By: Colin Harris
For Martin Luther King Jr., the heroes of the civil rights movement were the unnamed thousands who endured taunts and threats as they called us to live out our creed. This holiday is a tribute to them too.
By: Jim Hill
I have a dream that one day white Christians will have the courage to lead a nation to have an honest conversation about racism and white privilege. I have a dream that conversation will lead our nation to begin to heal.
By: Alan Cross
As we remember the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., we remember that King did not just call us to come together. Rather, he challenged the reasons why we were apart in the first place.
This free resource sheet provides resources to congregations and goodwill people of faith for observing the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday and for reflecting on his life and legacy.
By: Zach Dawes
Many churches remain predominantly black or white, but Martin Luther King Jr. reminded us of the difference between segregated and segregating churches. MLK Jr. Day services offer an opportunity to integrate.
By: Brian Lee
With all the eruptions of violence, it's easy to overreact and paint certain groups with a brush that is far too wide and certainly unwarranted. How do we respond in light of all that is happening? Here are 3 ways.
By: Terrell Carter
Many barriers divide our country today, but the most visible and contentious one is race - in particular how black and white people perceive and act toward each other. Who is worthy of your compassion?
By: Dennis Bickers
The racial problems in America are not going away in the near future. It's time for churches and individuals to intentionally work toward understanding one another and developing relationships.
By: Michael Helms
Your family roots have a deep influence on you. On your life's journey, you must recognize the parts of your family system that still exist around you and within you - and ask yourself what needs to change.
By: EthicsDaily Staff
A Baptist church in Kansas City, Missouri, will hold a series of 'provocative conversations' - human trafficking, racism, foster care and the future of education - and how they affect their community.
By: Zach Dawes
Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on April 19, 1961. A Baptist minister, then a second-year student, recalls the visit.
By: Robert Parham
My grandfather put a small crack in the TV race barrier when he had an African-American guest on his local hunting-and-fishing show in the 1950s - a move that drew criticism from fellow church members.
By: Joe LaGuardia
We often exercise theological gerrymandering to support our ideological beliefs about the day's most pressing issues. We must avoid any declaration that God is taking one side over the other.
By: Grace Ji-Sun Kim and W. Mark Koenig
While baseball in the U.S. has challenged prejudices and stereotypes and seen some elements of racism dismantled, racial prejudice and racism have also intertwined with our national pastime.
By: Robert Parham
Heading into the 25th year since the formation of the Baptist Center for Ethics is a good time to list some accomplishments and to acknowledge some shortcomings. Here are five of each.
By: Chuck Summers
Racism continues to be an ugly scar upon the America's soul. While media have focused on acts of violence afflicted upon minorities, environmental racism doesn't receive a lot of public attention.
By: Brian Kaylor
South African leaders spoke during the Baptist World Congress about the nation's Truth and Reconciliation Commission that helped the transition from racial apartheid.
By: Griff Martin
More than a half-century after Harper Lee published her only novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird," she returns to continue the story of Scout, no longer a child, and Atticus Finch in "Go Set a Watchman."
By: Thomas Kidd
Even if it's only late-arriving symbolism, the Confederate flag's removal from South Carolina's statehouse is the right thing to do. However, its removal does nothing to address massive ethnic inequalities.
By: Larry Coleman
The toxic racism that's torn at our nation has its roots in prejudice, a more subtle part of our worldview. To eradicate racism, we must first deal with the prejudices learned in our own homes.
By: Michael Helms
As more and more news about racial tension tears apart our country, more of us need to model the spirit of Larry, an older African-American, who no longer sees "people as black or white anymore."
By: Greg DeLoach
After 10 years serving as First Baptist of Augusta's pastor, I had never met our Baptist neighbors across the street. Following the Charleston massacre, I knew it was long overdue for me to meet them.
By: Colin Harris
Fear can be a healthy response to danger. Others can manipulate fear in unhealthy ways. That fear seems to grip our collective consciousness. It's time to stop reinforcing it.
By: Danny Chisholm
Members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church taught us a lesson in forgiveness. The world needs to know there is an alternative to violence. And it isn't more violence.
By: Guy Sayles
As the Charleston church shooting reminds us, division among races, made worse by educational and economic inequality, is a wound which remains painfully open. How do we heal it?
By: Terrell Carter
In the aftermath of the Charleston church shooting, those of us in leadership within faith communities must re-examine how we protect those that we serve. Here are four steps.
By: Robert Parham
Three EthicsDaily.com documentaries will be shown at the Baptist World Congress in South Africa, where thousands of global Baptists will gather in July.
By: J.V. McKinney
In a field of dirt and grass in a small Arkansas town decades ago, a group of black and white boys learned a lesson playing baseball together - a lesson many adults never learn in their lifetimes.
By: James Ellis
Is there a right way to respond to the uproar in Baltimore? Everyone responds to feelings of injustice and prejudice differently. To suggest any group should respond in one way is misguided. We can do better.
By: Robert Parham
To understand better white Baptists of the South on race, you need to remember a forgotten figure, A.C. Miller, and a slice of history, 1954's Southern Baptist Convention.
By: EthicsDaily Staff
Two EthicsDaily.com documentaries - "Through The Door," a look at the faith community's engagement with prisons, and "Beneath the Skin: Baptists and Racism," will air on TV networks in March.
By: Terrell Carter
One of the simplest evidences of our commitment to seeing and treating people as equals before God is through the diversity that is found within our congregations and leadership.
By: Terrell Carter
More than six months after Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson, Missouri, tensions still simmer. Some ask, "What can churches do?" But many other churches are silent.
By: Reggie Warren
As long as the United States is divided into two groups over race relations, the opportunity to find common ground seems bleak. We need leaders willing to begin to build bridges.
By: EthicsDaily Staff
Three EthicsDaily.com documentaries on prisons, racism and immigration are coming back for an encore on an expanding network focused on African Americans.
By: Brian Kaylor
While most Baptist churches in the St. Louis region avoided publicly commenting on the crisis in Ferguson, a few churches offered words and actions to advance the common good.
By: EthicsDaily Staff
Soul of the South Network will air EthicsDaily.com's documentary, "Beneath the Skin: Baptists and Racism," on July 28, with multiple broadcasts after the initial airing.
By: EthicsDaily Staff
EthicsDaily.com is coming again to your television. Soul of the South Network, an African-American network reaching more than 20 million homes, will air three of our documentaries in July.
The Web site for EthicsDaily.com's documentary Beneath the Skin: Baptists and Racism.
By: Colin Harris
The images of brutality against civil rights activists in the 1960s led to a turning point in our history. Perhaps this election season with its expected assault of brutal attack ads will mark another turning point.
Practice resurrection. That’s our gospel today … to go from here to practice resurrection! There’s nothing shy at all about this response. We are to live fully in God’s thunderous YES! We are to live God’s resounding affirmation of the world and all God’s children who need God’s offer of love and reconciliation.
By: EthicsDaily Staff
Sponsored by an association of American Baptist churches in Detroit, "Beneath the Skin," EthicsDaily.com's documentary on Baptists and racism, will be screened at Detroit's First Baptist Church on April 12.
By: Dennis Bickers
When people utter racial slurs, it reflects what's in their hearts. While laws prevent negative behaviors, they can't change a person's heart. That's why racial reconciliation must begin in church.
By: Larry Greenfield
The Lenten practice of not eating meat has year-round benefits for the common good. That’s because the amount of water needed to feed the animals we consume far exceeds what's needed to grow veggies.
By: Larry Greenfield
The nation's largest chain of drugstores, CVS/Caremark, said it will no longer sell cigarettes and other tobacco products in its stores. Tobacco sales are inconsistent with their purpose, CVS' CEO said.
By: Larry Greenfield
Rayfield Wright, the football hall of famer for the Dallas Cowboys from 1967-79, isn't sure he'll watch the Super Bowl on Sunday. After multiple concussions, his attention span is too short.
By: Colin Harris
Some say racism is no more, but it still has an irrational hold on our collective thinking. The more we deny this, the less likely we can be helped. So here's how to deal with the elephant in the room.
By: Larry Greenfield
Before Jesus' baptism, John the Baptist spoke about bearing fruit. And what fruit should our baptism produce? The start of our pursuit for righteousness and justice.
John the Baptizer traveled the wilderness, calling others to repent. As poor families face the threat of more food stamp cuts, Congress seems eager to avoid the wilderness and a call to repentance.
Public prayers in political settings are inappropriate for both religious and political reasons. Yet some religious folk tolerate and even endorse prayer before government proceedings.
Churches have a responsibility to oppose racism that still persists, even in the church. Churches that refuse to do so are guilty of a major failing, a Baptist leader said.
As the parable of the rich man and Lazarus reminds us, the rich are so presumptuous they expect the poor to serve them. You don't have to look farther than Congress to know this is still true today.
The Miss America pageant crowned its first Indian-American winner Sunday night. Learn about this and other Miss America firsts in the new Skype interview from EthicsDaily.com.
The healing of body and mind was integral to Jesus' ministry. That's why we must stand up to those politicians who try to keep people from accessing the Affordable Care Act.
Martin Luther King Jr.'s words still reverberate around the world today, challenging racism and discrimination wherever it is found. Despite the progress, others continue to resist the Dream.
The distractions we face and forces of evil we’ll confront each day as we run our individual races are alluring and intimidating. Only a resolve which matches their intensity will overcome them. If we don’t have this “I am not giving up” attitude, we’ll fall to the side and disappoint ourselves and others. By God’s grace, don’t let that happen to you.
Our nation is divided between haves and have-nots, rich and poor, well fed and hungry. Jesus, too, is interested in division, but it's one that will wipe out all the others.
If it's wrong for whites to speak derogatorily about blacks, it is just as wrong for blacks to speak derogatorily about whites. Here's what goodwill people of faith can do about racial slurs.
The U.S. House of Representatives, under the guise of cost cutting and fiscal responsibility, passed a farm bill that aids the rich and attacks the poor. It reflects Jesus' parable about a foolish farmer.
The encounter between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin reaches beyond racism. It illustrates that anyone who is different is an "other" whom our society views with suspicion.
Bearing false witness reached a fever pitch following George Zimmerman's acquittal, but inflammatory rhetoric only makes a reasonable conversation on race next to impossible.
TV commentator and satirist Bill Maher says Paula Deen's use of the N-word is just a word. While that may be true, it's also true that words still matter. Maher should know this.
In two rulings, five of the six Supreme Court justices, who are Roman Catholics, went against their church's tradition of advocating for the dignity and rights of workers.
Paula Deen's admission of using the "N word" revealed her obliviousness to the changing world around her. She never learned her brand had to steer clear of the dark side of Southern history.
Over time, people have come to realize that men and women of different races, cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds are all equal before God. What steps can your church take?
Unless citizens express their opposition, we will soon see the toll on the poor of across-the-board spending cuts and at least 14 states opting out of Medicaid expansion.
Do you have clout? How do you use it? Some folks use it to deny sick and dying people access to affordable health care. Others use it to help people overcome poverty and illness.
Not all Protestants and evangelicals gravitate to the Religious Right. Many focus on social justice issues. Yet in the media, the Right draws far more attention than the Left. Why?
Are we willing to listen to Wisdom? In Scripture, she warns us of the danger of pride and arrogance. Perhaps we should travel with her along the way of righteousness and justice.
Many Christians once used the Bible to justify their racism. Do we justify any prejudices today that will one day make our grandchildren ashamed of our ignorance?
The Jim Crow days of the South are long behind us, but racism still rears its ugly head. Many of us, however, are oblivious to the outright ugliness that characterizes prejudice.
The first-ever gathering of a group of minority scholars was a chance to share stories of oppression in the hopes of working toward restoration, justice and reconciliation.
The Dow breaks 15,000, and everyone starts cheering. Or are they? We must not forget the homeless, poor, elderly and children who suffer because of sequestration.
The first-century church may have quarreled about who could be legitimate Christians, but let's be glad they didn't require all the steps proposed for undocumented immigrants.
Margaret Thatcher was described as a champion of "freedom and liberty," but what about of equality? All are essential and inseparable components in democratic life and community.
We don't know what Lazarus did with his life after being resurrected. Did he cower in obscurity to live a life with no risk or did he confront the religious and political powers?
When Mary washed Jesus' feet with an expensive perfume, did she know something tragic was coming? And was Judas right to ask why her gift was not used for the poor?
Migrant workers in Lebanon are governed by a system prone to abuse and that gives too much power to employers, but churches offer reconciliation between Lebanese and migrants.
How do U.S. Christians respond to the death toll of innocent civilians, whether a few dozen in Somalia or hundreds of thousands in Iraq, in our wars? For many, they don't.
As Jesus in the wilderness faced a choice between serving his own self-interest or the common good, so too must His followers decide what they will serve.
Sure, it may be Groundhog Day on Feb. 2, but there's another reason to celebrate that day. Will you observe it by doing your part to ensure equality for everyone?
Jesus repeatedly opts to overcome the deficits that people face not by austerity but by extravagance. It is also what he teaches his disciples: in the face of deficits, choose abundant generosity.
Are the rules we observe during Advent just for the four Sundays before Christmas? Or do these principles apply to the Christian life throughout the year?
The late George McGovern came at public issues with a shared understanding of the way religious faith can provide a foundation for work on behalf of justice and compassion.
In the presidential election, the determining factor for the victor was attracting the votes of a diverse electorate. It's a change that may be redemptive for all of us.
Jesus made it clear that love for God and love for others is the biblical value from which all others must follow. So how could Billy Graham have been so far off the mark?
In the U.S. political process, citizens vote for their own self-interest. Shouldn't Christians reject their own interests and vote to support those without the power of the majority?
We can beat the looming challenges that face us when we get the word out about what is working, Bill Clinton proclaims. It's what makes him a paradigmatic evangelist.
As Chicago's teachers went on strike, many city churches opened their doors to students. They aced Jesus' test by welcoming the vulnerable. How do you measure up?
Many in the U.S. think the nation is moving in the wrong direction. Perhaps we could learn from Jesus' encounter with a foreign woman who changed his mind.
Washing hands before meals may not be a priority for Jesus, but he is concerned about what's in our hearts. And each election, our nation decides what is in our hearts.
Chicago murders were down in July, and the overall crime rate is down 10 percent. However, a new source of injury, mayhem and death hit Illinois when drastic Medicaid cuts went into effect.
Although they begin their work from different ends of the physical-spiritual spectrum, politicians in election campaigns and preachers in revival services are a lot alike.
If race remains a part of our lives, no one wins. While some see the task of eliminating race as impossible, others see it as inevitable. The world of race is passing away.
In this election year, "It's Even Worse Than It Looks" is required reading for people of faith who want a balanced look at the dysfunction in our U.S. democratic system.
As Herod kept his oath and delivered John the Baptist's head on a platter, so too are gang members in Chicago keeping their oaths as the murder rate rises. Will Jesus' gang keep their oath?
To participate in an investment campaign in and for Palestine without standing against Israel's subjection of the Palestinians sides with the oppressors and opposes the oppressed.
As Jesus' mustard seed parable points out, it's not the time to practice austerity when the ground is bare. It's time to invest in seeds. Will economic and political leaders grasp this?
To listen to the words offered at Christian funerals, eternal life sounds like perpetual and passive retirement. But isn't it truer to say it's the start of our work for God's reign eternally?
Did Southern Baptist Convention agency head Richard Land write the apology statement for racially charged remarks issued under his name, or was it written by African-American Baptist clergy?
There's a word for U.S. reps, who confess to follow Jesus Christ yet voted to restore cuts to the defense budget by slashing domestic programs that help the vulnerable. It's heretics.
The process toward reconciliation is slow, often painful and usually unfinished. With time, however, today's controversial issues become tomorrow's embarrassing memories.
Think one person can't make a difference? In 1947, a farmer petitioned his school district to provide bus transportation to all students, not just the white ones. His case evolved into Brown v. Board of Education.
How do you know a person, group or nation abides in God's love? They help those in need when they possess the resources. With the House GOP seeking deep domestic cuts, do they pass?
The Southern Baptist agency headed by Richard Land, the SBC's top ethicist, will investigate plagiarism charges against him but suggested that radio shows have different standards.
With the GOP presidential nominee all but confirmed, U.S. voters will need to decide if the CEO model of leadership is what the nation requires at this moment in its history.
Richard Land, Southern Baptists' chief ethicist, apologized on Monday for plagiarism during his radio show, saying he "failed to provide appropriate verbal attributions."
Richard Land, Southern Baptists' top ethics official, quoted liberally from a conservative writer's column about the Trayvon Martin shooting without attribution, a Baptist blogger says.
Can you rid yourself of racism without first ridding yourself of race? The more one writer understood her identity as a Christian, the less she relied on race. Here are 15 reasons she left race behind.
Richard Land, a leading SBC official, denounced civil rights leaders calling for justice in the Trayvon Martin shooting. Is this how Southern Baptists demonstrate God's love to people of color?
We behave as if we can't help being racially motivated, but race doesn't control us. It's time we die to our racial selves and be awakened to our new nature in Jesus.
Christians who want to revoke the Affordable Care Act and offer no alternative will allow millions to suffer and die. And, as Jesus said, when you do it to the least of these, you're doing it to Him.
Two strikingly similar feasts – one where the guest of honor is taking the mantle of Messiah, the other seeks the title of president – have one major difference.
Jesus threw the money changers out of the temple, but will any Christians today challenge the wealthy and powerful who are corrupting the temple of democracy?
The Southern Baptist Convention may elect its first African-American president this year. It would be a powerful symbol, but will the SBC's white power structure allow that symbol to lead to transformation?
We commonly think of Lent as a time of denial and discipline. While they are part of the Christian faith, Lent is also a call to leave the wilderness and enter God's new realm.
Leaders from the Apostle Paul to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. recognize the church's mission as one of reconciliation. Yet churches still have much to do to tear down our nation's racial barriers.
What's the definition of an authentic follower of Jesus? A conservative or a liberal? A revolutionary for change or a reactionary against it? Mark's Gospel suggests an intriguing answer.
NEW ORLEANS (RNS) Rev. Fred Luter told his African-American congregation that he will seek to become the first black man to lead the SBC.
(RNS) Marvin Perkins says God led him to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- but friends advised otherwise.
When Jesus healed a possessed man, the crowd seemed to miss that unclean spirits were all around them. Today, do we miss the unclean forces that attack the vulnerable?
Conservative evangelical voters lifted Newt Gingrich to his dramatic victory in South Carolina's GOP primary as the thrice-married politician won the first southern primary by invoking subtle racial arguments.
(RNS) Catholic leaders have issued an open letter to Catholic candidates Gingrich and Santorum, warning them “to stop perpetuating ugly racial stereotypes.”
During the 1948 World Series, a photo of two players from the Cleveland Indians – Larry Doby and Steve Gromek – showed the world a way white supremacy and racism could be overcome.
GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney seems to routinely bear false witness, yet he could certainly make a strong case for his candidacy without the lies. So why does he do it?
(RNS) At 87, the Rev. C.T. Vivian can still recall the moment, decades after the height of the civil rights movement.
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (RNS) The second of three city men was sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison for burning a local black church after President Barack Obama was elected.
GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich called Palestinians an invented people, but is that so bad? In some respects, Christmas, the United States and even Christianity are inventions.
FAYETTEVILLE, Tenn. (RNS) A white church secretary is suing her former employer, arguing that she was fired for marrying a black man.
The road from white supremacy to equality is a long one. Those folks who make the journey begin a legacy for their grandchildren. Here's one man's story.
We only have one life to make the best use of the time and gifts extended to us. But during that life, we have many chances to make decisions that inch us toward a more fulfilling life – or less so.
Two St. Louis Baptist pastors – one black, the other white – reached out to help their racially divided city in 2008 after a gunman killed five people at a council meeting.
A Baptist theological journal examines the issue of racism among Baptists but with a twist, showing examples of racial and cultural progress that can serve as role models for others.
If we believe God is generous, our actions toward those in need will reflect that generosity. But in a nation where the gap grows between the rich and the poor, have we missed that point?
God's gift of faith must always be invested. Although it may seem safer to keep it to ourselves, we must share it with others even if we must stand up to those who are intent on gaining the whole world.
Religious leaders may have earned certain titles, but Jesus had a strong warning for those who use titles for the purpose of lifting themselves above others.
Those who occupy Wall Street don't have the wealth of the 1 percent. However, as they demand their slice of the economic pie, they're also not in the same league as the truly impoverished.
What we increasingly hold as civically sacred is not just liberty at the expense of justice and equality, but also a particular kind of liberty – economic liberty – at the expense of everything else.
The heavenly host and the son of the heavenly host are moving the banquet table out of where these wedding celebrations normally take place and are setting up tables out there where the new invitees are.
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (RNS) The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, the driving force behind the Birmingham integration efforts, died at age 89.
Like Jesus' parable of the tenants who refused to pay a landlord the profits from his vineyard, do we have more in common with the current tenants or the new ones?
At first glance, Jesus' parable about laborers' wages seems harsh, but each worker was paid what he needed. If only today's laborers, beset by a bleak economy, received such equal treatment.
While attitudes change toward corporal punishment in the U.S., politicians who push for cuts in programs that benefit poor children practice another form of corporal punishment.
WASHINGTON (RNS) Religious leaders and civil rights veterans said King's legacy is unshakable.
Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird" profoundly challenged racism's empty mythology. Today, insecure majorities still view anyone different, including Hispanics and Muslims, as a threat.
(RNS) The Southern Christian Leadership Conference has named a nephew of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as its new leader.
WASHINGTON (RNS) A black denomination that began in support of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. has decried the “disrespect” shown to President Obama.
Jesus was clear that humans were defiled by the evil thoughts and deeds that spring from their hearts. Should individual corporate bodies, such as Standard & Poor's, be held to the same standard?
When Jesus invited thousands to a banquet, the disciples were peeved that they didn't have an intimate bread-and-fish dinner. Much like today, many are peeved that our democracy is for everyone rather than a few.
Activists for smaller government must be delighted to know we soon will have fewer teachers, caseworkers and drug counselors. Instead of asking if government's too big, we should ask if it's providing essential services.
The original meaning of Jesus' parable of the sower is an enigma. We may never know the central point, but it may cause us to reflect on how useful or useless we are for the kingdom.
Whether it's sin or righteousness, we're all enslaved to something, the Apostle Paul wrote. As a nation, many of us are enslaved to pride, wrath, greed and envy. When will we become slaves to a nobler cause?
After giving Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 24 standing ovations during his 50-minute speech before Congress, maybe it's time for our national politicians to revise their pledge of allegiance.
When fully implemented, health care reform will expand insurance to better than 30 million Americans. Without it, an estimated 28,000 Americans will die needlessly each year. It's a life-or-death choice.
Former President Gerald Ford was honored this month with a statue in the House of Representatives. While best known for pardoning Nixon, Ford in his college days took a bold stand against racism.
Jesus made it clear that he's the gate that protects the sheep. Those who lead his sheep fall in one of two categories – shepherds or thieves. Which leaders are today's sheep following?
A panel appointed by Congress to investigate the financial crisis only sent a handful of cases to the Justice Department. In another case of selective forgiveness, the powerful and wealthy benefit.
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (RNS) As a white man surrendered to federal marshals, workers were rebuilding the pulpit of the Macedonia Church of God in Christ.
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (RNS) Breaking a two-day deadlock, a federal jury convicted a white man, Michael F. Jacques, on all three charges.
The crowds following Jesus saw him as more than doing God's saving work only through individuals. They believed salvation and redemption worked in religious communities, economic orders and political systems.
The Civil War, which began 150 years ago, did not occur in a vacuum. It was part of a crisis born out of the horrors of slavery. The anniversary is a good time for us to recall the lessons – painful and joyful – of the past.
Against a backdrop of simmering racial tensions, two fast approaching anniversaries – the Civil War and the Freedom Rides – offer a time for truth-telling by those of moral good will.
Jesus' healing of a blind man, which frustrated others in society, reminds us healing is still needed today. Many need health care; our earth and our economy are sick. Yet some are blind to these needs.
Bigotry toward and hatred of the "other" is inexcusable on a human level, but even more so as followers of Jesus. We are called to love the other and work for justice and peace in this world.
The stop-gap spending bills to keep the government running have caused chaos with federal agencies. The poor, vulnerable and young are hit the hardest by these frequent trips to the well.
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (RNS) The sole man to stand trial for torching a black church the night of President Obama’s election was confronted in court.
A half-century ago, racism in the United States could no longer be ignored. Are we facing a similar situation today, in which a cultural flaw, defined this time in wealth instead of race, is being exposed and challenged?
How do politicians, especially those who claim to be Christians, religiously justify cutting programs that help the poor, the weak, the vulnerable and the young? Maybe they think they're God's "Lenten Helpers."
(RNS) The Rev. Joseph Lowery has always combined his work on secular causes with a sacred message.
Jesus probably would have tolerated Valentine's Day, that day we focus on the special someone's in our lives. But he may have reminded us of God's higher ideal – that we are to love everyone. No exceptions.
Sargent Shriver, perhaps best known as the founder of the Peace Corps, died last month at the age of 95. He attended to the social teachings of the Catholic Church and dedicated his life to the service of others.
When Jesus heard the news that John the Baptist was taken into prison, something must have reverberated deep within him. Something profound must have been set loose in his soul and he had to do something in response. What did he do? He left home and moved out into the world with his own message. He sensed the shock of hearing about John’s imprisonment and it stirred him to leave home and begin his ministry.
Our divided nation will not come together anytime soon, but we can agree to certain ground rules to avoid violence and resolve conflicts, a columnist observes. Paul faced a similar division with the Corinthian church.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (RNS) Newly sworn-in Gov. Robert Bentley said that people who aren’t “saved” Christians aren’t his brothers and sisters.
(RNS) A coalition of Christian churches answered the Rev. Martin Luther King’s 1963 “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”
Martin Luther King Jr. and his associates were a powerful prophetic voice that called American society to a new way of being and cultivated future generations to think differently and more justly.
When the Constitution is read at the beginning of the new session of the House of Representatives, may it be more than a ritualistic gesture and serve as a reminder of the responsibilities of our public officials.
With its message about the wealth disparity in the early church, James is just as relevant today, with politicians ready to extend income tax reductions for the rich.
LONDON (RNS) A right-wing political group now says it has withdrawn the invitation because “he is not the right candidate for us.”
Many GOP politicians repudiate health care as a universal right and are determined to dismantle or defund health-care reform. If they do, millions will have no hope for coverage and many will die.
White supremacy is one of this nation's oldest cancers. And it is the core consistent subliminal theme running throughout many of the Tea Party factions.
A new report untangles the wad of Tea Party threads, and the movement laid bare shows less obsession with government and taxes and more obsession with race, ethnicity and Barack Obama.
There seems to be a roar of approval for reducing taxes with little concern for those who would be hurt by the curtailing of government services. When will Christians rise up for a just tax policy in our nation?
Highly paid financial employees complain new reforms will limit their bonuses. Wealthy folks are incensed their tax cuts will expire. It seems the wrong people are crying out for justice.
Jesus had harsh words for his followers who led newcomers in the faith to sin. His warning should be heeded by those who urge others who are new in the faith to take political positions opposed to Jesus' teachings.
Glenn Beck declared that President Obama practiced a religion that was "a perversion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ" by focusing on victims and the oppressed. Yet these are the very people that Jesus invited.
CLEVELAND (RNS) Members of the World Council of Churches will gather to discuss how to expose and combat racism.
The civic and religious leaders opposed to an Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero are not interested in restoring relationships. Isn't it time for people of all faiths and no faith to work and play together?
White-biased imagery is common in our churches. Its inherent racism, however, is much more subtle than the blatant sexist language and patriarchal imagery that dominates our worship services and beyond.
As Christians look to Scripture to determine a biblical response to the current immigration debate, a passage in Hebrews delivers a stark reminder. The parent of our faith family was an undocumented immigrant.
U.S. Sen. James Webb argued that present-day diversity programs have made whites the real victims of racism. His position would be laughable except a growing number of Euro-Americans seem to agree.
We cannot begin to comprehend God's awesome capacity to forgive our deep and profound sins if we do not also have some sense of our sinfulness as well as our human capacity to do good as a minimal level.
Published 50 years ago, "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee captured both the prejudice of a culture and the fearlessness of one man, Atticus Finch, to stand up for what's right. The book's lesson never ends.
Jesus may not have talked about the unemployed, but he could have. What would he have said about more than 14.6 million out of work today and about the politicians who don't care to extend unemployment benefits?
An elected official in an Arizona community took offense at a school mural featuring different ethnic children, questioning why the biggest picture was a black person. But, as the councilman tells it, that doesn't make him racist.
Christians, in their freedom from self-preoccupation and from the law, are to work for the common good of the whole human family. Now that our nation is no longer flush with cash, will we choose to sacrifice those most in need?
As part of a church series on social issues, a former judge on the Arkansas Court of Appeals, who's now a pastor, addressed educational issues for African-Americans in the South.
The problem with racist and sexist language is bigger than derogatory terminology. Equally devastating is when language is used to treat those of another race or gender as if they're invisible.
The new racial reality is characterized by a belief that with the victories of the civil rights movement, America's race-related problems are behind us. But has our society simply entered a phase of gentler racism?
To recognize the full extent of one's sins allows for those sins to be forgiven. To recognize only partially the extent of one's sins allows for only partial forgiveness and, in turn, the capacity to love little.
Today's politicians have much to learn from the centurion who knew the limits of his authority before Jesus. They are more concerned with their own survival and refuse to submit to the authority of serving the common good.
Efforts at so-called educational and immigration reforms in Arizona have rightly brought about protests of racism and prejudice. Still, perhaps we should thank Arizona for a valuable lesson.
The Rev. Janine Denomme, who devoted her life to the Catholic Church and had been ordained as a priest, died on May 17. That ordination was grounds to deny her a Roman Catholic burial at her local parish.
The government exists for the welfare of all its citizens, not just the majority. The contention of Rand Paul, Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, that the free market will work everything out is neither democratic nor logical.
Rand Paul, Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, was unable to give a straight-forward, yes-or-no answer to the question of his support for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. His position cannot go unchallenged.
Is it time to vote some politicians out? Maybe the Tea Party crowd is right – just for the wrong reason. Too many politicians don't have the courage to raise taxes to allow government to function as it should.
You are likely to find tea party members sitting in your church pews, based on a recent New York Times poll. How should churches respond? And how should we address the racial overtones in the movement?
Paying taxes is a sign of membership in our democracy, which the anti-tax crowd fails to grasp. Even Boston Tea Party folks didn't oppose paying taxes; they opposed paying them to a government that wasn't their own.
While racial discrimination is no longer legal, we've got a long way to go. As a spiritual disorder, racism is so deeply rooted in us that nothing short of a conversion experience can change a person's mind and heart.
How is the nation redeeming itself after years of reckless economic growth? Rather than drawing on the abundance among us, we're forcing the poorest among us to endure the suffering for the rest of us.
Once health care reform passed, the anti-reform minority became vitriolic, shouting racial epithets, carrying out acts of violence and claiming states' rights were usurped. It all mirrors the objections to civil rights in the '60s.
The rhetoric of the Tea Party members and others, who were unable to make their will mandatory through the electoral process, is crossing a dangerous line into a social activism that condones violence.
In too many Baptist circles today, the calling of a woman to pastoral ministry is still denied or dismissed. Yet, in churches where the principle of the autonomy of the local church is truly cherished, miracles occur.
As a 12-year-old, I couldn't fathom the uproar desegregation caused. My church barred blacks from entering. A mob gathered at my school. But my mother, who drove the school bus, provided the best lesson.
Why should Christians be involved in the health-care debate and budget reconciliation? After all, Paul said we no longer consider things from a human point of view, right? You better take a closer look.
Christians can learn something from the tea partiers. We ought to be in serious discussions about a whole range of issues that must include the roles of government.
As a child growing up in church and segregated South Carolina in the 1940s, I was troubled when I realized black people weren't welcome in our church. The only answer given to me: "This is the way things are."
Jesus gave authority to his disciples to cast out demons and cure diseases, according to Luke's Gospel, but they couldn't help a demon-possessed child. If God gives us authority, why do we not use it to help?
I’ve been introduced to you this morning as Larry Greenfield, the Executive Minister of the American Baptist Churches of Metro Chicago, but that was just a cover so I didn’t draw too much attention to myself. Actually I’m your old – maybe “ancient” would be a better word – your ancient brother in Christ, Paul…Paul from Tarsus
Why do many scholars of color find it difficult to get their articles published or gain tenured employment? Perhaps the academic community's call for diversity is more for political correctness than intellectual prowess.
Jesus' custom was to attend church but he broke the customary way to worship. Are we comfortable with worship that has become part of our routine or that compels us to change our communities?
Jesus' first recorded miracle is more than turning water into wine. It's a reminder that we often distort what it means to be righteous, keeping something set apart when it's meant to be shared and celebrated with all.
Amid all the cries of joy and jubilation at the Christmas season, will we finally hear the cries of those in the Middle East who await the coming of the God of justice and peace?
Months after the joyous cries of Elizabeth and Mary for the births of their sons, another cry was heard from mothers in and around Bethlehem. But these were not cries of joy.
Does 90 percent of America have hearing loss? They do if you count people who willfully ignore what is happening in the world. Many tune out the lack of health care, rampant Wall Street greed and other injustices.
At first glance, Eli was quick to dismiss Hannah as a drunken woman but soon learned she had real needs. Will our senators be an Eli to the millions of Hannahs without health care? Or will they walk away?
Pay-to-play politics has brought about the death of democracy in Illinois. A group of citizens tried to resurrect it, like Lazarus, but their efforts were thwarted. Will someone have the courage to raise a stink?
Racial discrimination and segregation are no longer legal, but Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream of seeing a nation united rather than divided by race has not made as much progress. It's a spiritual problem.
A different kind of health-care legislation is facing Congress. Climate-change legislation will ensure our planet's health, but will Christians step up to make sure the poor aren't burdened?
Charles Wellborn opened membership in a Texas Baptist church to people of "all races and colors" in 1958. He received menacing phone calls and a cross burned on his lawn. He was 86 when he died Oct. 1.
Minorities in church. Rushing to war. Alleviating poverty. For some Christians, certain areas of life are simply too important to run the risk of Jesus meddling with them.
When asked about how to achieve eternal life, Jesus said, among other things, to not defraud, which is taking that which someone else deserves. What are the implications for us today?
American Christians are under the impression that health insurance is a moral indicator for faithfulness and righteousness, even convincing ourselves the uninsured have made their own beds in terms of health care.
We don't often see them, but many of us wear racial lenses that distort our reality. Somehow we must find corrective lenses to help us conquer our racist distortion of reality.
Clint Eastwood's "Gran Torino" is about death and redemption as well as the loss of an American way of life. It's theological and timely given our age of rage against people of color.
Former President Jimmy Carter created an uproar by charging that some of the opposition to President Obama is due to continued racism. One African-American pastor applauded his courage.
Protesters vilify a black president. A congressman enjoys public health care but votes against health care for veterans. And ministers are silent as black leadership is demonized. What's happening to our character?
When politicians favor the wealthy – those who make large campaign contributions, for example – over those who can't even afford health care, they violate the fundamental principle of equality for all.
It's difficult to look outside our own lives and look at those who are different from us. It's harder to stand up for them and make sure they're included in our circle. Shannon Johnson knows.
Parents pull their children from school so they aren't exposed to President Obama's speech. A Baptist pastor in Arizona prays for the president's death. What fuels such fear and hatred?
Why is there such unhinged anger toward and paranoia about President Obama speaking to school children? Have the racist sins of the fathers finally visited the children?
The National Socialist Movement, or Nazi Party, met in North Carolina recently. Their America is filled with bigotry and racism. We must stand up for an America where people work together for the common good.
When we focus on the inspiring portions of history and gloss over the evils of our national heroes, history loses its value as an example and no longer tells the truth, W.E.B. Du Bois reminds us.
The health care debate seems to be largely taking place among those who have chosen to treat health as a commodity, rather than an essential right. Do Christians need to go on the offensive?
Among the 125 notable vehicles of the 20th century in the Henry Ford Museum, including a string of presidential limos, you can actually board only one and sit where its most famous passenger sat.
Members of Congress holding town hall meetings on health care reform are being shouted down by angry mobs of constituents. Pure paranoia? Not really. It's displaced racism.
Racism is flourishing in the United States. What can churches do? Screen "Beneath the Skin" in Sunday school classes and sponsor public forums to dialogue about racism.
While Baptists don't hold to the idea that the bread in the Eucharist transforms into Christ, we might be a little envious of the revival of the practice of perpetual adoration.
Picking up after the neighborhood's litterbugs is an irritating and often thankless chore. When someone overturns the trash cans, anger can be justified. Or can it?
There’s nothing, absolutely nothing, coercive about what I’m going to invite you to do now. It’s just this: in silence to recognize and to focus on your Ultimate Parent who makes you a part of an all-inclusive family, whose DNA is love, to recognize that God is strengthening you through the power of God’s Spirit to be a lover and someone who has the capacity to care not just for yourself but for others, to receive Christ into your heart again today, to let his DNA work within you so that you can recover and reclaim your own essential DNA, and to recognize, through the eyes of faith, that you are being rooted and grounded in love.
Healing the racial divide is as important to Christianity as hot-button issues such as abortion and gay marriage, an African-American pastor said at a New Baptist Covenant regional meeting.
All four Gospels, especially John, contain lots of theology about Jesus' feeding of the multitudes, but let's make sure we don't miss the point. Everyone is fed.
The arrest of a black Harvard professor outside his own home is an experience endured by many people of color. Why are we surprised that they do not trust the police?
Gwen Ifill's book examines the new generation of black political leaders seeking to build futures for themselves and the people they serve in innovative ways.
Politicians often take a simple answer and make it complex. Look at Illinois, where lawmakers axed a panel's simple reforms for a complex system favoring incumbents and party leaders.
Jesus’ encounter with a hemorrhaging woman is a lesson for the church. If we haven’t felt a power loss, do we deserve to be called the Body of Christ?
A panel attempted to unravel several tangled strands from “Beneath the Skin” during a screening of the award-winning documentary at the Baptist Center for Ethics luncheon at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Assembly July 2.
Sen. John Cornyn, as well as many Euro-Americans, perceives the ideal response to racism is to claim colorblindness. As noble as this may sound, it is a policy that is detrimental to communities of color.
Elected officials have an obligation of aiming to please those they represent through the adoption and implementation of policies that justly serve the needs of all, rather than serving themselves or their political benefactors.
I was confronted by a man who said that when he was growing up, racism was accepted as fact; no one around him questioned it, so how could his failure to act differently be held against him? That is precisely the exceeding sinfulness of sin.
The psalmist extols God's role as giver and taker of life, but some have taken God's place, satisfying their individual needs at the expense of other creatures, their own species and even the planet.
When Churchland Baptist Church in Virginia used the "Beneath the Skin" DVD and study guide for a recent group session, it encouraged open and honest discussion that will hopefully trickle into further conversations in other settings.
America has come close to moments of racial reconciliation before, and in each instance the nation found a way or a reason to turn away from that opportunity. Will the election of Barack Obama be one more missed opportunity?
Our nation's divorce rate shows it's not easy for married people to stay in love. But what about those outside our immediate circle of love and care? It's easy to divorce ourselves from society's less fortunate when times were good.
"Beneath the Skin: Baptists and Racism" will be screened by National Ministries during a luncheon at the biennial gathering of the American Baptist Churches-USA in Pasadena, Calif., in June.
Like the hired hands of Jesus' day who ran for safety instead of protecting the sheep from wolves, many politicians lack the courage to protect the growing number of people who are suffering.
"Beneath the Skin," an award-winning documentary, and a panel of Baptists of color will headline the Baptist Center for Ethics' annual luncheon at this year's General Assembly of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
For society's extraordinary individuals who ruined our global economy, violated human rights with torture and used politics for personal gain, it seemed that Lent failed. It's up to the ordinary among us to manifest God's love.
During two breakout sessions at the recent Baptist Border Crossing, Baptists viewed EthicsDaily.com’s documentary “Beneath the Skin: Baptists and Racism” and discussed how they could cross racial boundaries.
When Paul says every knee ought to bow, it's not as a ritual of religious homage. It's a physical act that serves as an ethical symbol of the way one is choosing to live one's own life as we serve others before ourselves.
The minds of many people of color have become accustomed to seeing reality through the lens of the dominant culture. The horror is when they accept this false reality as truth.
The 2009 BMW 535i xDrive Sport Wagon costs $72,000-plus. It makes sense that something created for good works will come with high costs. The writer of Ephesians appreciated that truth.
While prayer and financial support are important keys to resolving the conflict in the Middle East, they are not the only keys. Our own silence and complacency must end if justice and peace are to prevail.
Staley caught the irony of singing and talking about progress in racial relations—yet until that service, two people who work in the same church every day had never worshiped together. She made a public commitment to doing something about it.
Americans have been led to think that all they have to care for is their own selves. And that turns out to be a lot of people in this country—people who have bought into, whether upon deep examination or casual and almost unconscious commitment, a comprehensive philosophy of self-interest.
On Feb. 7, 2008, a man walked into Kirkwood City Hall and killed six people. The shooter, a local man known quite well by several church members, was a black man. All of the victims were white.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark.—New fruit is budding from a previous dying-on-the-vine event, which originated from some tiny seeds planted here in 1971.
We like to talk—and act as if our latest opinion is the right one for everyone else to embrace. But our past actions do not afford us such a position on the subject of race. It is a time to shut up, reflect deeply and listen to others.
We ought to give contemporary environmentalists a little slack for misreading Psalm 50.
I’m very grateful for “Beneath the Skin” as it proved to be an excellent resource to bring our two very different congregations together for meaningful discussion and planning.
Is it really better for government and religion to stay out of each other's affairs? This is a question that Joshua DuBois most likely will have to answer time and time again. May his wisdom surpass his years; and from what I've read of him, it does.
That’s the miracle of watching “Beneath the Skin: Baptists and Racism.” No matter where you are on the journey of race and reconciliation, the film offers a place for people to deepen their relationships with other people.
Showings of “Beneath the Skin: Baptists and Racism” in two tiny south Arkansas towns hit home.
If it is the case that the true follower of Jesus continues to be commissioned to engage in the ministry of exorcism -- of exposing and casting out demons in people, in communities and in the structures of societies -- then Patrick Fitzgerald and his staff ought not to be the only ones exposing and casting out demons in the city, state and nation.
It is an ambitious and even audacious idea. But it is a hopeful one. For too long we have skirted the edges of disaster existing as "us and them." It's time, not just for Baptists, but for everyone, to find a way just to be us.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (CBF) -- More than 1,000 people gathered in Birmingham, Ala., Jan. 31 for the first regional gathering of the New Baptist Covenant. The event, which was held at the historic 16th Street Baptist Church, St. Paul's United Methodist Church and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, occurred on the one year anniversary of the Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant, which drew more than 15,000 Baptists in Atlanta.
Baptists have a long and storied history on the issue of race and racism.
Maybe more than doing an updated, imaginative and expanded version of Jesus’ call to his disciples, we need to listen again to what, cryptically stated, he said was at stake.
Hopefully, the enthusiasm of this new reality will continue as the hard work of true change begins.
An educational documentary on racism from EthicsDaily.com has been accepted at two more U.S. film festivals.
More than anything else, it appears the American populace may simply be too disinterested or too distracted to engage in believable change on this issue, despite its obvious far-reaching importance not just in the region but across the globe.
Could it be that Democratic leaders Harry Reid and Dick Durbin didn’t get immunized to the abuse of power?
A virus broke out in early December in Little Rock, one that infects people of faith with a passion to do justice. Ground zero was, of all places, a Baptist church. And day one wasn’t even Sunday.
The events in our country and our community make the timing of this DVD and the screenings that have been held in Nashville, Fort Worth, Louisville, Atlanta and now Little Rock perfect for creating a new day in race relations.
The alternatives here are not between leaving Jesus in or out of the gospel picture. Jesus figures centrally in both options, but in much different roles. In one he is the decisive object of faith. In the other he is the decisive figure who points to the object of faith by his words and deeds and who invites others to be a part of the new thing that God is doing.
The DVD screening, sponsored by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Arkansas, brought old and painful memories to many in the diverse audience of about 170--a 60-40 mix of white and minorities.
"Beneath the Skin: Baptists and Racism" will screen Tuesday, Dec. 2, at Second Baptist Church in downtown Little Rock from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The free event also features the participation of several well-known figures.
What about putting at least a minimum number of acts of charity on one's daily "to-do" list and committing oneself to checking them off when they are completed?
The university's new interpretation of the Bible marked an about-face from a 1986 pamphlet, "Race Relations," written by a Bible department faculty member, Marshall Neal, who argued that racial segregation was based on the authority of the Bible.
Forty years after King's death, it is noteworthy that except for North Carolina and Virginia, voters in Southern states were not part of the dramatic voting that resulted in the election of Barack Obama as the next president of the United States.
In order for racial reconciliation to be an act of discipleship, white Christians must start at the ethical beginning, that place where we learn what sin is by learning of Christ's grace: worship.
Inspired by the vision and success of the Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant held earlier this year, several Baptist groups are planning similar regional gatherings for 2009. Next year will also mark the 400th anniversary of the Baptist movement.
Rather than speaking about a color-blind or "post-racial" society, the pundits and other observers of the Obama election should hope that it marks a society committed to "post-racism."
Methodists have historically had the ability to hold together the concerns of both liberals and conservatives, to preach both the evangelical and social gospels, and to attempt to understand and acknowledge the important positions deeply held by people on opposite sides of the theological or political divide, bringing them together in what some might call a "radical center."
Three older pastors took me aside to offer some well-intentioned advice. In summary, they told me I wouldn't get far in ministry if I challenged racism. They defended their racist humor, insisting they meant no harm, declaring it was simply part of culture.
In light of Barack Obama's victory in Tuesday's presidential election, many people are considering what his election might mean for race relations in America. Reflections from several African-American Baptist ministers suggest that although they see Obama's election as an important moment, it must be just one step on a longer road toward racial reconciliation.
Our county has such immense power, influence, and control over the lives of other nations and peoples that it would be unjust and irresponsible for individual Americans to vote only on their own self-identity and self interest within a national context.
EthicsDaily.com's new video on Baptists and racism will be screened at an international film festival on Sunday, October 19, at 12:00 p.m., at the Avon Williams Campus of Tennessee State University in downtown Nashville.
Laura Cadena, a fifth-generation Tejana, recalls a story about when her grandmother moved from Laredo to Dallas, Texas: "She remembers getting on a bus and the sign saying 'Whites Only' or 'Blacks Only,' and she didn't know where she was supposed to sit."
Aidsand Wright-Riggins expected some sort of emotional response years ago as a religious-studies major in college when he illustrated a presentation on race and religion by tearing up an Ebony magazine portrayal of Jesus as an African-American.
As we drove into the cemetery, I could see through the windshield of my brother's car the flagpole at the entrance, and the flag itself--flying at half-mast.
It's pretty tempting, after the commemoration of the 9/11 attacks on the United States in 2001, to make the case--based on Jesus' teaching about forgiving an offender 70-multiplied-by-seven times--that serious Christians ought to figure out how to extend that forgiveness to brother bin Laden and his Al Qaeda accomplices.
The question came up on an American Airlines flight from Nashville to Dallas. I was reading the September-October issue of Sojourners, a liberal Christian magazine, and my seatmate was reading over my shoulder. We were both taken with a letter to the editor that opposed an apology for slavery.
On the football field a "crackback" is an unexpected blind-side block that takes a would-be tackler out of the play. When it comes to hiring black coaches, it's a standard part of the playbook, says Fitz Hill, former head coach at San Jose State University.
One reason 11 a.m. Sunday remains the most segregated hour in America is because many church members want it that way, according to a recent article by CNN.
While not as well known as Martin Luther King Jr., Fred L. Shuttlesworth was the Baptist pastor most responsible for the success of the civil rights movement in the Alabama city known as "Bombingham." Fifty racially motivated bombings between 1947 and 1955 epitomized southern resistance to integration.
I grew up in Brownwood, Texas, an ordinary segregated county-seat town. I gave little thought to the welfare or needs of the folks who lived in "The Flats," the place where the blacks lived.
A delegation of British Baptists in Jamaica this week apologized for England's role in the transatlantic slave trade, a scourge that shaped Caribbean history with effects that linger until today.
A delegation representing British Baptists travels Thursday to Jamaica to personally apologize for their nation's role two centuries ago in transatlantic trading of slaves.
The church remains the last bastion of segregation in America not primarily due to prejudice but because of power, says civil-rights advocate and author Will Campbell.
Analyzing election results is a tricky business, even for the experts, and I'm no expert. But it's hard, at least for me, not to try to get a feeling for what is happening and finding patterns that reveal where the electorate is heading, even if the sampling is a single state like Pennsylvania.
Most Americans are coming to terms with the environmental peril facing our planet. Documentaries, books, media attention and scientific research are raising consciousness to this very important issue. For this we should all be grateful. However, there exists an inconvenient truth within the present environmental movement. The greatest levels of environmental derogation exist where people of color live.
The interim executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention has apologized for calling the Confederate flag a symbol of hate.
It was a costly battle for many whose family, profession, prestige – even life itself were laid on the line. During the 1950s and 1960s the fight for dignity and human rights against bigotry, hate and apathy changed the lives of thousands of Americans.
Leaders of the American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. said a recent Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life survey plotting America's religious landscape used flawed methodology in reporting the denomination as 81 percent white.
Racism is racism. Sexism is sexism. Wrong is wrong. Secular hate speech is as wrong as religious hate speech. Liberal untruthfulness is as wrong as conservative untruthfulness. Yet human nature compels us to rationalize, to justify and to defend our dehumanizing action and beliefs, and those of our friends, those on our side.
On Friday, April 4, the world remembers the 40th anniversary of the untimely and tragic death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King's legacy is large, and much of the progress we have made in race relations, although still inadequate, is due to his unwavering belief and commitment to justice, freedom, and equality for all.
The editor of the Missouri Baptist Convention's in-house publication, "The Pathway," has strongly defended the controversial Confederate battle flag and aggressively attacked those who challenge it.
An Alabama law professor who argues that fair taxation is a moral issue will present her case June 19 at a luncheon meeting sponsored by the Baptist Center for Ethics. The gathering is in conjunction with the 18th General Assembly of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, scheduled June 19-20 in Memphis, Tenn.
Growing up black in America, Aidsand Wright-Riggins says he is used to hearing the "n-word." What bothers him is as a midweek air traveler he seldom sees more than one or two fellow African-American passengers, even though the United States is more than 12 percent black.
What do Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain have in common? All three are ontologically white males. No one can become the leader of the world's most powerful country (empire?) unless they are committed to what male whiteness symbolizes within the colonial process.
Last week Barack Obama did two remarkable things. First he risked speaking directly to the reality of racism in America and American history. Obama framed his remarks with his signature phrase of "the audacity of hope." He claimed that his populist candidacy for the presidency is proof that audacious hope has a place in today's America.
This has been a remarkable morning. It started with a phone call from Tony Brown, a radio talk show host in Alexandria, La. On the show with me were Jerriel Bazile, whose brother stands accused of selling drugs to an FBI agent in Bunkie, La., and a woman whose son has been charged in a shooting. We talked about the adversarial relationship between the Bunkie police force and the poor black community. Yesterday, Mr. Bazile reported, 100 Bunkie residents gathered to protest and organize.
The writer of the Gospel of John has John the Witness (a.k.a. John the Baptist in the other Gospels) saying, upon seeing Jesus approaching him:
What color was Jesus? Was it skin pigmentation that determined Jesus' message or was it the prophetic imagination that defined his mission? Are pigmentation and imagination separable or inseparable? How is it that we remake Jesus in our own image?
Should a Southern Baptist Convention leader resign for using a Yiddish slur against a Jewish senator, or is it "much ado about not much?" That's the range of reaction to Monday's EthicsDaily.com story quoting Ethics & Religious Liberty head Richard Land calling New York Senator Chuck Schumer a "schmuck."
Now we have a chance to see what the Religious Right is made of--if it truly stands for ethics and values, as its leaders profess, or whether its leaders can continue to engage in gutter politics and get away with it.
A Southern Baptist leader lecturing at Criswell College used a gutter word to describe a Jewish U.S. senator.
Americans are leaving Baptist churches at nearly twice the rate that others are joining them, according to details of a study released Monday by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
A Tennessee congressional candidate is being criticized for not disavowing a flier that says the incumbent and Jews hate Jesus.
Goodwill Baptists in North America are having feverish public and private conversations about next steps. Of course, trying to get Baptists heading in the same direction is like herding cats, a near impossibility.
As a person of color who attended the New Baptist Covenant, I was and continue to be a bit skeptical about the outcomes. I have learned in my 32 years of life how important it is for a person of color to keep his or her expectations low when discussing race and ethnicity with others. It's not that we do not hope for the best, but it is a way to protect ourselves from further cultural wounding.
The church's struggle against racism is no longer primarily about skin color, but institutions that bestow privilege on some and penalties on others, an activist, denominational leader and scholar said in a special-interest session Friday at the New Baptist Covenant Celebration in Atlanta.
The great modern-day theologian--Steven Colbert of the popular Comedy Central show "The Colbert Report"--recently began accepting applications for the position of his very own "black friend."
A controversial "pro-majority" group gathers today in Jena, La., to protest both the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and last September's rally that brought thousands of African-Americans to the small town in solidarity with six arrested black teens now famous as the Jena Six.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday affords Americans a built-in opportunity to revisit the issue of racial justice. It is also a window through which we may re-view the lives of others who, like King, pushed America toward becoming a "beloved community" of racial justice.
On Jan. 2, 1965, Martin Luther King Jr. led a "mass meeting" at Brown Chapel in Selma, Ala. This meeting kicked off the involvement of King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Selma's voting rights campaign.
In his elegant little book, "Finally Comes the Poet," Walter Brueggemann writes that the task of the preacher is to be "a voice that shatters settled reality and evokes new possibilities." If he is right about that, then no preacher in the last century has been more effective than Martin Luther King, Jr. His words helped shatter the settled reality of segregation. He also gave voice to the possibility of what he called the "beloved community."
North American Baptists will soon have one of the best opportunities in our history to address the racial divisions that have too long defined us.
Denzel Whitaker turned 17 while shooting "The Great Debaters," the new movie directed by and starring Whitaker's namesake, Denzel Washington.
Earlier this year, I posted about my excitement about the New Baptist Covenant. And I encourage as many people as possible to attend next January's celebration.
"Amazing Grace" finally arrives on DVD today, nine months after its theatrical release.
Last month I watched the events in Jena, La., unfold with particular interest. Jena is hometown to one of my aunts. I have friends from college and in Louisiana life who grew up in Jena and who have family living there now. I was born in Alexandria, about 30 miles away.
Protests sparked by the hanging of three nooses from a Louisiana schoolyard tree have sparked a series of copycat acts, further fueling a debate over America's lingering legacy of racial injustice and violence.
In the late 1970s, I was a not-yet-30-year-old pastor with four or five years of grassroots ordained experience under my belt. I was serving a congregation of fewer than 50 members in south-central Los Angeles, in a converted restaurant located in a community whose racial makeup was rapidly transitioning. Whites had long since made their flight from the economically declining neighborhood to points westward, seeking enclaves of homogeneity.
I often have college students do an essay on race relations and the Christian heritage in light of reading Martin Luther King, Jr. Most students express an appreciation of King's life and work but many add: "We are glad that the issue of race relations is over. We are glad that we don't have to work on that problem anymore."
"The only stained glass window in the church that remained in its frame showed Christ leading a group of little children," United Press International reported the day after the bombing. "The face of Christ was blown out."