. at 297.

In this opinion, we will set out both the constitutional and statutory reasons the old, racially discriminatory crack sentencing law must now be set aside in favor of the new sentencing law enacted by Congress as the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010. The Act should apply to all defendants, including those sentenced prior to its passage. We therefore reverse the judgment of the district court and remand for resentencing.

Judge Gilman’s dissent begins:

I fear that my panel colleagues have sua sponte set sail into the constitutional sea of equal protection without any legal ballast to keep their analysis afloat. To start with, they “readily acknowledge that no party challenges the constitutionality of denying retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act to people who were sentenced under the old regime.” Maj. Op. 6. Opining on this unbriefed and unargued issue is thus fraught with the likelihood of running aground on the shoals of uncharted territory.

They further concede that the law establishing the 100-to-1 ratio between powder cocaine and crack cocaine for sentencing purposes was constitutional when enacted . . . So far, so good. But then the majority veers off into the abyss . . .

The majority reaches [its] conclusion without citing a single case in support. This is not due to a lack of diligent research; it is due to the lack of any such cases. The best the majority can do is try to distinguish two Supreme Court decisions (McCleskey v. Kemp, 481 U.S. 279 (1987), and Personnel Administrator of Massachusetts v. Feeney, 442 U.S. 256 (1979)) that even the majority concedes “on first glance might appear to sanction the discrimination at issue here.” Maj. Op. 9. Those efforts at distinguishing McCleskey and Feeney are in vain, however, because binding Sixth Circuit precedent has already foreclosed the majority’s constitutional argument.

Reducing the sentencing disparity between powder and crack cocaine was certainly good policy, whether or not it was constitutionally required. Whatever one thinks of the merits, and the propriety of the court’s decision to reach out for the constitutional question, the issue is certainly cert worthy. And given the Sixth Circuit’s recent record in the Supreme Court, I would think a grant is reasonably likely — unless this opinion were to be overturned en banc.

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Where are Ordinary Black Youth in Pop Culture?

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Being young and black in America today must be hard. The experiences of black youth are so often left out of the national discourse, it probably seems like no one really understands their plight. On the few occasions that stories about them appear in pop culture, particularly television and film, they’re often shown in one of two ways — the overachiever, the kid that “makes it” despite the odds, like Jay-Z, or the lazy underachiever, the thugs and welfare moms that so many on the right often allude to.

While it’s a great testament to our nation’s progress to have stories about Will Smith’s talented kids and Obama’s smart girls, we need to make “ordinary” black kids a commonplace as well.
The voices of these at-risk youth need to be heard and their stories need to be told, but there’s another perspective that we also need to hear — that of positive, average black kids. In their own way they’re invisible — kids that are more like The Beaver and Wally than gangster Frank Lucas, and are neither marginalized or at the proverbial mountaintop. Their stories seem to be regarded as unrelatable to a mainstream America that still values blonde hair and white picket fences.

It’s easy to understand why this happens. In the more than four decades since the Civil Rights Movement, black youth are still lagging behind. Many of the statistics and stories that we hear about young African Americans, much like the ones Bryan Stevenson shared on recent Moyers & Company shows, are abysmal. Add in the other “isms” that all too many black youth are familiar with, like classism and sexism, and you can see why there’s an anxiety about the state of young black America.

One of the stories that did receive a lot of media attention in the recent past is the Trayvon Martin case. He was the teen killed last year in Florida by a man who allegedly thought he was threatening his life. Putting the politics of the case aside, Trayvon, a young middle-class black kid, with two involved (if not together parents), who liked hoodies, his girlfriend, Twitter and Skittles, is probably a good example of your average black kid. But how much does America really know about the Trayvons of the world except when violence intervenes? When do their stories get told? When do we understand that most black kids aren’t all that different from white kids?

I know a bit about this because growing up I was that Trayvon. I wasn’t what many would classify as a “burden” to society, but I wasn’t the next Barack either. I lived in a single parent household that was loving and instilled the values of hard work and sacrifice. And I was far from an anomaly. I was surrounded by other black families like mine, some with more money, some with less, some with fathers and mothers together, some with only fathers, but many were happy, working and middle-class Americans.

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Rudy Huxtable, Moesha Mitchell and Laura Winslow
In the eighties and nineties, mainstream network television and film was better about showing middle-class black families. Girls like Moesha, Rudy Huxtable and Laura Winslow looked like me. Today however, with a decreasing number of black family shows — and an explosion of celebrity culture — storylines about average black youth are even rarer. While it’s a great testament to our nation’s progress to have stories about Will Smith’s talented kids and Obama’s smart girls, we need to make “ordinary” black kids a commonplace as well.

I’m lucky that the lives of black youth aren’t hidden to me. I am surrounded by a number of young black men and women that are doing well, that are smart and talented and talk endlessly about annoying parents, relationships, and even politics. But popular culture is a powerful tool. It shapes and defines many of our beliefs about our larger society. And while it is important to voice the stories of those that need it the most — those that have been left behind, discriminated against and crippled by injustice in an all too often unequal society — we must also hear more about ordinary black kids, who are more the norm than the exception.

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