Smart people saying smart things (12.3)

Smart people saying smart things (12.3) December 3, 2014

Jay Smooth, “On Ferguson, riots, and human limits”

Pamela Merritt, “On a disturbingly regular basis”

You know that scene in the movie Love Actually?

The one where Emma Thompson goes into the bedroom she shares with her husband, after having found proof that he’s likely cheating on her, and collects herself so that she can go to the Holiday event at her children’s school without freaking them the hell out?

I repeat a scene much like that on a pretty regular basis.

Not because I’m in a relationship with someone who is unfaithful.

Or maybe I am — in a way.

I repeat that scene — a deliberate pause, tears threatening and heart pumping, followed by a visible resolve to soldier through despite the pain — on a disturbingly regular basis, because I live in a country where a black man is seen as a threat simply for being a black man.

Richard Beck, “When God Became the Devil”

In short, the problem to be overcome in the atonement was no longer external to God’s character. The problem — the evil, violent and diabolical forces arrayed against us — had been internalized, absorbed into God’s character. The Devil was no longer the problem to be overcome in the drama of salvation. Having absorbed and internalized the diabolical aspects of the drama the problem became God’s newly conflicted character.

We are no longer saved from the Devil. We are saved from God.

With penal substitutionary atonement God had become the Devil.

Ed Kilgore, “The Temptation to Dehumanize”

But the thing that bothers me most about the dehumanizing of the poor and the dispossessed is its violent conflict with the supposed religious ethic of this country, particularly when it is promoted by people who think of themselves as good Christians. For the life of me I cannot understand Christians who do not grasp that an essential tenet of their faith is the radical equality of human beings as subjects of both divine judgment and redemption. Every human being is made in the image of God, and how one treats those Jesus called “the least of these” is the acid test of Christian ethics, certainly as important as obedience to rules of sexual behavior or social order. I think it’s fair to demand — if not, of course, to expect — that the religious leaders of those who look at poor people of color and see subhumans whose lives are punishment for vice preach against nothing else until this grievous collective sin is stigmatized if not exterminated once and for all.

Jamelle Bouie, “Actually, Blacks Do Care About Black Crime”

In short, it’s easy to find examples of marches and demonstrations against crime. In the last four years, blacks have held community protests against violence in Chicago; New York; Newark, New Jersey; Pittsburgh; Saginaw, Michigan; and Gary, Indiana. Indeed, there’s a whole catalog of movies, albums, and sermons from a generation of directors, musicians, and religious leaders, each urging peace and order. You may not have noticed black protests against crime and violence, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t happened. Black Americans — like everyone else — are concerned with what happens in their communities, and at a certain point, pundits who insist otherwise are either lying or willfully ignorant.

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