Christians on the political left often advocate for additional Federal spending as part of bringing God’s shalom to the world, and Christians on the right often, contrary to how scripture uses the term gospel and salvation, disconnect the gospel from any temporal and embodied forms of salvation. But an issue of justice crying out in the current culture is rallying both the left and the right in God’s Kingdom to work together, and the electoral defeat of Mitt Romney may have provided the necessary impetus for apathetic members of Congress to get on board. Read the rest of this entry »
Category Archives: Race, Reconciliation and Culture
Two films were recently released dealing with the subject of slavery in the history of the United States. The first was made by a Steven Spielberg; and as expected, it has performed very well. After nine weeks in wide release, it has brought in just under $150 million dollars in its domestic distribution, even as it continues to garner nominations for prestigious awards. The second film, written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, has also been a solid box office hit, earning just over $100 million in two weeks time. One film has been widely embraced and praised by Evangelical Christians, while the other film has been roundly condemned as “too offensive, disgusting and demeaning” to even consider. The question is: which of these two films is really worth our critical attention? Read the rest of this entry »
Late last week, I posted an article entitled, “The Descent: James MacDonald, Harvest Bible Chapel and the Blurry Road to the Prosperity Gospel.” Since that time, the storm that has threatened to envelope the evangelical world has only intensified as more and more people have begun to rightfully react to MacDonald’s highly questionable decision to bring Jakes into the Elephant Room, and his even poorer handling of the actual exchange itself.
Today, I want to respond to a round table discussion that Pastor MacDonald has filmed and posted on his blog. Why? Because aspects of this discussion further inflame and ultimately confuse the issue by giving voice to racially-insensitive, ad hominem attacks. I am, of course, referring to the words spoken by the African-American Pastor Bryan Loritts of Fellowship Memphis.
“Some of the strongest reactions of people were African Americans in the blogosphere. And I’ll just go ahead and say it, who strike me as wanting so bad to be in the white theological world. And to take a little bit of a tangent here, and I’ll get back. The loudest voices in the conservative, evangelical world, in my estimation right now, are your older white reformed voices. And so that implicitly sends the message that mature Christianity in the conservative evangelical world is older white. And you’ve got some African Americans who so idolize that – its what some people would call white idolization – that they then feel is if they’ve got to be the voice for black culture to speak against people like T.D. Jakes. So what happens is you kind of prop them up … My concern is: African Americans, a small minority, speaking against Jakes, and then leveraging that in the white theological world, for some of these older white theologians … to fit into their circles. We want to be in their circles. And so we’ll allow ourselves to be used as a puppet.”
Now stop and think about what Pastor Loritts has just said. Without personally knowing the character of all of the various African American critics of this debacle, Loritts feels free to dismiss them, in an ad hominem attack, as “puppets,” who are simply trying “to fit into [the white theological world].”
And where is James MacDonald when Loritts is voicing these patently unfair, unwise and dangerous derisions? He is once again opting to say absolutely nothing. He doesn’t put a stop to it. He doesn’t shake his head in disagreement. He doesn’t even ask a counter-question to force Loritts to consider the gravity of what he has just said. Instead, he allows for Loritts to use racially inflammatory rhetoric to condescendingly dismiss the African American critics of the Elephant Room 2 and then dares to conclude the session by offering these thoughts:
“One of my main take-aways is that if you discount relationship, you misunderstand a lot. If we hadn’t reached out to Bishop Jakes in relationship, we would have misunderstood his theology.”
So apparently, certain African American pastors and theologians were wrong to voice their concerns over T.D. Jakes because they lacked the necessary relationship with him to question his theology. But as for Bryan Loritts, he is perfectly justified in dismissing African American critics as sycophantic “puppets” without having personally reached out to each and every one of them.
The longer this goes on, the more troubling it becomes.
 The round table discussion was broken into two parts. The first part can be found at: http://jamesmacdonald.com/blog/?p=11232, while the second portion of the discussion can be found at: http://jamesmacdonald.com/blog/?p=11253.
Today, on a day when we pause to remember the towering legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I want to tell you a rather tragic story – a story about the intentional efforts to eradicate the black race.
It all begins back in the late 1800s and the early 1900s, a time when America was undergoing tremendous social change. As a nation, we were riding high on the crest of the Gilded Age, a time when the United States economy grew at an unprecedented rate, and real wages, accumulated wealth and capital formation all exploded. During this time, many within the social and academic elite were beginning to question the historical doctrines of the church. The publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species had convinced many that man was nothing more than the unintended by-product of evolutionary forces that had been at play for millions upon millions of years. And all of this contributed to the thinking of a small, but influential group of people beginning to dream of a new utopia – a world with few ethical boundaries.
Enter Margaret Sanger. Sanger was an American socialist who dreamed of a world in which women had absolute power over their own bodies. As a sex educator, nurse, and birth control activist, she spent her life in the pursuit of a dream: the establishment of the American Birth Control League, which later became known as the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. To many men and women in contemporary society, Sanger is a cultural hero, remembered much in the way that we remember Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. But there is a much darker side to Sanger’s story. For you see, Margaret Sanger was not simply an early feminist seeking to protect the rights of her oppressed sisters. Margaret Sanger was a disciple of Thomas Malthus, a 19th century cleric and part-time political economist. Listen to the words of Thomas Malthus:
“All children born, beyond what would be required to keep up the population to a desired level, must necessarily perish, unless room be made for them by the deaths of grown persons. Therefore … we should facilitate, instead of foolishly and vainly endeavoring to impede, the operations of nature in producing this mortality; and if we dread the too-frequent visitation of the horrid form of famine, we should sedulously encourage the other forms of destruction, which we compel nature to use. Instead of recommending cleanliness to the poor, we should encourage contrary habits. In our towns, we should make the streets narrower, crowd more people into the houses, and court the return of the plague. In the country, we should build our villages near stagnant pools, and particularly encourage settlements in all marshy and unwholesome situations. But above all, we should reprobate specific remedies for ravaging diseases; and restrain those benevolent, but much mistaken men, who have thought they were doing a service to mankind by projecting schemes for the total extirpation of particular disorders.”
Much like her teachers, Malthus and Adolph Hitler, Sanger was a eugenicist who believed that we must seek to eradicate the “human weeds,” which she defined as “feeble-minded, syphilitic, irresponsible and defective stocks” that “bred unhindered.” And who were these “defective stocks?” They were the Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, and anyone who wasn’t white and wealthy. Consider Sanger’s own words:
“Our failure to segregate morons who are increasing and multiplying … demonstrates our foolhardy and extravagant sentimentalism … [Philanthropists and Christians] encourage the healthier and more normal sections of the world to shoulder the burden of unthinking and indiscriminate fecundity of others; which brings with it, as I think the reader must agree, a dead weight of human waste. Instead of decreasing and aiming to eliminate the stocks that are most detrimental to the future of the race and the world, it tends to render them to a menacing degree dominant … We are paying for, and even submitting to, the dictates of an ever-increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all.”
Now, lest the reader think that this was an aberration in Sanger’s thinking, allow me to share a few more choice quotes from some of Sanger’s other writings:
“Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race.”
“Eugenics is the most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political and social problems.”
While there is no doubt that these are wicked ideas masked by the language of freedom and choice, perhaps most despicable of all is Sanger’s contemptuous plan to enlist the aid of African American ministers in the genocide of their own people.
“We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population. And the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”
This, of course, brings us back around to the subject of Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1966, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America inaugurated the PPFA Margaret Sanger Award, which is given in recognition of “excellence and leadership in furthering reproductive health and reproductive rights.” How ironic is it, that on May 5th, 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. received the award named on behalf of a racist who sought to deceive the black clergy of America so as to further her agenda of racial purity. How ironic that he would issue these words:
“Recently, the press has been filled with reports of sightings of flying saucers. While we need not give credence to these stories, they allow our imagination to speculate on how visitors from outer space would judge us. I am afraid they would be stupefied at our conduct. They would observe that for death planning we spend billions to create engines and strategies for war. They would also observe that we spend millions to prevent death by disease and other causes. Finally they would observe that we spend paltry sums for population planning, even though its spontaneous growth is an urgent threat to life on our planet. Our visitors from outer space could be forgiven if they reported home that our planet is inhabited by a race of insane men whose future is bleak and uncertain.”
Dr. King believed that the billions we spend on the “engines of war” made us a race of “insane men.” I wonder how he would feel today knowing that we spend hunderds of millions every year – in the United States alone – on the planned termination of infants. I wonder how he would feel knowing that even today, 64% of all abortions are performed on women of color? I wonder how he would feel knowing that 69% of the women who abort live just above or even below the poverty line? Is this the “mountaintop” of racial equality that Dr. King envisioned? Or is this Sanger’s mountaintop of racial purity?
 Thomas Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population. (McLean, IndyPublish: 2002).
 Margaret Sanger, The Pivot of Civilization, 1922. Chapter on “The Cruelty of Charity,” pages 116, 122, and 189. Swarthmore College Library edition.
 Margaret Sanger. Woman, Morality, and Birth Control. New York: New York Publishing Company, 1922. Page 12.
 Margaret Sanger, “The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda.” Birth Control Review, October 1921, page 5.
 Margaret Sanger’s December 19, 1939 letter to Dr. Clarence Gamble, 255 Adams Street, Milton, Massachusetts. Original source: Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, North Hampton, Massachusetts. Also described in Linda Gordon’s Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1976.
 The average cost of an abortion in the United States is $413. If 1.21 million were performed in 2005, that means that Americans collectively paid $499,730,000 to terminate babies that year.