Monday, September 09, 2013


I have two fundamental reasons why I'm so personally opposed to racial profiling in particular, and racial bias or bigotry in general. My conscience will not permit me to say, as so many do that, because African-Americans  [Or Asians, or Jews, or Hispanics] are guilty of high drug use, high unwanted pregnancies, high abandonment rate of children, or any other thing that could be named, that that's reason enough to profile them or treat them differently. That kind of illogical thinking is inherently wrong and doesn't pass the smell test at all. That's like saying a person has to earn their value and significance as a human being by being in a group that is low in categories such as those mentioned. Good luck with that kind of pragmatic thinking as a way of life. 

But my problem with bigotry and racism is founded on two basic premises or reasons. One is personal and the other is Constitutional.

The personal reason is because of my Christian faith. I now hold to a moral standard that is informed by my seeing life through Christ-colored glasses. Remember that to Him there was/is no Jew nor Gentile, male nor female, bond nor free, as Paul ultimate made clear to the Galatians. That isn't speaking of biology of course, but it IS speaking about seeing all people as Jesus saw them then and sees them now. That is as being equal in value and significance because of the stamp of God's image upon them, which will not permit us to make judgments based on skin color, gender, nationality or even some behavior that is frowned upon by our culture.

The Christian brand of morality sees such JUDGMENTS based on skin-color or ethnicity as immoral and beneath the standard of behavior for Kingdom kids. It's the "Sheet" principle Peter had to learn when he came to know that God's view of people was different than was Peter's own. This "sheet" was necessary to open him up to the gospel being given to the gentiles. [Acts 10:11-16] This is reason enough for me to question the actions of anyone who would profile, devalue, or despise a person based on skin color, religion or ethnicity. 

But I have another reason too.

I'm thinking that racial bigotry or profiling won't stand the test of our Constitution. I know all about how it was written originally viewing the African American population as less than human and how the Bill or Rights [the first 10 amendments] and the some 27 total amendments were needed to correct those kinds of things.

The Constitution wound up being finally crafted on the principle of treating all American citizens as equals in their standing before the law. This embodies the right of all American citizens to a presumption of innocent, rather than guilt, in that standing. This is our bedrock of constitutionalism. With this bedrock our system protects, to the chagrin of many, the interests of even the most vile of offenders and affords them due process. How, then, could we condone anyone’s rights being violated MERELY BECAUSE of a racial, religious or ethnic group affiliation or behavior less than acceptable?

It must not happen! 

We may have to sometimes sacrifice SOME of our cherished civil liberties as Americans in the name of security, [think security checks at airports]  but such times of sacrifice should treat all of us as equals. A system which would allow or condone an active discrimination against some of its citizens, or even non-residents within her borders, because of a profiling as a group, fails in the goal of an equal society. Worse, it promotes group identity, singling out some merely because of a particular identifying mark as, say, skin color or ethnicity. According to our Constitution, that is un-American.

So, as a Christian, I'm unable to allow for racial bigotry in any way to be a part of my lifestyle. The gospel of Christ is still the greatest weapon for the solving of the racial bias that is so rampant, it seems to me. My primary goal then, as a member of the Kingdom of Christ, is the presenting of that gospel, which is the power of God to salvation, to all men everywhere with the clear knowledge that His Kingdom is NOT of this world and transcends all national borders and citizenships. I must not lose this primary focus. 

But, I'm thinking, as an American citizen, a continual awareness that discrimination in any fashion is contrary to our Constitution as well, and to be willing as an American citizen to get involved in correcting it when and where it is found, especially on the part of the privileged whites, which includes me, could be a blessing in the making of our American society a better place to live for all peoples within our borders. 

I like the way John Fogerty's new song says it, "Don't You Wish It Were True."


Rex Ray said...

IMHO, the ‘timing’ of your post could not come at a ‘worse’ time as far as ‘selling’ it.

It’s like the problem Obama is having trying to sell America on what to do.

I listen to the nice song “Don’t you wish it was true”. Then I heard “I saw it on TV”.

I think of the big smile of Kennedy not knowing he had less than a minute to live.

His smile is about the same way I think of your post sounding so good.

Remember Jesus used a whip.

What do you think of holding a revival in Detroit?

Some might feel as the man being transferred there as in this story:

Bob was sitting on the plane waiting to fly to Detroit, when a guy took the seat beside him. The guy was an emotional wreck, pale, hands shaking, moaning in fear.
"What's the matter?" Bob asked.
"I've been transferred to Detroit - I've heard the people are crazy there. They've got lots of shootings, gangs, race riots, drugs, poor public schools, and the highest crime rate in the nation."
Bob replied, "I've lived in Detroit all my life. It's not as bad as the media says. Find a nice home, go to work, mind your own business, and enroll your kids in a nice private school. It's as safe a place as anywhere in the world."
The guy relaxed and stopped shaking and said, "Oh, thank you. I've been worried to death. But if you live there and say it's OK, I'll take your word for it. What do you do for a living?"
"I'm tail gunner on a Budweiser truck."

Paul Burleson said...


I'm not sure I followed all the logic of some of your nuances, but that said, I appreciate your comment.

I posted the joke about the tail-gunner on my Facebook timeline about a month ago. It's REALLY funny to me.

Were I to agree with all you've said, that's not a commitment to that, just a manner of speaking, I would not change a single word I wrote in the post. It's a matter of principle for me, rather than pragmatism.

So, whether it's a good time to say it or whether someone won't "buy" it, although I'm not trying to sell anything, is of no consequence for me. I hold to the principle of rejecting racial bigotry and even confronting it when necessary, on both the Christian [personal] and Constitutional [social] basis, period.

I do think you're correct that Jesus used a whip on one occasion. If I remember correctly, it was against the established leaders of the Religion of the day and the way they let greed rule the moment.

As usual, He set quite an example by being opposed to doing things in the religious realm out of a spirit of pragmatism. [If it makes things easier, having the sacrifice handy for sale, and makes a little side money too, do it.]

Bob Cleveland said...

We tend to think the whole world reflects us, and that's just not true. In fact, the problem with all generalizations is that they never, ever apply to you or to me as individuals. And isn't that the way God views us? Aren't we saved or lost individually, and not based on whether we're part of an identifiable social group?

I don't care what the statistics are, as respects black crime. The statistics are what they are, but they say NOTHING about Edgar & Nikki Gantt, two of the most delightful folks I've ever met, and vital members of my SS class.

Even as respects "Christians", how do you suppose good honest Catholic folks in Northern Ireland would describe us?

Last, I went to the Nazi Documentation Center in Ubersalzburg, many years ago. It exists to document for all to see, the atrocities of the Nazi Third Reich. And it's all there, from explicit pictures to an organizational chart for the death camps. ALL of that flowed from one man's prejudice against another class of people. I honestly think that, if anyone went through that center, they'd have the same utter disgust for any form of prejudice, that I've experienced ever since I walked out that door.

Paul Burleson said...


Rare is the time that I can agree with ALL that is said in a single comment, but this is just such a time. I've been through the death camp museum in Israel coming away with the same disgust you've described after your visit to Uber Salzburg. Thanks for commenting.

Kristen said...

Hi, Paul! May I recommend this website?

By Their Strange Fruit: Christianity and Race

I have learned lately that even though I've always been against racism, I often unwittingly participate in racist structures. The more we listen to the voices of people of color, the better!

Paul Burleson said...


Your comment is well taken. The last sentence is the need of the hour IMHO.

I'll check the site out. Thanks.

Rex Ray said...


I read your reference, but it did NOT convince me because I’ve experienced what I believe is true.

Our church worked on a Black church only one day because they saw a Black man hiding behind trees as he was being shot at by another Black. I worked 40 days and was told by the Black preacher never to work alone without the doors locked as I would probably be robbed

I complained to him that my skill saw was missing and he called the mother of a Black man that was also working. She said her son and come into some money and had gone drinking with his friends.

An old Black deacon told me they needed Mexicans to do the work of the town. Said, “I can show you right now 20 Blacks sucking on a bottle.”

I asked the Black preacher why he had tree limbs covering his truck loaded with scrap sheetrock. “There’s no charge if the city dump only sees tree limbs.” (He was quite proud of saving the ‘Lord’s money’.)

He asked how much the material cost for tape and bedding. I told him I was giving it to the church, but told him when he said he needed to know because a group had pledged to pay the cost. He said, “That sounds way too cheap…I’m going to double that.”

Do you believe Obama would have been elected if he had been White?
Case closed.

Rex Ray said...

The more we listen to the voices of people of color, the better!”

Should we agree “The most beautiful sound on earth is the Muslim Call to Prayer”?

When I’d hear that in Israel a chill would go down my back. Guess I wasn’t Muslim.

What about “Obamacare”?

Am I digressing?

Paul Burleson said...


Your logical fallacy is showing.____ "The more we listen to the voices of people of color, the better!”___ "Should we agree “The most beautiful sound on earth is the Muslim Call to Prayer”?.

That makes as much sense as someone who says of me___You believe in the virgin birth.____ You must be a Catholic."

Part A of each of those can be true without part B following as truth. But I think you know that.

Yes, I think you are digressing a bit. But you're being nice about it. Keep up the niceness, please. ;)

Aussie John said...


Great to see you back. I am of the same opinion as yourself, if I have understood rightly, but I think I'd be wise to stop at this point :)

Rex Ray said...


Thanks for the response. You know I always like a friendly debate. :)

You stated earlier: “I hold to the principle of rejecting racial bigotry.”

I could not agree more. In years gone by it was usually the Majority running over the minority. But today and in my experience, I believe it’s the other way around.

I mean the Majority leans over backwards Not to offend the Minority.

A young (Minority) ‘new hire’ machinists was running a tape controlled machine with three spindles at 50% speed which meant he got to sit twice as long before he had to change clamps etc. The ‘White’ foreman said he believed the machine could run at 100% and changed the speed. When his back was turned, the new kid broke the three cutters with a lead hammer, and told the foreman the speed was too fast. The foreman was quick to agree as the cutters cost about $100 each.

An extreme example would be one that shocked the nation when three Minorities killed a jogger because they were bored. (The jogger was White)

I’ve always thought of myself as ‘logical’, so I’ll try to make my thoughts more clear. I disagreed with the statement: “The more we listen to the voices of people of color, the better!”

To me that is saying: ‘The more the nation listens to Blacks, the better off America will be.”

Why should we listen to someone whose track record is NOT desired…starting with their high percentage of single parents to their high ratio of prison.

I think of ‘Taps’ as pretty but I don’t like to hear it because of its sadness in someone dying. That’s why I don’t think the Muslim call to prayer is beautiful because Muhammad is worshiped instead of Jesus.
This link states:

Loud speakers are used to broadcast the prayer five times a day and is intended to bring to the mind of every believer and non-believer the substance of Islamic beliefs, or its spiritual ideology. It’s the first thing recited in the ears of a newborn babe.

The words of the prayer are:
Allah is Most Great. Allah is Most Great.
Allah is Most Great. Allah is Most Great.
I bear witness that there is none worthy of being worshipped except Allah.
I bear witness that there is none worthy of being worshipped except Allah.
I bear witness that Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah.
I bear witness that Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah.
Come to prayer. Come to prayer.
Come to Success. Come to Success.
Allah is Most Great. Allah is Most Great.
There is none worthy of being worshipped except Allah.

If this prayer touches Obama, what does The Old Rugged Cross do?

Paul, I don’t understand the example of virgin birth and being a Catholic.

Paul Burleson said...


I think your statement.... "Thanks for the response. You know I always like a friendly debate." the crux of the difference between us.

I neither enjoy a debate nor do I participate in them. It may be just semantics, but I see a difference in expressing ideas, though there may be a difference of opinion, and debating.

Comments are, to me, ideas that people may respond to or not respond to, period. This is probably because I'm not attempting to convince anyone of my view or even wish they thought as I do. I enjoy my freedom of thought and ideas an extend that freedom to others," unless they violate my standard expressed above.

Thanks for your comments.

Rex Ray said...


The following is written to express my view in the hope everyone will think as me. :)

I believe every preacher’s sermon should have the same goal.

A debate is to consider something by discussion and arguments. Debate is as old as the hills---isn’t that what happen between the devil and Eve?

Debate is standing for what you believe. Song: “If you don’t stand for something; you’ll fall for anything.”

Debate is NOT fighting and quarreling.

Paul Burleson said...


You and I will just have to disagree on how debate and discussion might differ and which is being done.

From what little training I have, some back in school days, I've learned to track what debaters call "Intellectually dishonest debate tactics" which are listed many places and include things such as....

Name calling____To be dismissed as “disgruntled” or “bitter.” These are all efforts to distract the audience by changing the subject because the speaker cannot refute the facts or logic of the opponent.

Changing the subject___Redirecting the conversation to another subject area but admits to no change of subject and pretends to be refuting the original on-subject

Questioning motives___This only indicates there is no error in logic, just an attempt to insinuate an error by innuendo.

Citing irrelevant facts or logic___This is a clouding of the discussion with large amounts of words and does what #2 does, changes the subject.

False premise___Making a statement using an assumption of "facts not in evidence." [Stating as fact some argument with facts not discussed.]

Sloganeering___Using vague sentences or phrases that are cliches rather than facts or logic to deflect criticism. [Example..“Don’t work for money, make money work for you”]

Cult of personality___Using particular personality characteristics as motivation for accomplishing an end which makes the end justify the means. [Example..I'm just a cranky older guy" or "You're too young to remember."]

Vagueness___Using terms or sentences that are so vague there are no facts or logic present.

Playing to widely held fantasies or fears___Using ideas that play to powerful fears for the purpose of overriding facts and logic.

Stereotyping___Proving a point by citing a stereotype that supposedly applies to the discussion. [Example..When debating teachers or preachers."They are just in their Ivory Tower and wouldn't know."]

This is just a portion of a LONG list of the intellectually-dishonest debate tactics that disqualify a discussion as a true debate. These indicate what would NOT be allowed in an honest debate according to debate rules. Most blogs and comments are just polite discussion.

So, my desire is that we let's just carry on a discussion without having to challenge these each ttime we see them. Discussion? Yes. Debate? I don't think so!.. LOL

[Notice how our discussion has changed from the subject of the post. A true debate would not allow for that. But it's a fun discussion. ;)

Rodney Sprayberry said...

Forgive me for butting in but I would like to gently disagree with you . Nether debate ( my thoughts vs your thoughts battle until one side wins ir one side loses) nor discussion ( my thoughts and your thoughts hang out in a conversation) occur on this forum on a regular basis. Instead, what I see is something entirely different and in my opinion far more valuable and more important....dialogue

Speaking with certainty only for myself of course (though I suspect others who interact on this site feel the same) I am better because of it


Paul Burleson said...


Truth be known, I'm hoping your assessment is correct.

Thank you and I'm embracing your word. "dialogue" as the word that best describes what I desire to happen between people here on my blog or anywhere else for that matter.

Your definitions of debate and discussion are spot on too, IMO.

Rex Ray said...


Besides “dialogue”, I believe your link could be much the same as ‘Brain-storming’. That’s where a group shares their thoughts and they ‘feed’ off each other to solve a problem or reach a goal. It’s like ‘iron sharpening iron’. It disproves the math that says ‘the sum is no greater than its parts’, because the ‘parts’ grow from ideas of others.

I believe participating on blogs is much the same. I’ve learned much and even admitted I was wrong…but not very often. :)

Rodney Sprayberry said...


I believe much of your response is spot on! I, like you, have learned much :)

Paul Burleson said...

Rex, Rodney,

Both of you guys have added to the dialogue going on here in a way that I greatly appreciate. Thank you both.

Rex Ray said...

Rodney, Paul,

This won’t be funny if you’re not familiar with the TV “Monk” and his brother arguing which one is liked best by the same counselor, but here goes:

Rodney, see; he likes me best because he addressed my name FIRST! HA

Probably from now on, Paul will put your name first to teach me a lesson that I deserve. :) Yes, I’ve got too much time on my hands.

Rodney Sprayberry said...


Yep you won AND you got the final word!! Have a good day! LOL

Rex Ray said...


I’m glad you didn’t quote Karl Marx, who said,

“Last words are for fools who haven't said enough.” :)