The headline of the 2014 midterm elections – and understandably so – was the dominating performance of the Republican Party in both federal and state races. As new officials prepare to take office, it is important that they not lose sight of an important lesson from Election Day: voters' desire for smart criminal justice reform and their fatigue with empty tough on crime rhetoric.
As a pastor who has worked in prison ministry, I have seen our criminal justice system up close and understand that it is dire need of reform. For decades, the prison population in the US has skyrocketed as policies have focused on incarcerating for longer periods of time more people, including nonviolent offenders. The majority of those affected by this troubled policy are people of color who have been incarcerated at an alarmingly high rate in relation to their percentage of the population.
It was evident on election night that there is now a real pushback against these policies. Most notably in California, Proposition 47 passed by a comfortable margin. This proposition will reclassify a number of nonviolent felonies to misdemeanors, reduce the prison population, and save California hundreds of millions of dollars. Across the country, voters sent a message that it was time to rein in the problem of over-criminalization. more >>
Christian leaders and pastors continue to play an integral part in the national discussion about the country's racial divide surfacing as the result of events that began in Ferguson, Missouri, one week ago, when violence erupted after a St. Louis grand jury decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown.
"It is important that the leaders in the body of Christ today be held accountable to speak to this matter because its continuance is affecting all of us as we bear the burdens of the systemic effects of racial division throughout our land," wrote Dr. Tony Evans, pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas. "We must come together as leaders to repent and forgive one another and strategize together how we can best impact our communities and our nation for Christ and His kingdom."
From coast to coast, church services on Sunday included prayers for Ferguson and the nation. In prayers and commentary, many pastors pointed out that the Church itself still has a ways to go when it comes to racial division. more >>
A video of a man being detained by a Michigan police officer on Thanksgiving Day because he was "making people nervous" by walking with his hands in his pocket in near freezing temperature has gone viral and stoked afresh passions over racial profiling.
Brandon McKean, the man who was detained noted in the video which he posted to his Facebook page on Thanksgiving Day, said he recorded the incident for his protection. It has since been viewed on Facebook more than 3 million times and shared more than 80,000 times.
The Pontiac Tribune reported that the incident occurred around 4:30 p.m. in Pontiac while McKean was walking on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Michigan Avenue. The temperature had reached a high of 33 degrees Fahrenheit that day — just one degree shy of the freezing point of water. more >>
The largest religious body in the state of Mississippi and the American Family Association are not supporting a controversial ballot initiative that promotes government support for Confederate heritage and Christianity.
The Mississippi Baptist Convention, which has an estimated 663,000 members belonging to approximately 2,100 Southern Baptist congregations statewide, has not endorsed the Magnolia State Heritage Campaign's recently launched ballot initiative.
William Perkins, spokesman for the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board and editor of The Baptist Record, told The Christian Post that his organization "has not been consulted and has no opinion on Initiative 46." more >>
Two weeks ahead of the opening of the anticipated Moses movie, "Exodus: Gods and Kings," Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch defended the all-white casting for lead roles in the movie charging that all Egyptians he knows are white, after critics pointed out the lack of ethnic actors in the roles.
A-list white actors Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton star as Moses and Ramses in the movie, respectively.
In an attempt to allay concerns by critics about the lack of more representative ethnic actors playing the lead roles, or secondary characters, the film's director, Ridley Scott, noted in an interview with Variety Thursday that if they had gone with ethnic actors it would have been difficult to finance the film that cost nearly $200 million to make, inclusive of European tax credits. more >>
A day after tempers flared with the controversial decision of a Missouri grand jury to not indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, Christian New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson struck a poignant chord in the national conversation on race, racism and policing in America that has now gone viral.
In an extensive commentary that was liked on his Facebook page more than 700,000 times and shared more than 400,000 times as of Friday, Watson explained that he chose to write down his thoughts on the Ferguson decision after news broke Monday night.
"I'M ANGRY because the stories of injustice that have been passed down for generations seem to be continuing before our very eyes," he began. more >>