A Theology of Anger: Forgiveness For White Supremacy Derails Action and Alienates Young Black Activists

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Just a day after the massacre in the historic Emanuel AME Church of Charleston, the son of one of the victims, Sharonda Coleman Singleton, offered forgiveness to Dylann Roof. As more of the victims’ family members emerged to publicly forgive Roof I found myself caught between the Christian imperative to forgive that had driven them to do so, and an emotion that was irreconcilable: anger.

I am not enraged, nor do I seek vengeance, but there is a clear and concise anger born of my inconsolable grief both for the tragedy itself and for the children forced into a position where forgiveness for such a wretched act was assumed. I am angry that these children were catapulted into the company of other survivors of inane violence against blacks, such as Mamie Till-Mobley whose response, as Cornel West frequently writes, was: I don’t have a minute to hate, I’m gonna pursue justice for the rest of my life.

In our post-Ferguson moment, collective anger has been one of the emotions fueling the protests in Baltimore, New York and elsewhere. Emotions are running high. Rather than flashpoint events, each new tragedy is one of a continuous string doing its work on the human psyche. However, in the midst of all of the speeches and rhetoric, anger is seldom acknowledged. And if it does, it’s only in the context that it is undesirable and that one should move on from it to something else.

Part of that is fueled by respectability politics that govern much of public speech, but it’s also due to an innate cultural sensibility that anger is not a healthy emotion to have. The Christian tradition doesn’t uplift anger as a human experience worth having. Anger is reserved for God. The fact that the liturgical calendar doesn’t have a season for anger, or include in its canon a “Righteous Indignation” Sunday, speaks to just how ingrained our anti-anger theology truly is.

Forgiveness is something on which Christianity hangs its hat. Not only is it a biblical cornerstone of the faith, it’s also a cultural expectation that, if you’re a Christian, society requires it of you. The hurdle for forgiveness is pretty high and the road is paved with hurt and pain. While forgiveness may be the final resting place after an emotional roller coaster, Christians should not be taking a shortcut around anger to get there.

James Cone, the founder of black liberation theology, once said that his first book, Black Theology, Black Power, was written in the five weeks immediately following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. He famously said that he wrote the book because he was angry. Long considered “America’s angriest theologian” (a moniker he has donned for all these years), Cone’s anger not only speaks of the experience of a civil rights era sentiment, but for a millennial generation quickly discovering that the causes of Cone’s anger are also the genesis of their own.

Anger, as evidenced by Cone, the author of twelve books, has the power to be sustainable and even productive. Cone’s anger, like the anger that is the ubiquitous in this post-Ferguson era, is that of righteous indignation. While I have tremendous respect for the families of those killed by Dylann Roof, I fear that the move to immediately forgive can, in times like this can, serve to absolve Christians from addressing the issues that caused the situation. More specifically, my fear is that to skip over anger, to not allow one’s humanity to have a spiritual encounter with righteous indignation, is to avoid the desperately needed conversation about racism and white supremacy.

The fact that a new generation is encountering anger so frequently, aided by social media, speaks to an ever-growing need for the Christian experience to address it. With the recent Pew study about the dwindling numbers of Christians in the mainline denominations, there has never been a better time for churches and denominations to take some time and energy to craft a theology that more fully reckons with anger.

The notion of a “theology of anger” was spurred from conversations with a colleague and friend who’s connected to both the academy and the clergy and who is increasingly having pastoral care moments where anger is the predominant emotion. What we discovered is that there were no theological or ecclesiastical resources to deal with anger in terms of righteous indignation; to deal with a wrong that one felt the need to right.*

Part of our frustration wasn’t just fueled by the actual events themselves, but by the ways in which we felt part of generation that was in-between; caught in the middle of traditions that we love and a future we had yet to determine, yet still forced to exist in the present. This was apparent in the ways that the institutional black church—the mainline denominations as well as the broader evangelical church—have ignored anger in the face of injustice and tragedy. We were frustrated that tradition far too often seemed to win the battle of wills. These skirmishes with frustration were also allowing my colleague and myself to self-identify that we too, were also angry.

While social media can be a collapsing audience that emerges with a singularity of thought that may or may not be factually correct, the sentiments of anger were apparent in some strains during and following the livestream of Mother Emanuel AME on the Sunday morning following the shooting.

For many, not hearing the waves of righteous indignation justified a complete rejection of the entire worship experience. While this may not be the place or time to parse that specific dynamic, this is a clear example of a generational difference where there may now be an expectation and need for anger in their spiritual and religious spaces. For many millennial black activists, one’s blackness is not divorced from one’s spirituality. And ultimately, for many, spirituality comes second.

For many, it was not that the family of Dylann Roof’s victims actually forgave, it was how immediately they did so. The conversation expanded beyond the Charleston murders to the long history of forgiveness in the black American experience as a response to crimes against humanity.

Forgiveness, to the black activist of the 21st century, can sometimes be seen as a form of white appeasement; a way in which white fears are assuaged that blacks will not revolt against the horror that was committed. The Atlantic‘s Ta-Nehesi Coates tweeted that he “Can’t remember any campaign to ‘love’ and ‘forgive’ in the wake of ISIS beheadings,” which illuminates the strong emotions against forgiveness in the context of this particular tragedy in Charleston. The Christian obligation to forgive appears counter-intuitive to those within a Black Lives Matter moment who are angry and filled with righteous indignation, trying to discern the next move of rebellion or revolution.

This is not a campaign to do away with forgiveness, but rather an effort to make the case that the black Christian experience needs to include anger. In light of our country’s ongoing inability to deal with race, and the tragedies that occur as a result, this encounter with righteous indignation is especially necessary to black churchgoers. A space must exist in the pulpits, with sermons that acknowledge anger and righteous indignation, as well as in the curricula of Christian education departments. And yes, even in the sacred spaces of a mid-week bible study.

 

Correction: This post initially claimed that “Moses was prevented from seeing the Promised Land because he killed an Egyptian slave master for harshly treating a Hebrew slave.” In fact, Moses was not permitted to enter due to another, different display of anger: striking the rock to produce water for the truculent Israelites. The author concedes that he may indeed have been taken over by “a bit of black church midrash” while writing it. — ed

  • Jim Reed

    In a contemporary setting perhaps it could be a Reverend Wright sermon

  • GregAbdul

    This is a wonderfully complex article that makes the simple complicated. Forgiveness without repentance is not justice. If you break into my home, rape my wife and kill my children and then I forgive you the second you finish, that is not religion, that’s textbook insanity. It’s black Christianity. On September 11, 2001, terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center in New York. Did you see ANYONE talking about how whites should not be angry? This don’t-be-angry when-I-rape-and-kill-you line is Slave Religion.

    Anger is a healthy emotion. Ask any psychologist. The person who does not get angry has emotional issues and cannot feel pain and being wronged…and believe it or not, this is the stuff of mass murderers. The only issue is the proper and constructive use of anger. In the old days, untalented big guys would bang on Kareem Abdul Jabbar. You would almost never see it in his face, but then we would go out and score 40 on the guy to make his point.

    Mentally healthy adults see what is making us angry and we calm down and take steps to directly address the source of our anger. For young black people, actually engaged in healthy mental activity in the face of white racism that is making them angry, there is only one solution. It is not in the picture that goes with this article. If a white man sees a black child as a baby animal and future threat to white society, walking up and down with a sign is NEVER going to fix it.

    The calm mature thinking young mind knows: go your bee hind into a classroom and show your mind and your humanity is equal to that of any white child. If the police then are so stupid to shoot you, AFTER you have established yourself in the classroom, the police will have no defense. Imagine, they gun down the black boy who got straight A’s in school? Who could justify such a shooting? But as long as black children do not rise up in this way and black elders embrace a theology that literally teaches black people that ignorance is bliss, then the blood letting will continue.

    I can’t believe how complicated and not dealing with things this article is. And this comes from a guy who believes all you have to do is believe in Jesus. Faith is simple and anger is not? I think he’s got it backwards.

  • Papa Mincho

    Great article, Joshua. Justifiable anger is not the same thing as irrational hatred, and that anger can be harnessed towards some really constructive things–if it is acknowledged and treated as real.

    Just so you know, the Christian Identity Movement editors over at Real Clear Religion have this article titled ‘Charleston Needs a Theology of Anger’, because they’re not very good at Ninth Commandment and wanted to make you look like you were stoking racial resentment rather than trying to engage with it.

    The Real Clear family of sites regularly edits the headlines of liberal and not-so-conservative articles, especially if they imply that racism still exists in the age of Dylann Roof and George Zimmerman. This wasn’t too much of a surprise, but I thought if they could get Mark Judge’s ‘Beware the Gaystapo’ article title verbatim correct, at least they could give you something like ‘Charleston Needs to Address Activists’ Anger’.

  • Veritas

    I don’t think they were stoking anything and I believe that that adequately describes the tenor of the essay. I also don’t think that the site, or most in America deny the existence of racism, just that it is not the prevailing view of society. It is clear to almost everyone in America that racist acts exist.
    You have succeeded in doing just what you accuse the real clear sites of doing. That would be why Jesus said remove the beam from your own eye first

  • Veritas

    Forgiveness is not to dismiss injustice, but the process of not becoming a captive to your emotions. Anger that festers destroys the angry one, not the one who is the target of their anger.
    No one in Charleston called for release of the accused, nor leniency, only that they would forgive and release the anger. Punishment for the crime is not denied
    Righteous indignation that starts from anger, does not prohibit forgiveness.
    Jesus forgave while he was still in the grips of the torturing and murderous villians. That is the most powerful message the world has ever seen… But all of this requires that we keep our eyes focused on Christ, that is the perplexing thing that the families in Charleston have done. It is not our way but God’s way….so high above our ways.

    Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God….

  • Jim Reed

    We need something more real. The answer can’t be found in religion.

  • mhausam

    Any Christian theology of how to think about evils in the world needs to take the Psalms into account. I think we find quite a bit in there to contribute to a proper sense of “righteous indignation.” While we should desire the good even of those who do evil, and thus be willing to forgive them, yet we should at the same time desire justice to be done and evil to be destroyed and punished. Both of these things needs to be kept together in our view in order to have a truly Christian attitude towards evil.

  • Veritas

    The families found an adequate answer there. If we all found that answer there, no murder would have happened. Love is real, anger is real, choose which one is your answer.

  • Jim Reed

    The religious answer might just be buying time, and not be a real answer. This is not something where I have to choose. It is something the nation needs to deal with. Rev. Wright was trying to preach about this, but the nation wasn’t ready to listen.

  • Jim Reed

    The law deals with these things in a more modern and fair way than religion. If you look at it as evil, then you are lost because your definition of evil doesn’t apply to others. The concept of “evil” has a long history of being used for evil purposes.

  • NancyP

    This Real Clear Religion site looks like a generic right wing political site flavored heavily with religion. Without checking the whois ownership of the site, I would guess that the RCR is sympathetic to but not necessarily owned by the relatively small and explicitly white supremacist denomination known as “Christian Identity” (Christian Israelites or “British Israelites”), affiliated with Aryan Nations. There are a number of small CI-related churches in southwestern MO and northern AR, came to my attention during some assassinations of highway patrolmen in the 1990s.

  • GregAbdul

    This article is a defense of slave religion. It has a specifically black context. Blacks are the only Christians in America, who after a murderer has rampaged through the community are supposed to join hands and sing sweet Jesus. When whites are killed, especially by non whites, harsh prison sentences and wars are conducted and no one bats an eyelash or wrings their hands about forgiveness. This article is racist Christianity…plain and simple. The Christianity taught to the slave on full display….the brainwashing it takes to overlook this blacks should take murder and rape lying down teaching…..is astonishing.

  • GregAbdul

    forgiveness without repentance is the opposite of justice…those families put slave religion on full display…and your posts show you like slave religion…..or do you think our foreign policy should be based on forgiving anyone who plans terrorists acts against America? If not, can you tell me why your hypocrisy is not racism?

  • NancyP

    I suspect that the family members may have made public statements of forgiveness in order to try to “calm down” immediate public reaction and prevent additional violence. Historically (and recently), the white suppression of black rebellion resulted in more black casualties than white casualties. I daresay that the lack of armed rebellion has led to a Selma moment in the national press, resulting in external pressure to stop upholding white racist symbols (Confederate battle flag). The real question is, will external economic (and media) pressure go beyond symbolic to practical anti-racism changes.
    The young activists have a serious role in keeping protests and alt-media (aka Twitter, etc) active enough so that the mainstream media have no choice but to keep reporting.

  • For years I was told that being angry was neither Christian nor ladylike. I was not allowed to get angry, express angry feelings, or act out my anger. In the end, I exploded and nearly killed myself. Anger is an emotion that is particularly human, and yet we seem to be determined to avoid it. Even Jesus had anger and acted on it in the Temple when he attacked the moneylenders. Yet, we ignore this righteous anger (forget indignation because that is too mild), and force ourselves into unnatural reactions because the Christian church has told us to do so.

    They say it is best to forgive and move on, but no forgiveness is genuine unless you can forget the hurt and pain, and I cannot imagine that any family member or survivor of Dylan Roof’s killing spree can forget. And they should not forget, because when they forget, White Supremacy wins. When I read about their offering forgiveness, all I could think is this is the same thing as saying “Yes, Massa, its alright to kill us. We won’t fight back.” This is the danger of not accepting and admitting anger – we become the slaves of those who would kill us because they think they can.

    It does not matter if the reasons are race, religion, gender, or ethnicity. When we bottle up our anger and are forced to say words of forgiveness against those who have harmed us to appease some politically or religiously correct demand, we are denying our human right to have any emotion at all. These families should be screaming at the top of their lungs for justice, for a real solution to these kinds of horrific beliefs and actions by people like Dylan Roof. Forgiveness can come with time, but first they must be allowed their anger and justifiable rage at the horrors of White Supremacy and racism in general. When their religion demands forgiveness in the face of such horror, then their religion does not serve either them or God well.

    The Lord’s Prayer asks us to forgive others as God forgives us, but God does not forgive murderers, and neither should we. The fifth Commandment is “Thou shalt not kill”, and in the lessons I teach, murder is one of five deadly sins identified by God. God says that people who commit such an act will banished from His Presence into the void that existed before time and will not be redeemed or saved. Why should we expect people to forgive Dylan Roof for murdering their family members, when even God will not do so in cases such as this one? Anger should be the proper response, and if you want righteous justice, then demand that White Supremacy groups and their followers be deemed terrorists against our nation and its people, not demand forgiveness from the victims.

  • Duck

    The grieving process is a normal human reaction and yes, anger is often a part of it especially in cases of senseless violence, it allows people to express their frustrations and to comfort one another. ‘Evangelical’ Christianity in particular teaches “forgive your enemies” and the grieving process is skipped: the victims are never truly mourned because everyone is so caught up with forgiving the offender. The injustice is swept under the carpet and the offender is not made to atone for his actions. It’s really a travesty because it’s the opposite of justice. Thankfully the law has their heads on straight and are not conflicted, arresting Dylann Roof for murder.

  • Duck

    Evangelical Christians think exactly the same way whether they’re black or white. Their religion teaches them that they must forgive their enemies. And it’s not like the law turned a blind eye, they quickly arrested Dylann Roof for murder. The real heart of the problem is with unbalanced religious teachings.

  • GregAbdul

    Duck that is simply not true. If a black man walks into a church and shoots whites, there will be no court gathering to forgive the shooter. The jails are full of blacks…sentenced to prison by white people. They teach blacks to turn the other cheek……and they mass jail and conduct wars the second any white person’s interests is wronged.

  • GregAbdul

    Ma’am you are decent, but you are leaving out a simple principle. This is not complicated. Even murder God forgives. Moses was a murderer. We must REPENT…in order to be reconciled to God. Those blacks rushing into that courtroom to forgive that white boy before he uttered one apology were practicing slave religion. Their duty and our duty, even if the Roof is to be put to death, is to get him to say he is sorry. That is the Christian thing to be done at this point. (note: I am a Muslim and it is a Muslim’s duty as well).

  • Burnt Orange

    Why is Zimmerman always lumped in with the Roof’s of the world and other racists. He was many things and might have even been guilty of a panicked reaction to a physical confrontation where he was getting his a*s beat. Nothing in his background or activities suggested he was racially motivated when he shot young Martin.
    Political movements and protests seem to need demons and straw men to attack whether appropriate or not.

  • Jim Reed

    Zimmerman was stalking young Martin.

  • seashell

    Whoa – wait a minute. Real Clear Religion is part of the Real Clear Politics group, which was started by 2 guys from Chicago around the year 2000. They are mostly aggregators of (usually) conservative news and opinion stories from around the US/world, and yes, they do edit the headlines. They are also one of the larger, more well-known polling organizations and their polls are usually used when doing averages by legitimate pollsters. While I’m not a fan, of their politics or anything else, they aren’t associated with the fringes like Christian Identity or the Aryan Nations.

  • MightyMouse

    Great article

  • seashell

    Sort of off topic, but the total irony of Roof wanting to start a war between the races by killing members of a black church only to have a load of forgiveness piled on him instead, highlights the insanity of white supremacy thought. They arm themselves against the coming race war started by ‘howling black mobs’ that exist only in their imaginations. Then along comes the legally armed tool who decides to start it himself. The supremacists are armed, alright, but not with facts or reality.

  • 4 WIW

    Dear Greg, that is a mighty wide brush your are painting all whites with. What about the Amish folk who forgave the mass murderer of their precious children? One cannot predict how a person or group will respond to such a heinous crime as Roof committed. I praise God for the hearts of the Charleston church members who offered Roof forgiveness. They are the most powerful role models of God’s love and forgiveness I have seen in a long time.

  • GregAbdul

    I never said all whites. Dr. King had many white allies…but if you are sitting here cheering the forgiving, foot-shuffling, head-bowed blacks who rushed into that courtroom to forgive that hateful white boy…you are practicing modern subtle white racism. You are encouraging a special brand of religion meant to keep blacks submissive and loving in the face of 400 years of open white hostility that is NEVER practiced in white American churches….and for me, I am not on of those weak minded brainwashed black people who lick your butt after the slaughter.

  • Duck

    I have no idea how you managed to skew the topic to “if a black man walks into a church…”, which has nothing to do with what I was saying. You must not be familiar with Evangelicals or you would know that black or white, they all believe that God requires a carte blanche forgiveness of any crime no matter how heinous.

  • phatkhat

    There was an interesting piece on NPR yesterday – Fresh Air – with Adam Benforado about his book Unfair on the American justice system. He says even with GOOD intentions, it goes terribly wrong. Then you have people like that DA in Shreveport…

    It’s a mess. I wish there were easy answers, but there aren’t.

  • phatkhat

    I’d be interested in knowing why you think the author is defending “slave religion”. I got exactly the opposite from the essay. That there is a need for righteous anger before forgiveness.

    I think this is, as the author notes, something of a generational thing, as well. The older black people who lived with Jim Crow are different from the younger ones, because they learned to be “in their place” as was a matter of survival. They were/are much more resigned to inequality, and possibly more forgiving.

  • phatkhat

    As the author pointed out, the anger is good. But so is forgiveness. To stay angry forever is not constructive, any more than to forgive too soon.

  • phatkhat

    I always note that those who espouse the cause of “white supremacy” always seem to be abject losers. If all they have to be proud of is their color, they are pretty screwed up, indeed. All the rebel flag wavers around here are driving beat up pickups and are missing half their teeth. Definitely the cream of the crop, LOL.

  • phatkhat

    I certainly hope they do not put him to death. I hope they do not martyr him, because that is probably just what he hopes for. I agree with Elizabeth Warren about not making a martyr of the Boston bomber, either. (Paul Hill was executed, and his followers have glorified him, and view him as a martyr, not the murderer he was.)

  • Burnt Orange

    The facts of the incident are public knowledge. Zimmerman was on the Community Watch. You choose the word stalking since your view of this is your own. He saw the individual called the Police and lost sight of him and was looking to see where he went against the advice of a 911 operator.

    The word “stalking” has a sinister negative connotation but as I said you have your side and opinion and choose your words to support it. Different then the jury that heard the case. How does Roof and Zimmerman even belong in the same sentence? But when everyone is a racist then the lens of reality is distorted to fit the politics of the observer.

  • Jim Reed

    He was following him, with a gun. He called 911 and they told him to back off, but Zimmerman wanted to continue to stalk and intimidate until the prey got scared and confronted him. Then Zimmerman stood his ground.

  • Veritas

    The Amish forgave their school shooter several years ago, through the pain. They are slaves to no one. You are advocating being a slave to anger and revenge. That is true slavery, for there is no escape

  • Veritas

    Defending oneself or ones country is a question hear. The families have no one to defend themselves from. The murderer is in jail and the legal system will serve Justice.
    Forgiveness does not require forgetting about Justice, none of the families asked for leniency and release, they chose to leave their anger and thoughts of revenge in the hands of God and to trust in the legal system
    Justice does not require anger and hatred, just a sense of right and wrong, and persistence. Revenge is not Justice, it can be its enemy
    How is this racism? Just because you own a hammer, does not make anything a nail.

  • Duck

    I’m a guest so I can’t vote but excellent response.

  • steve

    Was Jesus practicing “slave religion” when he forgave his killers from the cross? Was Stephen, the first Christian martyr, practicing “slave religion” when he cried out, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin”? Repentance is indeed required for the offender to RECEIVE forgiveness. It is not required for the offended to GIVE forgiveness.

  • cken

    Anger can be motivating and can occasionally motivate you to do something positive, but more often than not acting in anger or on anger leads to undesirable consequences. Love and forgiveness do not. furthermore love is a positive motivating factor. I would reference MLK and Gandhi which I would juxtapose to the looting and violence acting in anger caused in Ferguson and Baltimore. Love is not always passive but anger almost always leads to violence.

  • John Kane

    One can simultaneously forgive the wrongs done and also want future wrongs to be prevented.

    The article unintentionally reveals one of the basic problems of Christianity: it can be turned and twisted to mean just about anything.

    Anger is a destructive emotion. Nothing good ever comes from wanting to create an image of evil and portray other human beings as inherently evil.

    There is no obligation or duty to forgive. But understanding human ignorance as a force in history and that people are turned and twisted by those forces leads one to forgive those who cannot rise above their conditioning.

    There is no such thing as a “theology of anger.”

  • Burnt Orange

    “Now we know Zimmerman is a hot head and a troublemaker” I agree and would castigate him on those grounds. Calling him a racist and comparing him to Roof has little bases in fact. Is every white on black confrontation a race based issue?

    Florida put its’ best persecutors (that is right) on the case and turned over every stone and could not come up with a racial motive. But every P.C. liberal in the country insists on their own reality.

  • Jim Reed

    I thought the guns in church issue was resolved a few years ago. It is up to the churches. Conservative churches can allow guns, and liberal churches can keep them out.

  • Jim Reed

    Zimmerman was stalking him because of how he looked. It was either his color, or what he was wearing.

  • Burnt Orange

    Jim the facts are he was the head of some type of neighborhood watch group. There had been burglaries recently. Mr. Martin was cutting through behind some of the buildings NOT on the regular sidewalks.
    Maybe his assumptions were reasonable but were wrong. Martins attack was really unprovoked and way beyond reasonable.

    Just ask the guy “why you following me?” Zimmerman tells him and he says he is visiting his uncle at whatever address and it is the end of story.
    Jumping on the guy and beating him are the actions of — well not a reasonable person. If Zimmerman did not have a gun can you speculate how things would have turned out different? Was Martin overly aggressive and reasonable.

  • GregAbdul

    white Americans practice subtle racism and a key element of their modern racism is the maintenance of slave religion. Jesus never called himself a Christian and he never told anyone to worship him. Don’t blame Jesus for America’s ongoing genocide against black people.

  • GregAbdul

    Phat I have explained in an exact way. Why are you pretending I have not? Why are we debating the right of someone to be angry after a racist walks in on them while they are praying and shoots them to death? The debate, the very raising of the question is racist and a defense of the idea that blacks are supposed to love being abused and treated like animals by white people. If blacks are human beings, then we don’t need special religious mandates that question our right to be angry at white mass murderers. Whites have no such debates. I have said this already. Do I need to say it again?

  • GregAbdul

    “the families have no one to defend themselves from”

    ????

    This is classic white racist denial. Nine people dead…and they have nothing to defend themselves from?

  • Jim Reed

    Zimmerman is following Martin in his car. Martin leaves the sidewalk, and Zimmerman gets out of the car, with his gun, and follows on foot. Neighborhood watch is dangerous work, especially when the authorities tell him to back off, but he has the bad guy in his sights and decides to continue pursuit.

  • phatkhat

    NO one, least of all the author, is saying that anger is wrong. I am certainly not saying it, because when I heard the news, I was angry. I am angry at the church burnings, too, and have donated to help rebuild, even though I’m an atheist.

    But forgiveness is not wrong, either. Did the families come forward in an effort to calm troubled waters? Did they do it because of Christian conviction? Did they do it because they were simply better people than the shooter? Did they do it because it helped them through their grief? A combination? All of the above? None of the above?

    We cannot know what is/was in their hearts. I don’t think the author claims to. But what he is saying, and what others here have said, is that anger and desire for vengeance, without forgiveness (at some point) and a desire for JUSTICE, will create bitterness and self-destruction.

    You are, I believe, a black Muslim man? And, I suspect, youngish. I am an old atheist white woman who struggles constantly to understand why people are what they are. The fact that we are having this conversation here is a good thing. But perhaps neither one of us is in the best position to parse the reasoning of Christians, either black or white.

    I would also point out that you keep referring to a reverse scenario, where a black mass murderer kills a group of white Christians. Um, that isn’t very likely to ever happen. Almost all mass murderers are white, and, usually, men. So we do not know what the white Christians might do. Though white mass murderers HAVE been forgiven by religious congregations, like the guy who shot up the Unitarian Church in Knoxville a few years ago, and the Amish murders already mentioned. Would the response have been different if the killers were black? Somehow, I doubt it.

    I agree with the black writers talking about “slave religion” here and at other sites. Slaves were converted to a religion that pressed them to accept their situation as a service to God, and not to rebel against their masters, whether the masters were kind or cruel. The whole pie-in-the-sky-when-you-die thing, as opposed to living fully while present on earth. As an atheist, I find that tremendously cruel, since I don’t believe in heaven – or hell. I also don’t subscribe to the religious notion of suffering-as-godly.

    As a white person, I cannot appreciate the difficulty of being black on a daily basis. I have worked in military EO, and I have worked with the NAACP. I’ve marched and protested and picketed and petitioned. But the closest I’ve come to appreciating the lives of my black brothers and sisters were the times when, out with black friends, I have seen the hate directed at them. Or seen incredulity that we could even BE friends.

    As an old person, who spent time in the South during the Jim Crow times, I CAN understand the cultural baggage that old black people have from living it. Staying in one’s place was a matter of survival. I remember how horrified some of the older black people were at the in-your-face actions and rhetoric of the younger ones back in the 60s and 70s. They were too conditioned to understand that it was going to take demands to improve anything. Asking politely was over.

    It saddens – AND angers – me, that after all these years, after all these lives, we don’t seem to be any closer to equality than we were in the heady days of the 60s. Then, it seemed that equality for blacks – and women – were within reach. They still aren’t, even though there has been progress of the one-step forward, two back kind.

    Did you also read “Dylann Roof Was Wrong: The Race War Isn’t Coming, It’s Here” by Willie James Jennings on this site? I didn’t see any of your comments, so maybe you missed it. Another take on this topic.

    Peace, brother. I’m on your side. :o)

  • Burnt Orange

    Well there you have it. Martin the model citizen was gunned down by the white Hispanic racist. If the races were reversed my guess is you could not even look up from your morning coffee. Selective outrage is a political tool — facts and reality are for juries and other racist institutions.

  • Jim Reed

    I am just saying murder should be against the law. The stand your ground adjustments to this are a way to make local political judgments about who should be responsible or not responsible for murder. That is a bad path to follow for a southern state with a long history of racial prejudice.

  • kinggator2

    Hate white people much? Or is feeding the race machine just a way to make a living? Congrats on being a part of the problem.

  • ObscurelyAgnostic

    As an ordained minister of the Good News of God in Jesus Christ, my experience in parish ministry confirms that anger is not something we can trust ourselves to exercise constructively — and I can find no scriptural warrants in the New Testament for even a “righteous” anger …

  • ObscurelyAgnostic

    As a minister I must state that this kind of comment deeply dishonors the intent of the families of the Charleston Martyrs in forgiving Dylann Roof.

  • ObscurelyAgnostic

    As mature Christians understand and practice it, forgiveness by no means excludes earthly justice and personal accountability — our prisons are rightly full of forgiven sinners …

  • Burnt Orange

    Good point — I agree!

  • ObscurelyAgnostic

    But isn’t forgiveness as much for the good of the forgiver as it is for the forgiven? As a minister I preach and teach that any forgiveness we offer under duress, or only to meet the expectations of others, isn’t Christian forgiveness …

  • ObscurelyAgnostic

    Brother Joshua, I’m an ordained minister practicing in a small Southern town. I think your post makes some important prophetic points, but I want to ask in a larger context if the forgiveness offered by the families of the Holy Martyrs of Charleston isn’t their way of proclaiming to a watching world that there are no black Christians, but only disciples of the Risen Lord?

  • Cannot grieving and forgiveness coincide? The idea behind both is to avoid hanging onto hidden emotions and carry them into the future. Forgiveness may benefit the forgiven, but far more the forgiver.

  • What if he won’t say it, or his statements are insincere? Take care of yourself first, then handle the peanut gallery.

  • Christianity is a slave relgion and Islam is a free one. Except for women, of course.

  • There is a story about Budda walking along with his retinue, talking his stuff. A man angered by his words rushed up to him and spat in his face. Others in his group grabbed him angrily, but Buddha laughed, wiped his face, and thanked the man, saying “I was wondering if I had any anger left”.
    Life, emotions, experience are different for each person. You want to be angry because it churns the butter for you. Others have moved past the point where hanging on to anger is useful. If you want to see injustce, look at the quadrillions snuffed out in galactic collisions, or simply because they lived and now must die.
    I suspect the God of Islam is behind all of that, since he allows it to happen. What do you think?

  • phatkhat

    I said nothing about the murdered people here. Or their families. I was commenting on white supremacists. Most of them ARE losers – in some way or another.

    Please explain how you think my comment in any way dishonors the slain or their families? I have the utmost respect for them, and they have my deepest condolences.

  • ObscurelyAgnostic

    What I meant was that as a part of their mature Christian faith, both the Martyrs and their families would abhor and reject any dismissive generalizations of human beings based on race, class or number of teeth — please note I’ve edited my comment to reflect your lack of intention to dishonor the families …

  • GregAbdul

    then whites Christians, who commonly practice mass incarceration and foreign wars at the drop of a hat are not “disciples of the risen Lord.” If white Americans are real Christians, then white Christianity teaches blacks to be subhumans who like the hand that kills them…and you are just another subtle racist here clapping at your work.

  • GregAbdul

    men oppress women all over the world and certainly in America. You would have to know what Islam actually teaches for you to talk to me about the rights of women in Islam. As an ex Christian, I know all about whites manipulating Christianity and forcing a sick theology on blacks in the slave quarters and teaching blacks that we are created so whites have a people to abuse…and the abuse continues today and today is defended by people like you, who believe your skin gives you divine status and no need to actually learn anything beyond white privilege.

  • GregAbdul

    Phat a debate means there is something to be decided…as in two sides…Hmmm should blacks be angry that a white man walks in and slaughters them while they pray? The inference is subhuman and never happens when a white person is wronged. Quit pretending. They did it because they are blacks in the deep south practicing slave religion; a special for of Christianity taught to blacks that tells them it’s divine to be abused by white people.

  • GregAbdul

    this response is silly…”galactic collisions…” I want you to quit teachings slave religion and white privilege.

  • It is silly if you don’t want to address the point. Making billboards out of ideas works to sell cars but not so well for individual understanding of place and event. Maybe you should get off the victim trail and seek greater boundaries.

  • The only personal value in being a victim is it allows an identity to help one get on one’s feet to begin to see what happened. After that brief stop one had better start walking. Otherwise forces start stacking up, and what is really going on gets harder to find. The longer the wait, the tougher the climb out.
    Maybe the folks in that Church realize that and you don’t.

  • phatkhat

    Greg, I’m not debating anything. I consider this a conversation. A long overdue one, really. It is good to consider the causes and results of a lot of things, slave religion, white religion, and Evangelical religion as practiced by both blacks and whites.

    I doubt the Rev. Pinckney considered that he was teaching a slave religion, or that it is divine to be abused by white people. I’m sure he taught Christianity. Perhaps his Christianity was a lot closer to the real thing than the Christianity of a lot of “Christians”.

    In the other article on RD that I cited, the author said this: “I am a theologian who struggles to grasp how black folks, century after
    century, can forgive, how we are called on in torturous repetition to
    forgive those who kill us, and we do it. The only way I can fathom this
    grace of forgiveness offered is if the very life of God flows through
    people like these black families. It does.”

    I hate to take this out of context, because there is a lot more, including a call to examine the why of this forgiveness in the light of our social shortcomings. You really should read it if you haven’t.

    But you, in effect, are insisting that these people who handled this in their own way should have handled it in a different way. I do understand where you are coming from, but you need to respect the feelings of those who did the forgiving, as well. We are not all the same, and people of faith do not all interpret scriptures the same way.

    We need BOTH anger and forgiveness – with or without repentance. The forgiveness heals the forgiver more than the forgiven. This is true with or without religion. Jesus forgave his torturers, who were not repentant, and I think these people (better people than I, for sure) are trying to live up to his standards.

    As I said before, a Muslim and an atheist may not be the best analysts to parse the behavior of some very extraordinary Christians.

    MOST people, Greg, are good people who do the best they can. Whatever color, political persuasion, ethnicity, religion, etc. We have set up about 99% of the population of this country to fail. We’ve shipped out jobs and imported cheap tech people. People with graduate degrees are pouring coffee and stocking shelves. A lot of people can’t find work at all.

    So the scapegoating begins. There is money and power in keeping us divided, and they are good at it. People are hateful because they are ignorant and afraid – and a lot of that is cultivated by the media. We should study the history, because we are following a road with a very bad end.

  • phatkhat

    Well, Jesus got angry a time or two…

  • steve

    Congratulations on not actually addressing anything contained in my comment.

  • ObscurelyAgnostic

    We are agreed here — true disciples of Jesus do not “practice mass incarceration and foreign wars at the drop of a hat” …

  • ObscurelyAgnostic

    Apples and oranges?

  • GregAbdul

    if you are the criminal…of course you want a quiet victim. The world is changing and white censors telling blacks to shut up and take it, is working less and less by the day…you need to come to grips with the new reality. America is full of racists and many attend church on Sunday. Don’t ask me to be quiet after 500 years of stealing rape and death at the hands of whites. You quit and then I won’t have anything to complain about. Vicious…and really think you can keep abusing blacks with that “shut up and take it crap.” Sounds like a racist in action if you ask me.

  • GregAbdul

    phat, thank you for having a conversation with me. The good ol’ rev here is debating….about whether blacks should be angry about what happened in SC. The fact that he comes down on the side of saying anger is useful does not rid his argument of its inhuman assumption about black people in relation to whites. There is no article about whether blacks should be angry….that is not an insult to black people as human beings. Can you imagine…someone comes in on your house of worship while your brothers and sisters pray….and gun them down like animals…and we are not here talking about how South Carolina does maintenance on its racist history…we are here debating about whether blacks should be angry. There is an inhuman assumption here. Those who play along with this assumption, this rushing into a courtroom to forgive the boy who did the slaughter…is Slave Religion..it’s not an if…it’s a question of who is enabling and who is calling the enabling out and trying to stop it. Whites do real Christianity. Whites taught blacks Christianity during slavery. The only model blacks have is MLK. MLK led protests and boycotts. Do you see any preachers in South Carolina boycotting or protesting? Teaching blacks to “turn the other cheek…” to white oppression while the same white teachers go all over the world killing by the thousands…the same whites, who taught Pickney’s ancestors to pray to Jesus mass jail blacks on trumped up charges all across the South….They are the real Christians….they represent true Christianity. Don’t sit there making false arguments about submissive blacks being real Christians. Blacks in America spend a lot of time trying to please whites and church is one of the many ways, even though it does not work for most black people. “the very life of any god…” flowing through black people….is blasphemy. God is One. God is not in a person. God is the God of the whole world and He loves Justice and it is not Godly to act like a pig going to slaughter and to love the one doing the slaughter. That is not grace…it’s insanity. When you say respect how they handled it, you mean, be quiet and pretend they weren’t practicing slave religion. I try to stay away from bluster, but we need to call out slave religion today as it happens. This is 2015. The religion taught in the slave quarters as physical and mental control needs to end. It is the biggest plague on black people. I don’t sit here telling black people the fundamental problem of worshiping a man god given to them in the slave quarters. When you sit there telling blacks our job is to forgive no matter what…that is TEXTBOOK slave religion. Have you no shame? I do say, if you are not taking what was given back, fixing it and then and using it today to make a world more free and better for black children…you ain’t gonna like my manners.

  • What I perceive as the best way to moderate one’s life is, first, be secure in one’s personal understanding. Then move as one may with others. Anyone can choose to be a victim. It is easy as pie in a universe where God does not care one whit what happens to you. You aren’t special, black history is not special, and being a victim is not special. Understanding is special, and takes a willingness to step outside the blame box.
    When you really understand what is going on in this place you will see what you are up against. Haters of all sorts make it even tougher, most of all on themelves. Be one of them at your peril

  • GregAbdul

    Mr. Kevin, where we are missing each other is, why are you pretending that blacks are not oppressed in America? When those nuts flew planes into the towers…did anyone need to preach to white America about not whining and being victims? If understanding is special, you need to understand that South Carolina has a long history of extremely racist behavior. Not one or two days of aberrant racist behavior..hundreds of years and it goes on today…now will you be a white racist denier who says “get over it…” as if you have no plans to quit; or will you be like the whites who stood with MLK? But don’t pretend you have some new secret formula for race relations. Either you are a white man who wants the white racism to end and you are willing to admit it and work with blacks…or you are a racist enabler. I don’t have a problem. You have a choice and I pray you choice to stand with MLK.

  • I love MLK and his message. I cried when he was shot because we lost something that day that is not easy to find. A dispassionate soul with passion for freedom, who had vast abilities to influence and unite the souls of man. A person like that comes along a few times in a century, as did Ghandi. Yet in my small way I want us all to be free and we won’t be if we concentrate on being trapped. whatever the race or belief. We are already free, my opinion, and seeing that is the first step towards solving the madness that drives men to kill, to hate, to ignore.
    By the way have you read The Invisilble Man by Ralph Ellison? It may be a bit transcendental but it is the heart and soul of what is really going on with racism and much deeper, in the souls of men. My opinion.

  • GregAbdul

    “dispassionate” ??? MLK died trying to get whites to quit the racism and they have refused and continue it today. King was dispassionate? He died trying to get white America to stop the hate and you call that dispassion? His rarity was that he was willing to speak up and not take white abuse. He is rare because churches today are full of black preachers who run a business of consoling and tricking black people for money as they maintain the status quo (Slave Religion). If someone ties you up and puts a chain around your neck, your argument is that the way you get the binding off is to pretend it’s not there? Really? Sorry…..some of us believe you pay special attention to the binding and concentrate your efforts at removing the binding. That is exactly what Dr. King did. Black people were not free when King was killed and we are not free today. How nice it must be to be white and pretend that everything is fine with black people. Some of us simply do not have that luxury. The key to King’s success were the whites who stood with him at great personal risk. It’s sad that your text here shows you are not like them.

  • GregAbdul

    if he won’t repent, then he goes to the death chamber unforgiven by men or God, as unrepentant killers should.

  • phatkhat

    I don’t think you are wrong, Greg. But I don’t think the families are wrong, either. I think how one responds to this kind of emotional trauma is a very personal thing, and what works for you may not work for them, and vice versa. Add to that the differences in your religion and theirs. They might find yours just as offensive as you find theirs, you know.

    As an atheist, I don’t find any religions attractive. To me, they are ALL slave religions. And, of course, I do NOT believe in original sin, nor do I believe in the total depravity of man. But, to each their own. As long as they don’t try to make others live according to their particular tenets, I respect them and leave them to their beliefs.

    Most murders of black people are by other black people – other than the police killings. Most murders of whites are by other whites. Mostly they are not even noticed by the public. When something like this happens, it is shocking in it’s cold-blooded premeditation. How could Roof have gone and sat there with these people for an hour, talked with them, and then shot them? It’s beyond belief. Well, at least for people with hearts.

    I do disagree that MLK is the only role model, though. What about Nelson Mandela? He was a truly great man. What about Bishop Desmond Tutu? What about Malcolm X? You have an interesting counterpoint between MLK and MalcolmX, really. Two paths to the same goal.

    I have a question for you. Do you think we can ever, to paraphrase Rodney King, “just get along”? What would it take, do you think? MLK had that dream, and perhaps it would have come true had he lived. Perhaps not. I don’t know. It makes me sad that we are all humans with the same basic genome, but let superficial differences like skin color or facial features – or even cultural differences – make us forget our humanity.

  • GregAbdul

    we are not talking about Christianity versus Islam. George Bush is a Christian and the Bush’s and the Saudis are great buds because of all the oil business they have done in the past. When Bush was invading countries and tearing up the world, the Saudis were our allies and there was no protest coming from them. My point is not the basic theological questions and differences of Christianity versus Islam, but of a specifically submissive form of Christianity taught to blacks as mind control during slavery. I was Christian for 40 years. This is not about me not understanding Christianity, but knowing it too well. I keep saying: if being submissive in the face of slaughter and loving the one who kills you is so Christ-like, then ISIS and al Qaeda should be the most loved people in the world by Americans. Clearly white American Christianity does not sing and forgive when confronted by criminals and especially when the criminal is not a fellow white man. If you are an atheist, then you should not spend so much time defending Christian pathology that was invented during the times of American slavery? MLK is the prototypical black American religious model. He protested and boycotted. He did not rush out and forgive the people who wronged him. In America we have religious freedom. You are free to be an atheist. I am free to be a Muslim and the good black folks of South Carolina are free to practice slave religion…and I am free to call a spade a spade. The environments that most blacks live in in America are white creations. The segregation, the substandard housing and educations are not because blacks like our children to go to crumbling schools with old books or that we like living in ghettos and getting substandard wages that are less than whites with criminal records. We don’t like not having access to doctors and dentists like most whites do. In that environment, full of ignorance and poverty, yes most blacks kill other blacks….because every single black person in the world knows, it is death to cause the slightest injury to any white man….and these whites, who we know to NEVER touch…because of massive retaliation without mercy….are Christians who do NOT practice turning the other cheek…that is something they amplified for blacks…to mitigate their repayment when they wrong other blacks and it is meant only for blacks so that we are more perfect victims of white crimes. Why would you defend such a practice?

  • I think that he is suggesting that you step into that freedom which is your birthright. The lack of it based on your skin color is a self perpetuating distraction.

    This is the same advice that he would give to me.

  • dispassionate: not influenced by strong emotion, and so able to be rational and impartial So was Ghandi, despite great provocation

    I also said he had passion. My guess is you didn’t have the proper definition. Where you decide to look, is what you will see. You are free as an individual if you want to take advantage of it. If you want to fight, there lies your freedom, in fighting. Just don’t pretend your side has all the right unless you want to cultivate myopia. That leads to blindness, not freedom.
    I guess you have not read The Invisible Man. Pity.

  • That’s the end of him, (at least as that identity) then, but not you.

  • GregAbdul

    I think I know what dispassionate means. You have problems with simple concepts, like white Christian hypocrisy when it comes to organized anger and violence. When you use passion and dispassionate in the same sentence about the same subject, it is you who’s have problems with the English language, not me. Ghana and King were clearly not practicing the same styles. Most people who think they like india ignore its caste system and endemic poverty that is tied to it.

    King repeatedly went to jail and was shot over what he believed. Was Jesus “dispassionate”? You are confusing a non violent tactic with a lack of passion. Go look at video of Kings last speech the day before he was killed. “I may not get there with you…” This is a man who knows he is about to be assassinated. Yet he resigns himself to his fate and refuses to give up the fight.

    King was VERY passionate. There can be no stronger passion than a willingness to die for your beliefs. Whites love blacks who preach love and non violence because you have this inner fear of dark skin. Whites are violent. Yet you are fine with white American violence and there is no major non violent white American movement. Don’t think there ever has been. When you bring up the Quakers, they are the exception and not the rule among white American Christians.

    You and Mr. Brm below me like docile blacks. Thats what you are really saying. If you are so serious about loving those that slaughter you and dispassion being such a wonderful thing, and you are truly colorblind in this nonsense you talk and not full of hypocrisy, then you should be on a soapbox demanding love, kindness and a non violent treatment of ISIS and al Qaeda…..

    any takers????.

  • I think we should let the Middle East take care of itself. The reason for most of the problems is oil and outside interests, most certainly including the US, arming folks who are involved in a Civil War.
    I also think you have decided your position and so it is easy to accuse anyone who doesn’t take that position of being a racist pig. Actually I just want you better educated and more understanding. If you interpret that as being docile, so be it. I encourage you to be more like Dr. King, who was not a racist, but a leader. I also encourage you to look at that defintion of dispassionate. You don’t get it.
    Young men like to fight and old men who once fought tend to see that fighting is only purposeful when ones own ideas are not the enemy. We are much more easily trapped by ourselves than anyone else.

  • GregAbdul

    that is not extending your argument to white people. You are ducking. There are Arabs and Pakistanis and Indians over there who want to come to the US to kill white Americans. Shouldn’t white Americans follow the black American “model” and love those people and greet them with kindness and love? I did not call you a racist pig. I said you are practicing subtle racism. I say this with humility and love and I ask you to learn about Dr. King. He died with his work unfinished. I ask you to be a white person who continues his fight. Dr. King did not practice slave religion. The whites who supported him did not practice slave religion. Their talk of loving their enemies was effective because they brought action against their enemies. Please don’t duck the bottom line of what I ask you. If this stuff about loving Roof is serious, as you claim, then shouldn’t you LOVE and forgive ISIS and al Qaeda? I am only asking you to be consistent and not “dispassionate passionate.” You want me “better educated,” and you can’t see the racist overtones of you assuming I am an ignorant black person? Why is okay to be a hateful white person? That is the question you need to ask and answer in your heart, instead of playing with me. Guessing my age and my education are not your forte. You are not a psychic and it shows. Please mr. Kevin, drop the racism. Join blacks in our struggle for the American dream…and drop the nonsense that makes you a demigod in any conversation you have with a black person. Today, the majority of Americans under five years of age are NOT white. White children will simply not have the luxury you have of assumed white superiority when they grow up. You need to start making allies now in order to secure a good life for white American children in the future. Look ahead and leave the white privilege behind.

  • I’m talking to you. However if you want to look up my history and go over to the atheist board you’ll note I talk the same way to them. (They don’t like it much either). My message is a one to one operation, not an across the board political solution, which I’m not interested in, mainly because it does not tend to change personal perspective.

    One forgives points in time and space, not large groups of people, and first one forgives oneself for being there in the first place. When something happens in my area I hop on forgiveness quickly, not so much out of love, admittedly, I want to let go to maintain myself. As to love, I’m learning, but am far short of a saint. MLK and Ghandi and St. Francis likely are, and some others. The rest of us do the best we can.

    As to your intellecual bona fides, you ignored the definition of dispassionate and brushed off one of the genius works of my experience, anyway, written by an African American who lived that life. Your unaltering perspective is thee and me whereas existence is not black and white, it is mostly gray or invisible when one truly sees it.

    My reaction to you comes from your stridency and insistence that the only reality is white racism and black victimization. That is a reality, but a far far greater one is your personal freedom. Without that all the rest is dust. Good luck!

  • GregAbdul

    I am so confused…why are white atheists coming to religious websites to defend white racist Christianity? Can you tell me where in the atheist’s creed you are supposed to defend slave religion? Your atheism needs work. If you don’t believing in God, then the idea of forgiving someone who wrongs you is strictly a legal matter and forgiving such a person for spiritual benefit certainly is not in the realm for an atheist to teach anyone. So you are claiming one thing and defending another. Your bottom line is to defend white privilege and slave religion. Saying you are an atheist puts a dishonest spin on your entire argument. I have wasted a lot of time with you. May God guide you. You should be more honest. Bury your name and talk. The internet has given us a space to be real and not pretend. You are not simply not rising to the modern forum and you are tricking no one. Insisting on white innocence and a white right to rape, rob and kill black people is not the path to peace. It is sad you really don’t like Martin Luther King. Your kind killed him and you are here defending those who kill black people in the name of “Christian forgiveness.” America will one day have no longer have a white majority and the upheaval that will bring seems to be the only remedy for people like you. It’s sad…bye bye.

  • JeriCBridges

    khjiufghj

  • JeriCBridges

    yguytujyu

  • GregAbdul

    “there is one than one way to hear, “If you go to the atheist’s board, I tell them the same thing.” Generally I avoid Christian and especially atheist’s boards, because I am not one. I am hearing him. He’s a racist white man subtly defending white privilege. You don’t know what the main white argument against MLK was? GROUP RIGHTS. He is making the same exact argument here. He stands against MLK and lies about it. MLK fought for the rights of an entire category of people and expanded that category after 65 to include poor people in general. “Negro” was the common term back then. King, like most blacks back then, generally accepted the term, he did NOT accept white hate as something that blacks should accept and “just get over it.” Please sir, your problem…and his problem, is that you think you nee to teach me….you need to quit siding with racist whites. You need to acknowledge and abandon slave religion. You and he show how Christianity reinforces prejudice. The most toxic lying form of religion there is when it comes to blacks and all you can do it talk to me about how ignorant I am and you need to teach me…”master’s jesus.” Whites like you nee to learn some shame and I don’t have a link to send you to so you can get some.

  • People avoid viewpoints because they don’t want to be influenced by them. You want to see things the way you see them. It makes for a nice simple world where you can be right and others can be wrong and that’s that. Yet we all need instruction if we want to grow. Or one goes into deep mediation to see through the veil. Or, has another kind of experience but all of it means one sees more. Your dismissal of The Invisible Man tells me you are content to use emotion to control your reasoning. Brilliance, even by one of your own race means nothing to you. You are in for a tough slog. Good luck.

  • GregAbdul

    you make for a nice simple world. When do you drop the white racist thinking? Why won’t you stand with Dr. King? If you are not being a white racist hypocrite, when do you tell me how you love and forgive Bin Laden and al Qaeda and the Taliban? You are trying to teach me about the virtues of forgiveness without mentioning Christianity. That is where you confused me. I am busy and not editing these remarks. Please do not misunderstand me. I am not angry as in hate. I am sad angry that you love your skin and your white privilege more than you love Dr. King. MLK Day is a black only holiday and people like you are the reason why. There is systematic broad, white spread hate against blacks in America. Slave religion is a pillar of America white racism. The greatest tell of a white in love with racist theology is when you see a black person and you start with your turn the other cheek lie. White America NEVER turns the other cheek. As long as I see you refusing to forgive those who want to slaughter whites, I am not the Negro fool who will forgive whites for 500 years of mistreatment of blacks in America. I have white allies. I have asked you several times to please be my ally. You can’t because blacks are beneath you. Not angry angry…sad angry at how whites like you can’t let go of using slave religion and keeping black people in physical and mental cages. I stand with Dr. King…waiting on you to quit the racist talk. A collective holocaust has been visited on black America courtesy of white America…when do quit with the white denial?

  • GregAbdul

    I am still waiting on you for you to tell me how you forgive Osama Bin Laden….until then…everything you say is white hypocrite racist theology.

  • I’m satisfied we are at an end in this discussion.

  • As far as I can tell, you have a “one-size-fits-all” reaction to any caucasian. This is the essence of “racisim”.

    I used the term “negro” in a different sense than the way you took it.

    So my meaning has been obliterated. In exactly the same way that you ran-off-the-rails in your last response to Kevin Osborne.

    At this point I’m pretty sure that you are hard-wired for this response, and incapable of even imagining that he, I or any “white” you interact with, are not as you have portrayed us.

    I wish that Martin were here to set you straight. The world that we are all creating together would be better for it.

  • GregAbdul

    I have white friends…(like you white say “I have a black friend”?) Negro has a historical usage and a modern one. If you are speaking about blacks in the 50s, they saw themselves as Negroes and so did all major media outlets. The term did not fall out of favor until after Malcolm’s assassination in 65.

    Why are ducking? That is the only question. You guys are so cryptic, but your vagueness is an obvious dodge. I am only asking you to apply the same rules to your white selves that you are trying to explain to me. My insistence is simple. If you think those blacks who rushed in to forgive that white boy who slaughtered them was the right thing, then you should be rushing to forgive the Arab and that Pakistani terrorists who kill white Americans…..and you KNOW…you will NEVER do such a thing.

    So really you assume I have a stupidity so deep that somehow I can’t see your huge racial hypocrisy. I should love whites who slaughter rape and torture black people, but the non white who steps on your toe, faces massive retaliation…because you are white….and your life and property have value??? Like Judge Taney said back in the day:

    “The negro has no rights which the white man is bound to respect”

    It amazes me how MLK fought for me. I ask you to fight for me. You refuse and then try to cite MLK…..one of us certainly is not very bright. I am a black man and no one assumes my intelligence no matter the stupid thing I say, so I don’t think it’s me.

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    there are some people that if they don’t know you can’t tell them ~
    Louie Armstrong

  • Greg, I want to be done with this because the miscommunication thing is too painful.

    To maybe help sort it out though, I will try to show you what I meant with my previous statement.

    When I said:

    “As for my understanding of Martin Luther King, it would be that he did not accept the role of a “negro” and helped others to do the same.”

    This quotation of Judge Taney’s that you provided, is what I meant that the Rev. King did not accept.

    “The negro has no rights which the white man is bound to respect”

    If you want to continue demonizing your friends, I can’t stop you. But it is not the solution to race relations.

    So much of the problem is unconscious, so the less of THAT on all of our parts, the better.

  • GregAbdul

    painful is being black in Mississippi with a sick child and not being able to take your child or elderly parent to the doctor because of unending white hate. Liberal whites, who stand with the inheritors of Dr. King are my friends, as well as the whites who I meet who are practicing Muslims. I will not be friends with whites who claim Dr. King as a lie. There is real black suffering. The only miscomunication is where we started. I, nor any other black person is under any obligation and especially a Christian one to forgive roof or any white person that means us harm. In the last year or so, race relations in America have made progress….because white policemen shot black boys and that forced the federal government to investigate and expose racist policing in communities of color, combined with a few white racist GOP types who have begun to see there is not enough money in the world to pay for their love of incarcerating black boys.

    I don’t “demonize my friends…” I point out white racist enablers. I said from my beginning here that talk of whether blacks should be about forgiveness with whites is an insult to my humanity. You have tried to defend racist denier mr. kevin in this. This…is how we are “not friends.” White racism kills my family, causes us suffering and stands in the way of my children’s future. Don’t ask me to love you and forgive you for it. Help me stop it and that makes us fellow warriors. On the national level, blacks at over a 90% clip are going to be with Hillary, just like we are with Barack. On the state level, stand aganst the racist idea of “charter schools” which are simply private schools funded with public money, used as a way to steal money from the schools that serve black children. On the local level, stand with us, as we fight the segregated housing and public services…

    Please please…stand with…I have an education. Stand with me against slave religion. Don’t seek out self hating blacks and try to tell me about how that’s model behavior. If you “like and respect me” then don’t play me for a dumb black person, who you get to tell what to like. If I am wrong, it’s simple. Tell me how you love and forgive Bin Laden. If am I right, stand with me and really and truly be my friend. You are running out of blacks that can be easily tricked.

  • GregAbdul

    Judge Taney’s use of the word Negro in his place in time is exactly and correctly understood to mean every single black person in America and every person then and now understands it as such. His quote shows that the special forgiveness that black America is supposed to have for white America is primary element of white American racism…as the white man refuses to respect blacks, Pretend-nice whites come to us and start in with how we need to forgive those who for 500 years have been relentless and shown no repentance. The issue is not the word, but the insistence that I love hateful whites….coming from a white man.

  • Who is telling you that you need to forgive anybody.

    Not me or Kevin Osborne.

    That is Christians practicing Christianity. I’m not getting in between them and God or their religion.

    This little exercise is about your deficiencies as a truth teller. That by the way is what Kevin was referring to as regards his (and my) experience on the atheist sites.

    I am going now and will “forgive you” for the sake of the overall cause. I’m counting on anybody reading your comments to be able to discern what is going on here.

  • GregAbdul

    Mr white sir…why lie on me? “my deficiencies as a truth teller????

    Malcolm would say…Make it plain. If i am lying say so. To lie on me makes you the liar. This disrespect you have for black people…can you tell me exactly when it began? This is the question we ask 50 years after MLK. How do white do maintenance to keep the racism going long after Dr. King is dead.

    Tell me EXACTLY where I lie…or please tell me your earliest memories of not respecting black people. I am an ex-Christian and it is amazing how you whites duck a basic question. Now it’s “their religion…” as if you are not raised by Christians and living in a Christian world.

    Please be decent towards me. I know I am openly showing I am not white (bad habit), but be you and be open and honest for once. Show me the exact lie I tell, or explain why you feel compelled to call me a liar.

    If you called me a racist, I would have to ponder (and then say I am not), but liar? Shows you do not respect me…and all you know is that i am black.
    Waiting for you to set me straight…or explain your crooked..and crickets only chirpping mean you are a white liar.

  • A person can not really tell truth if they are victims of their own fears and assumptions.

    Start with this presumption that you are not a racist.

    Then start with the presumption that because I am probably white (based on my picture) then I must have certain attitudes about you because you have told me that you are black.

    Then evaluate just how you have not understood things as I intended for them to be understood, but went ahead and fitted them into your agenda anyway. No need to worry whether you were portraying me or Kevin Osborne accurately. (It is the internet anyway, so who cares? Right?)

    Then study on why the conversation that you and I are having is about race rather than our common humanity. Study on just what Marting Luther King really emphasized in the wisdom of his leadership, and how what you are doing in this conversation compares to that.

    You have a need right now to find an outlet for a very justified anger. That anger is only good up to the point where it motivates you to seek justice. It is not a sustainable end. It is itself the death of justice.

    There is a culpability on your own part here to address. A real truth teller would start there.

  • GregAbdul

    I am a liar because I say I am not a racist? And you make this claim with what evidence to show I am a racist? Your second claim is “I don’t understand” (which is true white racism), yet not understanding makes me a stupid or an ignorant black person.

    Lying is willful prevarication or deliberate falsehood. You are accusing me of having a bad mind, which is not lying, yet your poor use of words show it is you who have problems clearly communicating basic ideas. The conversation this article is about…is about a white boy who walks into a church and slaughters blacks and how whites like you think we should all hug and kiss afterwards…because that is what blacks are supposed to be as we take ongoing abuse from whites.

    I hug and kiss whites….who reject that it is okay to abuse black people and who seek to relieve the suffering black people catch in America and I do NOT play along with subtle racism. Martin Luther King protested and fought racst whites, begging you to quit the racist ways of seeing blacks as less than human beings. Yet here you are, calling me a liar and then proceeding to fail in an obvious way to show one lie I have spoken.

    And me being a racist? Your white self can’t dictate to me what I should think. For me, you can show me logically…but you can’t. You came to the defense of a white racist game and when you are called on it, you go from calling me a maybe term and supporting it, to a definite derogatory with absolutely NO fact to back you up.

    Sir…mr white sir…the white racist GOP is on the ropes and going down. America will soon not be a white man’s country anymore. All you got is empty attacks that show you are a liar. I have responded EXACTLY to what you wrote. I am addressing this article and you refuse to address this article as you brain fart and meander to all sorts of things that are not the subject here.

    You don’t have to apologize. Whites like you never do. Just when you hit the sack tonight, know that my kind is increasing and yours is decreasing and short of a nuclear war (your neocons dream) this nonsense you live is at an end and MLK’s day is coming!

    peace!

  • GregAbdul

    I am a liar because I say I am not a racist? And you make this claim with what evidence to show I am a racist? Your second claim is “I don’t understand” (which is true white racism), yet not understanding makes me a stupid or an ignorant black person.

    Lying is willful prevarication or deliberate falsehood. You are accusing me of having a bad mind, which is not lying, yet your poor use of words show it is you who have problems clearly communicating basic ideas. The conversation this article is about…is about a white boy who walks into a church and slaughters blacks and how whites like you think we should all hug and kiss afterwards…because that is what blacks are supposed to be as we take ongoing abuse from whites.

    I hug and kiss whites….who reject that it is okay to abuse black people and who seek to relieve the suffering black people catch in America and I do NOT play along with subtle racism. Martin Luther King protested and fought racst whites, begging you to quit the racist ways of seeing blacks as less than human beings. Yet here you are, calling me a liar and then proceeding to fail in an obvious way to show one lie I have spoken.

    And me being a racist? Your white self can’t dictate to me what I should think. For me, you can show me logically…but you can’t. You came to the defense of a white racist game and when you are called on it, you go from calling me a maybe term and supporting it, to a definite derogatory with absolutely NO fact to back you up.

    Sir…mr white sir…the white racist GOP is on the ropes and going down. America will soon not be a white man’s country anymore. All you got is empty attacks that show you are a liar. I have responded EXACTLY to what you wrote. I am addressing this article and you refuse to address this article as you brain fart and meander to all sorts of things that are not the subject here.

    You don’t have to apologize. Whites like you never do. Just when you hit the sack tonight, know that my kind is increasing and yours is decreasing and short of a nuclear war (your neocons dream) this nonsense you live is at an end and MLK’s day is coming!

    peace!

  • GregAbdul

    Mr. Kev is a straight out modern racist…”our common humanity” begins with you stepping off from enabling white racists.

  • I rest my case, but also now realize I am not talking to an adult. You sound like some 12 year old black kid from the suburbs pretending to be Malcom X. All juiced up by the current collective rage.

    I figure that I’ve been around a lot longer and seen a lot more than you. Was here for that binge of assassinations in the 60’s. called the assholes out about Vietnam. Watched the idiots build their nuclear arsenals. Went to Washington about it several times.

    I learned about Tuskegee and Jim Crow, George Wallace, the Detroit and Harlem riots in real time. Born shortly after the Nazis holocaust and witnessing South African and Israeli apartheid. The killing fields of Cambodia. The despair of the beautiful Mexican people as their country turns into a narco state. Overrun by murderous drug cartels making their evil fortunes off our our collective stupidity.

    People like me don’t have the luxury of one enemy to fixate on. We have to figure human beings out. Try to find the wisdom to make what we can better.

    So stop being such a little shit or I’ll tell you mother.

  • GregAbdul

    why aren’t you addressing this issue? you keep talking in circles…now you are giving me world history for the last 70 years. There are so many issues in the world…and that is why you refuse to stand with black people to continue Dr. Kings fight? …

    And when I point out to you that you are just another white man who abandoned blacks after Nixon and Reagan your response is to call me “a liar” and now you are cursing….but never do you say, whites oppress blacks in America today and that you stand with liberal white democrats in ending it.

    Is your relectance really about “all the problems in the world???

    Or instead just maybe the real reason for your dancing around black suffering in America is tied to the simple fact that you are a white man who enjoys white privilege?

  • “…and that is why you refuse to stand with black people to continue Dr. Kings fight? …”

    Nothing that I have said should have given you this impression. In fact just the opposite.

  • David Nelsen

    The gun was holstered. He fired it when pinned to the ground and being beaten. Stand your ground didn’t matter in that case, it was self defense. The stand your ground law was hyped by the media, but not used as part of his defense.

    Note Martin back tracked and assaulted Zimmerman when he was on his way back to his car.