As someone who is often asked to speak my opinion on radio or television, I know that sound bites can bring powerful results, either positive or negative. Take for example the words of Rev. Fred Lucas Jr., the chaplain for the New York City sanitation department, which he prayed at the recent inauguration of Mayor Bill de Blasio, "Let the plantation called New York City be the city of God, a city set upon the hill, a light shining in darkness."
The imagery of New York as bastion of modern slavery shocked people from both sides of the political aisle. Democratic leader Betty Ann Canizio of Brooklyn tweeted: "I find these speakers offensive. Didn't know we had a plantation."
I am very familiar with the rhetoric that Rev. Lucas employed, and let me say first that I agree with what I believe to be the sentiment of his prayer. Of course we all want our cities to become beacons of light to others. Still, I think it does a disservice to our ancestors who lived through actual chattel slavery (and to those who are living through it now in various parts of the world) to compare life in modern America to what they suffered. more >>
Madison, Wis., is the land of great promise, at least according to pastor Alex Gee, who moved with his family to the capital city in the early 1970s when his mother applied and was "admitted virtually on the spot" to the University of Madison. Gee was 6 years old when he made his home in the "Berkeley of the Midwest," and has since raised his family there, and pastors a church and leads the nonprofit organization, Nehemiah.
And yet, as an African American male, Gee is reluctant to admit that Madison has fulfilled its great promise. His professional accolades did not keep police from stopping him outside of his car in his church parking lot several years ago, or allow him to vouch for himself to authorities by pointing out that the name on his license matched the one on the church sign. (Without ever presenting his ID to the authorities, his white associate pastor accomplished that for him.)
His daughter's high academic performance did not translate into a guidance counselor offering her accurate information about applying for the National Honor Society or recommending colleges appropriate for her GPA. more >>
The excitement behind the upcoming "Son of God" movie keeps growing with news that religious groups have bought over 500,000 tickets in advance of the premiere. Producers are marketing the film as the "first Latin Jesus," in reference to Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado.
"There's a high level of Christianity in the Hispanic community, many of whom don't normally go to the movies but want to see 'Son of God,'" said 20th Century Fox's domestic distribution chief, Chris Aronson, according to The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday.
Fox will be delivering 3,000 dual-track digital copies to theaters so that audiences can watch the film in English or Spanish. Producer Mark Burnett has called Morgado "the first Latin Jesus in an English film." more >>
NEW YORK — Martin Luther King Jr. has often been quoted as saying that he found it "shameful" and "appalling" that 11 o'clock on Sunday was the most-segregated hour of Christian America. Yet, 40 years later, many churches in the United States are still struggling to realize the dream of racial diversity in their congregations. How did the institution of slavery in America affect this trend, and what role did Christians play in U.S. slavery?
Louis DeCaro Jr., professor of Church History at Nyack College's Alliance Theological Seminary in NYC, recently spoke with The Christian Post to provide some context for these questions. DeCaro, who has pastored two multiethnic congregations, has authored biographies on Malcolm X and several works on 19th century Christian abolitionist John Brown, cast as a "radical," "insurrectionist" and "terrorist" by historians.
Brown, born in 1800 to Calvinist parents in Connecticut, believed in armed resistance to slavery. An ardent abolitionist, Brown is most known for leading less than two dozen men, including his sons, on a raid at Harpers Ferry in what is now West Virginia. Brown hoped to spark an uprising among slaves to bring an end to the institution, but failed miserably. Two days after the attack, Brown was defeated by Robert E. Lee, and hanged on Dec. 2, 1859, after a swift trial headed by a judge and jury who were slaveholders. During his trial, the Christian abolitionist insisted that his actions were just and sanctioned by God. more >>
In the wake of the jury deadlocked on whether to charge Michael Dunn for first-degree murder charges against the late Jordan Davis, pastors and Christian leaders have criticized Florida's Justifiable Use of Force law, most often referred to as the "Stand Your Ground" law.
Dunn was convicted on three counts of attempted murder, but the Florida jury came to no consensus on Saturday on whether to convict or acquit the defendant in the African American teenager's 2012 murder.
Dunn, who is white, shot into Davis' car 10 times after the teenager ignored his requests to turn his music down and "mouthed off" to him. The defendant also claimed that Davis had a shotgun, but police found no weapons inside the car. more >>
Georgia motorists can now sport a specialty license plate with the background of a Confederate battle flag after state officials approved the design earlier this month.
Previous license plates had a small Confederate flag, while the new one will cover the entire plate, and will feature a gold frame with the words "Sons of Confederate Veterans," CBS Atlanta reports about the design that was approved by the state's Department of Revenue on Feb. 1.
This move comes after the Georgia division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a group that claims it personifies "the best qualities of America" and seeks to "preserve the history and legacy of these [Confederate] heroes, so future generations can understand the motives that animated the Southern causes," had requested that the state approve a larger design. more >>