Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Fixing the Police Problem (PART ONE)

Ok, let’s start with a statement that will piss off the extreme right and left for different reasons. We need police officers, point blank period. In any society there are criminals and there is crime; and part of the social compact is that the state is suppose to use its resources to collectively protect the community. Communities are made of laws and therefore someone has to do the job of enforcing those laws. Let’s also understand that there is always a bit of push-back against any organization that is built to enforce the law, even cops don’t like Internal Affairs, that is another part of the social compact,  rule enforcers have to understand that the job they are doing is going to enamor a certain amount of animosity. So PROBLEM #1, as a society we need cops, and some of us are not going to like cops. There is a natural disposition to be resentful towards those chosen or who choose to enforce rules, and rather than anticipate that issue and implement policies to solve for it, many politicians enact policies that make that divide even more pronounced. 

An even bigger problem happens when the cops start to hate the people they are supposed to protect. When the shepherd hates the sheep there is a lot of damage he can do, much more in fact than if the sheep are annoyed with the shepherd. When the shepherd starts to hate and abuse the sheep he not only destroys the social compact, but he endangers the community. If the community cannot trust those entrusted, paid and bound by oath to protect it, the community has no choice but to start to unravel.Which leads us to our next problem. 

PROBLEM #2 It is natural for us to start to hate our jobs.
I used to work in a movie theater, and it was one of my favorite jobs of all time. I loved getting to watch free movies, taking my girlfriend to free movies, discounts on concession, free concession, early showings, it was awesome. But after a while, I started to hate everything about the job. Popcorn, I HATED POPCORN! I made so much of it; I started to despise the smell. And the customers, OH GOD THE CUSTOMERS! They started getting on my nerves too. Asking silly questions, their bad-mannered kids, the messes they made, it all got to be annoying even though I loved the job and the perks.

I think most people can relate to this, starting to become annoyed by your job and even starting to despise the base of people you are supposed to serve. The difference with most professions is that they do not have the ability to end the life of their constituents. Now part of this distain of the society they are supposed to protect is a natural progression of any high risk, high stress, low paying job. But some of it mutates into something much darker, much more insidious, and when you mix that with social inequities, racism, economic depression, you have a volatile mixture. Some of you are thinking right now that there is no way cops feel like that. Go to any online police officer message board and you will see this is exactly how some of them feel.

While this is in no means a general indictment of all officers, it is an indictment of those who have no business wearing the badge. And there are way too many of those out there right now and they are being protected by unions, politicians and fellow officers. PROBLEM #3 Bad officers are a plague on society.  In my opinion good policing is so important that bad police officers pose a national security risk. By their actions they erode the very trust that a citizen is supposed to feel towards law enforcement, making the job of good officers harder and more dangerous. Many of the places that could use a better, more efficient police presence are often victimized by both criminals and officers who often act no better than criminals. Often the reason these communities are then unable to differentiate is because the big blue wall created by police lumps all officers together. When horrible people put on the badge and uniform and commit atrocities and are not instantly denounced it, causes communities to feel that all officers are to blame for the actions of a few. Because when the many do not speak up their silence is seen as assent. If police officers want to change hearts and minds they must begin to make CLEAR lines of distinction between the criminal sociopaths who hide their pathology behind their badges, and those officers who genuinely want to make a difference in their communities.

 PROBLEM #4 Politicians have made the job of policing impossibly hard. You have local governments that are bleeding money. In an attempt to appease the 1%, many state governments have lowered the amount of funding they give to municipalities and they simultaneously have lowered taxes. Well, things get done with taxes and to supplement that lost income many municipalities have started engaging their police departments in revenue building law enforcement policies. Instead of using the police to stop crime and protect the community they are using police to generate funding for the city. In many communities, city officials have made police officers bill collectors with badges a militarized local taxing agency.  This is what the DOJ said happened for the better part of a decade in Ferguson. The police department had been turned into bill collectors with guns. At one point 75% of the people of Ferguson had warrants (for low level misdemeanors like parking tickets and noise violations).

When you are engaging in that type of petty, revenue building enforcement, instead of actually utilizing the police to stop crime, you make the people lose faith in their shepherds. In fact, it gets to the point when their Shepherds are seen as another form of wolf. A predator sent to attack and oppress the community. The police become resentful because they are being set against the very community they are supposed to protect and serve. The community becomes resentful because they feel they are being betrayed by its protectors. You have the perfect storm that just needs one spark. And instead of addressing these problems, politicians often double down and exasperate the issues even further.  

These are the problems, in the next post, I will delve into solutions. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Why I'm no longer accepting "white ignorance" as an excuse.

At a certain point we need to stop having these infantile conversations about the debate around the word NIGGER/NIGGA/NIGGAH(s)(z).

Every time something comes up where a white person says it, there is this life-cycle
that occurs, you could set your watch by it.
1.    Outrage
2.    Swift reaction
3.    Public shaming and distancing
4.    Then the inevitable blaming of hip-hop/black culture.

Recently both Morning Joe and Rush Limbaugh were outraged at the double standard. Rush said something to the effect of "If Kanye West had made the SAE chant it's be a top hit" and Morning Joe said the SAE members were confused by listening to hip-hop (even though the members themselves said they were taught the chant by other members). So I'm not even going to get into the "poor innocent whites led astray by jazz”  (I mean hip hop)  argument, let's set that aside.

I want to deal with the notion that white people are confused by the word nigger and the usage of such because of: their black friends, their favorite movie,  that one rap song they like, their favorite rapper etc. etc. etc.  
I've had white people and black folk try to tell me that the "rules" were too confusing.. that music and culture had made it so white folks "don’t understand" or are "confused" or "don’t get it". So let me lay it out for you. If you are white, don’t say Nigger, nigga, niggah, nigga (s) (z) or any form of the word plural, or singular.
“But my Black friend Tyrone gave me permission…”
 Your Black friend Tyrone is setting you up for failure, because the temporary black card he gave you is only applicable with Tyrone and will be honored nowhere else. It is accepted at choice locations. But Tyrone and his reckless handing out of black cards aside... Here’s why I don’t accept that white people are “confused” about the word, because I refuse to believe that white people don’t understand context.

I’ve seen how white people act in bars versus how they act in funerals. How white people talk in libraries vs how white people talk at rock concerts. White people understand context and I am not going to infantize them because we happen to be talking about race. I am not going to allow white people to pretend to collectively be Forrest Gump because we are viewing context in a racial setting.

Context matters.  White people know this even though many pretend to be ignorant of that fact and bewildered by the idea that context would matter in terms of racial terminology. It matters in every other human setting, why wouldn't it matter here?
Let me give you a great example of how context matters (if you still want to feign ignorance). Let’s pretend my wife and I are walking down the street and my daughter says Daddy, I want to sit on your lap. My wife will smile and grin.  Now, let’s say we are out on the street and a young woman comes up to me and says the same thing using the same words. I guarantee the reaction would be different.. Why…?? BECAUSE CONTEXT! Context is important, the: who, what, when, where and why are those words being spoken makes a lot of difference. There are things my friends can say to me that strangers can’t say, there are things my family can say that my friends can’t say, there are things that my wife can say to me that my family can’t say. There are layers and context and rules for human interaction and behavior and communication that we observe every day.

 They are complex and detailed and intricate, and we observe them, but for some reason throw race in the mix and all of the sudden political commentators who can tell you the difference between Shia and Sunni, who can break down the issues between libertarian republicans and neocon republicans, who know the differences between blue dogs and progressives, are all of the sudden rendered infantile in their ability to assess and comprehend racial terminology. I’m not buying it. It’s about time we stop letting white people off the hook when it comes to race. I am not longer buying into the myth of white ignorance. You shouldn’t either, these concepts are not hard, they are not complicated and they are not complex, any more so than any other human communication and interaction.

We understand why wearing a tuxedo to a football game is stupid and why wearing a suit to a funeral is okay. We understand how to curse around our friends but not around those same friends at a baptism. We know how to talk dirty bedroom talk to our spouses and partners and significant others, but probably wouldn't do it in front of their parents. We understand all these rules of communication and we apply them all of the time, so I am no longer going to accept the excuse that for some reason the unspoken rules around who gets to say nigga/nigger/niggah is somehow hard to comprehend.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Four Myths White People Want to Believe about Race Part One:The George Wallace Gambit

The next few blogs posts will deal with the four myths that white people want to believe about race.

MYTH NUMBER ONE. We will call this the George Wallace Gambit. That is when you try to pretend that a movement only exists because irresponsible leaders are agitating the otherwise good and peaceful Negros. George Wallace once famously said “We have never had a problem here in the south, except in a very few isolated instances and those have been the result of outside agitators.”

     Whenever there has been oppression there have been oppressors decrying “outside agitators” It seems that this is the first step in the playbook to discredit a movement. Right now in 2014 we seem to love and admire Martin Luther King Jr. (well we love the toned down Coke zero version of King that the media has pushed on us for the past 15 years or so but that’s a different blog post) but in 60’s King was reviled and hated. Harry Truman had called him a troublemaker and a “publicity seeker”.  These are the same charges that have been leveled against Al Sharpton, or anyone else who attempts to talk about race and oppression in America.

     There is a section of America that seems to believe that if black leaders would just stop talking about race and oppression, it would go away. Recently police officials, actors, politicians and pundits have all tried to place blame on Al Sharpton for the murder of 2 NYPD police officers.  Al Sharpton has been called a race hustler, a race pimp, a demagogue. They have said, that if Sharpton would just be quiet none of these protests would be going on. They have said, that without Sharpton there would be no looting, or violence, or anger. They have said, that without Sharpton there would be no “die ins,” no shutting down of highways or malls. The critics have more or less insinuated that Al Sharpton is a pied piper leading the poor unsuspecting black folks to their doom.

     It’s times like these that painfully remind me of how little the general White community knows about Black folks. Contrary to popular belief Al Sharpton's legacy and leadership is a highly contested topic in the black community. There was no secret vote in Larry's Barbershop to elect Al Sharpton the undisputed leader of black folk. There are some of us who like, love and hate him.  There have been vast critiques of Sharpton and his methods from the youth activists of Ferguson to the Ivy League intellectuals like Cornell West. Al Sharpton has a place in the movement but he is NOT the movement. Blaming Al Sharpton for the protests is na├»ve and shortsighted. Blaming him for the murder of two police officers is libelous and sickening.

     You think that if Al Sharpton took a leave of absence that Black folks would suddenly no longer be angry about police brutality? You think if Al Sharpton went to a desert island people would stop shutting down streets and malls? You think if Al Sharpton was shot into space Black folk would suddenly have group amnesia and fail to remember that we are living in an oppressive system that doesn't value black life?

     But I understand, Al Sharpton is an easy target. America has always hated loud, confident Black men. They have always wanted us to be less arrogant and uppity. Less Ali and more Cassius. You don’t have to like Al Sharpton. You don’t even have to respect him. His job is not to earn your love, or your respect; his job as an activist is to bring attention to issues. The fact that you hate him so much that your willing to ascribe him mystical powers of mass persuasion, shows that he is doing his job, regardless of how you feel about him. I am absolutely sure that Al Sharpton doesn't lie awake at night wondering why right wing tea partiers and Fox News pundits don't like him.
     But let me be clear, this is bigger than Sharpton. He is just the current embodiment of the black boogieman that scares White right-wing America right now. This is about a system that uses the same language, reasoning, and actions to discredit anyone that dares to shove a mirror in it's face. White America doesn't like what it sees, so it constructs mythologies to hide behind, it constructs stories to make itself feel better, it whispers sweet lies in it's own ears so it can sleep at night. But it's not about Sharpton, it's about the bigger picture. 

     It's about the first myth. The idea that if they discredit and destroy our leadership, the rest of us will go away like lemmings. They killed King, Malcolm, Fred Hampton, Medgar Evers and many others; they imprisoned and tried to disgrace Huey Newton, Marcus Garvey, Geronimo Pratt and countless others. Yet the movement lives on, because you can’t kill an idea, you can't trick people into not wanting equal rights. You can't kill unarmed black man after unarmed black man for the better part of a year and tell folks "Move along, nothing to see here".

     It is a myth that discrediting and blaming Sharpton will cause black folk to abandon the fight to end oppression and police brutality. It is a myth that Fox News or Bill O’Reily or the NYPD police union president will be able to tell black folks who our leaders should be. We will have those debates without you. You keep thinking that it’s outside agitators riling up Black folk and you are going to miss your chance to be on the right side of history. You are going to miss your chance to make effective change. Black folks will stop talking about oppression when oppression stops; we will stop marching against police brutality when the brutality stops, when the harassment stops, when the racism stops. But go ahead, keep using the George Wallace Gambit, keep talking about outside agitators and racial hustlers or race pimps, or race magicians, or whatever colorful language Rush tells you to use this week. There are two things you should remember : the arc of history is long but it bends towards justice, and the history books are rarely kind to oppressors and those who support them. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ferguson Part One: On Rioting.

On Rioting.

So, before I dive into this let’s stipulate that white people riot all the time, for almost any reason: pumpkins, football, basketball, almost any sporting event.
Riot in NH over a pumpkin fest
A few years back a large group of white students in Pennsylvania rioted because a football coach, who had turned a blind eye to child molestation, was fired. I live near East Lansing, there is a annual riot called Cedar Fest that goes on like clockwork. There is an unofficial motto among the students during football season “if we lose we riot, if we win, we riot”. The rioting here is so normal that local furniture outlets have sales on couches and mattresses because they know students are going to burn their own… (true story). But google that on your own time, and then re-think about how we view the “rioters” in Ferguson (who aren't angry over a sporting event, or produce, but over the loss of life)

Ok, with that preamble out of the way let’s dive into this idea that the riots are counterproductive and that violence is not the answer.  So first for something to be counter-productive there has to first be some productive activity going on. By all reports the people of Ferguson have had long standing issues with their police department and its treatment of black citizens, but those problems were never addressed, rather they were ignored and allowed to fester like an open wound.
It wasn't until after the first riots occurred that state, local and federal agencies got involved with the community. It wasn't until the community,  fed up with years of police malfeasance coupled with inaction from their local and state representatives rose up in rebellion, it wasn't until the smoke began to rise and buildings began to burn that they started to see the government scramble to hear their cries and offer them relief. And even then it took gross multiple violations of the fourth estate by the police, to really bring the spotlight on Ferguson.

So when you sit smugly behind your television set and ask “why they are rioting”, I have a better question. Why aren't we all rioting? If years of begging and pleading led to no action, and one week of riots lead to DOJ investigations, 40 FBI agents scouring the area & renewed efforts from the mayor and governor to look at racial profiling why aren't we all using the template that Ferguson provided? It is abundantly clear that when minorities engage in peaceful protest after police malfeasance, when minorities march and sing and link hands, that those actions by themselves are ignored. The system has no impetus to act. The system can ignore hand holding and marching; those actions are: non-threatening, quaint and dated and thus provide no incentive to the system to act. It is not in the interest of the system to disturb the status quo.

There have been (at least) five high profile cases in the last 5 months where unarmed black men were killed by police officers. Most of us only know about Ferguson and Mike Brown, the names of the others are already starting to fade into Sean Bell like obscurity. They are quietly being added to the list of the slain and forgotten. Ferguson however, has refused to go quietly into the night, in part because the people, through their direct action in the form of an uprising FORCED the system to engage, they made it so that it was in the best interest of the local, state and federal governments to do so. The lesson learned, it’s hard to ignore your downtown being razed. 

But still, some will gnash their teeth, rend their garments and say "violence isn't the answer". The idea that "violence isn't the answer" seems more like a tired cliche, than an actual argument backed up by facts and examples. If violence isn't the answer why does Cliven Bundy still have his ranch? If violence isn't the answer why is every NeoCon everywhere always itching to go to war, if violence isn't the answer why are we in: Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, etc?  If violence isn't the answer then why are police departments equipped better than some infantry units?

So while we may argue about the morality of rioting, it is quite hard to argue about the results of rioting. The fact that Michael Brown’s name is known from Portland to Palestine, while Darren Hunt’s name rarely rings a bell is part of the problem. When you back a community into a corner, ignore their cries but then move quickly once the destruction begins you are telling that community that you only respect force, that you only respect flame, that you only respect fire. So don’t be surprised when you see the torches being lit. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Philosophizing with Fred Phelps.

One of the biggest problems I have with my faith, is the knowledge that this man too is eligible for least in my limited bothers me knowing that racists, and homophobes, and supremacists, and maybe even people who have instigated, violence against people I care about may find themselves in the grace of god... (whatever that means to each individual)

This guy, I really don't like this guy, as a Christian, when I look at him I feel a anger about how he represents my faith,  how he distorted that faiths teachings and potentially helped to lead  hundreds of thousands away from Christ because... lets face it, if I weren't a Christian, and he was what I saw as Christian"eske"..why would I want to be a part of that? I feel anger because of the harm he has placed my friends and loved ones with his cherry picked bastardized version of Christianity and God's Holy word.

It's a very introspective place I find myself in on what could be the eve of this mans death, part of me wants to celebrate as he leaves this earth because he will no longer be here to cause harm. Another part of me feels bad about feeling joy in the death of another, even one so vile as Phelps.

I have much internal conflict going on because I find it disheartening at the level of satisfaction that I am feeling, I can only describe it as schadenfreude on steroids. That almost pleasurable experience one gets whenever someone who has caused immense harm to people we love dies. It's a weird place to be in....I am trying to find the proper stance between relief, joy, smug satisfaction, revenge, and anger. All while trying to desperately remember that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

 Dr. Dre had a great line.. "I ain't thug, how much Tupac in you, you got?" So I ask my fellow Christians, during these final days of Fred Phelps. How much Phelps in you, you got? I wonder how many good people have intellectualized themselves away from Phelps actions, but yet share his same beliefs. How many people have we driven away from a faith and a God we claim to love because of our actions, thoughts and deeds. If God is love and our duty as Christians is to show, share and reflect God's love to the world in an effort to bring more people to HIM. Then I fear there are a lot of Fred Phelps out there masquerading  as compassionate Christians.

 Maybe that's something we as Christians can take from this moment, an internal systems check. While we sit back and convince ourselves that we are better than Phelps because we didn't hold signs, or picket funerals, or scream GOD HATES FAGS, were we really? Even if we don't do those things have we been silent accomplices, have we provided an atmosphere where vile types of laws could be passed, are we silently complicit in the imprisonment of homosexuals in Uganda, are we silently gleeful when states pass laws that amount to an LGBTQ version of Jim Crow? Are we really better than Fred Phelps? We (Christians) love to point to as him as the "bad guy" because if nothing else his brand of hate and almost comical bigotry makes our own intolerance look so cuddly and acceptable.

 Fred Phelps makes a most convenient villain, because if nothing else it's so easy to see his hate and it make ours look so much more palatable. What is it the Good Book says about eyes, specks and beams? Maybe this is part of where my conflict comes in, a conflict with the church and the knowledge how its adherents have treated those outside it's walls.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ted Nugent, Black on Black Crime & The Failure of the Fourth Estate

"I will pray for Stevie Wonder and all these other numbnuts who think that Trayvon Martin's life is more important than the tens of thousands of slaughtered blacks at the hands of blacks? I don't even know what to do with that information."
-Ted Nugent

     Ted Nugent has been one small part of a larger concerted effort to bait and switch the entire country. Instead of talking about how a 17 year old was killed for no other reason than he looked like a scary negro to a guy with a gun, the conversation has shifted. Whether it's Geraldo Rivera's preoccupation with fashion, or the Fox News attempts at character assassination or Rush Limbaugh having an on-air orgasm as he said the word nigga because he had somehow convinced himself that he received implicit permission from Rachel Jeantel. Right wingers have jumped all over themselves painting Trayvon as a thug and painting mourners as hypocritical race baiters.
  The Right has perfected a method that allows them say and sprout almost anything with impunity. It's the incredible repetitive talking point. It's ingenious insomuch as it allows for a lie or fabrication to be repeated as often as possible and as loudly as possible without any type of due diligence or vetting. They repeat a point over and over and quote each other using the same talking point in a circle of inscestuous sourcing thus creating an echo chamber, that at first glance seems substantive, but which quickly falls apart with even the briefest of appraisals.

     The media, whose job it is to vet and investigate these statements for authenticity, veracity,or at least some semblance of truth have instead shucked their responsibilities, regurgitating the talking point without even pretending to challenge it. I can only guess that it's easier to get someone to tune in, or read your OP-ED if you have Ted Nugent calling a child a "dope smoking hoodlum"  and  calling Stevie Wonder soulless, than it is to see if Ted's underlining points are even valid. I guess fact checking isn't sexy now-a-days. So to all the media outlets who have gladly reiterated the lie, or some version of the lie that Mr. Nugent and others have gleefully repeated let me say this. 

     It is at best a fraudulent fiction and at worse a pattern of intentional vilification to say, or insinuate that Black America and its leaders do not, or have not cared about black on black crime. Those who say that the Black community hypocritically focused on George Zimmerman while ignoring inner city violence either haven't been listening or are intentionally engaging in slanderous deceit. So I, a blogger with no investigative journalism training , offer as my proof this small timeline of articles that took me 15 minutes compile using Google. In it you will see leaders from then Senator Obama, to Al Sharpton, to Jesse Jackson to Russell Simmons all talking about inner city crime, Chicago murder rate, and the need for a reduction in violence in urban communities. 

Please feel free to copy and paste this link whenever needed. Mr. Nugent, maybe you and others of your ilk can figure out what to do with this information, because besides lining the bottom of a bird cage, I have no idea what to do with yours.

Free Thinkers are Dangerous. 
-The Scholarly Hooligan

1993-NAACP President talking about urban violence specifically Chicago & LA)

2007- Obama taking about urban violence in

2009-Attorny General Eric Holder's Chicago youth violence remarks.

2010 –Jesse Jackson-Chicago is in a state of emergency

2012- Obama Talks Chicago Violence: “I Live On The Southside…Murders Happening Blocks From Home

2012- -Russell Simmons –I am present for Peace MARCH

Jan 2013- Obama On Chicago Gun Violence: President References Hometown Tragedies In Gun Control Address

Feb 2013- Russell Simmons Urges Lawmakers to Pass Assault Weapons Ban

Feb 2013 - Retired black General Says National Guard Could Help Curb Chicago Violence

Feb 2013 Jesse Jackson and protesters Want Obama to talk more about violence in Chicago

May 3, 2013 - Obama Campaign Uses Chicago Violence to Push for Gun Control

July 4, 2013-Al Sharpton talks about moving to Chicago to deal with the violence in

The NAACP position on gun control to help bring down gun violence in Inner cities

Thursday, February 3, 2011

How Christians Should Treat Homosexuals


 This should be an  interesting conversation today. But here we go. I come from a strong Christian background, both my parents were deacons, and we attended church up to 3 times a week. I believe that the bible is the word of God, but I also believe that for Christians we should have a particular emphasis on the examples, words, and teachings of Christ. We are not called Leviticans, or Mosesists. We are called Christians due to our belief in the teachings, and saving grace of Jesus Christ. In that vein there are a lot of beliefs thats we as a culture and nation have that are not rooted in scripture, or if they are... they are rooted in Leviticus which is Old Testament LAW. The problem with that as I see it , is Jesus came to save us from sin, and redeem us from THE LAW, because ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and according to Levitical Law we should all be off sacrificing animals or should be somewhere getting stoned to death. 

     Now, before we go on, this is not a defense of "sin" or "sinning" this is me looking at our actions as a society  and seeing how they measure up to the actions, words, and examples of Christ.  Read this with an open spirit, and be careful to read not what you want to read, but what is actually here.

     Whether it was the story of the Samaritan  the adulteress, or the tax collector. Jesus always spoke up for the despised within his community. Samaritans were despised within the Jewish community. Both Samaritan and Jewish leaders forbade contact with one another, so the story of the good Samaritan is not just a story of helping your fellow man, it is a story of Jesus assigning a positive role to one of the despised. Tax collectors were considered sell outs and sinners, in biblical times they were the Uncle Toms of the community. Those who had sold their souls to the Romans to impose taxation on their own people. Yet in still read the story of Zacchaeus, and see how Jesus treated this tax collector who his fellow Jews called "a sinner". He spent the night at his house, he treated him with love and respect.. Lets take a look at the sinner, the adulteress. She lived in sin, and was dragged to Jesus feet, and the crowd was going to stone her. They told Jesus she was caught in the act and by Mosaic Law she should be killed, and they asked Jesus opinion.  He said the famous "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" line, and the crowd dispersed. Then he told the woman... "go and sin no more". His saving the woman was no predicated on the fact that she sin no more. Jesus did not demand that she sin no more before he offered his grace, and mercy. He did not demand proof, or demand that she join a 4 step program. Nor did he issue similar demands on the tax collector. His grace and mercy is not dependent upon our ability to stop sinning. Which is a relief because ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. 

     We, in our sin are redeemed by Christ who through grace saves us, in spite of our sin, not because of our march toward perfection. I would argue that Christ spent more time with sinners, and spent more time talking about how to treat "the worst" of society, than he did hanging around those who were the "purest" according to Mosaic law. We have this idea that certain sins are worse than other sins, and most of that has no scriptural basis, but is more based upon own our moral code. If you examine the bible and see what really ticks off Jesus he mentions treating children badly in Luke 17:2, and when he went "Hulk Hogan" on people who were defiling and scamming in the house of God. So really, if you are one of these fake preachers bilking the congregation, or someone who abuses children, you are more likely to be on the LIST than any other "sinner".

     Jesus never told his disciples to persecute those undesirables or even sinners, or even those who had lied in order to put him to death, when people did gather to stone the adulteress, he stopped them, and then told her to sin no more, he did not make her ceasing of the sin a prerequisite to his grace. So I find it uncomfortable as a black man in western civilization when Christians find reasons to persecute those who we deem as living in sin. Jesus never gave us a mandate to persecute, we need to learn to differentiate between the word of God, and the moral hang ups of western civilization.

     Now, I am not saying I advocate for sin.I am not saying lets have a big Sin-a-Palooza, what I am saying is that through example in word and deed I believe that Jesus gave us a guide on how he wants the "least of us" and the "undesirables" treated in society. I believe that if you call yourself a Christian you can believe that God does not like sin, without feeling as if HE gave you a mandate to be THE HAMMER OF GOD, and go forth an exact his wrath on sinners. I missed that part of the bible, the part where Jesus commanded His disciples that while they were out preaching they should wreak havoc on homosexuals . I missed the part where He told His disciples to not heal the sick if they were gay, or to not feed the poor if they were bi-sexual.

In fact one of the few direct Commandments from the mouth of Jesus are found in the gospel of Mark. Here a teacher of The Law asks Jesus which commandment is the most important. Jesus replies:

29And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
 30And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
 31And the second is like, namely this, Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Now, if you want. you can go on persecuting, hating and angrily attempting to limit the rights of the LGBT community. But me, my arms to short to box with God, and my closet's got too many skeletons labeled pride, lust, and lies for me to happily throw stones. I'm going to thank God for sending Jesus to save me despite my sins, and love my neighbors the best way I can.