Friday, December 26, 2014

Free Speech For Sony Only

In a capitulation to hacking by North Korea, Sony did not release the Seth Rogen flick, The Interview, as planned. Released Sony emails proved embarrassing and threats to theater bombings shut down a Hollywood film in an unprecedented way.  President Obama took to the airways and said, 
“Sony Pictures "made a mistake" when it decided to cancel the theatrical release of "The file:///Users/makebra/Desktop/innocense%20%20of%20muslims.pngInterview" in the wake of cyber attacks from North Korea….

"We cannot have a society in which some dictator some place can start imposing censorship here in the United States," the president continued. "Because if somebody is able to intimidate folks out of releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they do when they start seeing a documentary they don't like, or news reports they don't like. Or even worse, imagine if producers or distributors and others start engaging in self-censorship because they don't want to offend the sensibilities of someone whose sensibilities probably need to be offended," reported CBS News.

President Obama’s remarks are accurate but they make anyone with a memory feel as though they’ve just entered the twilight zone since President Obama has already silenced at least one filmmaker right here in America not so long ago.

On September 11, 2012, crowds gathered in Egypt and Libya and assaulted U.S. diplomatic compounds. This led to the death of Ambassador Christopher Stephens in Benghazi, Libya.  Notwithstanding the coincidence of the date and the annual air of celebration many in the radical Muslim world have for this day of death in America, the Obama administration told the nation the protests were in response to Innocence of Muslims, an on-line You Tube video written, produced, and directed by Mark Basseley Youssef, aka Sam Bacile, depicting the Prophet Mohammed in a way Muslim’s consider blasphemous.

In September 2012, Bacile was arrested and held in federal detention without bail.  The New York Times cited reports that leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan issued warrants for Bacile’s death and so we were told the detention was for Bacile’s own safety.  While in custody, coincidentally Bacile was then charged in federal court for violating four conditions of his probation from a 2010 bank fraud case for maintaining additional identities. How convenient for the government.  The assistant United States attorney Robert Dugdale later dropped the four charges against Bacile relating to Innocence of Muslims but then proceeded to use those very charges against him as he argued for jail time, the New York Times reported.  Bacile entered a guilty plea and served one year in prison. 

A lot was uncovered about Bacile’s past and complaints by some of the cast of Innocence of Muslims have been filed against him for fraudulently inducing them to act in the project.  His character notwithstanding, there can be no credible argument that the arrest and subsequent jailing of Bacile did not amount to censorship by the United States government on a filmmaker. Bacile’s arrest, detention without bail, and one year sentence seem obviously connected to the administration’s response to the 2012 9/11 events and amount to censorship. Charging his probation violations shields the government’s true motive here. 

So we learn another lesson today.  North Korea cannot bully U.S. filmmakers.  We have our president’s support in preserving the American way and the very fabric of our civil society – Free Speech - is intact.  However, when a filmmaker or even a conservative nonprofit group decides to express an opinion the president doesn’t like, filmmakers are jailed and the IRS attacks.  This duplicitous behavior on the part of government should give us all pause. Ask Bacile who was released from prison in August 2013 to a half-way house in Los Angeles.   In this way, the very fabric of our civil society-Free Speech- becomes frayed and protecting it has become an arbitrary exercise at the whim of government. 

"Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding" (Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis).  

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Power Shields a Multitude of Sins

Why Bill and not Woody?

Did you hear the big crash landing in Hollywood this month?  It was Bill Cosby’s career tragically ending.  After being accused by more than a dozen women of drugging and rape, America’s Dad has fallen off of his patriarchal throne while the line of accusers grows.  To witness the unfolding of what appears to be a hidden lifestyle of crimes against women is sad-making to say the least both for Cosby and for the women.

Did you hear the other big crash landing in 2014?  No?  That’s because there wasn’t one after we were reminded of the allegation that iconic film director Woody Allen molested his seven year old adopted daughter Dylan Farrow.  Recall in the Open Letter on February 1, 2014, Mia Farrow’s daughter, Dylan went public for the first time that her adopted father Woody Allen molested her 20 years ago.  Back then, the lawsuit against Allen was dropped to prevent forcing Dylan to testify in open court which may have caused further injury; Allen has always denied the allegations.  Dylan kept her silence for so long convincing herself that her voice would not be heard.  Well, she was right.  Few, outside of her family, believed her and Allen went on to receive the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award just two weeks before Dylan’s public disclosure. Allen incidentally married his other adopted daughter Soon-Yi and is still among Hollywood’s elite.

The list of alleged Hollywood sexual deviants goes on and on, but somehow Bill Cosby is the one to pay the career-ending price.  His syndicated shows were pulled across the country; he resigned from prestigious board seats and affiliations; he has refunded tickets to shows and will likely never be seen again.  If he only abused one woman out of the dozen accusers, he deserves the consequence.  There is no excuse but the disparate treatment between Cosby and Allen does beg the question: shouldn’t both men be treated equally? Of course the answer is yes, but only one star falls.

What is lost in the national discourse of watching Cosby’s falling star is the pain and suffering women endure in relationships with some men.  A woman doesn’t have to be the minor daughter of a famous director or an aspiring actress to be abused.  Little girls are molested by the average Joe Blow more often than we care to discuss.  As an attorney in the Los Angeles Dependency Court, I litigated these issues of child abuse regularly; and not-so-young women are drugged and raped by men as a matter of course.  

We have a problem.  We have predators among us. These predators often hate women (misogynists) or have an unnatural proclivity for minors.  It may have something to do with past history or an addiction that requires treatment, but there is no excuse.  Whatever the root cause, when men use their power and authority to take from girls/women what they want, they leave behind broken souls that injure all of us.  (I in no way ignore the abuse of minor boys; however, that is not my subject today.)

While Cosby and Allen may or may not pay for their sins fully, we must look beyond their celebrity and see the women they (allegedly) have broken.  Let’s have compassion for them; let the voices of these women be heard and validated (and if they are determined to be false accusers, then they will likewise pay for their deceit).  And to those women who have been victimized, don’t wait 30 years to seek healing from your injury and brokenness.  You have a voice. The Statute of Limitations typically expires one year after the injury occurs.  If you wait, he wins.  Go to the local police department right away and most importantly seek professional healing for your soul. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Where Is Justice (Part II)

If we abandon the idea that Lady Justice is blind and insist she see things as we demand, one day someone with more influence will bend her vision against us.  Justice must be allowed to seek truth no matter the sway of public opinion.

In 1987, as a graduating student from university, I was held up at gun point and shot with a 12-gauge shot gun.  I barely escaped with my life and was fortunate to only lose my right leg from the gun shot.  I know violence and I know what it feels like to want criminal justice.  In fact, after the first trial, the black 18 year old gang member was not convicted despite eye witnesses and positive identifications.  Criminal justice is not a science but rather is meted out by imperfect people.  In my case, law enforcement brought about justice for me.  Because of their diligence, the shooter turned himself in and was ultimately convicted in a second trial.  Lady Justice almost missed the mark in my case but she ultimately delivered her just reward. 25 years to life.

In the case of Eric Garner, we are saddened by what seems to be a miscarriage of justice.  Garner, 43, was taken down to the concrete by a white New York police officer with a chokehold for the illegal sale of cigarettes in Staten Island, New York.  To the laymen, the officer used excessive force. Garner yelled repeatedly, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe” during the arrest.  He died leaving behind a wife and children; the coroner ruled his death a homicide, the New York Times reported.  The grand jury failed to indict Officer Pantaleo, 29, for the death.  We now gather and in unison shout “No Justice, No Peace” around the country in response to what seems inconceivable based upon the viral video footage.  Lady Justice seems to have missed her mark.  But we must not lose heart.

There have been very dark periods throughout our collective histories before.  The list of unspeakable discrimination against Jews, Italians, Irish, Japanese, blacks, and other ethnic groups (including women) is too long to itemize.  These have been storms that each of us would have preferred to avoid.  However, a wise man once told me, “There has never been a storm that didn’t pass over.”  

The struggle highlighted in the Garner case is not a struggle of racism in my opinion. The race card is over played, which diminishes movement against racism when it really occurs.   We saw a good example of racism recently with the revelation of private emails between Sony Entertainment executives and their pejorative exchange about President Obama. Incidentally, there have been no cries for boycotts against Sony films yet.   

Rather, in the Garner matter, I see two problems: (1) zealous policing for an alleged misdemeanor infraction that should have never warranted a physical encounter and (2) a flawed grand jury decision that failed to recognize the use of excessive force.  Unless and until I see racial motive, I am unable to label this as a race problem.  It’s not enough that a black man was killed by a white man; that does not make the death motivated by race although recent and historical events pull my community to that conclusion.  (By the same token, I typically accept the decisions of a trier of fact because they have the information that I do not; however, in this case, the world saw the incident and it is inconceivable to lay eyes that Officer Pantaleo did not commit a crime against Garner.)

This is a storm.  It is a storm for the Garner family just as my shooting was a storm for my family.  This is a storm for New York and even for the nation.  The unwarranted taking of a life under the color of authority is a serious matter for us all, but so is the senseless killing by blacks against other blacks.  We must not pretend the elephant is not in the room.  90% of the deaths in the black community are by blacks themselves, reports Jason Riley of the Wall Street Journal.

So where is justice in these storms?  Just as it was for me when I fell tragically into the hands of violence by a black youth, justice is in our perseverance to bring about righteousness; justice comes riding on the winds of change as she has done throughout time.  But justice must come not only for the Garner family but also to our very own communities where killing each other has become sport.

Friday, December 5, 2014

What is Justice? (Part 1)

In the wake of the recent grand jury decisions in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner deaths and the ensuing cries for “justice,” it is important to have an understanding of what justice really is, how to find it, and what it looks like.  Is justice a feeling of vindication for wrongful murders?  Is it a tool to right the racial wrongs of the past? Before we address these questions and decisions of the grand juries in these recent cases, let’s first be clear what justice is not.  What we seek in response to these murders is not “social justice.”  That term is widely misused and clouds the conversation.

Social justice is an economic term that has its roots as a religious doctrine to do charity to the poor.  Both the Catholic, Jewish and Muslim faiths have longstanding traditions in this regard and adhere to this idea of delivering charity, or social justice, to those in need.  The distorted term, as used today, has become a euphemism for redistributive wealth schemes.  It requires the government to take by force or involuntarily the wealth of others and redistribute it to others.  This can only be done by an overpowering government, reducing the liberty of every American, and is not biblical.  I reject the distorted use of the term “social justice” in the context of seeking justice for these recent murders.

On the other hand, God is a God of justice and His justice indeed applies to us all.  It is from a biblical perspective that I want to define the term.  Justice comes in two parts: justice in our relationships with each other and justice as a part of God’s redemptive goal for us all.

The Hebrew word for justice as used in the Bible is tsedeq and misphat (Old Testament) and dikaiosyne in the Greek (New Testament).  When they are used, they are interchangeable with the idea of “what is right” or “righteousness.”    When used, these terms are applied to fair weight and measures, legal proceedings, personal behavior, and the responsibility of the ruling government authorities, to name a few.  In these examples, we can deduce that biblical justice focuses on “what is right” or depicts how things should be.  That’s consistent with our secular idea of justice.  However, in this biblical context, we have a human responsibility to deliver what is right to one another too. For the secularist, the Golden Rule says,  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you;” the biblical version of that secular saying says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your strength and with all your mind; and Love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).  This is the standard for justice in action whether you are religious or irreligious.  It is fundamentally a personal charge.

Secondly, in scripture God is the defender of the poor, the widow, the orphan and the foreigner.  In this way, the term for justice is expanded and looks like deliverance or victory for the oppressed.  In other words, we are not alone in the pursuit of “what is right” in the world.  We have partnership with God and therefore are not pursuing justice alone.  Justice plays a role in God’s redemptive plan for His creation but in His divine providential timing. With a steady hand He will even bring about change to our criminal justice system. 

A lot can be said of our criminal justice system and specifically the industrial prison complex but that must be for a different time.  I will only say now that the industrial prison complex is not focused on real justice (“what is right”) but rather is focused on retribution and the economics associated with that business.  In this way, over 2 million men and women are behind bars (and growing) with no path to restoration; rather, the system creates a permanent underclass of Americans, perpetuates recidivism and broken families.  We need a restorative criminal justice system-a system that contributes to mending the breach in our culture and minimizes the profit from our moral failures.

But the focus for justice cannot be only on the criminal justice system.  Justice must first be delivered between each of us in our respective homes and in our respective communities. We must first treat one another as we would treat ourselves. Justice in its truest form restores what has been broken.  As a community, we are broken along racial and socio-economic lines and we must seek a “restorative justice” between ourselves and in doing so we restore the breach we have with God.

The breach of relationship we have with God is evidenced, in part, by crime and poverty statistics.  In 2012 the Wall Street Journal reported that, “94% of the murders of blacks in America for decades have been at the hands of other blacks.” Also, we spend one trillion dollars a year as a country in programs to help the 1 in 6 Americans living in poverty today and that community continues to grow.

The response to these statistics looks outward for justice with blame and dependence and not inward (personally and in our communities) which misses the larger problem.  These statistics are symptomatic of untreated decay in the moral fabric of our society.  By letting this decay go untreated, we foster a broken relationship between us and with God.  Man is made in God’s own image; we assault God when we murder ourselves. We fail to lift the Golden Rule when we don’t do our part to feed the hungry and clothe the naked.  We have a spiritual problem that requires repentance if not the wrath of God itself.

And so, the question “What is Justice” is on the floor.  In this context, justice, or “what is right” or “righteousness” is defined first in our own lives.  It is personal.  It is an act of love for ourselves and for our neighbor.

I submit to you that we, as a nation, cannot begin to reform our criminal justice unless and until we understand the core idea of restoring interpersonal relationships within our own families and communities.  When we start there, when we understand and deliver justice to one another, we restore our own brokenness and then we bring ourselves into right relationship with God.  When we take up this charge, we begin to fulfill His redemptive purpose in our lives and our communities can begin to experience healing, deliverance, and alas – justice.

Please join me for Part II next week for Where Is Justice. I will discuss the recent deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner and the findings of the respective grand juries.

Correction: I received commentary to this article that indicated that the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner were not murders as I stated.  These commentaries are accurate and I used the term "murder" inadvertently.  As an attorney I am aware that "murder" is the premeditated taking of a human life.  In these cases, murder is not an appropriate term; moreover, the grand juries did not find probable cause that crimes were committed in those cases .  While many disagree, the grand juries rendered their respective decisions. I trust my error does not distract from the broader point of the article.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

If It Quacks Like An Emperor, It’s An Emperor!

Did President Obama violate the constitution by his recent executive order?

Obama’s move to change the laws that make employing illegal immigrants lawful is an overreach of his authority.  The president’s order, strategically made on Mexico’s Revolution Day, is not only unconstitutional under Article II of the Constitution, but also is purely political and he knows it.  (Let’s try to ignore the message the president may be sending to those in Mexico who may read this as an invitation to a revolution. The president is after all a community organizer.)

The executive order allows, among other things, that workers who have been in the country for at least five years can now come out of the shadows without the fear of deportation and receive a worker’s permit and remain in the U.S. temporarily.  It is estimated that this will apply to at least 5 million who are currently in the country illegally.  Now how is an illegal immigrant supposed to prove they have been in the country for five years exactly?  (It should be noted this is not the first time the president suspended deportations.  He did the same thing in 2012 for illegal immigrants under 30 years old who had been in the U.S. since they were 16 and have lived in the US for at least 5 years.  He made them eligible for deferred action which amounts to a suspension of deportation benefiting nearly 800,000 illegal immigrant youth.)  To most honest commentators, it is clear this recent move is an invitation for a mad dash to the U.S. border (as it was in 1986) the likes of which we have not seen.

However, the heart of this discussion is not about the political fight that will surely come with opponents of the president’s action.  The heart of this affair is how should the greatest and wealthiest nation known to man balance the needs of humanity where more are in poverty around the world than ever before against the Constitution and laws of the United States? This is an opportunity to promote the Judeo-Christian values we stand for.

One of the past iterations of the ever-changing President Obama said it best in an interview last year.  “The problem is that I’m the president of the United States, I’m not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed.”  When specifically asked why he had yet to achieve comprehensive immigration reform, he said, “I can’t do these things just by myself.” “I’m not a king,” he said.  Well he just crowned himself, it seems.

The president and his Party should be reminded of the laws on the books he swore an oath to uphold.  In 1986, under President Ronald Reagan, the Immigration Reform and Control Act (also known as the Simpson-Mazzoli Act) gave amnesty to 2.7 million illegal aliens who could prove they had resided illegally in the United States continuously since at least January 1, 1982; and who had worked as agricultural workers for at least 90 days between May 1, 1985 and May 1, 1986.  Borne out of a tortured compromise between Congress and the White House, the Act contemplated reinforced border control and status verification for those applying for welfare benefits.  The success of this Act has been rightly criticized because the border security measures were never put in place.

What a majority of Americans want first Mr. President is for you to enforce the laws on the books.  That means securing our borders as was promised the American people in 1986.  Once that is done, the hearts of the American people will turn to how to respond with dignity to those here illegally. First we must approach this in a practical way and not in a way that invites millions more into our country to await the next wave of amnesty before securing the borders.  Policymakers are duping the American people.  They have not secured the borders because they perceive a political benefit on both sides; they hurt all Americans in this way who must now compete against lower wage earners.

Once this recent executive order is declared unconstitutional or after Congress acts to defund any such effort made by the president, we can get down to the business of securing our borders first and living out the command to “love the foreigner” second.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Liberalism: The Religion of Deceit

While the deception of Jonathan Gruber and the Democrat leadership in passing the Affordable Care Act  (ACA) is on full display, the real story is not being discussed.  The depth of loyalty to the liberal agenda rises to a cultic following; liberalism has become one of the largest religions in America.

The message that propelled all Democrats and no Republicans to approve the massive overall of 1/6 of the United States economy was that every American should have healthcare coverage and that the ACA would make that coverage affordable.  The Obama administration relied on Jonathan Gruber, the “architect” of the Massachusetts healthcare law and M.I.T. economist, to make the liberal dream of universal health care come to life across the country.  Using the Gruber Microsimulation Model, Gruber received nearly $400,000 from the administration, has sold his services to no less than 8 states to set up state exchanges and has earned in excess of $2 million in tax payer dollars over the past seven years from Health and Human Services for his services, reported the Washington Post.   His lucrative business model could be applauded but for the fact he’s peddling deceit to his clients and to the American people.

No less than three videos were released this week where Gruber said, “This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure” the Congressional Budget Office “did not score the mandate as taxes.” He also said that “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” and added, "Call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass” reported the New York Times.  

Of course, we now know the individual mandate is indeed a tax as adjudged by the U.S. Supreme Court.  That such creative tricks occur in Washington on a bi-partisan basis is not news and I am not mad at Gruber.  He exposes the underbelly of politics but more specifically the willingness of liberal devotees, in this case, to lie to the American people to accomplish their agenda “by any means necessary.”

The haze of liberal deceit is so thick that it’s nearly surreal as we watch House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi act like she’s never even heard of Gruber, notwithstanding her six references to him on her own Speaker of the House website in December 2009 and her praise of Gruber as a “noted MIT economist.”  Now the White House says, “The process associated with the writing and passing and implementing of the Affordable Care Act has been extraordinarily transparent.”  What else would we expect from the One who said: “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, period.”

Religion is defined in multiple ways.  One of those ways is to say it is a “cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.”  The only way to describe the Left’s inability to respond to the Gruber matter in a forthright way is to understand their belief system as a religion.  They have a level of devotion and faith in their liberal agenda that exposure of their deceit means absolutely nothing and only begets more deceit.  To my Democrat friends:  is this what you signed up for as a Democrat?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Something to Celebrate

All Americans have something historical to celebrate this week.  However, ignorance prevents some of us from applauding the election of Tim Scott and Mia Love last Tuesday.  Scott is the first black elected to the United State Senate from South Carolina since Reconstruction (1865) and she is the first black Republican woman ever elected to the House of Representatives.  Where’s the parade? Where are the congratulations from the Congressional Black Caucus?  Where’s the NAACP? This should be Front Page in every major newspaper in America but it is not because they are both Republicans.  These elections are as historic as the election of President Barack Obama.  Unfortunately, the country has been robbed of the celebration by liberal media bias.

Just as liberal blacks are frequently unable to put their values over their Party affiliation, neither can they cross the Party aisle and choose ethnic pride to celebrate this victory.  This is a victory of character, victory over our country’s racial history and the product of hard work.  This is monumental stuff.  Sadly, some Americans have been brainwashed.  To black liberals and many non-blacks, “Republican” is synonymous with racism; if you’re a black Republican, you must be an “Uncle Tom.”  Ignorant?  Many black liberals believe that all blacks must think alike politically.  Insanity? 

In the face of these historic accomplishments by blacks, the NAACP issued a press release highlighting its plan to amend the Voting Rights Act so that everyone may participate in the process.  They couldn’t even bring themselves to comment on the historic wins which certainly represent the ‘advancement of colored people.’  Instead, they focus on the new Boogey Man-Voter ID laws to make themselves relevant (which red herring will be the subject of another post.)  In their statement, they claimed they are a nonpartisan organization. Their hubris to make such a statement with a straight face is astonishing.  Is there one Republican or conservative on its Board of Directors?

While the NAACP should change its name as they bring shame to their former self, they cannot keep me and my fellow Americans from applauding Mia Love, Tim Scott, and the voters of Utah and South Carolina for making history.

Tim Scott, 49, was first appointed to the U.S. Senate by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to replace leaving Senator Jim DeMint in 2013.   This election makes him the first black elected Republican to statewide office in South Carolina and the first black elected to the United State Senate since Reconstruction.  Hiram Rhodes Revels preceded Scott as the first black elected to the United States Senate (and Congress overall during Reconstruction) who served from 1870 – 1871 from Mississippi.  Ludmya Bourdeau “Mia” Love , 39, the former mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, will be the first Haitian American and first black female Republican ever elected to Congress when sworn in.  This is something and someone(s) to celebrate?  Join me in American pride and share this so others may join us in this celebration.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Obama Annihilates the Future of the Black Community

Is it not enough that the president is the most public supporter of abortion to ever sit in the Oval Office?  

Since 1973, legalized abortions have taken 16 million black babies from their destiny in a secular culture that devalues life.   To compound what seems to be an agenda ambivalent to the need to empower the black community, it is now clear that the president is planning a massive immigration policy change without Congress that will decimate the poor black working class. 

Breitbart News reported earlier this week that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a request for proposal  (RPF) furthering a not widely known move to legalize the millions of illegal immigrants currently in the U.S.  The RFP  indicates "the guaranteed minimum for ordering period is 4,000,000 cards.  The estimated maximum for the entire contract is 34,000,000 cards."  This is a massive move whereby the administration is preparing to buy the materials needed to construct both Permanent Residency Cards (known as green cards) and Employment Authorization Documentation cards.  "This is a new program of remarkable breadth," said Jessica Vaughn a former State Department official, Breitbart reported.

While polls show that black confidence in the president has eroded since 2012, some black leaders are vocally disappointed with the president's performance.  Cornel West, a professor of philosophy and Christian practice at Union Theological Seminary said in an interview with, "He posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit." While West is disappointed with the president for reasons that differ from my own, this is as strong a criticism of the president I've heard from so-called black leadership.  However, most continue to miss the train that is coming that will wipe out the working poor in the black community.

The influx of as many as 34 million newly legalized and voting immigrants puts the working poor in the black community out of business (literally) and redefines the term marginalized.  If the current unemployment rate for blacks today is twice the national average, the disparity will soar once the president has his way through executive order essentially providing amnesty for as many as 34 million.  Working poor blacks will be perpetually unemployed and officially wards of the state while the new voting bloc will make the black vote irrelevant.  When this happens, the idea of black empowerment will become unattainable.

As I recently shared,  illegal immigration is one of the largest threats to the black community and is one of the largest contributing factors for the decline in the labor force participation rate, according to Peter Kirsanow from the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.  The participation rate was 12% for blacks and 80% for whites according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In 2008 the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights examined the impact of illegal immigration on blacks.  The Commissions’ witnesses were unanimous that illegal immigration has an adverse impact on black employment, reducing job opportunities and depressing wages especially for black men.There is an existential threat to the black community.  The threat to the nuclear black family used to be absentee fathers but now the greatest threat is immigration for which we have no direct control.   Where are all the liberation scholars, pastors, and elected officials while the future for blacks evaporates?  We need help.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Liberalism Threatened

 Will Liberals succeed at silencing pastors and prevent Christian mobilization?

Since the founding of the country, there were no restrictions on churches with respect to endorsing or opposing political candidates from the pulpit.  Churches came under attack only after the Southern Democrat LBJ ran and won his U.S. Senate seat.  In 1954, Johnson was opposed by a nonprofit organization; after he won his seat he proposed legislation to amend the Internal Revenue Code to prohibit nonprofit organizations, including churches, from endorsing or opposing political candidates.  The IRS Code was amended in 1954 without any debate regarding the impact of the bill and the LBJ political payback has tied the hands of pastors ever since.  The IRS now prohibits churches from directly endorsing or opposing political candidates or participating in partisan politics by threatening the revocation of tax-exempt status.

Not all pastors care about the IRS restriction because not all pastors are socially or theologically conservative.  Alternatively, not all pastors are political like those that led the nation in passing civil rights legislation in the 60’s.  However, some are political and have pushed back against the IRS restriction since the code does not limit a pastor from having a personal opinion.  Rev. Jerry Falwell who founded the Moral Majority Coalition and Liberty University was “the religious Right,” a vocal proponent of Republican candidates and his movement was credited for electing Ronald Reagan in 1980.  Liberals have not forgotten the impact Falwell had on elections.  He died in 2007.  The influence of Falwell was a powerful example of what a unified religious community can do to promote a biblical worldview; that influence also threatens national unity for Liberals on social issues like same-sex marriage; it is a threat liberals take very seriously.

Because of that threat, a new and aggressive standard is now emerging against the church.  Houston is ground zero.  A Houston city ordinance passed in May that bans anti-gay discrimination among businesses that serve the public, private employers, in housing and in city employment and city contracting. With an openly lesbian mayor leading the charge, five pastors were subpoenaed for their sermons in a lawsuit against the city not as litigants but because they stood in their pulpits and publically supported an effort to repeal the ordinance that, among other things, extended rights to the transgender community to file suit over access to bathrooms.

In response to the national outcry, Mayor Parker rescinded the sermon subpoenas yesterday.  However, the city’s effort must not be ignored.  This is only the beginning of the assault on churches and ultimately their tax-exemption (a meaningful factor in the charitable contributions churches receive). 

As reported by the Blaze, in July 2014 the IRS settled a lawsuit brought by an atheist activist group Freedom from Religion Foundation and reportedly agreed to adopt standards for determining and investigating whether churches and religious organizations have violated restrictions on political activity.  The atheist cannot win the argument so they intend to end the discussion in corroboration with the federal government.

Whether you are a Christian or not the attack on churches is real and must not be ignored.  Think on this:  “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist.  Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist.  Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.  Then they came for me---and there was no one left to speak for me.” (Martin Niemöller)