It’s really hard for me to believe you believe “all lives matter”

all lives matter

You say “all lives matter” in response to “black lives matter,” but if you really believe “all lives matter”:

  • Why is your church so segregated?
  • Why are you public schools so segregated?
  • Why do black children go to bad schools?
  • Why do you live in such comfort when so many people are homeless?
  • Why do you live in such comfort and so many mentally challenged people have been forced to live on the street since President Reagan’s presidency?
  • Why are black people incarcerated at higher levels than whites?
  • Why do you not care about Hispanics who seek a better life in our country?
  • Why do you prevent transgender human beings from using the bathroom of their gender identity?
  • Why do you treat LGBTQ people as if they have less rights than you have?
  • Why do you support an economic system that creates a super rich class?
  • Why do you not support health care for all?
  • Why do you work against legislation that protects large companies who harm the environment, particularly in locations where the poor live?
  • Why do you tolerate women being paid unequally?
  • Why do you treat Muslims as if they are non-human?
  • Why do you turn a deaf ear to those who are different from you and either assume they are perverts or lazy?
  • Why do you vote based on your own economic interests?
  • Why do you have no close friends who are not of your race or economic class?
  • Why do you think a few good deeds are sufficient?
  • Why do you think the emphasis such be on “all lives” when so many lives are lives of comfort and so many people are barely surviving day to day?

It’s really hard for me to believe you believe “all lives matter.”

black lives matter

Sermon: Why My Paternal Grandfather Punched My Maternal Grandfather (Faith & Politics)

why my paternal grandfather punched



Has anyone seen the amazing Hamilton musical on Broadway?

Didn’t think so. Tickets are going for $1,000.

Of course, for 1,000 buckaroos you will, among other things, get to see a reenactment of the infamous Burr–Hamilton duel, as in gun duel.   Aaron Burr, the sitting Vice President of the United States, and Alexander Hamilton, the former Secretary of the Treasury had their duel on July 11, 1804, the duel being a culmination of a long and bitter rivalry between the two men. Tensions reached a boiling point with Hamilton’s journalistic defamation of Burr’s character during the 1804 New York gubernatorial race in which Burr was a candidate. Burr got his revenge at the duel, shooting and mortally wounded Hamilton.

Nothing like settling politics John Wayne style. And you thought politics was bad now. Well, they are bad now, and they were bad then.

It reminds me of when my paternal grandfather punched my maternal grandfather.

Permit me to set the stage.

My paternal grandfather was a big boy. 6’ 3”, 300 pound, oval shaped body frame – hula hoop for a waist line. A big flirt. Called every female he ever saw a movie star. Sold shoes in downtown store in Mt. Airy. Lived in Cana, Virginia, though. Imagine where the Clampetts lived before they became the Beverly Hillbillies. My paternal grandfather later moved to Winston-Salem after getting run out of the state of Virginia for shooting a man. In Winston-Salem he ran a little convenience store before there were convenience stores. Milk, bread, chips, canned goods, vegetables from his garden, and the essentials: vienna sausage, pork and beans, , and of course, candy, soda pops and ice cream, which he didn’t give out free to grandchildren. He did give out nicknames to grandchildren, however, and he called me Jericho. Don’t know why, but that was me – Jericho. I thought it was neat even though it didn’t make any sense. My Paternal grandfather loved to square dance, play the banjo, and he always wore a straw, wide brim hat. He was the biggest Republican who has ever walked the face of this earth. My paternal grandfather liked to count and name all his children, all his in-laws, and all his grandchildren. He assumed everybody would be voting Republican so the number he came up with was the number of his contribution to the Grand Old Party. In his living room he had photos of the last 10 presidents framed. Surprisingly, he even had photos of the Democrat Presidents.

My maternal grandfather also was a big boy, tall, 6’4” and not fat. He was what they called a working alcoholic. He worked in the pipe shop at R. J. Reynolds and drank wherever he wanted to drink. His nickname was Biggum. We always thought it was in reference to his tallness, but we eventually learned he was called Biggum because he told a lot of big or tall tales. Speaking of big, my maternal grandfather was a big, big Democrat even though his wife’s family were big, big Republicans.

My maternal grandfather lived across the street about 50 yards south of my paternal grandfather’s store and house. My grandfathers frequently played checkers under a maple tree 30 yards from the convenience store. The maple tree provided excellent shade and the checkerboard was placed on top of a wooden reel.

To sum up: my paternal grandfather was a big, big Republican and my maternal grandfather was a big, big Democrat.

Which means my father, the son of that big, big Republican, married my mother, a girl from the big, big Democrat family, and being that my mother was not a liberated woman my father in effect got to vote twice.

When I was a seven year-old seeking the approval of my father and my paternal grandfather, I would stand near the wooden reel under the maple tree doing an impression of Lady Bird Johnson, mocking her and her Highway Beautification Act which involved planting wildflowers along the interstates. “Ugliness is so grim. A little beauty, something that is lovely, I think, can help create harmony which will lessen tensions.”

Ladybird was just one of those spend everybody’s money on stupid stuff Democrats, and a woman who didn’t know her place.

By the way, my first semester at UNC-Chapel I wrote a paper for an English class in which I argued the New Deal was NOT the American Way.

Yes, God has changed me. Amen. Yes, God was able to move me beyond a politics that had at its core seeking my father’s approval.

So that’s the setting, the background to my paternal grandfather punching my maternal grandfather. The specifics, the down and dirty details, are as follows. My paternal grandfather and maternal grandfather are playing one of their checker matches underneath the maple tree and up drives my father. He has with him my oldest brother, Steve, who at that time was 3 years-old. Upon seeing my father and brother get out of the car and walking toward them, my maternal grandfather says to my paternal grandfather, “I’m going to make Steve a Democrat.” At which point my paternal grandfather reached across the checkerboard, too the shirt of my maternal grandfather, and raised him up to the feet and proceeded to punch him.

You might say politics was important in my family tree.

So now it’s time to play the guessing game. You get to vote on what you think my party affiliation is. If you think I’m a Democrat, raise your hand. If you think, I’m a Republican, raise your hand. Well, all of you are wrong. I’m registered as an Independent. And I’ll tell you why I’m registered as an Independent. Because I’m a follower of Jesus who learns from all the religions and from atheists and agnostics and I’m aware of how one’s political party affiliation can get in the way of practicing Jesus politics. And that’s what I’m for: Jesus politics, politics which emphasizes the plundered and the marginalized and the outcasts, politics which critiques all leaders and all institutions and all political parties based on Jesus politics.

Over the years I’ve noticed the politics of people often has to do with seeking approval from parents or rebelling against parents through politics. I’ve observed that frequently one’s politics is based on one’s self interest and one’s prejudices and on racism. I’ve also noticed a lot of people thinking faith and politics shouldn’t mix, as if God does not care about everything that happens on this planet. Fundamentalist Christians scare me but so do all the good church people who don’t have a clue about how Jesus ended up on a Roman cross other than some archaic notion that God had to kill his son so people could be saved.

If you are rich or middle class, if you are practicing Jesus politics, in many respects, especially with respect to your economic interst, you will be voting against your self-interest.

Nobody said it was easy.

My grandfathers were right. Politics is a very serious matter, just not in the way they thought or in the way they fought.


Scalia Was Wrong About The Constitution

chapman.0830 - 08/29/05 - A Supreme Court headed by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has questions for Chapman University Law School professor John Eastman as he and California Attorney General Bill Lockyer argue the 1905 ''Lochner v. State of New York'' case during a re-enactment Monday afternoon at Chapman University. (Credit: Mark Avery/Orange County Register/ZUMA Press)

Justice Scalia was wrong about the constitution.  He was an originalist.  According to Scalia, “The Constitution that I interpret and apply is not living but dead, or as I prefer to call it, enduring. It means today not what current society, much less the court, thinks it ought to mean, but what it meant when it was adopted.”

Nobody knows,however, exactly what it meant when it was adopted.  There is no such thing as a dead document.  The constitution, like all written documents, has to be interpreted.  It does not “say” anything.  The constitution does not address everything that happened in the past or in the present.  Scalia’s solution was to pass legislation to fill in the blanks.  That, however, is not efficient, practical or possible.  It is a system for chaos, which I assume, none of the signers of the constitution would desire.

Believing the constitution is a dead document also is a formula for ignoring the rights and well-being of minorities.  The judicial branch should serve as a safeguard to the powers of the President and Congress when they do not protect all the citizens of our country.

Probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to study the thought of some of our first leaders with respect to the tyranny of the powerful and the tyranny of the majority.  James Madison and the Federalist Papers would be a good place to start.

For the record, the Bible does not “say” anything either.  It has to be interpreted.  And, like all sources for theology, it is a problematic source.

God save us from all the originalists and their “dead” documents.

Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is worse than Bernie Sanders

bernie sanders

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is worse than Bernie Sanders.

According to Bernie, “the issue of wealth and income inequality is the great moral issue of our time, it is the great economic issue of our time, and it is the great political issue of our time.”  In Bernie’s view, “there is something profoundly wrong when 58 percent of all new income since the Wall Street crash has gone to the top one percent.”  But what is Bernie Sanders’ solution?  Bernie, among other things, wants corporations and the wealthy to pay their fair share.

Bernie is letting the rich off easy.  Mary, sings a song with a plan that is much more severe:  “God has sent the rich away empty.” (Luke 1:53)  There’s a big difference between paying your fair share (Bernie’s plan) and going away empty (God’s plan/Mary’s song).  Mary, the mother of Jesus, is worse than Bernie Sanders.  Or, depending on your perspective, she’s better.

Ever heard Joel Osteen preach “God has sent the rich away empty”?

Ever heard Billy Graham or Franklin Graham preach “God has sent the rich away empty”?

Ever heard any of the preachers at the popular megachurches preach “God has sent the rich away empty”?

Not even Bernie Sanders is sending the rich away empty.