Josh McDowell Steps Away from Ministry

Just days after Josh McDowell created of firestorm over comments about black and minority families at the American Association of Christian Counselors conference in Orlando, Fl, he announced a pause from his ministry. This announcement came on Twitter earlier today:

McDowell cited the leadership of the campus ministry Cru as being involved in the decision. I speculate that McDowell’s comments damaged their work on campuses around the nation.

Last Saturday night (Sept 18) McDowell spoke at the American Association of Christian Counselors conference in Orlando, FL. He gave a speech decrying critical race theory and social justice. A friend of Central Baptist College professor Aaron New who was at the conference and in McDowell’s plenary session related an offensive quote which Dr. New posted on Twitter. I posted the relevant audio clip which set off a torrent of negative reaction. The next day McDowell issued an apology (see below).

The audio:

In the clip, McDowell said:

Everybody says blacks, whites everybody has equal opportunity to make it in America. No they don’t, folks. I do not believe Blacks, African-Americans or other minorities have equal opportunities. Why? Most of them grew up in families where there is not a great emphasis on education, security. You can do anything you want; you can change the world. If you work hard, you will make it. So many African-Americans don’t have those privileges like I did. My folks weren’t very rich, in fact, they were a poor farming family. But the way I was raised, I had advantages in life ingrained into me. You can do it! Get your education! Get a job! Change the world! And that makes different opportunities.

McDowell’s statement:

I wrote this last Sunday:

To me, this rings a little hollow since McDowell didn’t address his bombastic criticism of structural racism. In his statements, he completely ignored the actual reasons for lack of equity in opportunity. He told us in his apology what he didn’t mean, but he didn’t tell us what he did mean. He spent the first 10 minutes of his AACC speech blasting the concept of structural impediments to equity. So Mr. McDowell, what is the reason for lack of equal opportunity?

I hope this incident will be a teachable moment for white evangelicals who have mindlessly accepted the word of their talking heads about CRT. Brother Josh sees through a glass darkly, but he isn’t all the way to a clear view yet. I hope his awakening will be more than from a PR nightmare..

It appears that Mr. McDowell and those around him believe this incident will require more than an apology. Good for them. I hope they really will listen and learn.

Josh McDowell was not only one at the AACC conference who displayed antagonism toward systemic understanding of racism. I continue to call on Tim Clinton and the AACC to respond as well.

Hat tip – Bob Smietana, Religion News Service

Why We Need Critical Race Analysis or Something Like It, Part One

Josh McDowell is most famous for his apologetics book, Evidence Which Demands a Verdict. He made a business out of that book and subsequent books defending Christianity. Yesterday and today, he is famous for words he wants to take back.

Last night McDowell spoke at the American Association of Christian Counselors conference in Orlando, FL. He gave a speech titled “Six Epidemics in the Church.” McDowell said the first “epidemic” was critical race theory, followed by social justice. A friend of professor Aaron New who was at the conference and in McDowell’s plenary session related a stunning, offensive quote which Dr. New posted on Twitter. I got a recording of the talk and posted the clip. The whole thing set off a fire storm which led to a McDowell apology today. See the tweets below to follow the issue. In part one, I want to set the background for more comments in part two about why this episode illustrates the need for CRT or something like it.

After Aaron posted this, a scramble ensued to find audio of the talk. A conference goer sent it along and I clipped out the quote which demonstrated that it was in essence what Aaron and his conference friend reported.

In the clip, McDowell said:

Everybody says blacks, whites everybody has equal opportunity to make it in America. No they don’t, folks. I do not believe Blacks, African-Americans or other minorities have equal opportunities. Why? Most of them grew up in families where there is not a great emphasis on education, security. You can do anything you want; you can change the world. If you work hard, you will make it. So many African-Americans don’t have those privileges like I did. My folks weren’t very rich, in fact, they were a poor farming family. But the way I was raised, I had advantages in life ingrained into me. You can do it! Get your education! Get a job! Change the world! And that makes different opportunities.

After being thoroughly criticized for hours on Twitter, McDowell today issued this statement:

To me, this rings a little hollow since McDowell didn’t address his bombastic criticism of structural racism. In his statements, he completely ignored the actual reasons for lack of equity in opportunity. He told us in his apology what he didn’t mean, but he didn’t tell us what he did mean. He spent the first 10 minutes of his AACC speech blasting the concept of structural impediments to equity. So Mr. McDowell, what is the reason for lack of equal opportunity?

I hope this incident will be a teachable moment for white evangelicals who have mindlessly accepted the word of their talking heads about CRT. Brother Josh sees through a glass darkly, but he isn’t all the way to a clear view yet. I hope his awakening will be more than from a PR nightmare.

Mike Huckabee Hasn’t Changed Much

Over the past four years, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has become a reliable defender of Donald Trump and Trumpism. He recently aroused the ire of Beth Moore and hundreds of other Twitter users with a  trademark bad dad joke tweet implying that Chinese people get special privilege from corporate America. The tone of the tweet appears to minimize the recent wave of anti-Asian attacks.

He’s back at it again today with this tweet.

Actually, totured reasoning isn’t anything new to Huckabee. The same guy who once half-joked that he wished he could force people at gun point to listen to David Barton’s lectures, once defended the police for shooting two black youth for stealing beer.

While I cannot say how this came to me, I here reproduce a column Huckabee wrote in 1975 which justifies the police shooting of two black young men who were caught stealing beer. One of the young men, 17, was killed. Huckabee actually says the shooting was the fault of the boys. Because they stole beer, they deserved to be shot, he reasoned. In the real world, it is hard to imagine white boys being shot dead for stealing beer.

Huckabee’s insensitivity to race as an issue in this shooting sounds sadly contemporary. White boys stealing some beer — or abusing an animal as Huckabee’s son was once accused of doing — might be slapped on the hands or given probation, but deadly force was used with these black young men.

Huckabee’s defense of the officers was that they couldn’t tell if the young men were black or white. This seems to be a ridiculous assertion. According to Huckabee, the boys were ordered to stop but ran. The officers surely saw them when they ordered them to stop. They were close enough to shoot them.

Stealing beer shouldn’t trigger a death sentence. Instead of calling for an investigation, Huckabee used his influence as a white minister to defend deadly force for a minor crime, quite possibly with racial bias. I realize this is long time ago, but apparently Huckabee hasn’t changed much.

Matt Walsh Owns Himself

Isn’t this what is called a self-own?

Well, Matt, who will decide who is competent and informed? Judging by your tweets, I don’t think you are informed so, sorry, no vote for you.

Conservative gadfly Walsh is accused of racism because his suggestion has been used before for racist intent. Literacy and competency tests were used beginning after the Civil War to exclude blacks from voting. Whites judged the answers to ridiculous questions (see some examples here) with the transparent purpose to keep blacks from voting. Walsh deserves all the ridicule he gets.

 

Trump’s Reelection Strategy: Class Warfare

Donald Trump couldn’t make his strategy any clearer: class warfare.

From today:

The rule Trump rescinded required proof of compliance with the Fair Housing Act. Trump has interpreted it as a wedge to keep poor people away from the middle class. Given the intent in 1968 to stop racial discrimination in housing and Trump’s actions blow a racial dogwhistle as well.

Obviously, Trump is only president of people who like him, and among those people, the middle class and the rich. Low income people (too bad poor MAGAs) are considered invaders who make suburban neighborhoods unsafe and bother the white housewives who inhabit them. It has long been clear that Trump has distain for low income people; this just makes it transparent.

I leave this with some Scripture from James 2 –

My brothers,[a] show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2 For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3 and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” 4 have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?

White Privilege is Not a Blessing (Updated with Apology)

In a June 14th videotaped conversation involving music artist Lecrae, pastor Louis Giglio, and Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy, Louis Giglio said the following

We understand the curse that was slavery, white people do, and we say that was bad, but we miss the blessing of slavery that it actually built up the framework for the world that white people live in and lived in. And so a lot of people call this white privilege and when you say those two words, it just is like a fuse goes off for a lot of white people because they don’t want somebody telling them to check their privilege. And so I know that you and I both have struggled in these days with, hey, if the phrase is the trip up, let’s get over the phrase and let’s get down to the heart and let’s get down to what then do you want to call it and I think that a great thing for me is to call it white blessing, that I’m living in the blessing of the curse generationally that allowed me to grow up in Atlanta…

Watch the clip:

For context, here is the entire conversation. It is important to understand that, in the rest of the talk that I listened to, Giglio seems to understand that he is not superior to black people, nor is he condoning slavery. I believe he is very well intentioned. However, he set off a Twitter storm, rightly so in my view, with his privileged spin on white privilege.

I will lead with my reply last night on Twitter:

It isn’t up to Giglio to decide how his privilege is experienced by black people. He doesn’t get to soften it, haggle over it, or make it palatable for himself. I hope someone close to him can help him see how self-centered his framework is. Because he and some white people are triggered by the term “white privilege,” we have to find a softer, more religious sounding term? Sucks to be you black folk, I’m white blessed.

Is there a better way to take away the beauty of the word blessing for everybody? Sure, let’s associate blessing with white people dominating black people first through slavery, then through Jim Crow, and then through social structures and white privilege. Being white blessed sounds like God actively gave white people their status. I don’t believe that is what Giglio believes, but that is certainly what it sounds like.

No, never. Not at all. White privilege is not a blessing. Not for blacks and not for whites. The more I am aware of it, the more I want to use my strength to end it.

Dear God in heaven, please save us from these conversations. He later in this conversation said that he was open to suggestion. He is now getting a lot of suggestions via social media. I advise Rev. Giglio to talk less and listen more.

UPDATE: Probably everybody saw this coming. Giglio apologized for his words. Watch:

I expected something like this. My advice is still for this gentleman to listen more and talk less.

More on white privilege:

Jordan Peterson and White Privilege

David Barton and White Privilege

Petition to Remove the White House Press Credentials of Rick Wiles

You might recall the story of antisemitic right wing talking head Rick Wiles who blamed impeachment on a “Jew coup.” His video accusing Jews of plotting the murder of millions of Christians was removed from YouTube but has drawn no condemnation from Republicans who have appeared on his programs in the past. Apparently he has easy access to the White House via press credentials.

Yesterday, I become aware of a White House petition launched by attorney Marc Stanley which asks the Trump administration to restrict Wiles’ access to the White House. I signed it and I ask that you click the link and sign it too.  The petition reads:

On a November 22, 2019 broadcast recording, TruNews founder and host Rick Wiles opined that the House impeachment inquiry is part of a “Jew Coup” to overthrow President Trump and install a Jewish “Cabal” to control the country.

On December 4, 2019, Wiles doubled down, saying, “Jewish socialist Jerry Nadler’s Judiciary Committee escalated the Jew Coup.”

Rick Wiles has a long history of spreading anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, as well as radical Islamophobic and anti-LGBTQ propaganda.

In the past, Rick Wiles has applied for and been granted White House press credentials. His vile racism, bigotry, and appeals to hate and violence have no place in the White House and he should be banned for life.

Add your name to this petition and take a stand against Wiles, anti-Semitism and bigotry.

In any normal administration, this fact and the lack of response to it would have consumed at least one news cycle. However, in the Trump administration, it is just another hour of another day. However, this should not go without response, especially at a time when Trump is cynically courting Jewish voters.  I hope you will sign on.

Why is Rick Wiles on @Apple Podcasts?

Rick Wiles is a far right conspiracy theorist who doesn’t like Jews. He also promotes his own “news” service called TruNews. In a recent podcast, he blamed a “Jew Coup” for Donald Trump’s impeachment problems. Right Wing Watch and various news sites covered it; watch:

‘Jew Coup’: Impeachment Effort Prompts Another Anti-Semitic Tirade from Rick Wiles from Right Wing Watch on Vimeo.

Wiles started by saying Jews were liars and ended by claiming they planned to kill millions of Christian.

That’s the way the Jews work, they are deceivers, they plot, they lie, they do whatever they have to do to accomplish their political agenda.

According to Wiles the political agenda is impeachment and Jews have plans for those who resist.

This is a coup led by Jews to overthrow the constitutionally elected president of the United States and it’s beyond removing Donald Trump, it’s removing you and me. That’s what’s at the heart of it.

“You have been taken over by a Jewish cabal. The church of Jesus Christ, you’re next. Get it through your head! They’re coming for you. There will be a purge. That’s the next thing that happens when Jews take over a country, they kill millions of Christians.

Wiles at the White House and Apple?

This is crazy talk and racist in the extreme. Although I am sad to learn that Wiles has access to White House press credentials, I am not surprised. I was surprised to find Wiles podcasts easily available on Apple’s podcast service.

Apple has standards for podcasters and one of those includes prohibition of racist content.

Apple can fail, reject, or remove your podcast from Apple Podcasts for a variety of reasons. For example, Apple might fail, reject, or remove your podcast if the podcast or any content linked from the podcast contains any of the following:

There is a list of reasons given and one of them is this:

Content that could be construed as racist, misogynist, or homophobic.

I certify that Wiles content can be construed as antisemitic. There is nothing redeeming about spreading lies and prejudice. Wiles shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the White House or given interviews with people in the administration. Youtube removed his video of this message, now Apple should do the same. In fact a perusal of the rest of the content will quickly implicate much of it as in violation of Apple’s standards.

Let Justice Roll Down: Thoughts from John M. Perkins

Today a copy of John Perkins’ 1976 autobiography, Let Justice Roll Down, arrived in my mail box as a gift from a friend. I looked for this book as a part of my research into John MacArthur’s claim that he and Perkins traveled to Memphis on the night Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. I reported the results of my research and my interview with John Perkins’ daughter in a prior post.

In this book, Perkins mentions the support he received from John MacArthur’s father but doesn’t mention anything about going with John MacArthur to Memphis on the night of MLK’s death. I think that would be a story I would include if it had happened to me.

Social Justice

What is striking about this book is Perkins’ commitment to social justice. I say it is striking because Perkins has declined to speak on the record about the MacArthur story, choosing instead to allow his daughter to speak for him. Deborah Perkins has supported the story of Charles Evers who said he didn’t go to Memphis with MacArthur and Perkins that night.

Why is it striking to me? John MacArthur has gone on record as criticizing the social justice movement in the evangelical church. He promotes a critical statement on social justice which seems to cast doubt on much of what John Perkins has worked for.

As I read Perkins book, I came across these words:

The contribution of the civil rights movement to the black man’s struggle for justice and equality is one that is undeniably great. And this is so, because those who led the movement were committed men and women. They were committed to the cause. And to the struggle.

But how sad that so few individuals equally committed to Jesus Christ ever became part of that movement. For what all that political activity needed — and lacked — was spiritual input.  Even now, I do not understand why so many evangelicals find a sense of commitment to civil rights and to Jesus Christ an “either-or” proposition. (p. 99).

Perhaps, Rev. Perkins should ask his friend John MacArthur why so many evangelicals can’t walk the gospel and chew social justice gum at the same time. Or maybe John Perkins could help MacArthur understand his point of view.

Later in the book, Perkins wrote about the ostracism his children experienced in the all white schools of Mendenhall, MS. No Christian leaders, parents, or students spoke up to support them. He wrote:

I had to just watch. It hurt. The question kept popping up inside me: Does the gospel  — that is, the gospel as we presently preach it — have within itself the power to deal with racial attitudes? The thing that hit me was that the supposed presence of the gospel was simply not effective in terms of human relations. If evangelism is truly on the side of God and His love, then it should never allow itself to look like it’s on the side of a bigot-producing system. (p. 108).

I know which side I want to be on. To be fair, I believe most people want to be on the right side. However, I invite anti-social justice warriors to ask themselves why Perkins’ question is just as relevant in 2019 as it was in 1976.

Trump Boosts Promotional Video Which Borrows White Nationalist Logo (UPDATED)

UPDATED: Mediaite posted an op-ed from an anonymous meme-maker who claims the logo is innocent. While I think it is good of Mediaite to provide a forum for a possible explanation, I don’t know enough about “Carpe Donktum” to evaluate his/her claims. I also need to add that I originally thought the ad came from the Trump campaign. However, it was produced by a supporter of Trump and retweeted by the president. I have corrected my post to reflect that.

…………………

Somebody supporting the Trump re-election effort is too familiar with white nationalist symbols. Recently, Trump retweeted a video that ended with a lion logo surrounded by red, white, and blue which has been promoted by a white nationalist group. Watch:


As first reported by Mediaite this morning, Snopes managing editor Brooke Binkowski found a tweet from white nativist group VDARE using the logo in 2016 and showed it next to the final shot of the Trump/Pence video.

Note the 2016 date. The logo is the same as the one used in the Trump/Pence ad just this week.

The Lion’s Guard

The logo is also associated with a group called “The Lion’s Guard.” This group (which was promoted and praised on white supremacist site Daily Stormer in 2016) aims to provide security at Trump rallies and was removed from Twitter for awhile. They are back now with the same logo.

Note the slogan on the group’s website:

Better to be a lion for a day, than a lamb for eternity.

The slogan is a simpler version of a quote attributed to Mussolini:

It’s better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.

In 2016, Trump retweeted this quote knowing the attribution was to Mussolini:

Donald Trump and/or his social media team thought it would be a good idea to promote a symbol which communicated nativist themes. They who have eyes to see, let them see.