The Ferguson Debacle

I’m glad having a black president and a black attorney general has taken care of the racial issues in America once and for all.

Yes, I’m being slightly sarcastic.

I’ve watched the unfolding events in Ferguson, Missouri, as I’m sure everyone else has also, but have refrained from commenting until all the facts are established. That may not happen for some time, though, so I do want to offer some thoughts on what is already obvious.

First, the killing of Michael Brown has exposed once again the deep racial divide that exists in the minds of some. I emphasize “in the minds of” because it’s rather baffling to me how anyone can call America a basically racist society when the president, attorney general, and key figures in the media, academia, and the sports world are now black. I guess it depends on one’s perspective:

Long Way

I freely admit I’m of the opinion that we truly have come a long way. Now, a critic would say that’s simply because I’m white, but I would counter that critique with my bedrock conviction that God created only one race—it’s called “human”—and that He sees us all as His potential children. I firmly believe there is no Scriptural basis for setting people against each other for any external reason, whether that’s the color of one’s skin or ethnic background. God looks at the heart.

That leads me to another observation: what’s in the hearts of those who think that justice is served by rioting, looting, and destroying legitimate businesses in the Ferguson community? Looting and destruction are not racial issues; they are sin being manifested. I don’t know if hatred was at the root of the Brown shooting; I can’t see into the policeman’s heart. But when I see resentment blazing into outright hatred and destruction of other people’s property, it’s not hard to read the hearts of those involved in such actions. Of course, what they don’t realize is that their selfish, sinful actions are only destroying what they claim they want to preserve. That’s what sin always does.

Back Off

The media has focused on the reaction of the police force and has condemned what it calls an “overmilitarization” of the police. Here’s how one cartoonist has expressed that feeling:

Tear Gas

Not being on the ground in Ferguson myself, I don’t know if the police have overreacted. However, I do know that some of the business owners don’t believe the police have done enough. The rioting and looting continue, and their livelihoods may be destroyed. Police also are being criticized for releasing a video that seems to implicate Brown in a convenience store robbery just prior to his death. I’ve seen the video; it looks pretty conclusive to me that Brown was acting like a thug. At 6’3″ and 300 pounds, I hope you might forgive me if I wonder if the policeman who came upon him later might have felt rather intimidated. The police are also criticized for having only 3% of the force black in a city where nearly 70% of the citizens are black. The former mayor was on TV this morning, though, explaining that they have an active search for black officers, but the pool is small from which to choose. In other words, racism is not the cause of the ethnic composition of the force.

On top of that, we now have the federal government getting involved. Both President Obama and Attorney General Holder are now inserting themselves into this local problem. How is this a federal government responsibility? Look at the pattern: these two men have spoken out on previous events that they concluded were racial, even when that was not necessarily the case—the Louis Gates incident in Boston and the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman spectacle in Florida. If they can fan the flames of racial division, they seem intent on doing so.

Let all the facts come out. If the policeman was out of bounds, acted wrongly, and his actions led to a death that should not have occurred, he should be punished for that. If Michael Brown was the one initiating the action, let’s don’t put him on a pedestal as some kind of martyr.

Above all, don’t let these incidents become trigger points for increased racial tension. Recognize that there are sinful people of all races and ethnicities who would like nothing better than to use such events for their own selfish purposes. Let’s be wise in our analysis and try our best to see this through the lens of Biblical principles.

On Race & Intolerance

As a Christian, I take seriously the Biblical concept that all men are descended from an original couple, Adam and Eve. Consequently, we are all part of the same family genetically. Sin is what divides people. We tend to cluster around those who are more like us and develop suspicions toward those who are different in physical appearance. Talk of racism always bothers me because I don’t really believe in racial classifications. From the Biblical point of view, there is only one race, and it’s called “human.” The external differences we see are simply testimony to God’s creativity and love of diversity—a word that has been maligned lately due to its misapplication.

What people call racism is actually just a dislike for those who are not like “us.” It cuts across the divide and infects all people, no matter what color they are or ethnicity to which they belong. It’s not the exclusive province of Americans descended from Europeans. The attempt to remedy past ill treatment of blacks in America via affirmative action policies has only created greater injustice and division. Good intentions are not the same as good policy.

That’s why I applaud a recent Supreme Court decision that tore down the affirmative action barrier to equal treatment of all people, regardless of color, gender, or ethnic background. All that decision did was help fulfill the vision of a society in which people are judged by individual merit, not outward characteristics. Naturally, though, there are those who will cling to the old vision:

That's Racist

It’s particularly pernicious when some of those sit on that Supreme Court. Nevertheless, we should rejoice that at least one small step has been taken legally to reverse the trend.

Unfortunately, we still have an administration that uses past inequalities to hammer the current generation. Some find it exceedingly difficult to see anything outside of the “racial” box. Whenever President Obama or Attorney General Eric Holder are criticized, they immediately find refuge behind the racial wall:

Race Cards

Frankly, any other attorney general exhibiting the degree of racial bias Holder has shown would have been out the door well before now.

What’s particularly distasteful to me is that they always speak the language of tolerance, while themselves showcasing some of the most intolerant attitudes imaginable. Whenever Biblical morality is held up as a standard, its advocates are attacked as intolerant. It’s the Christians who are now being portrayed as the intolerant ones, and we are told that our views will not be tolerated:

Tolerant Community

As I’ve noted before, the real battle for the future is not political; the real battle is theological and cultural. Winning the hearts and minds is where we need to focus our attention.

The Media & the IRS Scandal

I have to comment on this before it becomes too old news. Last week, Rep. Darrell Issa tried to hold another hearing into the IRS scandal. Once again, the primary suspect in this abuse of conservative organizations, Lois Lerner, was supposed to testify. She’s the one, in case your memory needs a jog, who took the Fifth last time after making statements that she was innocent. By doing so, she might have voided her right to take the Fifth, but who cares anymore about following the law. Certainly not the IRS. Certainly not the DOJ, which is responsible for investigating these misdeeds.

Lerner repeated her earlier performance. Issa asked her seven questions; she took the Fifth on each. Clearly, this hearing was going nowhere, so Issa officially adjourned. After doing so, the minority leader, Rep. Elijah Cummings, said he had a procedural question. Issa, even though the hearing was over, gave him liberty to ask his question. There was no question. Instead, Cummings launched into a denunciation of Issa and the committee for holding biased hearings. At that point, Issa called for his microphone to be cut; the hearing was over.

That led to an eruption from Cummings, who went nearly apoplectic over his supposed ill treatment. All of this was caught on camera. His outburst made the news. And later, he made an accusation against Issa that he was . . . ready for it . . . racist. Of course. The last refuge of modern scoundrels.

Issa’s decision to end the hearing, his cutoff of the microphone, and the charge of racism were the highlight of the mainstream media’s coverage. Never mind that Cummings was out of bounds and that racism played no role here. Ignore the actual issue—the political sabotage by the IRS—and emphasize the false accusations against Issa instead.

Won't Talk

This is the usual media ploy: make the Republican into the bad guy, even though all he’s trying to do is get to the truth about a clear abuse of power.

Being Rude

Almost from the start, the media have tried to derail the IRS story. Evidence shows, beyond any genuine doubt, that only conservative organizations were targeted, yet that doesn’t seem to bother them. There are always other things more important on which to focus:

Worried Sick

Again, the only network that has stayed on the IRS story consistently is Fox, which naturally makes this network the recipient of criticism from those who want the scandal to go away. There is a pattern here:

Another Story

The mainstream media doesn’t like to be reminded of its total lack of objectivity in reporting the news.

Obama’s Inconvenient Problems

I know President Obama wants all the problems he and his minions have created just to go away; they’re too inconvenient to his goals. He’s doing his best to act as if they’re inconsequential, but the news doesn’t really get better for him as time passes. Take Obamacare, for instance. This past week, the Congressional Budget Office—always referred to in the news as the nonpartisan CBO—revised its figures of the impact of Obamacare on jobs. It seems it will be instrumental in the loss of about 2.3 million fulltime jobs in the next few years. That’s not what the CBO said when the legislation was pending. Have you noticed how economic and jobs figures are seemingly in constant revision?

Let’s review the myriad disruptions to normal life caused by Obamacare:

Side Effects

But when these side effects are presented to the president, he makes light of them and declares his signature legislation to be a resounding success:

Light Dusting

Then there’s the IRS controversy, the ongoing investigation into the unfair targeting of conservative groups, representatives of whom testified yesterday in Congress as to the strains and pressures they have faced from that federal agency. Obama’s claim that there’s not even a smidgen of corruption connected to the scandal is becoming as infamous as Bill Clinton’s “it depends on what the definition of ‘is’ is.” Will this fly with the informed part of the public?

Not Even a Smidgen

The president’s constant fallback when confronted with these issues is to blame others. For years, he has solemnly asserted most of his economic hiccups were caused by George Bush. Now, five years into his presidency, that’s got to be wearing thin with anyone who possesses even a smidgen of brain power. Another favorite scapegoat has been Fox News, which is merely following the evidence on these various scandals and not allowing them to be swept under the rug. Obama’s tendency to blame Fox surfaced again this week in his interview with Bill O’Reilly:

Fox News

And then there’s the always-reliable excuse of racism. Who can ever counter that one? Well, perhaps Martin Luther King, were he still with us today, might have a few choice words about using that excuse:

Content of Character

Amidst all the controversy, though, Obama has one faithful ally that will always do its best to come to his rescue:

Swan

And that’s what makes it so difficult to have an informed public.

What’s Race Got To Do With It?

President Obama’s approval rating continues to drop. He’s in George W. Bush territory now, with the only thing keeping him from dropping further is the fanatical loyalty of those Americans who will cling to him no matter what he does. Why has he dropped so far? If you ask him, he’ll tell you the reason is racism. In fact, he recently commented,

There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black president.

Here we go again. I thought the election of a black president—twice—was supposed to put to rest that false theme. First, there will always be people who dislike those who are different, whether it has to do with color of skin, ethnic background, size of nose . . . the list could be endless. In 2008, Obama won with a sizable number of white votes; that number decreased significantly in 2012. Was that the result of racism? Did many of those who voted for him in 2008 and then declined to do so again in 2012 suddenly become racists? That seems to be the president’s explanation of his decline in approval.

Post-Racial America

I mean, could it possibly be that voters are fed up with his policies, not his race? Could it be that five straight years of a bad economy might lead some of them to abandon support? That they realize the drop in unemployment is due more to people leaving the workforce than finding jobs? That they are having their healthcare plans stripped from them and being forced to get more expensive plans instead? Could all the scandals—Fast and Furious, Benghazi, IRS, DOJ, NSA—have anything to do with the public’s uneasiness with his leadership? Is it at all possible that people are waking up from their delusion about this man being the political messiah? No, that can’t be the reason. It’s always race.

Gravity Racist

The constant accusation of racism is getting old. I suggest, Mr. President, facing up to the facts instead. You’re the one leading us off the cliff, and people have good reasons for their disapproval of your administration. Race rarely enters the picture.

Official Political Cartoon Day

I declare today “Political Cartoon Day.” I’ll scale back my commentary and let you enjoy/groan over the wit offered by those who are paid to be witty. Let’s begin with the Syrian issue that dominates the news cycle at the moment. Is it possible we’re being distracted from the real threat?

Look

I also thought the president was perhaps practicing his stand-up comedy routine yesterday with one of his comments:

Credibility Problem

Shifting our focus to the ever-popular race card, the Mallard Fillmore strip has been fascinated with the Rev. Al lately:

 Race Hustle

Questioning

And how can we neglect the blessing that is Obamacare?

Tea-Partier

 Obamacare Commercial

I have more, but I’ll save them for another day.

Our One-Sided Racial Conversation

Two men were killed last week in what have been described as senseless murders. First point to be made: all murders are committed without sense, in that they are violations of the moral code God has inscribed on our hearts. We call some of them senseless because we can’t connect the act to some rationale, however invalid. In both of these cases, the victims were unknown to their assailants and had done nothing to warrant any type of reprisal.

Christopher LaneChristopher Lane was a college student in Oklahoma, a native Australian who was in the United States on a baseball scholarship. He was jogging, bothering no one, when a car pulled up behind him and shots were fired. He died almost immediately, according to those who arrived on the scene to try to minister aid to him.

The three youths arrested for the act were all black—perhaps one was mixed-race—and reports are that they did this a) because they were bored; b) for the fun of it; or c) as part of a wannabe-gang ritual. According to the authorities, one of the youths, after being arrested, danced around and laughed about it, apparently enjoying his notoriety. This same young man, aged 15, had commented on Twitter that he hated whites.

Delbert BeltonThe other victim was 88-year-old Delbert Belton, of Washington state, who was simply sitting in his car when two youths came up to him and beat him to death with flashlights. Belton was a WWII veteran who had been injured in the Battle of Okinawa. Again, the culprits, as caught on surveillance cameras, were black.

Now, in neither of these murders did anyone say they were doing this as payback for Trayvon Martin. No, there’s probably no such connection. And when you compare the three separate incidents, you see a clear distinction. In the Martin-Zimmerman case, there were mitigating circumstances that had to be sorted out. In the latter two, there are none. Neither Lane nor Belton had done anything at all to warrant an attack.

So are these racial incidents? Are they fueled by racism? Well, at least one of the youths who killed Lane, as I’ve already noted, is on the public record as being racially motivated, even though the prosecutors in the case seem reluctant to press that issue. Is that where we’ve come to as a nation? Are we not allowed to apply racism equally across the board, wherever it may appear? And when is President Obama going to insert himself into this? He certainly wasn’t reluctant when Trayvon Martin was the one who died.

If I Had a Son

And of course there are his willing accomplices in the media who are prone to look the other way:

 Martin-Lane

Is this the new, improved version of separate-but-equal?

Both Obama and his attorney general, Eric Holder, have boldly declared that the nation needs to have a conversation on race. We’ve heard that repeatedly throughout this administration. It’s getting rather old by now:

National Conversation

I’m not opposed to that conversation. I believe all races stand equally before God, since He is the One who created this diversity in the first place. It’s just that a conversation has to go two ways, or it won’t be a conversation at all. I don’t think the president wants to invest himself in the current conversation because it’s not going the way he intended. The conversation he seeks is one-sided, whereas we need to cover all topics: racism no matter what the source; broken families; slanted and deficient education; a welfare state that creates a sense of entitlement. We need to talk about the American character and what has happened to it. We need to discuss the loss of Biblical absolutes in our society and the consequences.

Would he be open to that conversation?