Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

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The front page of today’s Statesville Record & Landmark.

This is the front page story from my hometown newspaper, The Statesville Record and Landmark. As you can imagine, it’s elicited quite a response in the community and on social media. This “White Unity” event is ironically set to take place in a small town called Harmony. I guess they forgot to poll the Black folks.

Growing up in that part of the country in the 1990s and 2000s, I can’t say that I ever saw any explicit Klan activity. Every now and then the old folks would talk about the Klan marching downtown or something, but it seemed like something from the history books. But as they say, history repeats itself.

Some are angry at the paper for placing the story on the front page, above the fold. They say it’s as if the paper is endorsing the rally. I can see how someone would look at this on the front page and think that, but inside the paper there is an editorial titled “Evil in our midst can’t be ignored,” which states the editorial opinion that people need to see what hate looks like in 2012. I totally agree.

For those who think with an African-American president in the White House we are in a post-racial society, this may come as a shock. For others, this is sad confirmation of the fact that we have a long way to go before all people are truly equal in this nation. For those who only now feel compelled to speak out about , it’s about damn time! But we must realize that the regressive policies currently being instituted by conservatives on the local, state and federal levels are more destructive than any gathering of backyard bigot barbeque could ever be. We progressives cannot fall asleep at the wheel like we did during the 2010 election cycle this year. Not with so much at stake. Stay vigilant and stay up. I’m out…

Rev. Patrick Wooden of Raleigh’s Upper Room Church of God In Christ talks to reporters about North Carolina’s vote on an amendment banning gay marriage.

So a conservative group called The National Organization of Marriage is trying to capitalize on the wedge between African-Americans and gay rights groups. Any half-way conscious person could have seen this happening as a vote on an amendment to define marriage exclusively between one man and one woman. Especially in the Tarheel State. Below is an excerpt from The Atlantic.

Anchoring the push are pro-Amendment 1 black clerics from North Carolina and around the nation with strong ties to NOM, such as Maryland’s Bishop Harry R. Jackson, who’s also leading the effort to overturn his own state’s recent law granting gays the right to marry, and Philadelphia-based Rev. Herbert Lusk, who appears in one of NOM’s latest video campaigns, “Is Gay Marriage a Civil Right? African-American and Latino Leaders Speak Out.” In April, Rev. George D. McKinney of San Diego helped launched an initiative for NOM with the Coalition of African American Pastors to collect 100,000 signatures around the country on behalf of keeping marriage something restricted to opposite-sex couples in North Carolina.

No pastor, however, has advocated as strongly for Amendment 1 as Rev. Patrick Wooden of The Upper Room Church of God in Christ — a 3,000-member African-American congregation in Raleigh, N.C. Appearing everywhere from NOM-led rallies to its latest video, Wooden — who has an extensive history of homophobic outbursts — has become an eager public face for NOM’s divisive strategy. Along the way, he’s become a sound-bite ready foil for the large number of prominent black pastors campaigning against Amendment 1 — including Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP.

Usually I’m pretty closed mouthed on issues like this. But I have to speak on this one. As a North Carolinian. As a Democrat. And as a Christian.Coming up in church, I was taught that homosexuality was a sin. Everyone around me agreed and there was no debate about it whatsoever. Living in a small, Southern town there were very few openly gay people so my exposure to them was limited until college. Since then, I’ve interacted with many in the LGBT community at work, school and, yes, even in church.

Based off what I read in the Bible, there’s no two ways about it: homosexuality is a sin. Leviticus 18:22 states “‘Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.” However, gluttony, gossiping, lying and of course, fornication are also listed as sins. Now how many people can say they’ve never committed these sins? Kinda quiet, huh?

Using the law of the land to legislate morality is a tricky proposition with a spotty history. Especially in North Carolina, where over 7,600 people, mostly poor African-American women were sterilized against their own will. The law officially allowed sterilization for birth defects or mental illness, but more often than not, the reasons ranged from homosexuality to promiscuity. If it happened once, it can happen again. North Carolina has come a long way from being the home of Jesse Helms, but the current Republican legislature seems hell bent on bringing us back to “the good ole’ days.”

If your beliefs about this issue are shaped by Biblical views, than you cannot ignore Ephesians 6:12.

“For our struggle is not against human opponents, but against rulers, authorities, cosmic powers in the darkness around us, and evil spiritual forces in the heavenly realm.”

Sounds to me that the energy being used to fight against the individuals who live this lifestyle would better be used in prayer and showing love to all people. If you feel that the souls of the LGBT community are in danger and are truly concerned about their souls, you must treat them with open arms and allow God to work on them with regard to the changes that they need to make. Politically, I’m far more concerned with how the Republican-led legislature has cut funding in North Carolina’s schools while cutting taxes and gerrymandering voting districts to gain political power. The same people who are in support of this act are the same people who support the politicians that would hurt the majority of the African-American community and tear down the progress that we’ve already made. I’ll leave the soul judging to God.

The Miami Heat show support for Treyvon Martin in a rare political statement for professional athletes.

Over the past week, no story in the country has been discussed, dissected and analyzed like the Trayvon Martin case. Dozens of rallies and vigils where held over the past week in memory of the 17 year-old who was gunned down by neighborhood watchman-turned-vigilante George Zimmerman. Other than a few crass comments from right-wingers like Geraldo Rivera and Sean Hannity, most folks have expressed their outrage over his death and support for the young man’s family.

Thousands gathered in New York on Wednesday for a Million Hoodie March in honor of the Florida teen who was wearing a hoodie at the time of his death. The past few days millions have donned hooded sweatshirts in their Facebook Profile Photos and Twitter Avatars as a sign of support.

Despite the national outcry over the case, the sports world and the athletes that inhabit it, went on with business as usual. Games were played. Interviews were conducted. Checks were cashed. And no one was surprised. Why? Because that’s just what athletes, especially African-Americans, are expected to do. Play the game, smile for the camera and keep your opinion to yourself. That’s been the status quo ever since Michael Jordan’s “Republicans buy sneakers too,” comment.

But Friday we were all surprised when two-time NBA MVP LeBron James Twitpic’d a photo of he and his Miami teammates wearing black hoodies. During their game against the Pistons that night, James scribbled “RIP Trayvon” on his sneakers. After Teammate DeWayne Wade told reporters “I think the only thing we want is we just want to make sure that we shed some light on the situation and let (people) know this is not just something happening in the community where it happened. “This is worldwide. We want to be a part of it until justice is served.”

In a world where silence is expected and speaking out is risky, those small statements said a lot. The fame and money of superstar athletes like James and Wade sometimes insulate them from the outside world. Most things that affect the average person like high gas prices or unemployment just don’t factor very much into their daily consciousness. Earlier this week, in column for What Black Men Want, I said that any Black man who looks at Martin’s face and ignores the cries of his blood is out of touch with reality.

It’s good to know that, at least this time, the athletes are with us.