God's Politics

God's Politics


Yes, Jena is America (by Jim Wallis)

posted by God's Politics

Lydia Bean’s post today, Jena is America, is a strong statement — and a truthful one. I’m always fascinated by frequent comments that racism is now much more subtle in America today. Well, one place racism is definitely not subtle is in the criminal justice system. Overt and very stark racial disparities are a matter of daily occurrence when it comes to law enforcement, the judicial process, and the prison system. And almost anyone who actually works with those systems is acutely aware of that fact. Lydia Bean knows that firsthand from her experience in Texas, and her organization had a key role on bringing the Jena situation to national attention. We should thank Friends of Justice for that.
One last thing: The biblical bias toward the poor suggests that the truth about any society is better seen at the bottom of the social order than at the top. How the most weak and vulnerable are treated is the best measure of a society’s righteousness according to the prophets. And most of those involved with the criminal justice system are, indeed, at the bottom of the society. So yes, Jena is America.



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Payshun

posted September 20, 2007 at 4:43 pm


Amen.
p



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Wolverine

posted September 20, 2007 at 5:18 pm


There is no biblical support for a “bias towards the poor”. There are frequent calls for even-handedness, and a recognition that the poor are particularly vulnerable to injustice, but in the end judges are called to make their decisions based on facts and law without partiality towards any class.
And no, Jena is not America. Jena is part of America, but it is not the whole country.
I remember remarking on an earlier thread that you have a fairly strong case that the Jena Six are the victims of injustice, but Sojo’s persistent hyperbole only makes them less credible.
Wolverine



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N.M. Rod

posted September 20, 2007 at 6:01 pm


It’s the reaction against those who point out these injustices that’s all the more telling, I’m afraid.
What’s the matter with just agreeing and working to see that the injustice is righted, instead of looking for a reason to trash those who point out inequities, and then use their supposed ungodly bias in doing so to dismiss the entire matter as beyond concern?
I know this: the rich and powerful hardly need advocates to volunteer to defend them, regardless of when they are wrong and when they are right. Those who are powerless and without many worldly goods, or ill, or persecuted, don’t have attorneys on retainer, even when completely innocent.
Oh man, do we ever need to read scripture to shed our self-righteousness. It’s filthy rags.
Luke 6:20 -
But, oh, the sorrows that await the rich. For they have their only reward down here. They are fat and prosperous now, but a time of awful hunger is before them. Their careless laughter now [contempt] means sorrow then.
Maybe there’s a version of the Bible along the lines of Tom Jefferson’s, where he excised from it all the things he disagreed with: the special coupon-clipped scriptures according to Gordon Gekko?



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Wolverine

posted September 20, 2007 at 6:27 pm


What’s the matter with just agreeing and working to see that the injustice is righted, instead of looking for a reason to trash those who point out inequities, and then use their supposed ungodly bias in doing so to dismiss the entire matter as beyond concern?
What would be wrong with working to help the Jena Six without using it to make blanket accusations against an entire country? Especially when doing so might gain you some allies on the political right?
I know this: the rich and powerful hardly need advocates to volunteer to defend them, regardless of when they are wrong and when they are right.
My one word rebuttal: Duke
Wolverine



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N.M. Rod

posted September 20, 2007 at 7:23 pm


It’s nice to know that “the preferential option for the rich” is still operative as it has been all these millenia. We certainly do lead the world in a number of areas, and if there’s one where we are way ahead, it’s that preference for applauding unrestrained hedonism and materialism for worshipping those who do it unreservedly.
I honestly hope that the people that play the hardshell Christian devil’s advocate are just playing at rhetoric rather than it being their true internal attitude.
Accusations against anyone that are false are reprehensible.
However, I have heard that those Jena darkskinned folk are currently in prison with their records ruined forever in an unforgiving country that jails mostly minorities, with 25% of the entire prison population of the whole world, while the Duke players never have been and have in fact been exonerated. The thing about the Duke players, however, is that their behavior was hardly righteous or in defense of any right other than the right to be randy and rude – one that we certainly value above all others in our nation. And one that was defended without limit by the highest priced legal talent in the country. Certainly they got the best justice system money could buy in the face of uncorroborated charges.



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Rick Nowlin

posted September 20, 2007 at 7:28 pm


What would be wrong with working to help the Jena Six without using it to make blanket accusations against an entire country? Especially when doing so might gain you some allies on the political right?
You forget one thing: We’re dealing with the South, much of which obviously still hasn’t dealt honestly with its race problem, which the right wing began to exploit in the late 1970s. All in all, the political right has nothing to gain by “doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly with God.”
I don’t live in the South, but I know what it’s like to be told that I “don’t belong” because I’m the wrong color. And while I don’t condone violence, I see what the students did as a form of self-defense — “get them before they got us.” That’s one thing the right just won’t address.



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kevin s.

posted September 20, 2007 at 7:35 pm


“You forget one thing: We’re dealing with the South,”
Which is also only part of America. Also, Wolverine is correct that there is no bias toward the poor in scripture.
My father is in prison, falsely accused, in Michigan. Michigan is not the south, and my father is not black. The bludgeon of government and injustice go hand in hand, which is why I want as little of it as possible.



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Rick Nowlin

posted September 20, 2007 at 7:45 pm


Which is also only part of America.
And, as any Southerner will tell you, which has its own unique history.



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Wolverine

posted September 20, 2007 at 7:52 pm


Which leads us back to my original point: Jena is not America.
Wolverine



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God's Own

posted September 20, 2007 at 8:29 pm


I believe that there is a bit of Jena in every part of the United States of America. It is present albeit masked beneath exterior smiles and greetings that turn to sneers and disgust when victims, who are disliked because of prejudicial thoughts, feelings and fears, are out of earshot or eyesight. Truth be known, it happens in all races. Unfortunately, it appears to be a part of human nature. Seemingly, humanity has to have someone to look down upon. However, I do not believe in injustice regardless to race, creed, sexual orientation or color. Justice is said to be blind, but in the hands of those who would misuse it, justice becomes a weapon to wield, with unjust power, the wickedness of bigotry. It is my sincere belief that a huge injustice was done in Jena and righting it is in the hands of our Awesome God.



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N.M. Rod

posted September 20, 2007 at 8:46 pm


“…but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.”
Yikes, the quotation came to mind before I realised it came from JFK’s last line of his inaugural address.
I know, if Daley hadn’t rigged Chicago, Nixon would have been President instead!



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N.M. Rod

posted September 20, 2007 at 9:30 pm


One could argue that God must have loved poor people so much more than the rich, since he made so very many more of them.
Scriptural warnings are very clear of the temptations of wealth and the risk to one’s soul which are far greater than those of lack of wealth.
I think those in a rich nation might once again be tempted as all people troubled by conscience are, to slant interpretations and stretch case law in their own favor when it comes to Jesus’ clear warnings of how wealth is a snare – comparing it to a rich man with an over-packed camel trying but failing to squeeze through a narrow gate into the city.
Perceptively, the disciple who realises the spiritual gulf between rich and poor in this life isn’t as wide as the material one, asks, “Lord, how then can any be saved?”
To which, fortunately for us wealthy and the rest of the idolators of materialism, including many poor, all things are possible with God.
Nevertheless, there is mortal danger in wealth and the attitudes it engenders so easily, in the getting and spending.
Remember the citizen of wealth and fame, who in life lived well and generously made charitable contribution of his scraps to the poor, the beneficiary being in the form of Lazarus? This pillar of the community was so generous that he treated the poor almost as well as he treated his dogs, which ate from his well-stocked table. Pet lovers of America, anyone?
Well, all things come to an end and it was no different in the end for our philanthropist or his hapless supplicant the beggar than it will be for us. In the fullness of time Lazarus and his public benefactor left this vale of tears (at least it was sorrowful in the view of Lazarus).
The afterlife found them in different circumstances, with even water in short supply in the hotel the formerly rich man was accomodated in. Trying to remember who might be connected enough here to put in a good word for him and get better service, he wracked his brains and recalled as a lst resort his former generosity to Lazarus and called him up to see if service was any better where he was. If nothing else he could maybe cheer himself up by hearing of the even more dire circumstances he felt Lazarus would have come into. Maybe he could even enlist him into some sort of indentured servitude on his behalf.
Unfortunately, although shockingly things had improved dramatically for Lazarus (somebody forgot to tell the proprietor of the afterlife about the heretical nature of a “preferential option for the poor”) Lazarus couldn’t become his manservant and do any steppin’ or fetchin’ for him.
It seems that now the rich man lived in a gated community to which Lazarus was barred admission. Maybe a little like Hotel California. In any case, the security gates were manned 24*7.
Surprisingly Lazarus had no sense of schadenfreude and would have been willing if it were possible, to get some word back to Pleasantville, but apparently the heirs of the rich man were now having so much fun living it up on the fat of the land that their dear but quite forgotten departed had amassed that even someone returning from the dead wouldn’t have made any difference to them.
I have to ask, since someone did return from the dead to tell us, does it make any difference to us either?



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Rick Nowlin

posted September 20, 2007 at 10:27 pm


Which leads us back to my original point: Jena is not America.
Yeah, it is — it’s just manifest in different ways. Down South (my mother is from there, so she saw this up close and personal) racism was written into law. But except for my first year of college I’ve always lived in the North, and let me tell you I ran into more racism up here than down there, and especially in evangelical churches. During my first two years of high school, at a Catholic boys’ prep school, I got into two racially-motivated fights, neither of which I started.



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Rick Nowlin

posted September 20, 2007 at 10:37 pm


My father is in prison, falsely accused, in Michigan. Michigan is not the south, and my father is not black. The bludgeon of government and injustice go hand in hand, which is why I want as little of it as possible.
While I’m sorry to hear that, I would hope that you would then understand how blacks feel. But, apparently, you’ve got a great deal of bitterness about that — and that doesn’t help.



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aaron

posted September 20, 2007 at 10:47 pm


Wolverine,
I have been reading this blog for a while and have never chimed in on anything but after I read your comments to the Jena 6 I was very saddened by your biblical interpretation of God’s heart for the poor and our responsibility to those who are oppressed, stricken, impoverished. I am not trying to get in a argument with you because from what I have read over the past few months you are pretty good at it. I am waving the white flag right now just so you know. The only reason I am writing this comment is to plead with you to read your bible. Start with Isaiah chapter 1 and see why God was so angry at His people. It wasn’t idolatry just so you know. Look man I know I have skewed perspectives on a lot of issues. For example I confess that as a minority in this racialized country I have racial bias’ that I am asking the Holy Spirit to convict me to the point where I would be disgusted with my own hypocrisy and bigotry. I am only being honest about this because I didn’t want you to feel like I am attacking you. I am all messed up man! But it does sadden me week after week as I read this blog and in particular your comments and feel that in my opinion you are an American and a political conservative before you are a Christian. If I am wrong forgive me but this isn’t God’s chosen country in which He is carrying out His justice in the world. Please know that Wolverine. Be gentle in your response (lol).
Grace and Peace!



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aaron

posted September 20, 2007 at 10:58 pm


Wolverine,
One more thing. I want to recommend a book to you. There is a book called “The Civil War as a Theological Crisis.” If you can get past the title and all the loaded imagery and questions that comes to ones mind when you hear a title like that I think you will find a wonderful chapter on the “genesis” of how Americans began to believe that Republicanism , Nationalism and Christianity all meant the same thing. I think it would be a good read. The Kingdom of God is so much bigger than American politics and even though many people would agree they still find it hard to put it into practice. Especially when it comes to international dealings, justice, and the poor. Including myself.
Just a recommendation that’s all.
Grace and Peace!



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Paul C. Quillman

posted September 21, 2007 at 12:05 am


Rick:
You forget one thing: We’re dealing with the South, much of which obviously still hasn’t dealt honestly with its race problem, which the right wing began to exploit in the late 1970s.
Paul
Yes, because those of us who life in th esouth are just a bunch of hayseed hicks, and we are just too stupid to not be recist.



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Anonymous

posted September 21, 2007 at 12:10 am


As a Southerner, born and raised- I can admit there are many things in both history and currently to be ashamed of-
but, the Jena situation is media driven and fueled by people who thrive on tension between the “races” – not by people who want to bring harmony amongst all peoples.
There are countless kind and peaceful “Southerners” too !
In case anyone has forgotten, The south IS America .



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Wolverine

posted September 21, 2007 at 12:21 am


Aaron,
I’ve never been entirely comfortable with the notion that America has any special role in God’s divine plan myself. The power and wealth she has accumulated are facts of life, but I have no idea what larger spiritual meaning, if any, that has.
As far as a heart for the poor goes, I don’t deny that God cares about the poor. What I do question is whether or not the government is the best agency to provide aid.
That’s a secular question as much as it is a spiritual one, and finding an answer will require both secular and spiritual understanding.
Your point about Isaiah 1 is well taken: much of what angered God at that point in history was a failure to protect the interests of the fatherless and the widowed. But you’ll notice that what he is demanding that their cases get a fair hearing, “Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow”. That’s not the same as saying: “decide all cases in their favor.” Isaiah is not calling for the scales of justice to tilt.
He adds: “Your rulers are rebels, companions of thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts.” Which tells me there was more than a lack of generosity here, there was corruption as well.
But I come at the scriptures with a certain secular world view and I won’t pretend that I’m so good that I will never read my own agenda into it. I offer my own opinions. I like to think I have a pretty good handle on things. But no, I’m not omniscient.
You’re right, God’s Kingdom is a lot larger than American politics, but that doesn’t mean American politics doesn’t matter. But you probably knew that too — otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this blog.
Anyway, I’ll keep my eyes open for that book, it does sound interesting.
Grace and Peace to you as well,
Wolverine



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Payshun

posted September 21, 2007 at 1:12 am


Wolverine,
I kind of understand your point. But that’s the thing. We have to look at the good and bad and own both. Jenna is America. But then so is Harambee Center.
http://www.harambee.org/
There is hope in this world and we still have to look at deal w/ the destruction we see in places like Jenna. the media did blow this up, but sometimes things need to be if we as a people are ever going to grow from them.
p



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Tom

posted September 21, 2007 at 6:45 am


I’m sorry about your dad, kevin s., but Michigan ain’t no different than Ohio, you know. Is Ohio the South? He will get out of prison when it is time. What was he accused of, might I ask?



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Rick Nowlin

posted September 21, 2007 at 8:06 am


Yes, because those of us who life in the south are just a bunch of hayseed hicks, and we are just too stupid to not be recist.
Uncalled for — as I said, I briefly went to school in the South and my mother is from there, so I’m somewhat familiar with its history. Because of that, I say: Embrace your history and learn from it.



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Rick Nowlin

posted September 21, 2007 at 8:14 am


As far as a heart for the poor goes, I don’t deny that God cares about the poor. What I do question is whether or not the government is the best agency to provide aid.
The poor don’t need just, or primarily, aid; they need authority. They need to go anywhere and not be regarded as “suspicious” characters looking to steal something or lazy folks just trying to get a handout. That’s a cultural, and yes (sometimes), political issue.



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Wolverine

posted September 21, 2007 at 9:02 am


Payshun wrote:
We have to look at the good and bad and own both. Jenna is America. But then so is Harambee Center.
Fair enough.
Rick Nowlin wrote:
The poor don’t need just, or primarily, aid; they need authority. They need to go anywhere and not be regarded as “suspicious” characters looking to steal something or lazy folks just trying to get a handout. That’s a cultural, and yes (sometimes), political issue.
I’m not sure what you mean by authority — if you mean political power beyond their numbers I would have to respectfully disagree. Political authority should be used as much as possible to advance national interests and vindicate justice, which is neutral to race and class. We should resist the temptation to allow political authority to become a tool of unrestrained class conflict.
At any rate, you seem to acknowledge that this is a cultural issue too. Government is a clumsy tool for changing a culture.
Wolverine



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Moderatelad

posted September 21, 2007 at 9:18 am


‘…biblical bias toward the poor suggests that the truth about any society is better seen at the bottom of the social order…’
If you are talking about the poor that live in our urban areas as well as all around our country – I can agree with that – more or less. But if you are including those that are in prison – now we are going to be a little further apart. Many – I dare say 99% of those in prison are there because they committed a crime that put them there. If they are able to do something that put them there – do you think that they are going to change their attitude or habits just because they are behind bars? They can be treated humainly – but sweetly – softly – motherly. I don’t think we should ask our prison personnel to go that far. They are guards and not kindly uncles. They need to have established a safe distance with the criminal/inmate both physically and emotionally. (kevin – I remember our conversation and have prayed for you and your father many times and will continue to do so) I have seen the ‘mis-carriage’ of justice and understand that it does happen. It happends more often with an ‘out of control’ or ‘agenda driven’ public prosecuter like what happened at ‘Duke’. We still have one of the best judicial systems in the world.
Blessings -
.



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john norland

posted September 21, 2007 at 9:47 am


I’m afraid our debate misses the real issue. Christians are seperate, and different from non-christians. Culturally today, this difference seems to be only skin deep, and not based on a radical transformation from the depths of our being outward. The crucial question to address is how to we view and address those different from ourselves. As an example we have Jesus call to seek and save the lost. In their difference, He viewed them as “lost”, “enslaved”, “oppressed” and “outcaste” — and he invites them to follow him. Our baptism is the symbol of that acceptance, the one baptized as the reciepent of Gods grace and truth, the community our acceptance of a brother or sister in Christ, set from from the enslavement of life’s powers and principalities. Tragically American Christianity has bought into a plan to look at those who are different as rebellious “free spirits” who need to experience new rules and regulations, and even if shunned by the community they must be bound by its rules. It is not surprising that when a Muslim is branded a “terrorist”, a homosexual a threat to marriage and our way of life, a black man as a gang banger a hispanic as an illegial alien, a democrate as unpatroitic and the list goes on… we find it easy to become prejudiced, to oppress, to defend our legalism and to look like the perfect hypocrate to the world.



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Rick Nowlin

posted September 21, 2007 at 10:28 am


Political authority should be used as much as possible to advance national interests and vindicate justice, which is neutral to race and class. We should resist the temptation to allow political authority to become a tool of unrestrained class conflict.
The reality, however, is that government, at least for African-Americans, has in my lifetime been the primary vehicle for justice, especially since the injustice in the South was racially and (to a limited extent) economically based. And, frankly, modern conservatives have always used political authority “to become a tool of unrestrained class conflict” — your more honest activists will even tell you as such.
At any rate, you seem to acknowledge that this is a cultural issue too. Government is a clumsy tool for changing a culture.
That was the genius of Martin Luther King Jr., who held to a two-pronged approach to fighting racism. Yes, the short-term approach was to change unjust laws, but were he here today he would say, “No mere law can make you love me” — and real love takes effort and communication. My number-one criticism of the post-King civil-rights movement is that it has for the most part abandoned the reconciliation part of his message, and in my youth I was disparaged by other blacks for taking things further. (History, however, has vindicated me, I believe.)
It still pains me, however, to note that even churches are still segregated — I watched “Nightline” last night, and a Jena resident mentioned that going to each other’s churches wasn’t done. I would think that the believers in Jena who were believers might recognize the problem — but then again, white churches throughout the South contributed to the problem.



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N.M. Rod

posted September 21, 2007 at 11:18 am


One of the realities of today is that unless you’re rich, powerful or a celebrity, you’re not going to get problems addressed unless the media gets involved and embarrasses someone in power who can’t stomach bad publicity, whether it’s an issue with government or business.
The sad reality is that most people just don’t care about anything other than themselves and this is particularly acute in a culture that worships money, because anyone without the moxie is seen as justifiably cursed. Part of the belief system has to make it seem fair that there are severe economic inequities so that it is accepted – and this means that for the most part, people believe that others have problems only because it’s their own fault. For themselves, if they’re not rich, they believe that’s just temporary and that personal wealth is right around the corner for anyone who dares ask.



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Jeff Goins

posted September 21, 2007 at 12:02 pm


Call me crazy – but remind me why injustice is being done against the Jena Six? They beat a kid up and are facing punishment for it? I saw signs of “Free the Jena Six” on the news last night, and I wondered how one could talk of justice and freeing a criminal in the same sentence. Can someone help me with getting a broader perspective? I don’t feel that this is a great battle to fit, if we’re going to tackle injustices based on race in the South.



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Kelli

posted September 21, 2007 at 12:21 pm


Jeff,
You aren’t crazy — there should be punishment in this case of a violent, 6 against 1 attack. But it seems that you do need to look at the issue of perspective here. Certainly the 6 teens who attacked the young man should be punished. But are you aware of the EXTENT of the punishment they were/are facing? My 4 year-old faces consequences when he does wrong…but the punishment must fit the crime. It’s a logical principle of justice that applies across the board — from parents training their kids to the legal system. The severity of the punishment against Bell is so extreme, so extraordinary, so beyond the pale compared to the “justice” dolled out for other events in that town it’s just insane.
People sometimes do really idiotic things when they are teenagers…especially if they are really angry teenagers and are in a group of angry friends. What the Jena 6 did is probably something they’ll regret for the rest of their lives. What they did was DEFINITELY wrong. BUT it should be punished appropriately.



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Jeff

posted September 21, 2007 at 12:45 pm


Dems have controlled Louisiana forever. From corruption to racism. Isn’t it time Dems took to task their counterparts in LA. That may be Jesse’s Jackson’s point in a round about way. I’m not placing blame on the National party, but at some point these local and state folks need to toe the line.
Jeff



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Rick Nowlin

posted September 21, 2007 at 1:05 pm


Dems have controlled Louisiana forever. From corruption to racism. Isn’t it time Dems took to task their counterparts in LA. That may be Jesse’s Jackson’s point in a round about way. I’m not placing blame on the National party, but at some point these local and state folks need to toe the line.
Uh — probably a majority of whites there vote Republican today.



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Jeff

posted September 21, 2007 at 1:22 pm


Rick,
What’s your point? Over 150 years of racism and corruption overlooked or encouraged by the local and state governments run by dems. I’m not saying the LA. Dem. party has always or ever has been on the same page with the National Party. But how long do they let them have the brand name and not make them accountable? I have never said this in my life, “Jesse Jackson is right”. People of nation profile in both parties need to step up, if we can get the facts straight. But at the end of the day this mess is in the Dems kitchen.
Jeff



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Payshun

posted September 21, 2007 at 1:28 pm


“At any rate, you seem to acknowledge that this is a cultural issue too. Government is a clumsy tool for changing a culture.”
So is the church. Ask the civil rights era about that one.
Amen John Norland, amen.
p



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Jeff

posted September 21, 2007 at 1:43 pm


Next question. How should the local church in Jena respond if the facts of the story hold? How long do they carry the brand names if they are part of the racist culture and not God’s agent of change. I hope we will hear stories of Jena’s local churches being proactive. Let’s pray this happens.
Jeff



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Rick Nowlin

posted September 21, 2007 at 1:44 pm


Jeff — Blaming the Democrats for corruption won’t fly at this point. When David Duke ran for the governorship of Louisiana, he did so as a Republican and got 55 percent of the white vote in the process (though, in fairness, much of that was against his opponent). Anyway, Southern whites began voting Republican in serious numbers in 1980. Besides, it’s totally irrelevant to the issue at hand.



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please_man

posted September 21, 2007 at 2:19 pm


Re:
“My one word rebuttal: Duke”
“My father is in prison, falsely accused, in Michigan. Michigan is not the south, and my father is not black. The bludgeon of government and injustice go hand in hand, which is why I want as little of it as possible.”
“We should resist the temptation to allow political authority to become a tool of unrestrained class conflict.”
“At any rate, you seem to acknowledge that this is a cultural issue too. Government is a clumsy tool for changing a culture.”
“Which leads us back to my original point: Jena is not America.”
etc.
the injustices we’re talking about are completely unique and symptomatic of a larger issue. let’s not forget, we’re barely a couple generations away from slavery, not to mention the intentional, systematic, government-sponsored injustices that african americans had to bear not 50 years ago.
the idea that we’re all coming from the same place and all that we need from our government is to treat everyone exactly the same is, at best, an unrealistic ideal, and at worst, nothing but a continuation of the racial injustices of the past with no effort to undo past wrongs.
according to justice department stats, just ten years ago, nearly 10% of the african american population was incarcerated, compared to about 2% for white americans. to deny any systematic racial injustice here, unique from other injustices (and requiring a unique solution), is tantamount to claiming that one race of human beings are more culturally or biologically driven to a life of crime than others.



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Rick Nowlin

posted September 21, 2007 at 2:44 pm


How should the local church in Jena respond if the facts of the story hold? How long do they carry the brand names if they are part of the racist culture and not God’s agent of change.
This could and would never have happened without the silent acquiescence of Jena’s white churches. This is the “Bible Belt,” after all, and Southern white churches generally opposed the civil-rights movement, so I’m not optimistic of any sea change.



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Jeff

posted September 21, 2007 at 4:16 pm


Rick,
Glad to see we agree on that last point about the church.
As far a David Duke goes. Republicans kicked him out of the party regardless of the votes in LA. That’s the kind of action I want to see out of the Dems. when local dem. controlled gov is racist.
Jeff



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Kevin Wayne

posted September 21, 2007 at 4:20 pm


Re: “There is no bias toward the poor in scripture.”
I’m sorry but I can’t sit idly by while an other Conservative tramples on the Holy Bible:
Old Testament passages
* “Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan.” Exodus 22:22
* “Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits.” Exodus 23:6
* “During the seventh year, let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what they leave. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.” Exodus 23:11
* “Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 19:10
* “Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.” Leviticus 19:15
* “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 23:22
* “If one of your countrymen becomes poor and sells some of his property, his nearest relative is to come and redeem what his countryman has sold. . . . If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you. . . . If one of your countrymen becomes poor among you and sells himself to you, do not make him work as a slave.” Leviticus 25:25, 35, 39
* “If an alien or a temporary resident among you becomes rich and one of your countrymen becomes poor and sells himself to the alien living among you or to a member of the alien’s clan, he retains the right of redemption.” Leviticus 25:47-48
* “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.” Deuteronomy 10:18
* “At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied.” Deuteronomy 14:28-29
* “However, there should be no poor among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you.” Deuteronomy 15:4
* “If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother.” Deuteronomy 15:7
* “Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near, so that you do not show ill will toward your needy brother and give him nothing. He may then appeal to the LORD against you, and you will be found guilty of sin.” Deuteronomy 15:9
* “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.” Deuteronomy 15:11
* “Do not take advantage of a hired man who is poor and needy, whether he is a brother Israelite or an alien living in one of your towns.” Deuteronomy 24:14
* “Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge.” Deuteronomy 24:17
* “When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow. When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow.” Deuteronomy 24:19-21
* “‘Cursed is the man who withholds justice from the alien, the fatherless or the widow.’ Then all the people shall say, Amen!’” Deuteronomy 27:19
* “He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.” 1 Samuel 2:8
* “as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor.” Esther 9:22
* “When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up and kills the poor and needy; in the night he steals forth like a thief.” Job 24:14
* “because I rescued the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to assist him.” Job 29:12
* “Have I not wept for those in trouble? Has not my soul grieved for the poor?” Job 30:25
* “If I have denied the desires of the poor or let the eyes of the widow grow weary.” Job 31:16
* “The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” Psalm 9:9
* “But the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish.” Psalm 9:18
* ” Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise, says the LORD, I will protect them from those who malign them. ” Psalm 12:5
* “You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the LORD is their refuge.” Psalm 14:6
* “This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.” Psalm 34:6
* “My whole being will exclaim, Who is like you, 0 LORD? You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them.’” Psalm 35:10
* “The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright.” Psalm 37:14
* “Yet I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; O my God, do not delay.” Psalm 40:17
* “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.” Psalm 68:5
* “Your people settled in it, and from your bounty, 0 God, you provided for the poor.” Psalm 68:10
* “The poor will see and be glad– you who seek God, may your hearts live! The LORD hears the needy and does not despise his captive people.” Psalm 69:32-33
* “Yet I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD , do not delay.” Psalm 70:5
* “He will defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; he will crush the oppressor.” Psalm 72:4
* “For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death.” Psalm 72:12-13
* “Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace; may the poor and needy praise your name.” Psalm 74:21
* “Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” Psalm 82:3-4
* “But he lifted the needy out of their affliction and increased their families like flocks.” Psalm 107:41
* “For he stands at the right hand of the needy one, to save his life from those who condemn him.” Psalm 109:31
* “He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever; his horn will be lifted high in honor.” Psalm 112:9
* “He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap;” Psalm 113:7
* “I will bless her with abundant provisions; her poor will I satisfy with food.” Psalm 132:15
* “I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.” Psalm 140:12
* “He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free” Psalm 146:7
* “The LORD watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.” Psalm 146:9
* “I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.” Proverbs 13:23
* “He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy.” Proverbs 14:21
* “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” Proverbs 14:31
* “The LORD tears down the proud man’s house but he keeps the widow’s boundaries intact.” Proverbs 15:25
* “Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.” Proverbs 16:19
* “He who mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker; whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished.” Proverbs 17:5
* “He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done.” Proverbs 19:17
* “If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.” Proverbs 21:13
* “A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.” Proverbs 22:9
* “He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich — both come to poverty.” Proverbs 22:16
* “Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court.” Proverbs 22:22
* “A ruler who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain that leaves no crops.” Proverbs 28:3
* “He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.” Proverbs 28:27
* “The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.” Proverbs 29:7
* “those whose teeth are swords and whose jaws are set with knives to devour the poor from the earth, the needy from among mankind.” Proverbs 30:14
* “Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:9
* “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.” Proverbs 31:20
* “If you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher still.” Ecclesiastes 5:8
* “Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” Isaiah 1:17
* “The LORD enters into judgment against the elders and leaders of his people: It is you who have ruined my vineyard; the plunder from the poor is in your houses. What do you mean by crushing my people and grinding the faces of the poor?’ declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty.” Isaiah 3:14-15
* “to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless.” Isaiah 10:2
* “With righteousness he will judge the needy; with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.” Isaiah 11:4
* “The poorest of the poor will find pasture, and the needy will lie down in safety. But your root I will destroy by famine; it will slay your survivors.” Isaiah 14:30
* “You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm driving against a wall.” Isaiah 25:4
* “Once more the humble will rejoice in the LORD ; the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 29:19
* “The scoundrel’s methods are wicked, he makes up evil schemes to destroy the poor with lies, even when the plea of the needy is just.” Isaiah 32:7
* “The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.” Isaiah 41:17
* “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter– when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” Isaiah 58:6-7
* “If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.” Isaiah 58:10
* “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” Isaiah 61:1
* “On your clothes men find the lifeblood of the innocent poor, though you did not catch them breaking in. Yet in spite of all this you say I am innocent.’” Jeremiah 2:34
* “I thought, These are only the poor; they are foolish, for they do not know the way of the LORD, the requirements of their God.’” Jeremiah 5:4
* “(They) have grown fat and sleek. Their evil deeds have no limit; they do not plead the case of the fatherless to win it, they do not defend the rights of the poor.” Jeremiah 5:28
* “if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm,” Jeremiah 7:6
* “This is what the LORD says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the alien, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.” Jeremiah 22:3
* “‘He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 22:16
* “Sing to the LORD! Give praise to the LORD! He rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked.” Jeremiah 20:13
* “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” Ezekiel 16:49
* “He does not oppress anyone, but returns what he took in pledge for a loan. He does not commit robbery but gives his food to the hungry and provides clothing for the naked.” Ezekiel 18:7
* “The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the alien, denying them justice.” Ezekiel 22:29
* “This is what the LORD says: For three sins of Israel, even for four, I will not turn back [my wrath]. They sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals. They trample on the heads of the poor as upon the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed. Father and son use the same girl and so profane my holy name.’” Amos 2:6-7
* “Hear this word, you cows of Bashan on Mount Samaria, you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy and say to your husbands, Bring us some drinks!’” Amos 4:1
* “Hear this, you who trample the needy and do away with the poor of the land.” Amos 8:4
* “Buying the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, selling even the sweepings with the wheat.” Amos 8:6
* “Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.” Zechariah 7:10
* ” So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me,’ says the LORD Almighty.” Malachi 3:5
New Testament passages
* “Jesus answered, If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’” Matthew 19:21
* “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” Matthew 25:35
* “They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely.” Mark 12:40
* “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed.” Luke 4:18
* “So he replied to the messengers, Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.’” Luke 7:22 [ E-book: The Kingdom strikes back ]
* “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.” Luke 12:33
* “But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.” Luke 14:13
* “When Jesus heard this, he said to him, You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’” Luke 18:22
* “Beware of the teachers of the law . . . They devour your widows’ houses . . . Such men will be punished severely.” Luke 20:46-47
* “‘Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.’ He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.” John 12:5
* “In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas), who was always doing good and helping the poor.” Acts 9:36
* “Cornelius stared at him in fear. What is it, Lord?’ he asked. The angel answered, Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.’” Acts 10:4
* “After an absence of several years, I came to Jerusalem to bring my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings.” Acts 24:17
* “On the contrary: If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’” Romans 12:20
* “For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.” Romans 15:26
* “All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.” Galatians 2:10
* “Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need.” 1 Timothy 5:3
* “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27
* “Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and becomes judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him? But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?” James 2:2-6
* “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:17-18
___________
And fyi, when someone wants to talk about Lev. 19:15, I’m ready with an answer.



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Jeff

posted September 21, 2007 at 4:21 pm


Rick,
The response by Democratic leaders is relevant. The first many people heard of this issue was when Jesse Jackson took Barak Obama to task for not stepping up. The whole national conversation started with this point.
Their response goes to the two major issues in LA politics, racism and corruption.
Jeff



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Rick Nowlin

posted September 21, 2007 at 4:22 pm


As far a David Duke goes. Republicans kicked him out of the party regardless of the votes in LA.
They kicked him out of the party because he was a total embarrassment to it. In fact, when he was running for president, I think in 1992, the Florida GOP tried to have him taken off the primary ballot; that turned into a segment on ABC News Nightline.



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Payshun

posted September 21, 2007 at 4:24 pm


The local jena church should start homegroups and make it mandatory for the congregants to go. Well actually i think it would be a good idea to host a party or two first. See if there is any good will between the congregants and if that doesn’t work i say the pastors need to get together and talk about this first.
p



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Jeff

posted September 21, 2007 at 4:36 pm


Rick,
So we agree again. Instead of defending David Duke (or electing him to the US Senate like Robert Byrd) they booted him.
Payshun,
As a pastor, my first step would be to meet privately with other pastor’s to pray and seek
God’s counsel. At some point we would need to model Christian unity. The next step is to schedule some joint worship and pray services where we pray for each other. This what we are currently doing in the town I pastor in with predominately white and hispanic churches. It works great, but we did this before any crisis came to head.
Jeff



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Nuttshell

posted September 21, 2007 at 4:45 pm


I have to respectfully disagree with the anonymous poster who wrote at 12:10 AM on September 21, 2007 regarding this as a media event by people who “…thrive on tension between the “races” – not by people who want to bring harmony amongst all peoples.” I’ve been listening to a lot black radio lately and this is not about creating an issue between the races. For the most part, civil rights activists (apart from Al & Jesse) have been silent for nearly 40 years. They have protested singular events but this particular case pricks at the hearts of young and old because of the inequities in the justice system particularly for young black men. It’s the breaking point for many for a number of different reasons. Look at Genarlow Wilson’s case http://www.wilsonappeal.com/ or 15 yr old Shaquanda Cotton in Paris, TX, whose yearlong stay in a juvenile prison for pushing a hall monitor. She was originally sentenced to 7 years. There is a lack of proportionality to these cases. We’re sick and tired of our youngsters receiving harsh punishments and extended jail sentences that keep them incarcerated for decades for what are adolescent mistakes. Again, I am not saying that the Jena 6 should not be punished, but make their punishment commensurate with what white youths would get.



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Rick Nowlin

posted September 21, 2007 at 4:56 pm


So we agree again. Instead of defending David Duke (or electing him to the US Senate like Robert Byrd) they booted him,/I>
Excuse me, but Bob Byrd
left the Klan in the 1960s and has openly repudiated it ever since. Duke, on the other hand, was always openly racist and only tempered his racism to run for office. You’re thus comparing apples to oranges.



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Nuttshell

posted September 21, 2007 at 5:04 pm


Further evidence of the injustice is the fact that the even though the original conviction was overturned, Mychal Bell’s bail request was denied today. The DA has 2 weeks bring new charges and yet the judge has seen fit to keep Bell in jail. Incredible.



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Jeff

posted September 21, 2007 at 6:23 pm


Rick,
“Excuse me, but Bob Byrd left the Klan in the 1960s and has openly repudiated it ever since. Duke, on the other hand, was always openly racist and only tempered his racism to run for office. You’re thus comparing apples to oranges.”
Your right.
So I’ll repeat the quote without the Byrd dig.
So we agree again. Instead of defending David Duke they booted him.
Jeff



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kevin s.

posted September 21, 2007 at 7:30 pm


Couple of notes:
1) David Duke switched party affiliations in 1988.
2) In spite of being overwhelmingly Republican, La Salle parish voted for Kathleen Blanco over Bobby Jindal by a substantial margin. They are racists first and Republican second.
3) While visiting David Duke’s Wiki page to verify item #1, I discovered that he apparently wrote a sexual self-help book under a female pseudonym in the 1970s. Yikes!



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Wolverine

posted September 21, 2007 at 7:40 pm


Mr. Wayne
That God calls upon us to extend generosity toward the poor is conceded. You have no proof that God calls for anything beyond that, especially with regard to state action.
I am pleased to see that you are aware of Leviticus 19:15. I can hardly wait to see your dissertation in which you try to explain it away.
Wolverine



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Payshun

posted September 21, 2007 at 8:04 pm


Wolverine,
I could show verses in the bible where kings are held to look out for the poor and when they did not God would spank them harder.
As a matter of fact let’s start w/ Daniel 4:27.
27Therefore, O king, may my advice be pleasing to you: break away now from your sins by doing righteousness and from your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, in case there may be a prolonging of your prosperity.’
W/n the cultural framework of the this passage the King is the state. But let me not get to far ahead here let’s go to Amos.
6Thus says the LORD,
“For three transgressions of Israel and for four
I will not revoke its punishment,
Because they sell the righteous for money
And the needy for a pair of sandals.
7″These who pant after the very dust of the earth on the head of the helpless
Also turn aside the way of the humble;
And a man and his father resort to the same girl
In order to profane My holy name.
8″On garments taken as pledges they stretch out beside every altar,
And in the house of their God they drink the wine of those who have been fined.
The judgement was so severe that all of Judah had to pay for the upper class taking advangage of folks. The basic idea is that the society, the government needs to make sure this doesn’t happen. it’s an all inclusive thing.
Then we have the Levitical codes in the early parts of Exodus and Numbers. Those were the entire society giving welfare to priests to look out for God. I know what you all will say there so I won’t bother w/ explaining more but then there are the patches of untilled land w/ fruit, grain and other things left for the poor. That was a national policy where the entire state was held to account to look out for the poor. I could list more if you want.
p



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Payshun

posted September 21, 2007 at 8:09 pm


Jeff,
I agree. I got my steps mixed up. Pastors should get the ball rolling.
p



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Payshun

posted September 21, 2007 at 8:24 pm


Wolvie,
More Amos 3.
1Hear this word which the LORD has spoken against you, sons of Israel, against the entire family which He brought up from the land of Egypt:
2″You only have I chosen among all the families of the earth;
Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.”
3Do two men walk together unless they have made an appointment?
4Does a lion roar in the forest when he has no prey?
Does a young lion growl from his den unless he has captured something?
5Does a bird fall into a trap on the ground when there is no bait in it?
Does a trap spring up from the earth when it captures nothing at all?
6If a trumpet is blown in a city will not the people tremble?
If a calamity occurs in a city has not the LORD done it.
Me:
In case those opening verses are not clear God is holding all of Israel, it’s tribes, it’s government, it’s citizenry to account for all the injustice and lack of caring for the poor. The inverse of that is that if they had looked out for the poor and not pursued injustice they would not be facing God’s wrath.
So there ya go.
But here’s some more from verse 10-11.
10″But they do not know how to do what is right,” declares the LORD, “these who hoard up violence and devastation in their citadels.”
11Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD,
“An enemy, even one surrounding the land,
Will pull down your strength from you
And your citadels will be looted.”
Me:
God requires us to look for the poor rather that be thru the government or thru individual citizens. He just wants it done. He doesn’t seem to mind how as long as they are.
p



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aaron

posted September 21, 2007 at 8:40 pm


Wolverine,
I feel what your saying. Although we might disagree on this point (because I believe that Gov can and should play a role in preventing poverty, oppression, injustice, etc.)I see where you are coming from. You are saying that it is the churches call to care for the fatherless, widow, the poor, etc. and not the government. It does get messy when the whole church and state thing comes to the forefront so I can understand your hesitancy to see that as the answer. I will say that a lot of God’s dealings with Israel in the OT was from a “laws of the land” perspective i.e. government and policies.
Anyway thanks Wolverine for taking it easy on me man and continue to walk in the grace of God and live with the hope that God will one day return and “receive you unto Himself.”
Grace and Peace!
Aaron



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aaron

posted September 21, 2007 at 8:45 pm


Kevin Wayne & Payshun,
WOW! That was so refreshing to read both of your comments. The Word of God is so powerful! It puts everything in perspective. I have read both of your comments several times and have broke out in praise to the God of the Universe! Sorry if I sound to “churchy” but I just get so excited over God’s Word!What can I say I am a pastor.
“To Him be the glory both now and forevermore!”
Grace and Peace!
Aaron



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Wolverine

posted September 21, 2007 at 9:05 pm


Payshun,
Context, context, context.
The passage in Daniel applies to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and comes after a dream in which it is predicted that the King would be temporarily removed from the throne (which he was due to mental illness) until the King recognized that the Most High was sovereign.
In the NIV verse the word “poor” is replaced by “oppressed”, which changes the meaning and suggests there is some unjust policy that the King should correct which may or may not pertain to an economic class.
Remember, this is Babylon, not Israel. Given the extremely hierarchical nature of middle-eastern societies it comes as no surprise to me that “poor” and “oppressed” should be interchangeable in Babylon. If memory serves (its been a while since I looked at this) we are dealing with a caste system in which one’s legal rights were largely determined by his or her parents’ status, something that Israel’s law rejected. I suspect that what Daniel was calling for was the relaxation or abolition of that caste system, a political action to be sure but one that is not difficult to square with a market-friendly, limited government worldview.
Now for Amos — again, context! Prior to pronouncing judgement on Israel Amos condemns:
Damascus for ruining the crops of Gilead
Gaza for selling slaves to Edom
Tyre for selling slaves to Edom
Edom for “pursu[ing] his brother with a sword, stifling all compassion” (I would guess this refers to some atrocity against a neighboring nation)
Ammon for atrocities against Gilead, in particular assaulting pregnant women.
Moab for desecrating the grave of Edom’s king
Judah for rejecting the law of the Lord and for idolatry.
And then he condemns Israel, and while he does go on at length about mistreatment of the poor, there’s also this little nugget: “Father and son use the same girl and so profane my holy name.”
The point being, there’s lots of ways for nations and governments to cheese off God, a lack of solicitude for the poor is only one of them.
One thing needs to be explained: I’ve said over and over again that God does have a great deal of concern for the poor, not least of all because in a corrupted society they are going to bear the brunt of the harm. But God ultimately calls for justice, not bias. Two wrongs do not make a right, even if the second wrong happens to work in the favor of a poor person.
I understand the appeal of wealth redistribution, but to say the least there has to be a point where it ends, otherwise all you achieve is to create a new priveleged class and a new oppressed class.
Justice — in the end there’s just no substitute for it.
Wolverine



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Wolverine

posted September 21, 2007 at 9:10 pm


Payshun:
One last comment: I’d be real interested in hearing what you expect would be my response to the Levitical codes.
Wolverine



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Payshun

posted September 21, 2007 at 9:35 pm


I am really glad you brought up context but this is what you said:
“You have no proof that God calls for anything beyond that, especially with regard to state action.”
My point is that God still requires state action to look after the poor. Better yet he requires all human entitites, state, local, regional, religious… systems to always do something about feeding and taking care of people. You said he did not. That’s what bothered me.
I mean how can you pretend he doesn’t call Israel, Egypt… to look out for the poor, not committ genocides, not sell people off to slavery? Granted those things are not the same thing but he does call all of humanity to look out for their fellow man and if they don’t something bad can and will happen to them.
Now no said total redistribution is the sole solution to the problem of poverty, if there is a one. Why did you go there? You don’t see any of us here arguing for that.
“But God ultimately calls for justice, not bias.”
what do you mean? What’s the difference, from your perspective?
As for the levitical codes, my guess (and it’s only that) is that you could argue that Israel’s call to look out for the poor and strangers in their midst was just for Israel. It has nothing to do w/ a democratically elected governement. I would argue against that but I could see your argument going there.
p



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Payshun

posted September 21, 2007 at 9:50 pm


Tying this back to the post. God requires us (humanity) to look out for our fellow man. Why then is it so hard for conservatives to own up to the brutal history of our country? Why do so many cling to the myth/lie that this nation was a Christian nation? Why do so many of them pretend that this society is implicitly just?
As we can see from Jena our society and the wounds we still carry (and rarely deal w/)are not fully healed. They seem are really infected and yet the majority of conservatives don’t really want to do anything to address it. Don’t think I am not hard on armchair liberals that are passive and lazy. believe me sometimes I think they are worse because they pretend to care. The reality is that many so called liberals don’t.
p



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kelli

posted September 21, 2007 at 11:18 pm


Kevin W –
Thank you so much for that powerful listing of Scripture verses. That was just such a phenomenal thing to see, all listed together like that. I remember that the very first time I got a sense of God’s compassion for the poor was when I read the Bible through cover to cover (instead of studying bits and pieces). The message is overwhelming and is woven throughout the whole of Scripture. I hadn’t really “seen” it before because my church hadn’t emphasized it very much.
Thanks for helping me see it again in a profound way.



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marilyn seven

posted September 22, 2007 at 12:09 am


While Leviticus make clear God intends “bias” — that is, food, for example, to be made available by those who have for those who don’t — the biblical command to treat the poor with generosity, not just fairness, is not the point for the Jena 6. They deserve justice. The racial bias here began with the actions of whites who hung nooses on a tree where blacks, too, wished to sit. It continued with shotgun threats and an attack that went beyond the symbolic threat, that is, nooses — a rather horrible symbolic threat, given our history. Blacks later retaliated. Justice means weighing all this, not merely the last action, which was a fight — not attempted murder. Though his conviction was thrown out because he was tried as an adult, 17-year-old Mychal Bell remains in prison today, where he has been for, I believe, 10 months. Where is justice?
I happen to be white, from Texas, part of an NYC congregation of whites & blacks. To understand each other takes work. From my perspective, in lack of understanding, Jena is everywhere. Love one another. What else is new?



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Rick Nowlin

posted September 22, 2007 at 12:40 am


Instead of defending David Duke they booted him.
Ha, ha, ha. Ronald Reagan was no fan of MLK Jr. either.



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Rick Nowlin

posted September 22, 2007 at 12:51 am


The point being, there’s lots of ways for nations and governments to cheese off God, a lack of solicitude for the poor is only one of them.
True, perhaps — but most evangelicals don’t read the passages on economic justice. The ones on “morality” are almost givens.



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Kevin Wayne

posted September 22, 2007 at 2:07 am


Wolverine,
That God calls upon us to extend generosity toward the poor is conceded. You have no proof that God calls for anything beyond that, especially with regard to state action.
Then you are blind and you didn’t read any of the passages I cited. Over and over again the scriptures call for more than just “generosity” in and of itself, but it repeatedly talks about “defending their cause.” One example might be where -as one who has worked for a research organization that studies Fair Housing I can verify that this does happen- if a low income housing project is planned and people are aware, there can be opposition because “nobody wants it near them.” I was especially astonished at how some areas such as Boston which seem to be known for their liberal politics actually had a lot of elitist and apparently racist people who would fight good housing services like this.
Another example happened right here in Portland, OR- where at least 2 benevolence meals were targeted for shut-down by complaining neighbors. In the most recent case, this involved a church that I sometimes help out in ministry with And they received lots of support at a city council meeting by a broad spectrum of Christians. Point is, they were doing what they were supposed to do- “defending the cause of the needy” where that “cause” happens to come into play.
If I were to believe you on how the scriptures compel us to deal with the poor, then they would have been doing their job by handing out food & clothing and that would be the end of it. But no, we were called to decide for the poor and against those who would shut them out.
So:
“Defending the cause of the poor” -
-means in this case standing up for them when they are a target of discrimination
and -
“With regard to state action” -
-absolutely, since “the state” is the playing field where the rights of poor are being challenged.
I see where you have acknowledged the verses of “defending their cause” that I referred to, so hopefully you will acknowledge that you were guilty of overstatement here.
I am pleased to see that you are aware of Leviticus 19:15. I can hardly wait to see your dissertation in which you try to explain it away.
My, my my- quite sure of ourselves aren’t we? Doesn’t the fact that God destroyed a whole city largely due to it’s attitude towards the poor cause you to walk a little more lightly? Apparrently not.
But I’ll ignore your smarmy-ness for the moment long enough to explain it to you: Lev 19:15 is proof of God’s bias towards the poor. The poor don’t normally come to the courtroom system (the context of the passage) with an advantage. They can’t afford to hire the equivalent of Johnny Cochran to beat the system. They are often the victim of prejudice and unfair stereotyping- that they supposedly “don’t work”-which is actually not true even of Homeless People. So God requires that people not show bias towards the Rich or Poor in the court system, because of his special concern for the poor- that they be given a level playing field- and not in spite of it.
On the other hand, if I were to believe you on this matter Wolverine, then I’d expect to find copious passages dealing with “the Rich”as some sort of issue in and of itself where God expects justice and mercy on thier behalf. Where are the verses that say “stand up for the Rich wealthy televangelist who was ripped off by the slovenly watch repairman who didn’t fix his Rolex correctly.” Naturally I’m using a ridiculous example- to prove a point: the wealthy tel evangelist’s Rolex is simply not as important to God. It’s actually you who have no proof anywhere that this isn’t God sees things. In fact, the Rich are told to “weep and howl” due to impending judgment. Why? Why don’t the poor get the same kind of negative attention? Answer: because God is clearly on their side.
And in addressing the actual purpose of the Lev 19 passage – obviously God wouldn’t want a poor person who steals from the rich to go unpunished. But all the rich get for their benefit here is the generic “thou shalt not steal”. They do not get any demands for justice on their part fue to their economic status.
God is revealed as on the side of the Poor in the Bible, and Lev 19:15 is proof of it.



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Kevin Wayne

posted September 22, 2007 at 2:33 am


Payshun I just noticed this comment you made to Wolv:
As for the levitical codes, my guess (and it’s only that) is that you could argue that Israel’s call to look out for the poor and strangers in their midst was just for Israel. It has nothing to do w/ a democratically elected governement. I would argue against that but I could see your argument going there.
Very good point, and I might add: Jesus himself re-instituted the Levitical concern for the poor when he established his Church. But he actually set aside whole portions of the law in regards to retaliation.
So the question is: If the Church is the focus of God’s mission to the poor in the NT times, and God’s demonstration of his perfection- or intent for it- then wouldn’t whatever the state does to mirror that- however poorly- be in line with God’s will for a just society?



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Kevin Wayne

posted September 22, 2007 at 2:40 am


In reading through Wolverines responses on some of the verses being discussed:
I suspect that what Daniel was calling for was the relaxation or abolition of that caste system, a political action to be sure but one that is not difficult to square with a market-friendly, limited government worldview.
Here, Wolverine completely contradicted himself in regards to what he said to me. Anyone else see the same thing? :)



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Kevin Wayne

posted September 22, 2007 at 3:23 am


Here again in examining Wolverine’s argument:
Now for Amos — again, context! Prior to pronouncing judgement on Israel Amos condemns:
Damascus for ruining the crops of Gilead
Gaza for selling slaves to Edom
Tyre for selling slaves to Edom
Edom for “pursu[ing] his brother with a sword, stifling all compassion” (I would guess this refers to some atrocity against a neighboring nation)
Ammon for atrocities against Gilead, in particular assaulting pregnant women.
Moab for desecrating the grave of Edom’s king
Judah for rejecting the law of the Lord and for idolatry.
And then he condemns Israel, and while he does go on at length about mistreatment of the poor, there’s also this little nugget: “Father and son use the same girl and so profane my holy name.”
The point being, there’s lots of ways for nations and governments to cheese off God, a lack of solicitude for the poor is only one of them.

I have to call your appeals to context to be phoney. No one has denied anywhere that “lack of solicitude for the poor” is only one way to incur the wrath of God. You are answering an argument no one is making! But as Rick alluded to, much of Evangelical activism over the past few decades seems to focus largely on personal morality. Take Ezekiel 16:49f for example. How often is it brought up that God’s main reason for destroying Sodom was their lack of generosity? No, people tend to focus on the “homosexual” aspects of it, although God never mentions it specifically -it’s grouped together under “detestable things.” I’m not denying that homosexuality was an issue- but it’s surely noteworthy that most everyone’s tendency is to highlight that as an issue, whereas God never did. In fact the entire passage of Ezekiel 16 uses “detestable” several times and in several ways.
You make this allusion elswhere:
I suspect that what Daniel was calling for was the relaxation or abolition of that caste system, a political action to be sure but one that is not difficult to square with a market-friendly, limited government worldview.
It’s funny how when pressed on the issue, you admit that there’s a call to give justice to the oppressed vis a’ vis political action through the state, even though you forcefully denied it elsewhere. I suspect that we’ve hit on your real problem: that someone might decide that the best way to achieve what God desires as justice for all is not the political system you favor.
And the only thing I have to day is this: the very fact of the Year of Jubliee is proof that the Bible thinks outside the Lassiez-Faire Capitalist box at more than one opportunity. As foir my convictions, I’ll stick with places like The Netherlands , which had a lower abortion rate before a “Conservative Christian” got elected Head of State and cut back a lot of social services. Or Ireland, where abortion is virtually outlawed, but the law requires the young mothers who have their babies to be taken care of fully.



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Wolverine

posted September 22, 2007 at 11:50 am


Payshun,
The distinction between justice and bias is a tricky one in practice but the basic principle is easy enough to describe: fair rules applied by a fair judge.
Fair rules means creating a system of laws that taken as a whole advance honest dealing and community interests rather than the interests of any group or class within society.
A fair judge means one that is disinterested and is committed to judging the a dispute based on the relevant evidence and the relevant law.
Now perfect justice in this world is rare, all of us are fallible and none of us is beyond trying to advance our own interests. But this is the ideal we should strive for and the closer we get to it the better off we all are.
You will observe that the Bible calls for us to defend the cause of the poor — this is an explicit call for advocacy but not a call for favoritism or bias. I think its fair to say that the poor are particularly vulnerable to corruption and he wants his people to take particular care to see that the poor get a fair hearing. That’s entirely in keeping with God’s character and consistent with basic fairness.
What I don’t see at all in the scripture is the idea that the poor should have decisions go their way in spite of the law or the evidence. That would be bias and I see no call for that.
Wolverine



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Wolverine

posted September 22, 2007 at 12:00 pm


Payshun,
As for the applicability of the Levitical code in a modern democracy, you’re close enough to the truth that the following should be taken more as an elaboration than a rebuttal:
Strictly speaking, the Levitical code does not apply to Gentiles — I think that much was settled in Acts. But the basic moral princiles behind it are still valid enough that it’s worth discussing and understanding.
Wolverine



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Payshun

posted September 22, 2007 at 12:05 pm


Kevin W,
I don’t really care about him contradicting himself. We all do that from time to time. the thing that bothers me is that Wolverine and other conservatives push this godless political agenda always assuming that God doesn’t want to use the state to help people when in reality the state has been a central implement from the beginning.
That bothers me a great deal. They completely disregard the prophets and pretend that part of the bible doesn’t exist. They give primacy to the moral aspects of the scripture (which are mainly cultural in nature) and ignore the universal aspects of it just so that they can support a conservative world view.
The funny thing about their ideas of the state is that they do so against God’s own plan for the state. I have never understood this. Most conservatives have an aversion to government and yet they want to serve in it. It’s like they are looking for ways to fail or something.
They say we feel that way about Iraq (like the dumbass comments McCain said) or any number of stupid things. But the thing is they generally don’t believe the state or the government can be used for justice or even that it should. This was taken to extremes for much of our countries history in the persecution of my people, American Indians and countless other groups and yet when justice can be seen and should be offered in a collective way they balk. I don’t get it. It doesn’t make sense.
p



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Wolverine

posted September 22, 2007 at 12:19 pm


Kevin Wayne wrote:
Where are the verses that say “stand up for the Rich wealthy televangelist who was ripped off by the slovenly watch repairman who didn’t fix his Rolex correctly.”
Naturally there aren’t many verses like that because that sort of thing doesn’t happen very often. (Do you really think I’m that dense?) But you have to pay attention to what the Bible actually does say. As I explained to Payshun a couple posts above, the Bible does call for advocacy but it does not call for us to throw out the law or ignore the facts in favor of the poor.
As far as Daniel goes, there is no conflict except for the one that you create by trying to apply a story set in a society with a rigid caste system to a society without a rigid caste system. We can over whether or not “Jena is America” but I feel quite confident when I say that Ancient Babylon is not America
Justice and bias are not the same. Justice tempered with mercy is good. Bias is bad. Bias is associated with injustice. The church shold call for justice and mercy. It has no business calling for bias.
Wolverine



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Payshun

posted September 22, 2007 at 12:32 pm


Wolvie,
I am so glad you said the levitical codes don’t apply to gentiles. Then we can stop this whole business about denying the LGBTQ community equal rights under the law. But that’s an aside.
Back to Jena and this post. You are pretty vague about your definition of justice. Can you give some scripture that shows how you define or use your definition of justice?
p



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Payshun

posted September 22, 2007 at 12:35 pm


What’s bias?
Not only that but it doesn’t matter what system of government there is God still demands justice from the nations. The principle behind Daniel is that the king or ruler is held to account for how they create their policy. Why do you persist in ignoring that?
p



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Wolverine

posted September 22, 2007 at 1:19 pm


Payshun wrote:
I am so glad you said the levitical codes don’t apply to gentiles. Then we can stop this whole business about denying the LGBTQ community equal rights under the law. But that’s an aside.
Actually, that’s a great illustration: the specific law (death penalty for homosexuals) is not valid but the underlying moral principle (homosexuality is sinful) remains valid. Which is why I am opposed to gay marriage, though I would not want to see homosexuality itself criminalized.
Back to Jena and this post. You are pretty vague about your definition of justice. Can you give some scripture that shows how you define or use your definition of justice?
This isn’t exactly what I’m after, but I think it illustrates the problem and it ends well:
In a certain city there was a judge, who neither feared God, nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’ (Luke 18:2-5)
Lemme explain something: I think the Bible has a lot to say that is important, but it doesn’t give a whole lot of specific policy guidance. Governing well calls for both spiritual and secular wisdom.
I tend to view society as being made up of individuals who were meant to live in community but retain individual initiative and responsibility. I’m inclined to believe that wealth is not a clear sign of guilt any more than poverty is a clear sign of virtue.
These are secular opinions, and I don’t claim a Biblical mandate for a lot of this, but I don’t see that any of this is contradicted by scripture either.
Not only that but it doesn’t matter what system of government there is God still demands justice from the nations. The principle behind Daniel is that the king or ruler is held to account for how they create their policy. Why do you persist in ignoring that?
What makes you think I’m ignoring that? My reading of things leads to some different conclusions, but it definitely matters: Government should take precautions to ensure that the poor get a fair hearing. And it should not create laws whose purpose is to benefit the wealthy at the expense of the poor. That may not be what you want to hear but it’s not nothing.
Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted September 22, 2007 at 2:30 pm


Government should take precautions to ensure that the poor get a fair hearing. And it should not create laws whose purpose is to benefit the wealthy at the expense of the poor. That may not be what you want to hear but it’s not nothing.
In fact, however, “[benefit]ing the wealthy at the expense of the poor” is the very definition of modern conservatism. I hate to sound as though I’m beating a dead horse, but Ronald Reagan was elected to do just that, and people finally figured it out — that’s part of the reason Clinton won two elections and the Democrats won last fall.
And that’s also what we’re talking about here, in Jena — people don’t want to give up their privileged class status, in this instance based on race, for the sake of those that don’t have. They pretend there was “no problem” but don’t talk to anyone but themselves complaining about “outsiders stirring up trouble.”



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Payshun

posted September 22, 2007 at 4:17 pm


“Actually, that’s a great illustration: the specific law (death penalty for homosexuals) is not valid but the underlying moral principle (homosexuality is sinful) remains valid. Which is why I am opposed to gay marriage, though I would not want to see homosexuality itself criminalized.”
Me:
Well then if we are going by principles here then that underlying principle does not apply to people that don’t follow the law. So again that doesn’t exactly work.
“Government should take precautions to ensure that the poor get a fair hearing. ”
Well actually the underlying principles in the old testament go a lot further than that. You know it. It’s just that you value this system of governance more than those. You seek to protect the rich when in reality God will take and use human institutions to take and give back what was stolen from the poor in the first place.
The principle of reparations is a perfect example of that.
p



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Paul C. Quillman

posted September 22, 2007 at 6:17 pm


Paul:
Yes, because those of us who life in the south are just a bunch of hayseed hicks, and we are just too stupid to not be recist.
Rick:
Uncalled for — as I said, I briefly went to school in the South and my mother is from there, so I’m somewhat familiar with its history. Because of that, I say: Embrace your history and learn from it.
Paul:
I don’t think my comments were uncalled for. The south does have a history of slavery, but the south does not own the mortgage on racism, as far as I have seen, it is pretty much the norm, everywhere, with every ethnicity.
My point was that I am incredibly tired of the south being beat on over race. Many of us just don’t care. To many of us, we are so tired of Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton, et al, screaming racism. Many of us do not care one little bit what skin pigmentation someone has. And for those of us that do not care, we are very tired of claims of “hate crimes” and race bating, ad nausium. (Not saying you do this Rick, but there is plenty of it bantered about in news reports.) If someone commits a crime, arrest them, make the case in court, ;et the judge and or jury decide guilt or not, hand down the punishment, and move on. Race should not in any way be a factor here. Was a crime committed here? Prove it in court, and let the punishment fit the criminal act.
Paul



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Kevin Wayne

posted September 22, 2007 at 6:58 pm


Wolverine writes:
Naturally there aren’t many verses like that because that sort of thing doesn’t happen very often. (Do you really think I’m that dense?)
Hopefully not. ;-) But a as I explained to you, I was using reductio ad absurdum on purpose to illustrate a point: There MUST be a bias by Yahweh on behalf of the poor because of the way the language of Scripture constantly singles them out as a special concern for justice, based on their economic class.
And I have to disagree with you here: The Rich ARE often victims of injustice! They are ripped off by schemers and lazy people (like the Watch repairman in my example.) Their children are kidnapped & held for hostage. They are often assassinated- several US Presidents obviously have been, but someone could be killed just because the killer wants their money. Why doesn’t God go after the awful perpetrators of injustices against the Rich and Powerful, using language that singles them out?
Also, you never touched on the issue of “weep and howl” in James. The Poor commit evil injustices also. But it’s surely noteworthy that they are never singled out as a special target of the judgment of God! (Why?) This is what you are avoiding addressing.
But you have to pay attention to what the Bible actually does say. As I explained to Payshun a couple posts above, the Bible does call for advocacy but it does not call for us to throw out the law or ignore the facts in favor of the poor.
But again, no one is making that argument, only you are!
On top of that, you made the forceful assertion against “State action” and said God never calls for anything above and beyond generosity. And you’ve proceeded to backpedal on that assertion pretty much at every turn since then!
What comes out is that you are bothered by the Socialism of where people might take their understanding of the Biblical commands to advocate for the poor. That’s not what you are focusing on in your replies, but it appears to be a latent concern below the surface of your comments.
Anyone else see the same things I’m seeing?



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Gordon

posted September 22, 2007 at 6:58 pm


“I am so glad you said the levitical codes don’t apply to gentiles. Then we can stop this whole business about denying the LGBTQ community equal rights under the law”
Actually, Acts 15 specifies three (or four depending on how you read it) conditions for Gentile Christians:
“abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood”.
It would be hard to argue that anyone in the first-century church would not have seen homosexuality as immoral.



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Rick Nowlin

posted September 22, 2007 at 10:26 pm


I don’t think my comments were uncalled for. The south does have a history of slavery, but the south does not own the mortgage on racism, as far as I have seen, it is pretty much the norm, everywhere, with every ethnicity.
The South, with the exception of some border states and those with large Native populations, was the only region in the country where racism was codified into law, often with theological justification, and when those laws were changed a whole lot of people were upset — even to the extent that many whites changed their party registration. You say you’re tired? Well, deal with it, because the South does have that legacy whether people who live there want to accept it or not. Ask one of your black Southern friends sometime.
Many of us do not care one little bit what skin pigmentation someone has. And for those of us that do not care, we are very tired of claims of “hate crimes” and race bating, ad nauseum.
Sorry, but you simply don’t have that luxury of not caring — we haven’t progressed as much as you think or hope, and at least even the conservatives who frequent this blog recognize this as a miscarriage of justice. I don’t know if you claim Christ as Lord and Savior, but this also represents a stain on the Church, for as I said earlier this would or could not have happened except with its tacit approval.



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Paul C. Quillman

posted September 23, 2007 at 12:43 am


Rick,
I am a Christian. I realize the history the south has. I also realize that the church was complicit. I see no reason to interject race into a crime. Was a crime committed? If so, why does race matter? The Constution does not support making race an issue. Scripture certainly does not. Why does it/ should race matter. It is immaterial to weather a crime was committed or not.
Paul C. Quillman



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Rick Nowlin

posted September 23, 2007 at 1:49 pm


Why does it/should race matter.
You, of all people, should know that it does and why. Do you really believe that the simple tearing down of Jim Crow laws obliterated the racial animus that people still feel? And especially when they get into authority? No African-American in that part of the country is that naive — ask one sometime. Race is written all over this situation, and if you can’t or won’t see it … well, I can’t help you.
Nearly 30 years ago, when I was attending Georgia Tech, I walked into an Atlanta church and the folks there knocked themselves out to make me feel welcome — because, being mostly Southerners, they understood the history and felt they needed to make up for it. I told them, “Thanks — but I don’t need it” because God had dealt with me on that issue years before.



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Paul C. Quillman

posted September 23, 2007 at 3:38 pm


Rick
Maybe a bit of personal history will explain why I do not are about skin pigmentation.
I am white. The ONLY places I was not in the minority in terms of ethnicity, were home, and church. Growing up, when I was at school, or working a job, there were more African Americans than whites. It was the reality I grew up in. I didn’t care about race then, and it never changed. If someone broke the law, let that person serve the sentence given by judge and jury.
So again, when a crime is committed, why should race matter? Or should we start legislating certian thoughts to be illegal?
Paul



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Payshun

posted September 23, 2007 at 4:32 pm


Rick,
One correction. Racism was the law of the land under Plessy v Ferguson and a whole bunch of other laws. It was not limited to the south. The north doesn’t get a pass here.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plessey_v_Ferguson
p



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Payshun

posted September 23, 2007 at 4:36 pm


“It would be hard to argue that anyone in the first-century church would not have seen homosexuality as immoral.”
Gordon you are right and yet some did or else Paul would have never said what he said in Romans about not judging. Anywho all that means is that they would not have practiced or that some practiced in secret.
Kevin Wayne,
I see what you are seeing completely. You are not alone here.
p



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Kevin Wayne

posted September 23, 2007 at 7:54 pm


Kevin Wayne,

I see what you are seeing completely. You are not alone here.
p

Thanks Payshun. It’s as I suspected: Another hot aired right-wing know it all trying to hog the spotlight and essentially saying nothing.
So let’s review what Wolverine has agreed to thus far:
-God has a special concern for the poor…
-We are to defend their cause…
-We cannot create laws that benefit the wealthy at the expense of the poor…
-We often do that through Political, Governmental & (gasp!) State action!
We’re glad you conservatives agree! We wondered when you finally would be coming around. ;-)



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Wolverine

posted September 23, 2007 at 8:19 pm


Kevin,
I’m glad we can find some common ground. Here’s the sticking point: I believe it is foolish to advocate a “bias” in favor of the poor. That was my main concern, at least on this particular thread. Bias implies unfairness. Our goal is to restore fairness, not replace unfairness in favor of one group with unfairness in favor of another.
Wolverine



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Payshun

posted September 23, 2007 at 8:34 pm


But Wolverine what you fail to recognize is that the Gospel by it’s very nature is completely unfair. It was never about being fair it was about showing that mercy triumphs over judgement. It’s unfair to God because He is perfect love and has to deal w/ an imperfect humanity.
The gospel is unfair to us because those of us that call ourselves disciples lay down our lives when it would be just as easy and sometimes more fun to be doing what our friends are doing.
I could keep going here. But I think it’s best to say what bias Jesus revealed when he said: It’s easier for a camel to go thru the eye of a needle then it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven. Jesus set the bias there. That doesn’t mean that Jesus loves the poor over the rich.
It just means he prioritizes the poor’s justice and closeness to the Kingdom over the material excesses of the rich. That’s the same thing w/ the rich man and Lazurus parable. Those two sayings from our Lord illustrate a priority. Is it fair to the rest of us? No. Was it fair to the rich man? No, all he did was ignore Lazurus the entire time layed at his doorstep. Why should he have shown him mercy? Why was he rewarded w/ eternal torment for his lack of compassion and mercy?
It’s a harsh gospel because it is a harsh word. We are all called to love one another, to advocate, to heal, to restore, to uplift, to flip the money tables, to tear down the towers and halls that create injustice. That’s part of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.
p



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Anonymous

posted September 23, 2007 at 8:44 pm


If someone broke the law, let that person serve the sentence given by judge and jury.
That’s not the way it went before, and that’s not what’s happening now. Other posters have brought out the specifics.
One correction. Racism was the law of the land under Plessy v Ferguson and a whole bunch of other laws. It was not limited to the south. The north doesn’t get a pass here.
Uh-uh — Plessy v. Ferguson said only that racial segregation was permitted, and even at that with the caveat that facilities were to be equal. In my state, what was done in the South was patently illegal, and that infamous 1896 ruling didn’t touch that.



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Wolverine

posted September 23, 2007 at 9:05 pm


Payshun:
Your confusing the issue here: this is a political blog and Jim Wallis is relating the “bias” to a political issue. The question is how should the government act, and there is no passage of scripture that hints that government should make a policy of being biased towards anyone.
In the end, this is yet another manifestation of the hidden assumption of Sojourners: that government is the same thing as the church. As a conservative, I hold that church and state are seperate institutions that serve different purposes and have distinct sets or prerogatives.
Wolverine
Wolverine



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Wolverine

posted September 23, 2007 at 9:43 pm


Sorry, that last sentence should read:
As a conservative, I hold that church and state are seperate institutions that serve different purposes and have distinct sets of prerogatives.
Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted September 23, 2007 at 9:53 pm


In the end, this is yet another manifestation of the hidden assumption of Sojourners: that government is the same thing as the church. As a conservative, I hold that church and state are seperate institutions that serve different purposes and have distinct sets or prerogatives.
I believe that is sheer projection on your part. When it comes to dealing with the “least of these,” the church is to do more than simply pull people out of the river, so to speak; it needs to find out who and what may be throwing them in — and if government policies are doing so the church has the obligation to encourage or demand a change in those policies. Failing to do so is sin and causes the church to lose its authority in the society.
More appropriately, we Christians should endeavor to live differently than the rest of the world. The early Christians caused problems because they did do that and refused to conform to the culture; unfortunately, too much of the American evangelical church has sold out to temporal authority for the sake of cultural authority.



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Wolverine

posted September 23, 2007 at 10:17 pm


No, Rick, this is not projection, it is the common thread in nearly every argument that Sojourners makes. I cannot count the number of times I have seen Jim Wallis or some other writer at Sojo take a saying of Jesus or some other writing that was directed at the disciples or towards other leaders of the early church and attempt to apply it to a government official without any acknowledgement of the difference in context.
And here’s another one: what Payshun is arguing is that God is in many ways unfair (his theology is questionable in some ways, but I’ll let that go for now) and because God isn’t fair it is right for government to be unfair. But he doesn’t bother to tell me why I should expect government to be just like God.
Nobody is arguing that the church doesn’t have a responsibility to challenge the government when it’s policies are unjust towards “the least of these”, but that just leads back to my point: the church is not the same thing as the government, and failing to see the differences between the two leads to all manner of confusion.
Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted September 23, 2007 at 11:17 pm


No, Rick, this is not projection, it is the common thread in nearly every argument that Sojourners makes.
That makes no sense to me.
Nobody is arguing that the church doesn’t have a responsibility to challenge the government when it’s policies are unjust towards “the least of these”, but that just leads back to my point: the church is not the same thing as the government, and failing to see the differences between the two leads to all manner of confusion.
No one is saying that they’re the same. The trouble is that ideological conservatives of any theological stripe don’t want the church to speak out whenever it affects their authority, which always was their goalm, and the complaints about “taking from the rich to give to the poor” is just an excuse. MLK Jr. is still hated my many Southern whites for that reason.



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Wolverine

posted September 23, 2007 at 11:45 pm


the complaints about “taking from the rich to give to the poor” is just an excuse.
To be fair, I exaggerated earlier, so I’m going to take a second and back up a bit. Taking scripture out of context is fairly common, but Sojo doesn’t literally do this in all or even necessarily most of its articles. My apologies.
But our problem with Sojo’s preferred domestic policies aren’t limited to “taking from the rich to give to the poor” — if that was all that was going on we’d be in better shape than we are — but rather the tendency of big government to take from the middle class, small business owners, and the working class, and give to prosperous, politically connected business owners as well as entrenched bureaucrats.
Wolverine



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mark

posted September 24, 2007 at 2:37 am


Wolvie:
the tendency of big government to take from the middle class, small business owners, and the working class, and give to prosperous, politically connected business owners as well as entrenched bureaucrats.
I share your distrust for big government – indeed for big anything. (Unaccountable corporate monopolists are even worse.) But I’m not sure what exactly you are referring to. If you are merely expressing an ideological bias towards having things done through the private sector, then (i) it’s the height of naivete to expect poverty to be relieved that way when corporate law and practice puts shareholders first, and (ii) for some services the private route is more efficient (telecoms, for example) but for some things it appears to be significantly more wasteful, and neither “left” nor “right” should hide from that reality.
As an illustration of the second point, I invite you to consider the following opinion from Ian Gilmore, president of the Royal College of Physicians in Britain, comparing British (socialised) and US (privatised) medicine:
Certainly there are always concerns about the rising costs of healthcare, and American models have been looked at in order to try to limit costs…. In my view, undue attention has been paid to some aspects of healthcare policy in the US by UK government in recent years when there are many examples nearer home, within Europe, of alternative models of healthcare. All systems, wherever the funding comes from (taxation, personal insurance, etc) have been struggling with cost containment as technology and, in particular, new drug developments – especially cancer drugs – add to rising expectation and patient knowledge of what is available. It does seem illogical to give undue attention to a country where the percentage of GDP spent on health exceeds most others whereas its outcomes -such as life expectation – are well down the league. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t examine their solutions, but not to the exclusion of those of many other countries that are faring better.
[my emphasis]
The market just isn’t working for the health of your country’s people – you pay on average about twice what the average Brit pays, and last time I looked your health indicators mostly came out somewhat worse. I suspect – but don’t know – that this is because your system “takes from the middle class, small business owners, and the working class, and give to prosperous, politically connected business owners” in a way that a well-managed publicly-owned system wouldn’t be allowed to.
Similarly, the Bush administration has “taken from the middle class, small business owners, and the working class” – both in the USA and in Iraq – and “given to prosperous, politically connected business owners”, to wit the fat cats at Haliburton and Bechtel, who have done only a tiny fraction of the job they were supposedly paid to do.
I know that a society which depends too much on state welfare is bound to fail – and I’m working with some of our First Nations people in Saskatchewan who are trying to get out of that trap. But gravy trains for the already rich – whether through state funding or through “the market” – are even more damaging.
Mark



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Payshun

posted September 24, 2007 at 12:20 pm


“And here’s another one: what Payshun is arguing is that God is in many ways unfair (his theology is questionable in some ways, but I’ll let that go for now) and because God isn’t fair it is right for government to be unfair. But he doesn’t bother to tell me why I should expect government to be just like God.”
Please don’t. If you want to question my theology that’s fine. We should be having that discussion. I never conflated the two. I don’t believe the government can be God, nor would I expect it to. I just expect Christians (conservatives or liberals) to recognize when God is using the government to right injustices and to do the right thing. Here are some examples of us doing that. Our government did the right thing w/ the Civil Rights Voting Act. Many churches were against that. The government did the right thing when it paid reparations to Japan after bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It did the right thing by rebuilding the country.
“Nobody is arguing that the church doesn’t have a responsibility to challenge the government when it’s policies are unjust towards “the least of these”, but that just leads back to my point: the church is not the same thing as the government, and failing to see the differences between the two leads to all manner of confusion.”
I hope that conservatives like yourself can understand that it is a great tool to help right wrongs. When used correctly w/ church leadership it can do great good. The problem w/ conservative Republican ideology is that you all really don’t want other people doing the work. If the church doesn’t do it then no one else should. I find that to be wrong. What made the civil rights era so amazing (and King so amazing) was that he used Athiests, agnostics and the undesirables of the community in his mission to fight injustice. You all are weary of using those people because you believe they will cause more harm than good. I think that’s a fear worth challenging.
p



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Payshun

posted September 24, 2007 at 12:29 pm


Wolverine,
Oh and I forgot I am not confusing the two at all. As w/ all the conservatives that frequent this site you are placing your issue of not trusting the government or for that matter liberal domestic or foriegn policy (liberal theology…)in front of the issue about justice for the Jena 6 and the brokeness of our country.
This blog is more than a political blog. I am surprised you did not see that. This blog represents the battle for ideas but even more importantly than that this blog is about hope. I could stand on a soapbox for a while but I am going to step down now.
p



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Wolverine

posted September 24, 2007 at 5:15 pm


Maybe it would help if I explained just what I see is the problem here.
Speaking in terms of theology, in terms of what an honest Christian might argue for (as opposed to what I think would make for good policy) I see the notion of God having a “bias” in favor of the poor or anyone else as problematic. Bias to me implies unfairness — and I doubt that this association is limited to conservatives.
Conscious bias is wrong. And because God does nothing unconsciously (God is the ultimate in consciousness, one might say) to say that God is biased is tantamount to saying that God is sinful.
In terms of specific policies, there are lots of things that have been suggested that I think are unwise but are not explicitly contradicted by scripture. Those have been taken up in other threads, where I will make more secular arguments.
There’s lots of things we can argue about on several levels. My concern here was with the theological implications of a “biased” God, and my recommendation was that you find some other phrase to express the idea that God is concerned about the poor.
Anyway, I’m almost as tired of semantic arguments as you are and would be happy to drop this.
Wolverine



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biased_dude

posted September 24, 2007 at 6:06 pm


“Anyway, I’m almost as tired of semantic arguments as you are and would be happy to drop this.”
glad you decided to call a spade a spade. your insistence on using the term “bias” is of your own making. nobody here ever implied the type of bias you’re alluding to – you have either knowingly or unknowingly misrepresented some very valid arguments.
the real difference here is that you prefer government to give God a hand with gay marriage and abortion but not to do any of the other things the bible speaks of, especially when it comes to money. fine – argue that, don’t weigh the discussion down with semantics.



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biased_dude

posted September 24, 2007 at 6:12 pm


let me edit my response above to say “your insistence on ABusing the term “bias” is of your own making.”



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Payshun

posted September 24, 2007 at 7:28 pm


Consider it dropped but God can be biased and not be sinful. As a matter of fact He is the only being that can be.
p



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Kevin Wayne

posted September 24, 2007 at 8:39 pm


Couple of things here, Wolverine:
No, Rick, this is not projection, it is the common thread in nearly every argument that Sojourners makes. I cannot count the number of times I have seen Jim Wallis or some other writer at Sojo take a saying of Jesus or some other writing that was directed at the disciples or towards other leaders of the early church and attempt to apply it to a government official without any acknowledgement of the difference in context.
C’mon, if you really thought that way, then you would never try to invoke the prohibitions against homosexuality in any way as applicable to modern society. Plus I don’t think your assertion holds up. What I read on Soujouners- and have read for several decades now- is like this: Here’s the Biblical principle – Here’s the situation we are wanting to address, what are our responsibilities as such? No different than what you do. You could argue “context” ad nauseum- between then and now, grace and law, OT Israel and Modern USA etc., until nothing from the Bible ever applies to anything anywhere else. I don’t think you can honeslty accuse Wallis & Co. of doing anything different than you are doing.
And much of your “context” arguments haven’t amounted to much, as I’ve already pointed out. Your Daniel thing really didn’t so anything to what others were saying. You pointed out where God was mad at other nations for other sins and then said “See, mistreating the poor is only one among many sins.” But you were essentially saying the same thing we’ve been saying, but acting as if you had an argument.
Speaking in terms of theology, in terms of what an honest Christian might argue for (as opposed to what I think would make for good policy) I see the notion of God having a “bias” in favor of the poor or anyone else as problematic. Bias to me implies unfairness — and I doubt that this association is limited to conservatives.
I’ve mulled over the term “bias” and I see where that might be a problem for you, but I can guarantee that in the long run it won’t really matter if a different term is chosen. How about “favoritism?” That has a negative connotation too, but “favor” is a Biblical term. A Father will be more favorable towards his own children. I don’t think God’s favor towards the poor is equal to his favor towards his people, but I would say that it comes in second. “Fairness” according to our understanding is a pretty slippery thing when applied to God, anyway- I know you know this.



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Kevin Wayne

posted September 24, 2007 at 9:11 pm


Coda to the Theological/Biblical notes I was making to Wolverine, and then I’m going to move on and address other issues:
Looking over NM Rod’s piece on Lazarus, it just reminded me again- as with the injunction for the Rich to weep and howl- how often the Bible seems to place Rich and Poor deliberately in these differing categories. The poor guy went to heaven and the rich guy was in hell? Obviously there are poor sinners and rich saints, so why would Jesus bother to specifically design his parable in such a manner? I don’t even think we’ve adequately discussed the parable of the sheep and goats? Again- equating sin/going to hell with selfish indifference and doing right/going to heaven with helping the poor and oppressed. This is an ongoing theme in scripture that unfortunately I don’t think can be so easily address by the answer “of course the Bible talks more about the poor getting ripped off because it happens more often” answer that was given earlier.
I would say we haven’t even scratched the surface here. Why was the Messiah sent at a time when Israel was a poor, loser, oppressed nation? Why not when they were at the top of their game, during David’s reign? Why was Christ sent among the poor and in circumstances that would cause doubt as to the legitimacy of his birth? What do all the above and more say re God’s attitude towards the poor?
I think what we are going to be left with is a conclusion that won’t be sufficiently addressed by dropping a term like “bias” just to placate someone that doesn’t like it. I think the conclusion that we are going to be driven to is more akin to “God is sovereign, get over it!”



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kevin s.

posted September 24, 2007 at 9:15 pm


“let me edit my response above to say “your insistence on ABusing the term “bias” is of your own making.”"
Yeah, because you realized that Wallis used the term in his original post. Wolverine discussed the term as Wallis used it.



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Kevin Wayne

posted September 24, 2007 at 10:17 pm


This blog entry was originally about racism and how it related to US history, and we unfortunately were derailed trying to unpack the term “bias” for someone who cried “bias” about it. ;-) So jokes aside, I’d like to address somethings that were alluded to regarding the Democrats & Republicans.
The favorite rejoinder of GOP stalwarts when the race issue is brought up is to talk about the Demo’s racist & pro-slavery past, but that masks a lot of history. It was Hubert Humphrey who stood up at the Democratic convention that nominated Harry Truman in 1948 and called for an ant-segregationalist plank in the platform. If you know your history, you know who that prompted a walkout by: Good ol’ Strom Thurmond and his rebel band of Dixiecrats. Remember what the official name of the “Dixiecratic” party was? The State’s Rights Party! That’s right buttercups- The good ol’ doctrine of “let the local governments do it” and fear mongering on things being done at the Federal level, came into great fruition during this time, all invoked in the service of those who preferred not to have anything to do with those of a different skin color.
And where did that crowd eventually wind up? What party did Strom eventually wind up in? Why that would be the Grand Old Party itself! The Republicans welcomed this white flight with open arms. The Democrats had done what they should: repudiated their ideology. And the struggle between the Demo hierarchy and the seeds of the “Dixiecrats” continued over decades, surfacing in places like the JFK/George Wallace showdown over Black university students and the Dividing of the Democratic Party in 1968 that helped Nixon defeat Humphrey, to name a few. Eventually somewhere between Carter’s defeat of Wallace in the ’76 primaries, the rise of Jesse Jackson in the 80′s, and just plain old age happenin’, the old Segregationalist constituency lost it’s grip on the Democrats forever.
Now to take a step away from history and look at the Church: Where was most Christians in dealing with how all of this intersected with Christianity? Bob Jones University continued its segregationalist policies unabated until Alan Keyes mad an issue of it in 2000. Did most of Evangelicalism even bother to say anything? Shouldn’t they have been at least as vigilant in giving the GOP hell over coddling Racists such as Bob Jones as they have been in giving the Dem’s hell over abortion, should they not?
Nope. And I’ll give you my take on why: It’s easier to overlook someone’s sin when it’s apparent they will line your pocketbook -as in the anti-taxes, anti-social welfare ideology of the Repub’s- than it is to over look someone’s sin when it doesn’t benefit you to do so.
David Duke? Don’t make me laugh. He is openly associated with th American Nazi Party, and as such more of an embarrassment and more expendable. The real test comes when racism is much more subtle and conflated with other ideals, as to where our political stalwarts are going to stand on it. Watch with both eyes open.



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Kevin Wayne

posted September 24, 2007 at 10:25 pm


Wolverine discussed the term as Wallis used it.
But I think sufficient Biblical/Theological discussion has now passed through enough to say that there was never really anything wrong with the term “bias”, only the way some might perceive it.



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Payshun

posted September 25, 2007 at 2:15 am


Kevin Wayne,
and they wonder why blacks don’t vote conservative. Wow that was a post.
p



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kevin s.

posted September 25, 2007 at 2:53 am


“The favorite rejoinder of GOP stalwarts when the race issue is brought up is to talk about the Demo’s racist & pro-slavery past, but that masks a lot of history.”
I don’t feel the need for a rejoinder, per se. The conservative ideology is meritorious whether or not racists happen to buy into it.
“It was Hubert Humphrey who stood up at the Democratic convention that nominated Harry Truman in 1948 and called for an ant-segregationalist plank in the platform.”
I am well aware of this fact. Humphrey did a lot of work for the Democratic party, including irradicating communists. I’m not sure that Democrats have taken the torch he passed on.
“The State’s Rights Party! That’s right buttercups- The good ol’ doctrine of “let the local governments do it” and fear mongering on things being done at the Federal level, came into great fruition during this time, all invoked in the service of those who preferred not to have anything to do with those of a different skin color.”
I am aware that state right have been used by some (for far more than 60 years) to advance racist ideals, but the states still have rights.
“The Democrats had done what they should: repudiated their ideology.”
No they didn’t. You are giving us the Encarta version of history here, and acting like you just invented the wheel.
“Now to take a step away from history and look at the Church: Where was most Christians in dealing with how all of this intersected with Christianity? Bob Jones University continued its segregationalist policies unabated until Alan Keyes mad an issue of it in 2000.”
Bob Jones sucks. Good for Alan Keyes.
“Did most of Evangelicalism even bother to say anything? Shouldn’t they have been at least as vigilant in giving the GOP hell over coddling Racists such as Bob Jones as they have been in giving the Dem’s hell over abortion, should they not?”
No. Bob Jones not allowing interracial dating pales in comparison to the government-sanctioned murder of 1.3 million people per year. That does not justify a backward policy at an ostensibly Christian institution.
“It’s easier to overlook someone’s sin when it’s apparent they will line your pocketbook -as in the anti-taxes, anti-social welfare ideology of the Repub’s- than it is to over look someone’s sin when it doesn’t benefit you to do so.”
This doesn’t follow from anything you said previously, but yes, politicians of all stripes advance the causes of those who write the checks. This is indisputable.
“The real test comes when racism is much more subtle and conflated with other ideals, as to where our political stalwarts are going to stand on it. Watch with both eyes open.”
I would argue that many Democratic initiatives fall under the category of subtle racism. Maybe you should keep your right eye open as well. Wouldn’t want to lose depth perception.



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Anonymous

posted September 25, 2007 at 10:24 am


I don’t feel the need for a rejoinder, per se. The conservative ideology is meritorious whether or not racists happen to buy into it.
If that were the case everyone would subscribe to it. But its real purpose always was to subjugate everyone who didn’t agree with it — some activists will even tell you that — and create a new privileged class, which is precisely why racists love it. For that reason it deserves to be ignored. And it would be except for a few wealthy conservatives funding all these think tanks, advocacy groups and media.
Bob Jones not allowing interracial dating pales in comparison to the government-sanctioned murder of 1.3 million people per year. That does not justify a backward policy at an ostensibly Christian institution.
Not in the Christian realm, it doesn’t. Abortion being legal has little to do wit the Gospel — in fact, it’s not even mentioned, directly or indirectly, in the Bible. But racism at any level besmirches the whole church whether you want to admit it or not.
I would argue that many Democratic initiatives fall under the category of subtle racism. Maybe you should keep your right eye open as well. Wouldn’t want to lose depth perception.
For example? It seems to me that “Democratic initiatives” would foster reconciliation and understanding, not racial division. (Having read what you’ve written on the subject, I suspect you mean things like “affirmative action” — but the people complaining most about it already feel entitled to positions they might not get with it.)



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Rick Nowlin

posted September 25, 2007 at 10:29 am


That last post was mine.



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Kevin Wayne

posted September 25, 2007 at 8:04 pm


Thanks to the anonymous poster who responded to Kevin S’ post for me, and I have to concur add the following:
I don’t feel the need for a rejoinder, per se. The conservative ideology is meritorious whether or not racists happen to buy into it.
Perhaps, but far from sacrosanct and the fact that they do buy into it does signal that it warrants critique and caution.
I am well aware of this fact. Humphrey did a lot of work for the Democratic party, including irradicating communists. I’m not sure that Democrats have taken the torch he passed on.
What, Hillary’s capitulating to the patriot act not enough for you?
I am aware that state right have been used by some (for far more than 60 years) to advance racist ideals, but the states still have rights.
But again, they are not the “be-all” some want them to be. The key is “good” government, not “small” or “local” government.
No they didn’t. You are giving us the Encarta version of history here, and acting like you just invented the wheel.
Oh, excuse me, I thought a public statement that an idea was wrong, such as could be included in a parties’ platform was repudiation. Coulda fooled me.
Bob Jones sucks. Good for Alan Keyes.
“___”, he said after the fact and decades too late.
No. Bob Jones not allowing interracial dating pales in comparison to the government-sanctioned murder of 1.3 million people per year.
Memo to Jesus: You were wrong when you said hate was the same as murder. Kevin S just said so.
That does not justify a backward policy at an ostensibly Christian institution.
Glad we finally agree on something!
This doesn’t follow from anything you said previously
Yes it does.
but yes, politicians of all stripes advance the causes of those who write the checks. This is indisputable.

Wow, you might just be getting the light turned on yet.
I would argue that many Democratic initiatives fall under the category of subtle racism. Maybe you should keep your right eye open as well. Wouldn’t want to lose depth perception.
Never have done anything else, but I question whether you ever have based on your reply.



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Kevin Wayne

posted September 25, 2007 at 8:16 pm


Op-Ed Columnist
Politics in Black and White
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: September 24, 2007
Last Thursday there was a huge march in Jena, La., to protest the harsh and unequal treatment of six black students arrested in the beating of a white classmate. Students who hung nooses to warn blacks not to sit under a “white” tree were suspended for three days; on the other hand, the students accused in the beating were initially charged with second-degree attempted murder.
And one of the Jena Six remains in jail, even though appeals courts have voided his conviction on the grounds that he was improperly tried as an adult.
Many press accounts of the march have a tone of amazement. Scenes like those in Jena, the stories seemed to imply, belonged in the 1960s, not the 21st century. The headline on the New York Times report, “Protest in Louisiana Case Echoes the Civil Rights Era,” was fairly typical.
But the reality is that things haven’t changed nearly as much as people think. Racial tension, especially in the South, has never gone away, and has never stopped being important. And race remains one of the defining factors in modern American politics.
Consider voting in last year’s Congressional elections. Republicans, as President Bush conceded, received a “thumping,” with almost every major demographic group turning against them. The one big exception was Southern whites, 62 percent of whom voted Republican in House races.
And yes, Southern white exceptionalism is about race, much more than it is about moral values, religion, support for the military or other explanations sometimes offered. There’s a large statistical literature on the subject, whose conclusion is summed up by the political scientist Thomas F. Schaller in his book “Whistling Past Dixie”: “Despite the best efforts of Republican spinmeisters to depict American conservatism as a nonracial phenomenon, the partisan impact of racial attitudes in the South is stronger today than in the past.”
Republican politicians, who understand quite well that the G.O.P.’s national success since the 1970s owes everything to the partisan switch of Southern whites, have tacitly acknowledged this reality. Since the days of Gerald Ford, just about every Republican presidential campaign has included some symbolic gesture of approval for good old-fashioned racism.
Thus Ronald Reagan, who began his political career by campaigning against California’s Fair Housing Act, started his 1980 campaign with a speech supporting states’ rights delivered just outside Philadelphia, Miss., where three civil rights workers were murdered. In 2000, Mr. Bush made a pilgrimage to Bob Jones University, famed at the time for its ban on interracial dating.
And all four leading Republican candidates for the 2008 nomination have turned down an invitation to a debate on minority issues scheduled to air on PBS this week.
Yet if the marchers at Jena reminded us that America still hasn’t fully purged itself of the poisonous legacy of slavery, it would be wrong to suggest that the nation has made no progress. Racism, though not gone, is greatly diminished: both opinion polls and daily experience suggest that we are truly becoming a more tolerant, open society.
And the cynicism of the “Southern strategy” introduced by Richard Nixon, which delivered decades of political victories to Republicans, is now starting to look like a trap for the G.O.P.
One of the truly remarkable things about the contest for the Republican nomination is the way the contenders have snubbed not just blacks — who, given the G.O.P.’s modern history, probably won’t vote for a Republican in significant numbers no matter what — but Hispanics. In July, all the major contenders refused invitations to address the National Council of La Raza, which Mr. Bush addressed in 2000. Univision, the Spanish-language TV network, had to cancel a debate scheduled for Sept. 16 because only John McCain was willing to come.
If this sounds like a good way to ensure defeat in future elections, that’s because it is: Hispanics are a rapidly growing force in the electorate.
But to get the Republican nomination, a candidate must appeal to the base — and the base consists, in large part, of Southern whites who carry over to immigrants the same racial attitudes that brought them into the Republican fold to begin with. As a result, you have the spectacle of Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, pragmatists on immigration issues when they actually had to govern in diverse states, trying to reinvent themselves as defenders of Fortress America.
And both Hispanics and Asians, another growing force in the electorate, are getting the message. Last year they voted overwhelmingly Democratic, by 69 percent and 62 percent respectively.
In other words, it looks as if the Republican Party is about to start paying a price for its history of exploiting racial antagonism. If that happens, it will be deeply ironic. But it will also be poetic justice.



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Kevin Wayne

posted September 26, 2007 at 8:47 pm


From Counterpunch.org:
HUD’s Home Wreckers
Tightening the Noose Around New Orleans
By BILL QUIGLEY
Odessa Lewis is 62 years old. When I saw her last week, she was crying because she is being evicted. A long-time resident of the Lafitte public housing apartments, since Katrina she has been locked out of her apartment and forced to live in a 240 square foot FEMA trailer. Ms. Lewis has asked repeatedly to be allowed to return to her apartment to clean and fix it up so she can move back in. She even offered to do all the work herself and with friends at no cost. The government continually refused to allow her to return. Now she is being evicted from her trailer and fears she will become homeless because there is no place for working people, especially African American working and poor people, to live in New Orleans. Ms. Lewis is a strong woman who has worked her whole life. But the stress of being locked out of her apartment, living in a FEMA trailer and the possibility of being homeless brought out the tears. Thousands of other mothers and grandmothers are in the same situation.
Renting is so hard in part because there is a noose closing around the housing opportunities of New Orleans African American renters displaced by Katrina. They have been openly and directly targeted by public and private actions designed to keep them away. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) just added their weight to the attack by approving the demolition of 2966 apartments in New Orleans.
Despite telling a federal judge for the last year and a half that approvals of public housing demolition applications take about 100 working days to evaluate, HUD approved the plan to demolish nearly 3000 apartments one day after the complete application was filed. HUD says the 3000 apartments are scheduled to be replaced in a few years with up to 744 public housing eligible apartments and a few hundred subsidized apartments.
Unfortunately, HUD’s actions are consistent with other governmental attacks on African American renters.
After Katrina, St. Bernard Parish, a 93% white adjoining suburb, enacted a law prohibiting home owners from renting their property to anyone who is not a blood relative. Jefferson Parish, another majority white adjoining suburb, unanimously passed an ordinance prohibiting the construction of any subsidized housing. The sponsoring legislator condemned poor people as “lazy,” “ignorant” and “leeches on society”–specifically hoping to guard against former residents of New Orleans public housing. Across Lake Ponchartrain from New Orleans, the chief law enforcement officer of St. Tammany Parish, Sheriff Jack Strain, complained openly about the post-Katrina presence of “thugs and trash from New Orleans” and announced that people with dreadlocks or “chee wee hairstyles” could “expect to be getting a visit from a sheriff’s deputy.”
HUD’s actions are also bolstered by pervasive racial discrimination in the private market as well. The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center has documented widespread racial discrimination in the metro New Orleans rental market and in the states surrounding the gulf coast.
HUD told a federal judge a few days “the average time [for the process of reviewing applications for demolition] is 100 days.” They did suggest that the process could be expedited in the case of New Orleans. So it was. Instead of reviewing the details of demolishing 3000 apartments and considering the law and facts and the administrative record for 100 days, HUD expedited the process to one day.
HUD and the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO, which HUD has been running for years) argued passionately that residents displaced from public housing (referred to once in their argument as ‘refugees’) are financially “better off” than they were before. This echoes the Barbara Bush comment of September 5, 2005 when she said, viewing the overwhelmingly African American crowd of thousands of people living on cots in the Astrodome, “And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this – (she chuckles slightly) this is working very well for them.”
HUD announced approval of demolition of 2966 units of public housing in New Orleans – 896 apartments at Lafitte, 521 at C.J. Peete, 1158 at B.W. Cooper, and 1391 at St. Bernard. A few buildings on each site will be retained for historical preservation purposes.
New Orleans had a severe affordable housing crisis before Katrina when HANO housed over 5000 families. There was a waiting list of 8000 families trying to get in. HUD and HANO together did such a poor job of administering the agency that there were about 2000 more empty apartments that had been scheduled for major repairs for years.
The continuing deceptions by HUD and HANO have been shameless. Since Katrina, HUD has continued to act out both sides of a charade that the local housing authority is making decisions and HUD is waiting on local actions. Yet, the decision to demolish was announced by the Secretary of HUD in DC over a year ago. But in the year since then, HUD has continued to tell a federal judge that any legal challenge to demolitions was premature because HANO had not even submitted an application to HUD for their careful 100 day evaluation. This is while a HUD employee runs the agency, commuting back and forth to DC each week. HANO even announced they would have 2000 apartments ready for people in August of 2006–a deadline not met even in September 2007. HANO later announced to the public that they had a list of 250 apartments ready for people to return only to admit in writing weeks later that no such list existed–nor were the phantom apartments ready.
The list of untruths goes on.
HUD would not agree to delay the demolition of the 3000 apartments until Congress finished reviewing legislation that would give residents the right to return and participate in the process of determining what kind of affordable housing should be in place in New Orleans.
And so HUD’s actions help further restrict the opportunities for African American renters in New Orleans. Adjoining white suburbs do not want African American renters back. HUD does not want them back. The local federal judge has refused to stop the demolitions.
But the mothers and grandmothers and their families and friends are still determined to return and resist demolition. One sign at a recent public housing rally summed it up. “We will not allow the community we built to be rebuilt without us.”
Odessa Lewis, despite her tears, said she is not giving up. She and other public housing residents promise “we did not come this far to be turned back now. We will do whatever is necessary to protect our homes.” Thousands of African American mothers and grandmothers are the ones directly targeted by HUD’s actions.
Forty years ago, Martin Luther King, Jr., said “We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” societyWhen profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” We can add sexism to the list, particularly in the fight for the right of public housing residents to return.
The fight of Ms. Lewis and others on the gulf coast shows how much we need a radical revolution of values.
Bill Quigley is a human rights lawyer and law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. He can be reached at Quigley@loyno.edu.



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EcuMenno

posted September 28, 2007 at 6:24 am


On the events in Jena that Jim addresses:
Over the last week, as I’ve reflected on the Jena situation, my attention has not so much been on the failures of civil authority that have been properly highlighted, but on the failures of our churches and conscientious citizenry that we belong to and support.
Fundamentally, where were all our marchers and demonstrators when the initial event with the nooses occurred? If our sister churches locally and regionally (I understand that there won’t be this kind of national turnout for every racist provocation in every community) had turned out in the streets in witness against hate, I suspect the escalation to violence could have been slowed or prevented. Anti-racist Christians and citizens failed because we did not act sooner to present Christ’s alternative to retributive violence: witness to truth in love.
Here in Durham, NC, there was a cross-burning a few years ago, and immediately, there was an outpouring of response at the site of the burning with an anti-racist demonstration and prayer vigil.
I know that the sad truth is that the racism that put those nooses in the tree at Jena infects the faith and vision of churches in Jena and throughout the U.S., and inhibits us from witness, from moving outside our living rooms and sanctuaries on behalf of our neighbors. The sad truth is that many churches and citizenries in many localities are not going to witness against this kind of racism because they fail the Golden Rule — they do not love their neighbors (and their neighbors’ children) as themselves (and their own children).
And that’s a big piece of the reason that we (as churches and as citizens) failed both the white students making threats and the black students retaliating with violence. We failed to care enough to bear witness when it could have prevented intervention by a distorted legal system. When we care enough for our children and neighbors to bear witness persistently as Christians and citizens against racism, then civil authorities will follow.



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