Politics

1892- Ellis Island

What Coke Taught Us About ‘Merica

It’s taken me a full month to get my mind around the back lash over this video. How could 1 minute of media content undo what “seems” to be 100 years of progress?

“We’ve moved beyond Jim Crow.”

“We’ve moved beyond purposeful segregation.”

“We’ve moved beyond alienation because of race, ‘class,’ and culture.” 

These are the well meaning thoughts I have from time to time, particularly when I see the headway churches like Renovation, Transformation, Fellowship Memphis, Mosaic and a hand full of others have made in their cities. Then I’m snapped back to reality when a national event like the racist explosion of Boston hockey fans happens—in 2012! Or the hostile, backward reaction of thousands of people to a Coke commercial in which people sing “America the Beautiful” in languages that are spoken in this country every single day. My favorite comment was this one: “When did coke get bought out by terrorists?..” There was also a call to “#SpeakAmerican.” There are several other comments, full of vulgarity, that you can read here. 

Author Michael Leahy even chimed in, writing:

Executives at Coca Cola thought it was a good idea to run a 60 second Super Bowl ad featuring children singing “America the Beautiful” – a deeply Christian patriotic anthem whose theme is unity – in several foreign languages. As far as the executives at Coca Cola are concerned, however, the United States of America is no longer a nation ruled by the Constitution and American traditions in which English is the language of government. It is not a nation governed in the Anglo-American tradition of liberty.When the company used such an iconic song, one often sung in churches on the 4th of July that represents the old “E Pluribus Unum” view of how American society is integrated, to push multiculturalism down our throats, it’s no wonder conservatives were outraged.

My initial questions to Leahy about his assessment are: When did liberty get branded as an “Anglo-american” tradition?; When did this song, “America the Beautiful,” become inherently Christian?; Do you know what “unity” and “E Pluribus Unum” mean (oh, the irony!)? Why is multiculturalism something so feared that you refer to it being “pushed down our throats?” I imagine his answers to those questions would be rife with foolishness, but I’ll likely never know for sure.

The point in all of this is to shine a light on where we actually are as a country. Though we are a country of immigrants, all speaking a borrowed language—English came from England after all, and “American” is not a known or acknowledged dialect—there is still a nationalism, driven by racism and classism, among many of our residents—primarily Caucasian. And though we (disciples of Jesus) would often rather shut our eyes to the cultural duplicity of our day, it is imperative that we step into this narrative and speak truth. It is imperative that we vocalize our ire toward these ideas that continue to shape the culture of our country.

After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. 10 They cried out in a loud voice, saying,

Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb! - Revelation 7:9-10

If this is true, then what we see in the tweets, articles, and outbursts over race and culture cannot be tolerated. Don’t shut your eyes to the state of our nation. We are not far beyond where we were just a generation ago. What will you do as a disciple of Jesus? How will you respond? Will you face the truth about where our country actually is and speak the Truth until we see it change?

John Legends letter to the Post

Open Letter to the New York Post

Dear Editor:

I’m trying to understand what possible motivation you may have had for publishing that vile cartoon depicting the shooting of the chimpanzee that went crazy.  I guess you thought it would be funny to suggest that whomever was responsible for writing the Economic Recovery legislation must have the intelligence and judgment of a deranged, violent chimpanzee, and should be shot to protect the larger community.  Really?  Did it occur to you that this suggestion would imply a connection between President Barack Obama and the deranged chimpanzee?  Did it occur to you that our President has been receiving death threats since early in his candidacy?  Did it occur to you that blacks have historically been compared to various apes as a way of racist insult and mockery?  Did you intend to invoke these painful themes when you printed the cartoon?

If that’s not what you intended, then it was stupid and willfully ignorant of you not to connect these easily connectable dots.  If it is what you intended, then you obviously wanted to be grossly provocative, racist and offensive to the sensibilities of most reasonable Americans.  Either way, you should not have printed this cartoon, and the fact that you did is truly reprehensible.  I can’t imagine what possible justification you have for this.  I’ve read your lame statement in response to the outrage you provoked.  Shame on you for dodging the real issue and then using the letter as an opportunity to attack Rev. Sharpton.  This is not about Rev. Sharpton.  It’s about the cartoon being blatantly racist and offensive.

I believe in freedom of speech, and you have every right to print what you want.  But freedom of speech still comes with responsibilities and consequences.  You are responsible for printing this cartoon, and I hope you experience some real consequences for it.  I’m personally boycotting your paper and won’t do any interviews with any of your reporters, and I encourage all of my colleagues in the entertainment business to do so as well.  I implore your advertisers to seriously reconsider their business relationships with you as well.

You should print an apology in your paper acknowledging that this cartoon was ignorant, offensive and racist and should not have been printed.

I’m well aware of our country’s history of racism and violence, but I truly believe we are better than this filth.  As we attempt to rise above our difficult past and look toward a better future, we don’t need the New York Post to resurrect the images of Jim Crow to deride the new administration and put black folks in our place.  Please feel free to criticize and honestly evaluate our new President, but do so without the incendiary images and rhetoric.

Sincerely,
John Legend

Was it racist or innocent humor? You decide….

NEW YORK (CNN) — A day after publishing a cartoon that drew fire from critics who said it evoked historically racist images, the New York Post apologized in a statement on its Web site — even as it defended its action and blasted some detractors.

A New York Post cartoon has sparked a debate over race and cartooning this week.

A New York Post cartoon has sparked a debate over race and cartooning this week.

Many of those critical of the cartoon said it appeared to compare President Obama to a chimpanzee in a commentary on his recently approved economic stimulus package.

“Wednesday’s Page Six cartoon — caricaturing Monday’s police shooting of a chimpanzee in Connecticut — has created considerable controversy,” the paper said about the drawing, which shows two police officers standing over the body of a chimpanzee they just shot.

The drawing is a reference to the mauling of a woman by a pet chimpanzee, which was then killed by police. In the cartoon, one of the officers tells the other, “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.”

The Post said the cartoon was meant to mock what it called an “ineptly written” stimulus bill.

“But it has been taken as something else — as a depiction of President Obama, as a thinly veiled expression of racism,” reads the statement. “This most certainly was not its intent; to those who were offended by the image, we apologize.” Video Watch reaction to Post’s apology »

But the statement immediately swerves to fire back at some of the image’s critics.

“However, there are some in the media and in public life who have had differences with The Post in the past — and they see the incident as an opportunity for payback,” the statement says. “To them, no apology is due. Sometimes a cartoon is just a cartoon — even as the opportunists seek to make it something else.”

Several African-American leaders, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, attacked the image, which was drawn by artist Sean Delonas.

Sharpton said Thursday he and the leaders of “various groups” would respond at 5 p.m. Friday outside The Post’s offices in midtown Manhattan.

“Though we think it is the right thing for them to apologize to those they offended,” the statement appeared to blame those who raised the issue “rather than take responsibility for what they did,” Sharpton said.

He accused the newspaper of having “belatedly come with a conditional statement after people began mobilizing and preparing to challenge the waiver of News Corp in the city where they own several television stations and newspapers.”

Delonas has made Sharpton the butt of previous cartoons in The Post.

In a brief phone interview with CNN, Delonas called the controversy “absolutely friggin’ ridiculous.”

“Do you really think I’m saying Obama should be shot? I didn’t see that in the cartoon,” Delonas told CNN.

“It’s about the economic stimulus bill,” he added.

Col Allan, the Post’s editor-in-chief, said Wednesday that the cartoon “is a clear parody of a current news event.”

“It broadly mocks Washington’s efforts to revive the economy. Again, Al Sharpton reveals himself as nothing more than a publicity opportunist,” Allan said in a written statement.

But Sharpton was not alone in his criticism. Barbara Ciara, president of the National Association of Black Journalists, said The Post showed a “serious lapse in judgment” by running the cartoon.

“To think that the cartoonist and the responsible editors at the paper did not see the racist overtones of the finished product should insult their intelligence,” Ciara said in a written statement. “Instead, they celebrate their own lack of perspective and criticize those who call it what it is: tone deaf at best, overtly racist at worst.” iReport.com: Share your reaction to the N.Y. Post cartoon

“Comparing President Obama and his effort to revive the economy in a manner that depicts violence and racist inferences is unacceptable,” said National Urban League President Marc Morial in a statement issued Wednesday.

The nearly $800 billion stimulus package was the top priority for Obama, the first black U.S. president, who signed it Tuesday.

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In an open letter to The Post, musician John Legend criticized the newspaper and called on New Yorkers not to buy it, or talk to its reporters or buy its advertising space.

Addressing the newspaper’s editors, Legend wrote, “Did it occur to you that our president has been receiving death threats since early in his candidacy? Did it occur to you that blacks have historically been compared to various apes as a way of racist insult and mockery? Did you intend to invoke these painful themes when you printed the cartoon?

“If that’s not what you intended, then it was stupid and willfully ignorant of you not to connect these easily connectable dots. If it is what you intended, then you obviously wanted to be grossly provocative, racist and offensive.” Either way, Legend said, the fact that the cartoon was printed “is truly reprehensible.”

What if President Obama’s mom found being a single parent to difficult? What if?

How many have died that would have been great? How many more will die that could be great?

p.s. This is not an opportunity for the hard left the stand back and sneer or for the hard right to stand up and cheer for where they think our thought I stood because of the vote I cast. These are my views…to support life.

Rick Warren’s Prayer from the Inauguration…took this from Marks Blog

Almighty God, our Father:

Everything we see, and everything we can’t see, exists because of you alone.

It all comes from you, it all belongs to you, it all exists for your glory.

History is your story.

The Scripture tells us, “Hear, O Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD is one.” And you are the compassionate and merciful one. And you are loving to everyone you have made.

Now today, we rejoice not only in America’s peaceful transfer of power for the 44th time, we celebrate a hinge point of history with the inauguration of our first African-American president of the United States.

We are so grateful to live in this land, a land of unequaled possibility, where a son of an African immigrant can rise to the highest level of our leadership. And we know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in heaven.

Give to our new president, Barack Obama, the wisdom to lead us with humility, the courage to lead us with integrity, the compassion to lead us with generosity.

Bless and protect him, his family, Vice President Biden, the Cabinet, and every one of our freely elected leaders.

Help us, O God, to remember that we are Americans—united not by race or religion or blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all.

When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you—forgive us.

When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone—forgive us.

When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the earth with the respect that they deserve—forgive us.

And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches, and civility in our attitudes—even when we differ.

Help us to share, to serve, and to seek the common good of all.

May all people of good will today join together to work for a more just, a more healthy, and a more prosperous nation and a peaceful planet.

And may we never forget that one day, all nations–and all people–will stand accountable before you.

We now commit our new president and his wife, Michelle, and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, into your loving care.

I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life—Yeshua, ‘Isa, Jesus [Spanish pronunciation], Jesus—who taught us to pray:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

Amen.

Sovereign

Although I made it more clear than I originally anticipated as to who I voted for, I do want to stress this. God is Sovereign over everything. Either we believe this or we don’t…there is no real gray area.

If this is true, then lamenting over what was lost, or over zealous celebration over what was won (outside of the historical nature of the event), is futile.

Nothing will happen in our lives or communities that He has not for-seen or made preparation for, He is the true change agent. Again, this is only if we truly believe in the sovereignty of an almighty God. If not, well, then the response of intense lamenting or over zealous celebration is clearly the only one feasible.

We are not a Theocracy

America is not a Theocracy…I don’t know how many times I have to remind people of this when it comes to political decision making.

It is not my intent to endorse one candidate over the other, nor will I be disclosing who I voted for, but it has become tiresome to hear Christians describe a morality of times gone by, and  a need for government to legislate it for us.

We should instead be focusing our energy and time investing in and loving the people that  we find hurting in the deepest ways…who make decisions with their lives that we don’t agree with. Those who we feel are far from God, that many of us try to get the government to legislate their actions, we should instead be focused on getting to their hearts with the message of Jesus.

A true Theocratic government is one in which God is the center piece of EVERYTHING for EVERYONE when it concerns decisions of a personal nature, as well as one affecting the society. This is not America, and truly, it hasn’t ever been. Yes, we are described as one nation, under God, but God, and His ways are not considered in everything we do, therefore we are not a Theocratic institution.

I am only discussing this topic because of the sensitive nature of the current political climate, and the need for all people, Christians included, to make informed “best choice” decisions, not one based on emotion or a preconceived ideal of morality that we feel everyone should adhere too. 

Why leave to government the responsibility to govern the actions of an individual, when we can introduce Jesus, and see Him govern their hearts…

Super Tuesday

So its late and I am exhausted, but cant put my mind to rest thinking about tomorrow. So many variables, so many factor’s and the possibility to change history, and the very make-up of an entire society. Social issues to weigh versus the core values that I hold most deeply. So here is the question; what is a black, conservative, missional, socially conscious, one campaigning, Christ following, southern talking head guy to do? I guess only a day will tell….