Racism In Southern Baptist Church Alive and Well

So this article caught my attention today:

The governor of Mississippi, Phil Bryant, has said it was unfortunate that a predominantly white church in the state wouldn’t allow a black couple to get married in its sanctuary, adding that the state should encourage the union of any couple – as long as it was made up of a man and a woman.

Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson said they weren’t allowed to marry in July at First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs, a small town south of Jackson.

The Rev Stan Weatherford, pastor of the church, married the Wilsons at a church nearby. The wedding was moved after some congregants at First Baptist told Weatherford they opposed allowing black people to marry in the church.

So now some folks don’t even think that black people should get married and their Baptist church honored that request. I’ll assume that they just don’t think that black people should reproduce and thus die out as a race. I can’t begin to tell you how much this angers me.

But this whole thing brings up several other streams of thought:

1) This got a lot more news play overseas and in Canada than in did in the United States.

2) What if the situation were different? A mixed race couple perhaps? Would there have been more coverage?

3) And from my perspective: If this were a CATHOLIC church that did this and not a BAPTIST church I have a feeling it would have been on the front page of every paper in the country. Lauer would have had the wedding on the Today show.

Suffice it to say that racism is alive and well. Did anyone else notice that the Governor only said it was “unfortunate” and not “wrong”?

Basketball League for Whites Only?

Fran over at the Parish Blog of St. Edward the Confessor pointed me to this article on Thinkprogress.org

A new professional basketball league called the All-American Basketball Alliance (AABA) sent out a press release on Sunday saying that it intends to start its inaugural season in June, with teams in 12 U.S. cities. However, the AABA is different from other sports leagues because only players who are “natural born United States citizens with both parents of Caucasian race are eligible to play in the league.” AABA commissioner Don “Moose” Lewis insists that he’s not racist, but he just wants to get away from the “street-ball” played by “people of color” and back to “fundamental basketball.” Lewis cited the recent incidents of bad behavior by NBA players, implying that such actions would never happen with white players:

“There’s nothing hatred about what we’re doing,” he said. “I don’t hate anyone of color. But people of white, American-born citizens are in the minority now. Here’s a league for white players to play fundamental basketball, which they like.” […]

He pointed out recent incidents in the NBA, including Gilbert Arenas’ indefinite suspension after bringing guns into the Washington Wizards locker room, as examples of fans’ dissatisfaction with the way current professional sports are run.

Are you kidding me? We have a black man in the White House and yet overt racism still continues. Anybody else offended by this?

What cities would possibly allow them to have outposts? Well…they are supposedly looking to the Southern part of our country–where perhaps they’d have a better reception. What could some possible team names be?

Kissimmee Klansmen comes to mind. No offense to the great city in Florida.

Rush: We need segregated buses

Rush Limbaugh is trying to continue to keep whatever dwindling audience he has left by making another outlandish racist remark.

From Rawstory

In a remark extraordinary even by the standards of conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, the right-wing radio heavyweight declared on his program Wednesday that the United States needed to return to racially segregated buses.

Referring to an incident in which a white student was beaten by black students on a bus, Limbaugh said: “I think the guy’s wrong. I think not only it was racism, it was justifiable racism. I mean, that’s the lesson we’re being taught here today. Kid shouldn’t have been on the bus anyway. We need segregated buses — it was invading space and stuff. This is Obama’s America.”

The final sentence is really the betrayal of his obvious racist thoughts and what he wants his listeners to come away with. The implication here is: “Do you see what happens when you make a black man the most powerful man on the planet?”

Limbaugh is no fool. He knows how to stir the pot and he I am giving him the attention that he seeks. Will I ever learn? Probably not. I wonder if there was a black student beaten up by a bunch of white kids, or a gay student beaten up by a bunch of straight kids if Rush would have stated the same opinion?

Bottom line

What is Inside also Reflects the Outside

A short time ago I worked alongside one of the loveliest women I have ever met. She was African-American and treated all of the people in her department at the radio station like they were her own children. In short, she loved us and we in turn loved her and worked hard for her. I would say that if anybody ever even dared to say a bad word about her dozens of people would come to her defense.

One day we had a guest at the station who was an elderly Southern born woman. She grew up as a white woman in the South on a plantation. We started to ask her about what it was like being on the plantation as a young woman. She replied that she would watch for all the new cotton crops to be ready. And she knew they were ready when she’d see the heads of the little (racial epithet for black) children bounce up and down near the crops to let them know that it was time to pick the cotton.

I was stunned. She had said this on the air and didn’t think twice about it. She even repeated a similar word later in the interview. The worst part was that the sound engineer didn’t catch it in time and her words went out over the air.

I walked down the hall ashamed and embarrassed that this happened on a show I was associated with. I went into the office of the woman who I admired so much to tell her what had happened and she insisted that i play her the recording of the incident. After I did I think I heard her curse for the first time ever.

We tried to calm her down and made excuses like “She’s an ignorant, old, redneck woman. She ain’t gonna change anytime soon. Just give her a pass. In her day those words were actually polite words that people used to describe black people (she did not use the infamous n-word).

What this eloquent, classy woman said next was spot on:

“For that kind of hatred to come out of someone’s mouth the hatred of black people has to be buried very deep within themselves. So don’t any of you tell me that I should excuse that kind of racism. It runs very deep and is very present. She needs to clean up her pre-conceived notions because she really believes deeply that black people are inferior.”

Wow. Was she ever right.

Jesus is telling the Pharisees similar words about themselves in today’s Gospel:

“You cleanse the outside of cup and dish,
but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence.
Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup,
so that the outside also may be clean.”

Appearances are often everything. NIke for years used the slogan “Image is Everything.” And in essence Jesus is saying the opposite:

What you are internally is exactly what you often show to the rest of the world. If you are vile on the inside, you will be vile on the outside. More importantly, if you hold hatred and prejudice deep within, then eventually those notions creep into your everyday speech, actions and ways of life.

Like the Pharisee, I too, need to look at my own pre-conceived notions and prejudices. Who do I pre-judge? How do I treat those who I have judged to be “less than” or “trash” or “low lives?” In my mind I indeed may think I am better than many. But in essence my cup is just as filthy with sin as anybody else’s.

Even those who I think are the dregs of society.

We all have our own cups to clean inside and out. Let’s make sure we do a holistic job of cleansing our own hearts and minds of the deep seated prejudices and sinful behavior that we often try to hide, even from oursleves–where we think “I’m not really like that.”

Much like our elderly Southern guest, we do in fact have vile parts of oursleves. Cleansing them will not be easy but merely glossing over the issues and presenting them in a prettier package does not make them any better. Sin is still sin.

Let us pray today for victims of race and injustice that they made truly be able to keep their cups hate-free and so that those who cause them injustice might see the love that they respond to them with and have their hearts changed and the inner parts of their souls scrubbed clean.