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  1. William Noel
    09 December 2014 @ 5:33 am

    Anyone who believes the popular narrative that it was the police chokehold that killed Eric Garner needs to read a physician’s perspective on the matter like the one written by Dr. G. Wesley Clark that can be read at http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2014/12/a_medical_perspective_on_the_garner_tragedy.html.

    Simply put, there was no medical evidence that Garner was choked to death by the police. But the emotional outcry continues to spread falsehood. So we have more evidence of emotions being stirred-up and running wild without factual basis. The bigger problem is not what happened that day but that we now have mobs running wild in cities demanding that another person’s liberty be taken away without an examination of the evidence.

    I am far more afraid of what an emotion-crazed mob incited by leaders who prefer to tell lies and jump to inaccurate conclusions than what any police officer might do to me.

    • Jim Hamstra
      09 December 2014 @ 7:14 am

      Far more telling than the Coroner’s report, was the second video clearly showing the causal indifference of both the Police and the EMTs to the fate of a black man who lay dying on the sidewalk. Both teams of “professionals” were hired, trained and (for the police) sworn to help him, yet they basically stood around talking to each other about his condition rather than actually trying to help him. Their (in)actions speak louder than any medical or legal reports about their actual attitudes toward this dying man.

      Who is YOUR neighbor, William. You gladly help and recruit others to help those you find in need around you. If you had been standing on the nearest street corner would you have tried to help or get anyone else to help? Or would you have waited for the Coroner’s report or the Grand Jury report or the Attorney General report to justify your own indifference to human suffering when it is not your neighbor?

    • nathan schilt
      09 December 2014 @ 7:25 am

      It depends, William, on what you mean by causation. Do you mean that the chokehold was not a significant contributing factor to the death of Eric Garner? Are you saying that even if no chokehold had been used, Garner would have been dead minutes after his confrontation with police? Or are you saying that the chokehold was not the immediate proximate cause? The questions that are asked has much to do with the answers you will likely come to.

      It is unfortunate that so few bother to pay any attention to what legal standard the grand jury was given to apply. I don’t know what it was. But if it was similar to the standards we used when I was a prosecutor, the grand jury had to conclude that the officer using the chokehold knew or should have known that that action had a high likelihood of producing death or great bodily injury. That’s a tough hurdle to clear. But of course applying the legal standard to the facts of the case would interfere with the Truth that exploitation of the incident advances.

      • Jim Hamstra
        09 December 2014 @ 9:06 am

        Well Nathan, I have no need to exploit this incident, but I think that there are other legal and ethical questions that arise and given that this gentleman died under police custody, need to be asked and answered.

        1) Was there in fact probable cause to arrest this man? The published reports say he was suspected of selling untaxed cigarettes, an offense that caused previous arrests. Was he observed on this occasion selling said contraband? Was any found in his possession before or after his arrest? I do not believe you would claim that once someone has been arrested or convicted for a crime, they become a target for arrest simply because the police do not want them around. If there was no legal cause for arrest then this was police misconduct.

        2) Was it necessary to tackle this man and slam his face into the sidewalk in order to arrest him? Who initiated the violence? This man or the police? With or without cause? It is reasonable to assume that by walking away this man was trying to avoid a confrontation with the police. I have personally witnessed a police officer skillfully and tactfully de-escalate a potentially violent confrontation with a young man who was very angry and very drunk and had in fact committed a crime that I witnessed and reported. From the available video evidence that was not the approach taken by the police in the case being discussed here. Rather there is strong circumstantial evidence that the police patrol was out to “get” this man and “teach him a lesson” (stay away from “their” beat?).

        3) As trained first responders, do the police have the responsibility to render all reasonable aid and assistance to someone in their custody who is obviously struggling for his life? Of do they simply call the EMTs and then stand around waiting for him to die? And even celebrating their successful take-down of the man now lying at their feet bleeding and gasping for breath?

        4) Just because someone has a pulse does not mean they are breathing. I learned that in a first-aid class as a child. Certainly these police and EMTs trained as first responders knew that. The second video tape shows no intervention to either assess this man’s respiration or render proper assistance. Is there no case her for mis-feasance if not mal-feasance? On the face of it all the police and EMTs were incompetent and/or negligent. They should be fired if the former and prosecuted if the latter. Given that the man was recorded repeatedly telling police that he couldn’t breathe, their failure to assist him in breathing once he was in their custody would appear to support the mal-feasance hypothesis.

        • William Noel
          09 December 2014 @ 11:06 am

          Jim,

          A couple things you might want to read related to the case.

          First, about Garner: http://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/jim-meyers/11-facts-about-the-eric-garner-case-the-media-wont-tell-you/

          Second, about Al Sharpton: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/sharpton-fines-racism-taxes/2014/12/09/id/612015/
          It boggles my mind that anyone could look to such a person as a leader or give any credibility to his statements.

        • nathan schilt
          09 December 2014 @ 1:33 pm

          Perfectly reasonable observations and questions, Jim. I don’t know whether the police had probable cause to arrest. And I don’t know how relevant that was, or should have been, to the Grand Jury’s decision. Whether things could or should have been done differently may not be relevant to the question of whether the officer(s) should be charged with criminal homicide.

          Do you really think that people who are negligently responsible for the death of another should be charged with criminal homicide, regardless of whether they had a reasonable expectation that their misconduct would result in death?

          Our system is predicated on the maxim that it is better for ten guilty people to go free than for one innocent person to be convicted. Why shouldn’t law enforcement officers be entitled to the presumption of innocence? Circumstantial evidence is certainly important to look at. But jurys are instructed that when there are two reasonable interpretations of the evidence, one of which points to innocence and the other of which points to guilt, it is their duty to adopt that which points to innocence, and erject the interpretation which points to guilt

          • Jim Hamstra
            10 December 2014 @ 9:26 pm

            I was not writing with regard only or primarily to criminal homicide. Surely we have higher expectations for “public safety” officers than not committing criminal homicide?

            When someone becomes a sworn law officer, they take an oath to uphold ALL of the laws applicable within their jurisdiction. How can you effectively enforce laws on others while ignoring those that apply to your own conduct?

            I maintain that police should be held to a higher standard of accountability given their higher level of authority. Ditto for judges and legislators (the latter arguably being some of the biggest and most corrupt offenders of all).

            We have things upside-down in this country. The higher your level of authority, the lower your level of accountability in practice. This problem extends from top to bottom throughout our system of government. It is extremely corrosive to democratic principles and if unchecked will ultimately prove fatal to our democracy.

            The alternative will be vigilante justice where everyone does what is right in his or her own eyes (eg Afghanistan), or some form of authoritarian dictatorship (eg Iran).

      • Jim Hamstra
        09 December 2014 @ 9:17 am

        Nathan,

        It has often been suggested that prosecutors and judges are very reluctant to come down hard on police in cases of potential mis-conduct, because they are heavily dependent on these same police to support them in their own responsibilities.

        Is this generally true? Was it true when you were a prosecutor?

        You have made the case that the police were probably not chargeable with homicide in this case. At that point as a prosecutor would you simply walk away or would you look at other potential crimes that the police might have committed?

        Do major crimes by police get prosecuted, whereas minor crimes get a free pass under the dictum of “live and let live” or “professional courtesy”?

        Would your really claim that the gentleman who died was afforded equal protection under the laws of the State of New York and the United States of America? Why or why not?

        • nathan schilt
          09 December 2014 @ 1:53 pm

          Fair question… Yes, I think if there were evidence of other crimes besides homicide, a prosecutor should certainly look at such evidence and charge appropriately. I don’t try to make the case that the officers should not have been charged. I simply tried to draw attention to the reality that prosecutors and grand juries are constrained by legal standards.

          I would absolutely appalled if a police officer saw a flailing child drowning in a pool, and took no steps to assist. But under the law of most states, failure to come to the aid of another is not a crime. One cannot be charged with criminal homicide for failing to assist or rescue a drowining child. I know that for many Americans who see their political leaders disregarding the rule of law, and expressing contempt for the way in which examiners of the facts apply the law leads many Americans to feel that law should be created and applied in an ad hoc manner to vindicate emtotional justice claim.

          I don’t see good evidence that Eric Garner was treated as he was on account of race or disability. Denying someone equal protection of the law is not per se criminal. Rather, it is the denial of equal protection, under color of law on account of certain constitutionally prohibit considerations.

          I really don’t know enough about the facts of this case to have an informed opinion as to whether the officer(s) committed any criminal act. Sadly,too many Americans have such deep distrust of the system that they are prepared to substitute the holy trinity of needs, wants and feelings as a substitute for the rule of law.

      • William Noel
        09 December 2014 @ 10:44 am

        Nathan,

        Did you read the article that I linked in my original comment? That physician makes some observations that raise serious doubts about the public claims. One of his points is that the autopsy did not show any damage to Garner’s airway that would have been typical or expected had he actually been strangled.

        That said, let me add that I have great sympathy for Garner. I have asthma that, fortunately, is well controlled. As I was learning to control it I had several events where I got into respiratory distress and had to go to the hospital emergency room. I have encountered no experience so terrifying as not being able to breathe! What the doctor points-out is that Garner’s respiratory distress was not caused by the arm around his neck, but by the fact that he was morbidly obese (around 350 pounds or more) so someone laying across his belly to hold him on the ground was exerting upward pressure into his chest that kept him from expanding his lungs and taking a full breath.

        Another observation is one of the basics that I learned in CPR training and from ER nurses and doctors: a patient who is telling you loudly that they can’t breathe is actually breathing quite well because they are exchanging enough air to yell at you! It is the patient who whispers and wheezes softly to you that they can’t breathe who needs rapid attention. Garner was exchanging enough air to yell at the arresting officers so his airway was not being restricted.

        Another point the doctor makes is that Garner was not dead on the scene but merely having difficulty breathing, so officers called an ambulance. He became unconscious in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Paramedics and the ER personnel treated him for cardiac arrest and believed he died from a heart attack.

        Garner being morbidly obese made him a walking time bomb looking for a place to drop dead from a heart attack. It is possible that the confrontation with the police triggered a heart attack, but it is very difficult to credibly accuse the police of causing his death. There simply is not enough evidence of intent to do harm or specific action on their part to bring charges.

        • Jim Hamstra
          09 December 2014 @ 1:00 pm

          I had a father-in-law with asthma and also a son. Neither of them was obese. I have watched them during asthma attacks struggling to breathe. I once watched a very fit young man in a wrestling match. At one point he managed to blurt-out rather loudly that he could not breathe. He was not lying. Fortunately his friend who had him in a hold immediately released him.

          I agree that it was not the police that killed this man. Though if you watch the video he is face-down with four officers on his back at one point, which would certainly make it hard for me to breathe. If he was in such poor condition why was it necessary to take him down to arrest him? And why was it necessary to arrest him? And why did neither the police nor the EMTs actually assist him in any way once he was down?

          • William Noel
            09 December 2014 @ 1:43 pm

            Read the article referenced in my first message. The physician writing it gives a good explanation.

          • Jim Hamstra
            10 December 2014 @ 9:27 pm

            My comments are not directed at the cause of death.

      • William Noel
        09 December 2014 @ 1:42 pm

        I am saying that what is claimed as a chokehold was nothing of the sort, merely an arm around the neck applying leverage to help bring Mr. Garner to the ground. Contrary to the emotional claims it does not appear to be the immediate and proximate cause of death. As the article referenced in my first posting describes there is another cause that probably contributed far more to his death.

        I am glad you have that experience as a prosecutor because you understand even better than I do the level of proof that is required to gain a conviction.

        • Jim Hamstra
          10 December 2014 @ 9:28 pm

          Which completely begs the question of whether it was necessary to arrest this gentleman or to bring him to the ground in order to arrest him.

    • Marilyn E.Fletcher
      14 December 2014 @ 3:31 am

      Sorry William, but anyone looking at the video can see the choke hold and hear him crying out, “I can’t breathe.” Common decency would have caused the officer to loosen his grip on the man’s throat. After all, he was handcuffed and already restrained. How would you feel if that were your son the nation watched die? I am truly tried of people rationalizing things that should never occur and NEVER does occur to white youth; only minorities.

  2. William Noel
    09 December 2014 @ 5:47 am

    Anyone who hopes a federal investigation into the death of Eric Garner will result in criminal charges against a police officer is chasing a political illusion. The law requires an investigation any time a black person dies at the hands of a non-black police officer. But it also requires evidence that the police officer acted in a premeditated manner and acted deliberately and with intent to do harm to a specific individual. The US Department of Justice under AG Holder has yet to bring a single civil rights case against a white police officer anywhere because the burden of proof must rise far above the emotions of an emotion-crazed public mob.

    • Jim Hamstra
      09 December 2014 @ 7:06 am

      We each have emotions, William. To an onlooker our emotions may appear to be as crazy as theirs appear to be to us.

      Generally it is not a single incident that creates our strongest emotions. Rather it that our response to that incident is conditioned by a lifetime of prior experiences.

      Living in middle-class suburbs I can tell you that the level of trust and respect is very different between our police and our citizens than in the large cities in the adjacent counties. We do NOT in this country have one system of criminal justice for everyone, though we may have one set of laws. The more affluent suburbs expect and can afford to pay for a higher calibre of civil servants than can the larger cities. It is no different than it is with schools and other public services. And the suburbs being newer do not have as deeply entrenched bureaucracies and public employee unions.

      A lot of things go into the blender that churns-out these tragic incidents.

      • William Noel
        09 December 2014 @ 10:46 am

        Emotions are exactly at the heart of the problem. People like Al Sharpton have been expanding false claims to stir-up emotions, abandon reason and motivate people to demand “justice” when what they’re actually calling for is the courts to become their lynch mobs

        • Jim Hamstra
          09 December 2014 @ 1:15 pm

          “Lynch mobs” is a very loaded term, William. In the eyes of some people the police have become the lynch mobs in certain metropolitan areas, replacing the Southern White lynch mobs of an earlier age.

          Like anyone else, if police are not held to strict account for how they treat those less powerful, they tend to feel they can act with impunity. And that is now the unfortunate situation in too many places in our fine country. Police like most other people will do what they can get away with. Ditto for the citizenry they are trying to police. A fundamental fact that every officer worth his badge understands is that the people in the neighborhood have you out-numbered. Some departments respond by using intimidation, others by trying to establish and maintain mutual respect. And yes respect is a two-way street. You cannot expect others to respect you if you do not respect them.

          We will not break out of this cycle of endless escalation until we find some way to restore respect and confidence. Some things like fewer weapons floating around would also help in my opinion but not everyone agrees with me. Far too many people on both sides of the law have been conditioned by far too much violence in the media, that escalating violence is the first or best solution to confrontations.

          And yes the Al Sharpton’s are expert at surfacing wherever there is trouble. How do they get around so fast? And why do the media give them a voice when they have nothing constructive to say?

          Blessed are the Peacemakers. Maybe we should have a Peacemakers Pledge for Christians.

          • William Noel
            09 December 2014 @ 1:45 pm

            Jim,

            Yes, “lynch mob” is a loaded term. It is also the only one I can find that fits. The only thing keeping some of the mobs rioting in a few places from doing exactly that is a line of police in riot gear.

          • Jim Hamstra
            10 December 2014 @ 9:13 pm

            Where were those police in riot gear when lynch mobs ran wild in the South a century ago? In many cases it was the police who unlocked the jail cells for those mobs to take their victims. There are very strong historical reasons why African Americans do not trust white police officers to protect them.

            I do not condone rioting. Neither do I condone turning a blind eye to the exploitation of the weak by the strong. If any of you bothered to read the articles about how the police and the municipal courts operated in tandem to exploit the ethnic Majority in Ferguson, it might open your eyes to why that same majority has zero trust in either police or in courts.

            I firmly believe this nation should be a nation of laws, and of equal protection under those laws. Whether you look at Congress or whether you look at many sordid actions of local police and courts, you can readily see that there is one system of law (legislation and enforcement) for the strong and another for the weak in this country.

            If you do not want mob violence and vigilante justice then you need legislators and police and prosecutors and judges who regard all humans as being of equal worth. Sadly enough, that is often not the case in our beloved country.

        • Marilyn E.Fletcher
          14 December 2014 @ 3:43 am

          I beg to differ with you William. I am an 65+ Black woman and I take issue with you statement. Al Sharpton has made errors in judgment, but as far as police treatment of Black youth? That is not one of them. My grandson and his girlfriend got into an argument, and he left the house, got in his car and was driving to his mother’s house. As he exited the apartment complex driveway, Alexandria jumped out in front of the car trying to stop him. In her words, “she was determined to make his finished their conversation.” He veered to avoid hitting her, and ran into a tree. Witnesses say that when he got out of the car, she attacked him; at first verbally, then physically: he was fending her off. He left and started walking away and Alex called the police. With 4 separate eye witness accounts that stated he never hit her, David was wrestled to the ground and arrest for domestic abuse, property damage, and disturbing the peace. When it got to court, the judge ruled in David’s favor. But David got to court. David is Black, Alex is White. The police, white, sided with Alex despite witnesses. What if they had wrestled David to the ground, put a choke hold on him, and he died. His name would never have been vindicated. As it is twice when he applied for a job the domestic abuse charge has been brought up. People’s lives are destroyed because of “public servants” actions. David is not a alone. Across this country every day police abuse like this occurs. Sometimes I feel like we have gone back into time, when I was a child and it was normal to see black men publicly abused by the police. There is one set of justice for white people and one set for minorities. When it comes to justice in this country, there is “just us” being mistreated by the system.

  3. Elaine Nelson
    09 December 2014 @ 9:48 am

    Why did a prosecutor present the case to the grand jury? Prosecutor’s are biased, by their very title and are in court to convict. An unbiased person should have presented the case to the jury. This was a grave mistake.

    My late husband, a pathologist, testified to the court for thousands of homicides. One particular case, very similar to this, he ruled that it was the police who “hog tied” the victim disabling his breathing so that he died just as Garner. It was an illegal act, according to the local police. The policeman also had a very troubling record on his former job as being unable to “be around fire arms and impulsive. These were not investigated before hiring at the police force which employed him.

    We will only discover the whole story with the investigations now underway.

    • William Noel
      09 December 2014 @ 10:52 am

      Elaine,

      Given the experience your husband shared with you, I think you will appreciate the observations made by the physician in the article I referenced in my original comment. I hope you will read it.

      Have you ever sat on a jury, or a grand jury? I have sat on both. In the first you listen to the arguments and testimony from both sides. In the grand jury you evaluate the evidence presented by the prosecutors. The prosecutors are not allowed to ask the witnesses any questions. It is the grand jurors who do the questioning. We had some people on the grand jury who really didn’t want to be there and didn’t pay a lot of attention. We had others who asked very insightful and probing questions. We got some information from the witnesses that was not in the documented evidence. Then we weighed it and decided whether or not to issue an indictment.

      I remember one case on the grand jury where I had doubts about the evidence and voted against an indictment. I got outvoted. The case went to trial where the defendant was acquitted.

      The problem with the current public outcry is it is purely an emotional reaction based on false and misleading information and without benefit of facts.

    • nathan schilt
      09 December 2014 @ 1:01 pm

      Elaine –

      I give your anecdotal evidence no more credibility than you give to the Immaculate Conception. The fact that you begin your comment with an obvious gross exaggeration -that your husband testified in court regarding thousands of homicides – makes the particulars of what you have related highly doubtful. The likelihood that the situation you relate would, if the medical facts were examined, have any relevant parallels to the causes of death in the Garner case, is equally small.

    • Marilyn E.Fletcher
      14 December 2014 @ 4:02 am

      Prosecutors always present the evidence; the Grand Jury is arraigned by the Prosecutor. That isn’t the issue. The issue is that in both of these cases something that never has happened before occurred: Darren Wilson, the police officer was allowed to present his take on what happened. Grand Jury hearings are generally fact giving without witnesses. The prosecutor, who the town of Ferguson says is a biased, racist individual (we don’t know) presented a one sided case to the grand jury. I believe it is very sad when someone suspected of shop lifting (if that part is even true) is shot 6 times and killed. What happened to a warning shot?
      Before anyone takes issue with my saying, if that part is true. Police lie. They lie because by law they must have a legal reason for stopping you, so if suspicious they make one up.
      In 1972 (will never forget this date) I worked late getting my department budget together. My secretary was going to take the bus home; I gave her a ride. Karen lived on Queen Anne Hill, an enclave o well-to-do white families. I dropped her off and was on my way home when a set of lights came on behind me. I pulled to the side, got out my license and registration, and waited. The officers approached my car, one on each side and the one on my side asked for my license and registration; I gave it to him and asked, “why did you stop me officer?” He replied, a report of a stolen vehicle with a description matching this one came over my radio. I knew that was a lie, but I also didn’t want to be arrested so I held my peace. He walked back to the patrol car; the other stood by my car with his hand on his gun. When the officer returned he asked, “what are you doing in this neighborhood?” I say, very tight=lipped, because I do not want to go to jail; “I was working late and just dropped my secretary off at home.” He asked for her phone number. I gave it. He went back to the car and obviously had dispatch call Karen who confirmed my story. He let me go with a, “thank you for your cooperation.”
      The next day Karen was astounded and telling everyone about their call. She, a white woman, could not understand why I was stopped. I could. A black woman, driving a new, sporty, expensive car in a white neighborhood is automatically suspected of doing something wrong. As far as the car. My 1970 Cougar was a custom ordered, one of a kind in color (same color as my hair) with custom leather seats; special made to my specifications. NO ONE had a car like mine. So he outright lied. He wanted to know why I was on Queen Anne.
      This type of discourtesy is faced by minorities every day.
      No matter how much money you make, how nicely you are dressed you are still Black and in this country that is a reason to be mistrusted. I will be so glad when Christ comes to take me out of this mess.

      • Jim Hamstra
        14 December 2014 @ 6:19 am

        Marilyn,

        I agree and support much of what you have written here but I must disagree with two things about Ferguson. First, prosecutors can and do call witnesses to appear before Grand Juries. It is certainly true that a Grand Jury is a tool of the prosecutors, and prosecutors can and do use their tools in different ways as they see fit.

        Second, every autopsy report in this case basically corroborated the police officer’s account of what happened. Officer Wilson was not charged by the Grand Jury because the forensic evidence supported his account of what happened. But he was convicted by the media and hounded-out of town.

        Unfortunately when police and prosecutors and courts have built-up a track record of discriminatory behavior against the people they are supposed to serve and protect, even when they do the right thing people tend not to believe them.

        In answer to your question regarding a warning shot, forensic evidence showed there was a struggle at very close range, with DNA from the deceased found on the officer’s shirt, not to mention the large bruise on the officer’s face from the fist of the deceased. You can take time to fire a warning shot when someone is running away. You cannot reasonably fire a warning shot when someone is grappling with you for your weapon, or when they are running towards you at fairly close range. The forensic evidence shows that the first and last shots were fired under these circumstances.

  4. nathan schilt
    10 December 2014 @ 5:38 pm

    Try as I may, I can’t seem to lay my finger on the place in the Gospels where Jesus calls upon the political powers of His day to investigate injustice occurring under color of law. Can someone help me? Perhaps the Roman and Jewish police powers of His day simply weren’t as prone to injustice as American centers and institutions of wealth and power.

    What metric should the Church use to decide what political battles to wage and what side to take in those battles? Does the Church really need more issues to divide it? Given Jesus’ glaring refusal to use His authority to advance legislative/political agendas, it seems to me that Church leaders, as representatives of the Church, should be extremely reluctant to carry the banner of Christ into earthly kingdom political battles, whether those battles involve use of police power, gender, economic, racial inequality, or advancement of family values agendas.

    • BILL SORENSEN
      10 December 2014 @ 8:28 pm

      I agree, Nathan. Jesus kept His distance from political and civil issues and even told His followers “If they force you to walk one mile, walk two.” Where is the civil justice in this statement? Roman soldiers were allowed to force a Jew to carry their gear a mile with no pay. Why didn’t Jesus organize a march for civil and social justice and pontificate about inequities of the world in His day? All he said was “My kingdom is not of this world, or my supports would fight.” Those employed by the church need to distance themselves on any official level on these sensitive issues.

    • Jim Hamstra
      10 December 2014 @ 9:01 pm

      By your line of reasoning our founders should not have gotten entangled in the Abolitionist movement. They should not have operated Underground Railway stations in Battle Creek and other Adventist venues.

      In the 1960s other Adventist pastors criticized Elder Earl E Cleveland for joining in some of the marches with Martin Luther King Jr.

      It is not a simple question to decide when abuses of authority rise to the level of moral issues for Christians. Whether or not this particular issue rises to that level is in the eye of the beholder. Probably as a white male professional you do not feel threatened in the same way as do those among us who take the opposite side of this issue.

      • nathan schilt
        11 December 2014 @ 7:37 am

        Very good point, Jim. I tend to be a purist here. I think the only time the Church, qua church, should become involved in politics is when freedom of religion and conscience is threatened by political action. Certainly I believe that Church members as individuals should feel free to speak and act in the political arena. We have, as it were, dual citizenship in the earthly and heavenly kingdoms. But it is quite another thing when a Church officer or employee creates the impression that he is speaking for the Church on a political matter in which the Church has not taken a position.

        The Church was politically active in prohibition and anti-smoking initiatives. I think those were mistaken attempts to legislate Kingdom values. I don’t even think the Church should have opposed Sunday closing laws, because those laws did not really impinge on SDA’s freedom of religious expression or worship. But at least they did not threaten to create political fault lines within the Church. I see nothing in Christ’s life or message that encourages political activism. And no, this has nothing to do with the fact that I am a professional White male. I resent the racism implicit in that suggestion. I would be equally opposed to the Church officially supporting legislation to restrict abortion, even though I am personally opposed to abortion. Whether you agree with my argument or not, it has nothing to do with my argument or not, it is based on principle, not expedientiency and self-interest.

        • BILL SORENSEN
          11 December 2014 @ 8:17 am

          “I believe that Church members as individuals should feel free to speak and act in the political arena. We have, as it were, dual citizenship in the earthly and heavenly kingdoms. But it is quite another thing when a Church officer or employee creates the impression that he is speaking for the Church on a political matter in which the Church has not taken a position.”

          This is the position I posted in a response in the on-line Review. As members of society, we can protest individually about things we feel are unjust. But an official church leader should not make public statement about something they may know little or nothing about except by way of a biased press.

          • BILL SORENSEN
            11 December 2014 @ 8:20 am

            And our present despensation does not mix church and state like it does in the OT times. So to refer to exactly how things were done at that time may not apply to us today.

          • nathan schilt
            11 December 2014 @ 5:33 pm

            Bill – you said that “An official church leader should not make public statements about something they may know little or nothing about except by way of a biased press.”

            I would say that, even if a Church leader is fully informed and knowledgeable about a political issue, he should not use the clerical authority and credibility given him by his employing Church to advance his personal political agenda. I would expect my retention as an attorney to be in jeopardy if I publicly used my relationship with my client to advertise/advance a personal moral agenda that my client has not endorsed.

          • Jim Hamstra
            12 December 2014 @ 7:47 pm

            Well Bill, you would have had a very hard time swallowing the statements by James White and others in the Advent Review, that since slavery was immoral every Christian had a moral obligation to NOT obey the Fugitive Slave Act.

            And many Adventists agreed and operated stations on the Underground Railway, including some on church property.

          • Jim Hamstra
            12 December 2014 @ 8:10 pm

            Correction – make that Ellen rather than James who wrote:

            “The law of our land requiring us to deliver a slave to his master, we are not to obey.”

            You can find a concise summary of this topic at
            http://www.oakwood.edu/goldmine/hdoc/blacksda/champ/

        • Jim Hamstra
          12 December 2014 @ 7:08 pm

          I guarantee you that as a professional white male in my suburban city, I get far more careful treatment from police and judges than I would expect as a black male in the adjacent large city. I have in my youth spent enough quality time with those on the other side of this racial divide to know whereof I speak. I have not walked in their shoes but I have done my time in their culture, in their homes, in their dorm rooms and on their streets.

    • Marilyn E.Fletcher
      14 December 2014 @ 4:07 am

      No where in the Bible does it say anything about the political powers, because the Bible is written for believers in God. The two great commandments do however include, “love your neighbor as yourself.” So i you see you neighbor being abused, shouldn’t you step forward and do something? If youw were the one being abused, wouldn’t you want your neighbor to stand up for you?

      • Jim Hamstra
        14 December 2014 @ 6:30 am

        Actually if you read the epistles of Paul he has much to say about submitting to the political powers of his time. And make no mistake, the Romans were every bit as oppressive (or more) to Christians as many Whites in the USofA have and continue to be towards Blacks.

        Paul repeatedly says to give the civil authorities, and the unbelievers, no cause to take offense at your behavior. This is the wise course that you yourself chose many years ago when you were the subject of racial profiling by the NYC police. If you had been a Black Man driving that same car they probably would have assumed you were a Pimp. In your case maybe they thought you might be a high-end call girl driving her “boy friend’s” car.

        Regardless, I totally agree with you that they stopped you because you were of the wrong color in the wrong neighborhood.

  5. Stephen Foster
    11 December 2014 @ 9:34 am

    Jim Hamstra wrote: “Where were those police in riot gear when lynch mobs ran wild in the South a century ago? In many cases it was the police who unlocked the jail cells for those mobs to take their victims. There are very strong historical reasons why African Americans do not trust white police officers to protect them.”

    Rioters are as much my enemies as is the racism, bigotry and classism that enables, ignores, and excuses unequal protection and application of American law. Without exception, rioters in this era play into the hands of racists, bigots, and classists (my terminology for those who support the wealthy having a separate system of justice/anything); and are unwittingly doing exactly what racist, bigots, and classists want them to do. Peaceful protests are what racists/bigots/classists like least.

    The narrative is that the barely human are so violent (or, since the violent are barely human) that the most reasonable response to them is brutal/lethal police force. Rioters and the attendant and inevitable news coverage of same feed the racist/bigoted/classist narrative. Jim’s question and observations pierce the hypocrisy.

  6. nathan schilt
    11 December 2014 @ 1:09 pm

    Simplistically setting up question-begging straw men(“those who support the wealthy having a separate system of justice/anything”)to pierce hypocrisy may well be an emotionally satisfying undertaking, with the added bonus of providing self-indulgent moral thrills. But it doesn’t really answer the question of what principles, if any, should guide/constrain the Church when it comes to sailing out on the treacherous waters of political activism.

    I respect your feelings and political beliefs, Stephen. And I acknowledge the historical realities underlying those feelings and attitudes. But your comment illustrates perfectly where Church political activism will lead. It will lead to brothers and sisters in Christ calling each other bigots, racists, classists, welfare queens, victocrats, and thugs. How is that going to build the Kingdom? Or do you deny that those who reject both the filters through which you see reality and the conclusions you reach as a result, may be brothers and sisters in Christ. Remind me – how was it that Jesus said the world would know that we are His disciples?

    • Stephen Foster
      12 December 2014 @ 2:42 am

      Nathan,

      I fully appreciate the point you tried to make with reference to positions that church leaders should, or should not take. I wouldn’t like it one bit if the church, or a church leader, took an official position on a contentious political issue with which I strongly disagreed. But I did not mention/refer to anyone in particular in calling out racism, bigotry, and classism; and though I may have brothers and sisters in Christ who are racists, bigots, and classists—and who may refer to/consider others as welfare queens, victocrats, and thugs—I must love them anyway. Now simply because I am required to love them doesn’t mean that there are not racists, bigots, and classists, of course. Nor does it mean that there are not welfare queens, and victims who vote for Democrats, or thugs amongst the brethren.

      People will know us by our love for each other. We shouldn’t call each other any names. We should identify evil.

      With regard to the Eric Garner death, it is an insult to anyone’s intelligence to suggest that we, as video-eye witnesses to an event that was closely recorded, couldn’t determine that excessive force was used in the homicide of an unarmed individual; or that an injustice was committed in the failure to indict any officer involved.

      It is sad but not surprising to me on a personal level that conservatives, with rare exceptions, have tended to assume their normal positions in this particular instance. It belies all that anti-big government crapola. When an unarmed guy (who is referring to the police with whom he is conversing as “officer”) is taken down…and out like that, over a citationable tax crime—and conservatives en masse are NOT outraged by no one being held responsible (or no individual being indicted) for anything; then my worst suspicions, personally, are unfortunately confirmed—especially since the victim was African American (with thus the undeniably problematic politico-historical backdrop).

      Nathan, Jim Hamstra asked a great question above in terms of who is our neighbor when we witness something like this. For so-called conservatives, does the concept of justice only compute in terms of the so-called rule of law in a tragicomically flawed system of justice and/or with regard to property rights (asking as a layman)?

      • William Noel
        12 December 2014 @ 6:08 am

        Stephen,

        Claims that blame the police for their use of force in the Garner incident conveniently ignore that it was Garner who initiated the situation by his breaking the law and then escalated the situation by vigorously, even violently resisting arrest. In the eyes of the law the moment he began resisting, the original offense for which he was being arrested was no longer a critical issue. But it is part of the emotional arguments being raised to criticize the police while attempting to turn a man with a long history of law-breaking a saintly victim of police abuse.

        If you can find a source with the entire video you will clearly see that the officers attempted to make the arrest without the use of force. They spent nearly two minutes trying to persuade him to surrender peacefully. If you’re watching the short versions aired on most outlets you will only see the officers piling-onto Garner and hear him yelling that he can’t breathe. The shorter versions don’t show how Garner was telling the police to leave him alone and how he began striking-out at them as they attempted to persuade him to arrest peacefully.

        Arresting Garner was not as easy as it would be for you or me. He weighed in excess of 350 pounds. Carrying-around that much weight meant he was lifting his entire weight with each step. His arms were stronger than most body-builders and weight-lifters because of having to lift his weight to get out of bed and do other things. That is why several police officers were needed to subdue him when he began fighting.

        There are two lessons the public should take from the situation: One, don’t draw the attention of the police by breaking the law. Two, resisting arrest only makes things harder on you because they will escalate their use of force to the degree necessary to subdue you and take you into custody.

        • Jim Hamstra
          12 December 2014 @ 7:17 pm

          “it was Garner who initiated the situation by his breaking the law and then escalated the situation by vigorously, even violently resisting arrest”

          Previously I have asked what law Garner was accused of breaking when he was arrested? So far nobody here or anywhere else has answered this question.

          Previously I described a situation where I actually witnessed and reported the crime. I watched officers very calmly and professionally de-escalate the confrontation with the perpetrator before arresting him.

          In this case did the officers escalate or de-escalate the confrontation? You cannot expect to effectively control other people unless you first learn to control yourself.

          Isn’t it interesting how different people can look at the same facts (even the same videos) and come to totally opposite conclusions about what happened?

          Not to mention when they read a book written thousands of years ago 8-).

        • FredShoey
          13 December 2014 @ 10:08 pm

          What could Garner have done that required summary execution as a response?

      • nathan schilt
        12 December 2014 @ 7:52 am

        It is generally my preference, though I am not always consistent, to avoid churning the cable news issues d’jour on this website. I have tried to focus on whether Church leaders should speak out on these sorts of topics in their official capacity, and if so, what principles should guide and constrain such political activism. No one seems to want to address that issue.

        But let me say, at the risk of insulting your intelligence, Stephen, that the question of whether the officers culpably used excessive force cannot, in my opinion, be answered without reference to the departmental guidelines under which the officers were acting. I don’t know what they were. I can certainly say that it was the stupid laws of New York City that occasioned this tragedy, and I cannot, as a lay person, fathom why the officers felt it was necessary to proceed in the manner depicted on the video. But I am also quite confident that there was no intent to kill Eric Garner, and I do not believe that the offider(s) appreciated, when he initiated the takedown, that his action created a risk of death or great bodily injury to Eric Garner. You may know more than I about the legal standard the jury was asked to use in determining whether to indict. Without knowing that information, I don’t see how one can say that failure to indict was an injustice.

        I don’t think conservatives in general are as given to outrage as are those on the Left when the justice system doesn’t produce a result that they think should occur. I don’t recall conservatives out protesting when O.J. Simpson was acquitted. I don’t recall the protests when Obama said he wasn’t going to enforce DOMA or when heannounced any number of other executive actions that have upset conservatives. Sure – we speak up. But we don’t go out in the streets to block traffic and close businesses. They certainly don’t riot, and I can’t imagine them empathizing with any conservative who committed illegal acts to protest an “injustice.”

    • William Noel
      12 December 2014 @ 5:41 am

      Nathan,

      Amen! It is only living the principles of Christ that will truly change our communities in positive ways. Jesus taught us to love each other and offers to empower us to minister that uniting, forgiving love. Involvement in popular, race-based activism takes us in the opposite direction by promoting suspicion, inflaming hatred and creating divisions. It is promoted using the myth of creating a better society when it is pouring acid on the foundations of both civil society and simple faith in God.

  7. Will Glenn
    12 December 2014 @ 9:31 am

    I strongly advise these SDA Pastor to check the rules concerning the IMAGE OF THE BEAST/ State Issued Tax Exemption under The IRS. You forfeit your 1st Amendment Right to Free Speech, also you can’t speak out against Babylon/ The Government However, you can preach that Ole Negro tactic of love your enemy. And turn the other cheek non defense strategy. But that is great for the gospel, but this is war. And the children of Israel had an Army, and they were sent to destroy their enemies; not love them. Civil Rights is not the best for blacks, they need a Human Right Movement!

  8. Stephen Foster
    12 December 2014 @ 9:52 am

    By now I’ve likely seen as many recordings of this incident as there are. There were multiple different telephone camera recordings. They range in coverage time from when Garner is expressing exasperation for being harassed, claims to have been minding his business and completely denies that he has just sold anything at all to anyone, to when he is being lifted onto a gurney and is complete unconscious. In all of the defenses of the police that I have heard on air/cable, even on Fox News, I have never heard anyone yet opine that Mr. Garner was being violent in his police confrontation—until now. (As I say, that ‘perspective’ is insulting.)

    Here’s the thing, some of us can never view anything alike; which I accept. Our backgrounds and associations are so dissimilar; it is a wonder that we are in the same religion much less denomination. (This partially explains why some of us doubt that others of us are Christians.) Our challenge is to love one another. To that extent, I appreciate Nathan’s point; that some things public affairs/policy positions are perhaps better left for others to explore/discuss; because it makes loving each other challenging.

    However if we were always to have previously done that, then the “involvement in [un-]popular, race-based activism” that was unfortunately necessary by abolitionists and by the Civil Rights Movement would have been left to others. Regrettably to a large extent it was.

    Is our church no longer content to be spectators to civil and racial injustice? Are Dr. Honore, Pastor Boston, and Elder Jackson, among others, signaling that it is?

    As for your latter observations Nathan, I can only be amused by your willingness to insult my intelligence, and yours too. Since “[you] cannot, as a lay person, fathom why the officers felt it was necessary to proceed in the manner depicted on the video,” don’t ignore the obvious. Obviously it was not necessary, at least at the point when there are multiple armed police officers on top of him as he desperately gasps “I can’t breathe.”

    No, they did not intend to kill him; but since when does ‘intent’ shield everyone from prosecution in an official homicide?

    As for conservatives “out protesting” you’re funnier. Tell the so-called Tea Party Patriots that; and as for not “[imagining conservatives] empathizing with any conservative who committed illegal acts to protest an “’injustice,’” tell that to those who sympathized/empathized with Cliven Bundy like the ‘Oath Keepers’ and other militia-type groups. But again… those things are somehow different (property rights and all that, I guess).

    Of course to set the record straight, I have labeled those who have rioted in the wake of later injustices “enemies” of mine for reasons I have detailed.

    • nathan schilt
      12 December 2014 @ 1:27 pm

      “Is our church no longer content to be spectators to civil and racial injustice?”

      This is of course a loaded question. The underlying assumption is that the church is particularly equipped to identify civil and racial injustice. And there is a further assumption that if the church doesn’t politically engage, it is a passive spectator, implicitly condoning injustice. How do you square your sympathy with church leaders raising their official voices to influence political policy, Stephen, with your “puritannical” views on church/state separation?

      I could ask the same question of God and His incarnate Son: Why were you, and why are you, content to be spectators to far greater evil than civil and racial injustice?

      • Stephen Foster
        13 December 2014 @ 12:42 am

        Nathan,

        You’ve asked a good, fair question. I hope that you are correct in that I do seek to be a purist on the separation of church and state insofar as civil liberties are concerned. On the other hand, you’ve made the faulty assumption that speaking out against injustice necessarily represents political engagement.

        I simply don’t believe that injustice is a civil liberty or that the state has the right to use lethal force under any and all law enforcement circumstances; and I believe that the church is, or should be “particularly equipped to identify civil and racial injustice,” and that if it fails to do so it is tacitly condoning it.

    • William Noel
      12 December 2014 @ 2:51 pm

      Stephen,

      Church leaders should be courageous enough to recognize lies and expose when people are being misled. I say this because most of what today is claimed as “racial discrimination” is actually a calculated effort to leverage race for financial gain and political power.

      The civil rights movement of the 1960s had the strength of moral clarity. It was based on issues of right and wrong because the laws and public attitudes enforcing discrimination were clearly contrary to widely-accepted spiritual principles. Today’s civil rights leaders are the utter opposite. I got a hard lesson about this reality in 1988 from none other than Rev. Jesse Jackson himself when he came to Huntsville for a fund-raising event at a black church. It was supposed to be a closed-door event, but someone left a door open and I was among a cluster of newspaper reporters standing outside the door with our note pads and tape recorders. What I clearly heard was his unambiguous exhortations for his followers to identify businesses which they thought would be able to make donations to their cause or public officials who could give them preferential treatment in public services. Facts were irrelevant. They were to make-up claims of discrimination and picket until they got what they wanted. If any news outlet exposed their extortion they were to picket that newspaper or TV station until they shut-up. Over several years I saw that “civil rights group” extort more than $100,000 from Huntsville-area businesses using that tactic. What Jackson and others were doing was just a variation on the Mafia’s old “protection racket” method of forcing payoffs. He and others would face criminal charges if not for the prosecutor’s fear of being accused of racial discrimination and losing the next election.

      Apparently Jackson hasn’t changed his tune. Just yesterday in the news there was a story about his group getting a large, six-figure “donation” from Apple Computer to settle accusations that the company was being racially discriminatory in their hiring practices.

      Jackson is far from alone in such practices. I’ve been an eyewitness to Al Sharpton and at least three other civil rights leaders exhorting their followers to make-up charges of discrimination where it does not exist so people will give them money to make them go away.

      No, church leaders should be proclaiming truth and exposing evil. They should not be smart enough to know the real nature and purposes of those who are deceiving others.

      • Jim Hamstra
        14 December 2014 @ 7:09 am

        I agree with your comments regarding Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. They are exploiting unfortunate people and situations for their own personal gain. On the other side of the fence the same can be said for Rush Limbaugh and his ilk. I detest demagogues of every persuasion.

        Of course if people would simply ignore them they would go away. But the media do not ignore them. Why? I think the biggest reason is that conflict and sensationalism sell. So if we want to stop this nonsense then we have to stop buying the “product” produced by the media.

  9. Ron
    12 December 2014 @ 3:42 pm

    While the police no doubt have responsibility to answer a number of questions, especially in the case of Eric Garner of NYC, the one constant that more likely than not would have prevented both men’s death and led to a better outcome for both would have been for each man to have merely complied with the police officers’ instructions instead of becoming belligerent and refusing to obey a lawful order. Whether or not a person agrees with a police officer’s command/instruction he or she has a responsibility to comply. Disregard for a police command never ends favorably. The time to debate a police officer’s command/action is when council represents the accused. All American citizens must be taught to respectfully comply wit a police officer’s request/commands. Police officers are human and cannot read minds, and they face all manner of situations, possibly putting their lives on the line daily. We as citizens must act responsibly whether or not we believe the police officer is right or wrong. The death of both Michael Brown and Eric Garner is so very tragic and sad! This world is chaotic, and it is going to become worse than we can now imagine before Christ returns to bring true justice. Brotherly love in Christ Jesus to each of you commenting here.

  10. Hansen
    12 December 2014 @ 4:29 pm

    In all these cases, the offenders failed the “personality test.” Had the suspects been respectful and compliant, none of these things would have happened.

    Racism contra Whites is as extreme in some Asian countries as was White racism in America decades ago. I expect to be treated unfairly; consequently, I adapt my behavior to the environment. Many Blacks in America haven’t figured this coping mechanism out by now or simply enjoy kicking against the pricks. The authorities have special accommodations for them i.e., prison

    • BILL SORENSEN
      12 December 2014 @ 5:08 pm

      It is more than obvious that seperation of church and state is rapidly coming to a close. And we see that more than few SDA’s are more than willing that this should be so. Where is the stated outrage by our church of the beheadings of American citzens? Could we not also state many given evils all around the world and ask our church members to join in civil rights in all these world situations to correct and overcome evil? And which side would you be on in each given situation? The one claiming oppression one day, is the same one who imposes oppression on others the next. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world, or my servants would fight.”

      As individuals, we may be able to evaluate certain situations and protest and/or even march in defense of justice. But to expect the SDA church to make official statements by various leaders is totally out of line and should be stopped.

    • Jim Hamstra
      12 December 2014 @ 7:27 pm

      Because Garner did not act like a submissive Black man he got what was coming to him? Is that how Jesus taught us to think about those who are not just like us?

      I hope you feel the same when they come after you, brother. Today it may be your skin color, tomorrow your religious or political beliefs (as is already the case in some other parts of the world). Better keep-up your coping skills. It is only a matter of time before you will need to use them. When the weakest among us are not safe then nobody is truly safe.

      In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus tells us to be like our father who blesses both the just and the unjust. Look around you. No human can claim to truly just. Thank God for blessing us despite that fact. But for the Grace of God there go you and I.

      • William Noel
        13 December 2014 @ 4:48 am

        Jim,

        You wrote: “Because Garner did not act like a submissive Black man he got what was coming to him? Is that how Jesus taught us to think about those who are not just like us?”

        That is not what I was implying at all. I was simply pointing-out that he could have prevented the outcome. The color of a person’s skin does not matter when they are resisting violating the law and resisting arrest. The police are trained to escalate their use of force to the degree required to subdue a person to where they can be brought into custody. I used to be a newspaper reporter and have read many police reports about how people resisted and fought. I remember one man who kicked-out the side windows of a police car on more than one occasion. He took pride from how far he could go in fighting the police and how badly he got hurt doing things like kicking-out car windows and trying to bend jail bars. He was being stupid because he was the only one getting hurt. That is, until the time he got a good swing at a police officer with a tire iron. The officer recovered but the man went to jail for several years on a felony assault charge. That was the last I heard of him.

        If the police are going to arrest you, resisting is only going to make things worse for you.

        • Jim Hamstra
          13 December 2014 @ 9:38 am

          Sorry but the only thing resembling felony assault in the Garner case was the actions of the police.

          I hope you did not believe everything you read in all those police reports.

          I was jury foreman in a criminal trial where the arresting officer (who happened to be black) was obviously lying about what happened during and after his encounter with the accused (a black woman). There was one black woman on our jury. She made very few comments but the most important one she made was dead-on. “I don’t think that woman pointed a gun at the police, because otherwise she wouldn’t be here today.”

          That is how I knew OJ was going to walk, regardless of strong evidence that he was guilty. Once a jury realizes that one police officer is lying, they tend to discount any other evidence presented by the police. Like any of the rest of us, jurors don’t like being lied to.

        • Jim Hamstra
          14 December 2014 @ 6:36 am

          Likewise if the police had acted with better judgment they could have prevented this tragic outcome.

          Presumably police are trained in how to exercise good judgment and restraint. And then they go on the beat with experienced veterans and learn the unwritten “laws” of the jungle. This will not change until police are held accountable to the same laws as the rest of use.

  11. Andy Kemperle
    12 December 2014 @ 4:51 pm

    Just testing the waters.

    • nathan schilt
      12 December 2014 @ 10:00 pm

      So tell us, Andy. How did it feel? : -)

  12. Hansen
    12 December 2014 @ 4:54 pm

    Incidentally, so called “Black” SDA churches, anyone really know what the pastors are teaching their congregations? I attended one in California years ago, prayer meeting. Along the lines of a Black Panther assembly. At least the pastor was unmindful of my presence. His racist comments were unmitigated, in spite of my presence.

    • BILL SORENSEN
      12 December 2014 @ 5:11 pm

      And such pastors should be told to stop such agitation or be fired by those who employ them.

    • Jim Hamstra
      12 December 2014 @ 7:34 pm

      Of course no white Adventist pastor has ever said inflammatory things about our “colored” brethren? And because you heard one Black pastor using inflammatory rhetoric, you are certain they all would sound the same to you.

      I can still remember when Blacks were not allowed to attend many White Adventist churches and go to many White Adventist schools. When the GC voted in the 1960s that all of our churches and schools in the USA should be open to anyone regardless of race or national origin, in compliance with the Civil Rights Act, I know that many church schools created a de facto quota system. I also remember White parents pulling their daughter out of our local church school the day after the first Black student showed-up.

      • William Noel
        13 December 2014 @ 4:50 am

        I have vivid memories of what you describe. Fortunately, only from more than four decades ago.

  13. Elaine Nelson
    12 December 2014 @ 5:20 pm

    A Grand Jury is not like a jury trial. In the Garner case, the incident was reported by a prosecutor with no defense. according to news reports.

    Regardless, the police should not have attacked the unarmed man for a minor felony or misdemeanor. It was uncalled for.

    • William Noel
      13 December 2014 @ 4:56 am

      Elaine,

      The grand jury’s job is not to decide whether or not the crime justified the action by the police in making the arrest. It is ONLY to evaluate the evidence and decide whether there is enough of it to take the case to trial. In the Garner case the question was whether the officer who had his arm around Garner’s neck knowingly and deliberately took action that caused a person’s death.

      The question of whether Garner’s crime was serious enough to justify arrest is for public debate and decision by lawmakers. He was accused of violating the law and the law required his arrest. It could not be more plain or simple.

  14. Hansen
    12 December 2014 @ 6:03 pm

    Selling cigarettes today, knocking you in the head and stealing your purse tomorrow, Elaine. Business is business

  15. Interested Friend
    12 December 2014 @ 6:47 pm

    “The problem with the current public outcry is it is purely an emotional reaction based on false and misleading information and without benefit of facts.”

    And so much time is spent on a situation that not one of us can resolve to the satisfaction of those who believe they have a case. Take a look at:
    http://tinyurl.com/kklq9mg

  16. Hansen
    12 December 2014 @ 8:25 pm

    Jim, i attended SDA churches on a weekly basis for ~30 years. I never, not once, heard any White pastor make references to Blacks of any persuasion comparable to what I heard in that Black church, the one time attended it. Am I “certain all would sound the same to [me].” No I’m not. There is nothing in my post to suggest that I would; however. typical of racist rabblerousers, you want to paint me as a racist; if misrepresenting my remarks serves your purpose, no problem, right?

    Adventism’s racist history, if it has one, is not surprising. Glendale, California an SDA center included a denominational hospital, administrative offices [union, conference], and major evangelistic headquarters [VOP]. Also included area KKK headquarters and sundowner laws, requiring all Blacks to be out of town by dark.

    • Jim Hamstra
      13 December 2014 @ 3:46 am

      “so called “Black” SDA churches, anyone really know what the pastors are teaching their congregations?”

      “Selling cigarettes today, knocking you in the head and stealing your purse tomorrow”

      Perhaps I mistakenly correlated these two comments posted in succession from the same commenter?

      I do not know you nor what color is your skin nor what are your attitudes towards others. I can only evaluate what you write which may not be entirely fair, but if you post comments on a public web site you are inviting people to evaluate what you write.

      A couple months ago I attended a traditionally Black Adventist church here in the Pacific Northwest. The sermon was focused on the principles of christian stewardship in the context of the predominant culture of the congregation. And very well thought-out and not in any way inflammatory.

      I do know of one mostly Afro-American church plant in a different part of the country that has the reputation of being a “protest” church. I hardly think that is representative of the majority of Black Adventist churches or their pastors. Included among the latter would be my own college room-mate who certainly was and is no race-baiter, and whose entire career has been in the “regional” conferences of the Southern Union. I know him to be a truly Godly and peaceable man. His lovely daughter’s husband is a pastor in the vicinity you mentioned in your comment, and I have absolutely no reason to believe he would be what you alluded to either.

      And yes in my youth I did know white pastors and teachers who were race-baiters. My late father was not of that ilk. He took the initiative during a time of very high racial tensions in the Detroit area, to reach-across to his fellow pastors from the “other” conference, to try to work jointly for peace and understanding rather than for hatred. My son pastors a church where the majority are immigrants from Africa and Asia. One of the first things he did and still does, is encourage these people from rather different cultures to pull-together for the common good of every member.

      Years ago I was briefly engaged to work at a “regional” academy/campground. Mine being the only pale face around, I did sense a bit of animosity and suspicion from a few of the pastors and their families but certainly not from most.

      You can find what you are looking for almost anywhere you go. I prefer to look for the best in people rather than their worst, absent evidence to the contrary.

      • William Noel
        13 December 2014 @ 5:03 am

        Where public emotions are aroused such as we have seen recently it creates a challenge for church leaders where their response displays the depth of their relationship with God. There are those who get swept-up in the emotionalism of the public outcry. Then there are those who seek to minister God’s healing love to the root causes. I fear the reason the first is so powerful is because so few in the second group are connected with God enough to even have an idea about how to minister God’s healing power.

  17. Melvin Frisbey
    12 December 2014 @ 8:51 pm

    As has been pointed out, the Garner incident didn’t involve a choke hold. The media chose that term to inflame the situation. Although there are well documented cases of police brutality against blacks and whites, in the cases of Brown and Martin, the “victims” were violent thugs who disrespected authority and refused to comply with commands.

    These incidents are nothing but excuses for those who want to create anarchy. Ferguson police reported that something like only 1 in 17 protesters arrested were actually from Ferguson. The protesters were bused in and told how to behave, much like those involved with the “occupy” protests. These aren’t people who are seriously concerned with solving the problem. Witness the destruction of minority-owned businesses in Ferguson. That really helped.

    The hypocrisy evident in all of this is when a reverse incident happens, black on white victim, the media and the race baiters are silent. It doesn’t fit their template, doesn’t advance their agenda.

    I hate to see the church commenting on these situations. Better to put loving your neighbor into practice through local church members in the area than to join the voices screaming for “social justice,” which is just another buzz word for the progressive agenda.

  18. nathan schilt
    12 December 2014 @ 10:22 pm

    I don’t know exactly why. But I have to say that reading some of the recent comments makes me feel very sad – like crying actually. I’m not always the most tactful, sensitive guy in the world (boy, is that an understatement), so maybe it’s hypocritical and unfair of me to ask if some of these comments make us feel more like disciples of Christ.

    Perhaps it’s the beautiful Christmas music I’m listening to right now…I don’t know. I realize that if it were not for racial politics, I would never have heard of Eric Garner. But I have, and because this discussion is putting his family on my radar screen, I am praying that they will know peace and hope. It seems to me that the human response to hurt, pain, and injustice is primarily anger; the divine response is compassion. Anger makes us feel powerful; compassion makes us feel weak. May we have the courage to be weak in Christ, regardless of our political perspectives or philosophy.

    • Jim Hamstra
      13 December 2014 @ 4:03 am

      Yes Nathan, compassion will indeed soften you, whereas anger will harden you.

      Years ago my brother (I have several) who is a card-carrying Republican politician, was struck by lightning. It was a near miss and he lived to tell about it, including at some gathering of the business and political elites of his locale. Someone asked him if he felt any after-effects. He reply was something like “Sometimes I find myself getting confused about facts and having difficulty making decisions. I am afraid I am feeling more like a Democrat.” You guessed it – the person who asked the question was a Democrat.

      Beware of too much of that compassion thing, Nathan. You could end-up feeling more like a Democrat 8-).

      FYI – I am an independent. In 2012 I voted for the Libertarian. Among other things he did not seem as angry as the other candidates, but that may be due to getting less media exposure. Anger is good for your ratings, compassion not so much.

  19. Hansen
    12 December 2014 @ 11:20 pm

    Don’t cry, Nathan. Any minute now, the AToday “sensitivity” sheriff will be around to delete the posts and/or ban the posters who offend you. Live on in your WASP fantasy world; where all men are created equal and have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

  20. Stephen Foster
    12 December 2014 @ 11:54 pm

    I cannot overstate how tremendously thankful I am to the AT News Team for reporting on such events as this one.

    As one of the very few, if not only African Americans who regularly write/comment on this site, if I were to parody or satirize some of these stereotypically ‘conservative’ responses, I couldn’t get away with the effort to make this stuff up.

    Most things, from at least one of our ‘usual suspects,’ were of course predictable. They should be and will be ignored. But this one rare gem is special: “Racism contra Whites is as extreme in some Asian countries as was White racism in America decades ago. I expect to be treated unfairly; consequently, I adapt my behavior to the environment. Many Blacks in America haven’t figured this coping mechanism out by now or simply enjoy kicking against the pricks. The authorities have special accommodations for them i.e., prison.” I could never have predicted that one no matter what.

    (Our man Hansen, as it turns out, brought forth similar gems following a remarkably similar AT News piece entitled “Adventist Leaders Speak out about the Killing of Trayvon Martin,” which subsequently was unceremoniously, entirely removed.)

    Let’s break this down, because this is instructive on many levels. Many blacks in THEIR OWN COUNTRY, the United States, haven’t adopted a “coping mechanism” employed by Hansen when visiting ANOTHER CONTINENT wherein he “expects to be treated unfairly.” He (Hansen) expects to be treated unfairly because the “racism [against] Whites is as extreme in some Asian countries as was White racism in America decades ago,” if anyone is following. However “many Blacks in America [their own country] haven’t figured…out by now” the coping mechanism that’s required when visiting another far continent wherein “racism [is]…as extreme as was White racism [here] decades ago” (but presumably is no longer like it was then?). Many Blacks unwisely don’t “adapt [their] behavior to the environment” as Hansen does when he visits a continent wherein “[he expects] to be treated unfairly;” because, in 2014, in their country, Blacks should adapt to an environment in which they can/should expect unfair treatment—as was the case “decades ago”—or expect/accept the “special accommodations that the authorities have prepared for them as a consequence of “kicking against the pricks.”

    Of course the problem is that there are many “Whites” with authority and others who support them, who think like this! This is the point, the entire point! I’ll say this, as I’ve said previously: if Hansen didn’t exist, I would have had to invent him—but could never have gotten away with having done so. These were his words, read them again!

    (If the past is prologue they’ll disappear.)

    • Jim Hamstra
      13 December 2014 @ 4:18 am

      How ironic. I have traveled to Asia literally dozens of times and never been treated unfairly or even uncordially.

      The only places in the world where I as a White American have experienced overt hostility were in Eastern Europe (three times in two places) and in new York City (once). Even there it was the exception rather than the rule. I was dismayed to find an attitude of hostility to “foreigners” even in an Adventist church in one country.

      Mostly we tend to find what we are looking for in other people and in other places.

      There was one occasion where I was in Asia during a riot. Being the only foreigner around, I was advised to stay out of sight. The same thing happened to one of my associates in Ireland. I certainly prefer to avoid being around people who are rioting. In every society there is an element that will look for every excuse to “raise hell”. In too many places they can get media attention which actually can make things worse.

      • Jim Hamstra
        13 December 2014 @ 4:25 am

        I have also experienced overt hostility as a Northerner once in North Carolina. And I was once accosted by a gang of young Afro-Americans on the streets of Detroit. And I once accosted someone trying to break-into my house in Connecticut. Again the exceptions rather than the rule.

        • William Noel
          13 December 2014 @ 5:10 am

          I will never forget in 1963 when the moving truck was being unloaded at our house in Madison, Alabama on the west side of Huntsville. A neighbor kid my age rode up on his bicycle, got off, laid it on the curb and yelled at us, “Are y’all Yankees or Rebels?” I had two problems with his question. First, we were from the Seattle area and I couldn’t understand his Southern drawl. Second, I had no concept about the Civil War, which his family still had not gotten-over. He became one of my best friends and he taught me to understand “Southern.” Though the Civil Rights movement was going strong at the time his prejudices moderated over the coming years.

          • Jim Hamstra
            14 December 2014 @ 6:54 am

            Well at least he did not threaten to get his gun from his truck and shoot your head off. Seriously that is how a good ole Southern boy greeted me once in North Carolina. He had probably imbibed a bit too much Southern Comfort that morning. Fortunately for both of us his buddies casually and gently eased him away from me. I also slowly turned-around and walked away. My northern buddies were running away.

            He remains on my short list of exceptionally rude people I have encountered. And I do not regard him as your typical Southerner, though I am sure he was not the only one who felt that way about Northerners.

            At least five of my grand-mother’s uncles served in the Union Army during the Civil War. One of them wrote about his experiences later. Among other things he described going to Arkansas 10 or 20 years later, and meeting Confederate veterans who had actually been on the other side during the same battles. He did not record any more fights then.

            One take-away from my studies of the Civil War, and World Wars I and II, is that the grunts who generally took most of the casualties, afterwards tend to be just glad that the madness is over. Most of the people still spoiling for a fight years later were the ones that didn’t actually go through it.

            I still remember some people who hated the Japanese years after WW II. They had not actually fought but they had lost loved ones and could not or would not forgive.

  21. Hansen
    13 December 2014 @ 12:05 am

    Stepehen, You think I’m a conservative? LOL. I guess i can “pass” for one. How about you?

  22. Hansen
    13 December 2014 @ 1:15 am

    Stephen, You should “hope and pray” that my comments will be removed. Black entitlement and victimhood don’t bear scrutiny very well. The criminals and thugs featured in various high profile “cop on Black” incidents have largely rejected the White man’s culture. That’s exactly why they have no respect for the existing authority structures; that’s what leads them into crime, incarceration, and so forth. The reference to them to being in their own country is nonsense. For many Black men, their “own country” is the American penal system

    How many times have you been “harassed’ by the police? Did you try to grab their gun, fight with them, defy them? Even if you were the “victim” of racial injustice, did you escalate the situation, or maintain a courteous and respectful attitude, to the best of your ability?

    My guess is we both know the answer to these questions, which is exactly why you are posting here instead of writing letters on legal pads to your family members.

    • Jim Hamstra
      13 December 2014 @ 4:29 am

      Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks and the hand writes.

      Why the need to express such hostility? To employ such angry rhetoric?

      There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.

    • BILL SORENSEN
      13 December 2014 @ 10:59 am

      And this is exactly why the SDA church should not “officially” get involved in these issue of social justice. As Christians, we oppose duplicity in every possible form exhibited in society. But as Christians, we do not believe the problem will be solved by “joining” one side or the other to solve the problem. Jesus did not get involved directly with Roman oppression. In fact, He avoided such confrontation. Many Christians still believe in separation of church and state. Sad to say, many don’t and this now includes more than a few SDA’s.

  23. Hansen
    13 December 2014 @ 5:51 am

    Come on Jim. Certainly you must have heard of an “angry Black.” Of course, I’m not Black, but that’s another matter. Anger is a revolver loaded with hollow points. This is just rhetoric

    • Jim Hamstra
      13 December 2014 @ 9:27 am

      I have been around plenty of “angry Blacks’, “angry Whites”, “angry Men”, “angry Women”, “angry Teachers”, “angry Students”, “angry Workers”, “angry Politicians”, “angry Parishioners”, “angry Preachers”, “angry Gays and Lesbians and Straights”, “angry Hippies”, “angry Rednecks”, and just about every other shade and variety of anger imaginable.

      Anger management and (more commonly) mismanagement does not discriminate based upon race, gender, socio-economic status, political or religious affiliation.

      Anger is a very common response to fear, but not the only response.

      I generally try to avoid being angry, as I find it generally unproductive. As John wrote many years ago “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.”

    • William Noel
      13 December 2014 @ 12:56 pm

      No, anger is an emotion. Guns are mechanical devices so they don’t have emotions. Now a person who is angry and has a revolver loaded with hollow points, that gives you a picture of emotion producing serious danger.

      • nathan schilt
        14 December 2014 @ 11:45 am

        May I suggest that anger is a secondary – not a primary – emotion. Anger arises from the judgments we make about who/what should be held responsible for our primary negative emotions – hurt, fear, pain, loneliness.

        If someone cuts me off on the freeway, my primary emotion, as I slam on the brakes, is fear. My Pavlovian mental processor tells me that the other driver’s recklessness or inattention is what has caused my fear and made me vulnerable, and so, yielding to that judgment, I respond with anger. I choose anger because of the judgment I have chosen to make. But I didn’t have to choose that judgment. Suppose, for a moment, that I angrily pull around the car that has cut me off, and at a minimum, give the other driver a look that could kill. Then I see that the other driver is the pastor’s wife, looking absolutely mortified and repentant. What happens to my anger? it instantly turns to shame. Why? What reality has changed? I still was cut off. I still was left with an emotion of fear that someone else caused. The only thing that has changed is my mental frame of reference – my judgment about the situation. Now I see that the other driver not only intended me no harm, but it is a person who is close to me – part of my community. Now my perspective has been changed – enlarged – and that not only dissipates my anger, but causes it to dissolve into shame.

        Or suppose I simply decide not to make any judgment – not to mentally hold someone responsible for my feelings in the first place, and continue to drive in peace. The fact that my anger might have been justifiable doesn’t make it a good choice, and certainly doesn’t make watering and fertilizing it a good choice. The Apostle Paul actually had quite a bit to say about how Christians should deal with injustice and oppression. Does his counsel in Philippians have any relevance at all to how those who see the Garner and Brown cases as examples of systemic, widespread racial injustice should respond?

        Most of our personalized anger is very avoidable, as long as we are willing to give up our need to judge others as being morally culpable for the negative primary emotions we feel. Instead, we not only jump to conclusions with only partial knowledge of the facts, but we keep replaying and pushing the pause button on the events which give rise to our negative emotions, continuously superimposing and reinforcing the judgments we have made about the causes. Thus, destructive narratives are focused and amplified in an echo chamber that gives rise to strife and destruction.

        We can feel compassion toward the angry without legitimizing their anger by adorning it with specious, righteous causes that make anger, and its inevitable destructiveness, a moral imperative.

        • William Noel
          14 December 2014 @ 1:18 pm

          We often experience a range of emotions in response to an event or circumstance. What is “primary” and what is “secondary” really isn’t the issue because we have different feelings at various times, as you have illustrated.

  24. Elaine Nelson
    13 December 2014 @ 9:57 am

    The police in Ferguson, predominately black, last year issued more traffic citations for speeding, no tail light, etc., than the entire population. This funded the police department and rendered a large surplus for their own private use.

    The people know this and such actions produce anger and resentment in even normally peaceful folk.

    • Jim Hamstra
      14 December 2014 @ 6:59 am

      Elaine,

      I think you might wish to clarify that Ferguson is 70% black, whereas the police force is over 90% White. other than that I agree with your comment.

  25. Jim Hamstra
    14 December 2014 @ 7:17 am

    “In Berrien Springs, about 200 Andrews University students, faculty members and supporters carried out a peaceful protest on Saturday. They walked two miles from the university entrance to the office of Berrien Springs-Oronoko Township police to protest the death of Eric Garner in New York City and the exoneration by a grand jury of the police officers involved.”

    This newspaper article does not mention that they also prayed for the police once they got to the police station.

    http://www.heraldpalladium.com/news/local/peaceful-protesters-call-for-justice/article_176e4cae-7e93-507d-b7b4-5cb015b5d394.html

    • BILL SORENSEN
      14 December 2014 @ 2:08 pm

      Hopefully the church will follow EGW’s lead on this subject.

      “The government under which Jesus lived was corrupt and oppressive; on every hand were crying abuses—extortion, intolerance, and grinding cruelty. Yet the Saviour attempted no civil reforms. He attacked no national abuses, nor condemned the national enemies. He did not interfere with the authority or administration of those in power. He who was our example kept aloof from earthly governments. Not because He was indifferent to the woes of men, but because the remedy did not lie in merely human and external measures. To be efficient, the cure must reach men individually, and must regenerate the heart. 566 {CCh 314.4}
      Again and again Christ had been asked to decide legal and political
      315
      questions. But He refused to interfere in temporal matters.”

      • Jim Hamstra
        14 December 2014 @ 8:28 pm

        “The law of our land requiring us to deliver a slave to his master, we are not to obey.”

        Not to mention her advocacy for temperance laws. And against Sunday laws.

        So which Ellen was correct? Yours or mine? I think either of us can go and find our favorite quotes to buttress our own opinions. Which proves precisely what, if anything?

        John Byington operated and Underground Railroad station on his farm. On the other hand Uriah Smith took the position that Adventists could no effect on the slavery problem.

  26. Stephen Foster
    14 December 2014 @ 4:43 pm

    This victimhood thing, whereby the victim is ‘teased’ for actually acknowledging victimization—or what Hansen would likely term “calling a spade a spade” —is a transparent rhetorical ploy. It is in fact nothing more, and nothing less than a variation of the juvenile school yard them wherein the victims of bullying or teasing or whatever runs the risk of being labeled a ‘crybaby’ for having the temerity to formerly complain about rather than simply accept their treatment.

    So, since presumably no one wants to be considered a crybaby, the object of this rhetorical game is to get the victims to cease and desist from complaining. Fortunately it doesn’t work very well because it assumes that the victims care what the teasers and name-callers think of them.

    Looking back on American history, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, A. Philip Randolph, Roy Wilkins, Whitney M. Young, Jr., Martin Luther King, Jr., Medgar Evers, Fred Shuttlesworth, Fannie Lou Hamer, Thurgood Marshall, C.T. Vivian, Andrew Young, Jr., John Lewis and many others were seen as victimhood pimps and trouble makers. What would America look like today had those individuals, and people like William Lloyd Garrison, Henry Ward Beecher, Viola Liuzzo, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, Hubert Humphrey, Joseph Rauh, and Lyndon Johnson, among others acted in accordance with what folks like Hansen would have thought of them and their efforts?

    The problem that Hansen’s ilk has of course is that black Americans are every bit as entitled to be treated fairly and with common human decency and dignity as are those who are not black; but he doesn’t like us demanding it. This is precisely why he and others believe we must adapt to our environment as if we were visiting some far away continent. They think that our real country is inside of the prison system.

    I could not possibly have parodied racism any more authentically than the real thing…and nothing drives racists crazier than its identification. Those who aren’t racists don’t mind when racism and bigotry are identified and castigated.

    • William Noel
      15 December 2014 @ 5:39 am

      The problem is not with what the civil rights leaders of the 1960s and 70s were able to do. The problem is what their followers, the people claiming their mantle, have done and continue doing. When the government began throwing money and legal protections at them they quickly learned to keep playing the victim so they could keep the money stream flowing and the legal protections growing. They quickly adopted the old Mafia “protection racket” model where they would protest if the money stream slowed or didn’t keep growing. Now the protests are because they can’t have their way and force the judicial system to make decisions favoring people whose skin happens to be a certain color instead of the evidence. Where the protests of the 1960s were bacause of unequal treatment based on the color of a person’s skin, you are supporting demands for preferential treatment because a person’s skin is a certain color. In other words, you are defending the exact reverse of the racism the civil rights movement sought to eliminate.

      Children throw tantrums for a simple reason: it is the behavior that gets them what they want. But there comes a time when the parents have had all they can take and stop rewarding the misbehavior. In the same manner, Americans are awakening to the reality of the tantrum being thrown by the civil rights movement and associated anti-American radical groups and are beginning to tell them to stop. So, yes, I expect the rhetoric from supporters such as you to continue shouting the same old message of victimhood until the day comes when you recognize that what you are defending is not based on equality and harmony in God’s eyes, but on envy and hatred that is justified on the sole basis of race.

      • Stephen Foster
        15 December 2014 @ 7:59 am

        Straw man argument: “A straw man is a common type of argument and is an informal fallacy based on the misrepresentation of an opponent’s argument.[1] To be successful, a straw man argument requires that the audience be ignorant or uninformed of the original argument.

        “The so-called typical “attacking a straw man” argument creates the illusion of having completely refuted or defeated an opponent’s proposition by covertly replacing it with a different proposition (i.e., “stand up a straw man”) and then to refute or defeat that false argument (“knock down a straw man”) instead of the original proposition.[2][3]

        “This technique has been used throughout history in polemical debate, particularly in arguments about highly charged emotional issues where a fiery, entertaining “battle” and the defeat of an “enemy” may be more valued than critical thinking or understanding both sides of the issue.”

        The above explanation is courtesy of Wikipedia. We are talking about the Garner killing and black Americans being subject to disparate treatment by the police and the system. The straw man here is we are not even discussing, nor was the AT News piece about “supporting demands for preferential treatment because a person’s skin is a certain color. In other words, [I wasn’t] defending the exact reverse of the racism the civil rights movement sought to eliminate.” That (affirmative action?) would constitute another conversation.

        The manner, and the infraction involved, and the circumstances in which Eric Garner lost his life, followed by the failure of the prosecution to secure an indictment, has nothing to do with “envy and hatred;” unless demanding the same treatment that Noel or Hansen would’ve received is considered envy. If (unarmed) Noel or Hansen had been the videotaped victims of lethally excessive force, someone would have been held legally/criminally responsible—assuming that it would have even happened—because they are Americans, in their country.

        To analogize black Americans to children and non-black Americans to their parents is typical; and explains and exposes an unfortunate mindset which in turn explains an unfortunate history.

        (I just hope this stuff isn’t erased.)

        Even more egregious than straw man argumentation is the pious invocation of the name of divinity when making such an argument.

        • William Noel
          15 December 2014 @ 8:13 am

          So, how is forgetting Dr. King’s dream of a society where people would be judged by the content of their character instead of the color of their skin a “straw man?” How do you reconcile Dr. King’s appeals for us to obey the teachings of Jesus to treat others the way we want to be treated when all anyone hears from today’s civili rights leaders is claims and accustions based solely on the color of a person’s skin? No, the contrassts between the morals-based appeals of a half-century ago and the racist inflammation we are hearing and seeing today are too substantive for you to dismiss.

          Justice is not the judicial system submitting to the demands of a race-motivated mob.

        • Hansen
          15 December 2014 @ 10:55 am

          Stephen, This really isn’t about race. It’s about criminal behavior by people who happen to be Black. You think Hispanic, Asian or White get a pass when they fight with, defy, try to disarm a police? Policeman going to let a [White] criminal defy him, grab his gun, refuse to cooperate?

          When police respond to Black criminality the same way they would to any other type, they are derided as racists, as if they would tolerate the behavior from others. Perfect illustration of entitlement and victimhood on your part. Black man be bad it’s OK cuz, well, he be Black. Get real!

        • William Noel
          15 December 2014 @ 1:15 pm

          I don’t have to think about how I would feel had I been in Eric Garner’s shoes because I wouldn’t have been there. I wasn’t raised in a culture that teaches disrespect for the law so I wouldn’t have a long police record as Garner did. I was taught to respect the law and police officers so I wouldn’t have been resisting arrest. I wasn’t taught that the color of my skin excused me from responsibility for my behavior so I wouldn’t have been doing something to invite police attention and arrest. I wasn’t taught that I deserved social advantages and protections because of what might or might not have been done to my great-great-great grandfather (or my grandparents). I wasn’t taught that the color of my skin meant I was automatically a victim to the rest of society because everybody discriminated against me. I know better than to resist arrest. I don’t demand that somebody hire me when I don’t have the training to make me attractive to an employer because I went to school and got the training I needed so I could get jobs. Unlike the more than 80% of black children who are raised without a father figure in their life, I am faithful to my wife and have been there all the way to raise my kids. I teach young men to be faithful husbands and fathers and good examples to their children.

          Excuse me, Stephen, but you need to get some water because your diversionary straw man is burning.

        • nathan schilt
          16 December 2014 @ 10:21 am

          It’s amusing, Stephen, that in the process of defining and condemning straw man arguments, you rather blatantly spin William’s point to create your own straw man, revealing the distorting filters which you superimpose on reality.

          William did not “analogize black Americans to children and non-black Americans to their parents.” He analogized today’s civil rights movement and unspecified anti-American radical groups to children. The fact that you perceived this as a racist statement, and probably see my point as a distinction without a difference “explains and exposes an unfortunate mindset which in turn explains [and perpetuates] an [unwillingness/inability to overcome] an unfortuate history.”

          • Stephen Foster
            16 December 2014 @ 3:58 pm

            You are absolutely correct Nathan; I definitely consider attempts to make a distinction between black Americans complaining about systematic and institutional racial injustice; and the Civil Rights movement doing the same thing to be without a difference.

            It was a paternalistic and bigoted analogy. As to ‘overcoming’ “an unfortunate history,” it is apparent that the conservative definition and description of ‘overcoming’ is markedly different than that of the Civil Rights movement’s meaning in the theme song “We Shall Overcome.” But then again, what else is new?

  27. Stephen Foster
    14 December 2014 @ 4:54 pm

    Corrections:It is in fact nothing more, and nothing less than a variation on the juvenile school yard theme wherein the victims of bullying or teasing (or whatever) run the risk of being labeled a…

  28. Hansen
    15 December 2014 @ 12:48 am

    Those who think that Black leadership and staff are the answers to Ferguson’s policing problems, you might want to check this article about the [Black] leader of the Correctional officers [mostly Black]union at Rikers island in New York:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/15/nyregion/at-rikers-a-roadblock-to-reform.html?&hpw&rref=nyregion&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well

  29. Hansen
    15 December 2014 @ 3:56 am

  30. Stephen Foster
    16 December 2014 @ 8:37 am

    It’s funny that I had fairly recently mentioned how the only Ellen White quote(s) that Ellen White’s detractors can recite are whatever she may have said that they think serves to negate everything she said. Likewise the only MLK, Jr. quotation known/cited by those opposed to the Civil Rights movement is that which they think serves the interests of conserving the status quo.

    While King’s ‘Dream’ entailed much more than a color blind society—it included one. The manner and circumstances of Eric Garner’s demise; and the lack of accountability in an official and videotaped homicide wouldn’t have occurred in one. This is one of the points that the ‘Noels’ and ‘Hansens’ would rather ignore (‘by any means necessary’).

    The means du jour is clearly the straw man of “today’s civil rights leaders.” Today’s civil rights leaders have/had absolutely nothing to do with what we’ve seen on video; or the fact that had it not been video recorded, the reality of what did happen would never have been believed by those ‘usual suspects’ who perceived nothing wrong with what they did see; and who’d never have agreed with prosecuting police officers for excessive force/brutality in any case. (‘Parents’ retain rights to discipline ‘children’?)

    “Today’s civil rights leaders” are the straw men propped up for the obvious purpose of talking about something other than institutional racial injustice, as exemplified by the Garner homicide, the lack of accountability for it, and the church’s response to both. The fact that Garner had a long arrest record, including multiple (three) pending misdemeanor cases at the time of his death, is also irrelevant to what we’re discussing, as is the out of wedlock birth rate.

    As to Hansen’s hilarious suggestion that the way the police handled Garner’s suspected offense at the time of his fateful confrontation would be identical to how they would handle any suspect of selling untaxed cigarettes—oh, wait a minute, is he referring to the Michael Brown incident in Missouri (trying to disarm, and grabbing guns, etc.)? But then why would he do that? We are talking about the Garner death. This is how straw man arguments work—exposing them to the sunlight of context and history, under microscopes of verifiable factual information, is how straw men catch fire.

    Noel classically misses the point by a long shot in sanctimoniously suggesting that the same fate that Garner suffered could never happen to him because he would never be in that situation to begin with. After all he is the product of a presumably superior culture in which (in his words) he “wasn’t raised in a culture that teaches disrespect for the law so I wouldn’t have a long police record as Garner did. I was taught to respect the law and police officers so I wouldn’t have been resisting arrest. I wasn’t taught that the color of my skin excused me from responsibility for my behavior so I wouldn’t have been doing something to invite police attention and arrest. I wasn’t taught that I deserved social advantages and protections because of what might or might not have been done to my great-great-great grandfather (or my grandparents). I wasn’t taught that the color of my skin meant I was automatically a victim to the rest of society because everybody discriminated against me. I know better than to resist arrest. I don’t demand that somebody hire me when I don’t have the training to make me attractive to an employer because I went to school and got the training I needed so I could get jobs. Unlike the more than 80% of black children who are raised without a father figure in their life, I am faithful to my wife and have been there all the way to raise my kids. I teach young men to be faithful husbands and fathers and good examples to their children.”

    (I surely hope that this isn’t removed.)

    It’s difficult, if not impossible, to conceive how a more prejudiced, self-righteous, Pharisaical (Luke 18:11), ignorant perspective could have been delineated. Assuming that Noel is too wise and well-behaved, or whatever, to have been in Garner’s situation, the point was that there are people who aren’t black who are nonetheless similarly suspected of lawbreaking (as difficult as that may to believe since their “culture [doesn’t teach] disrespect for the law”) but would not have been similarly subject to lethally excessive police force for daring to express outrage at being harassed (when no criminal activity had been in process). Of course in typical straw man factory fashion, instead of dealing with the veracity (or lack thereof) of that claim, the subject is ‘changed’ to a prejudiced assumption that Garner’s culture actually taught him to disrespectful to “the law and police officers” (while addressing them as ‘Officer,’ I suppose.)

    Is it just possible that those police officers whose homicidal actions toward Garner resulted in his death—particularly the one who faced indictment—harbored the same or similar attitudes about the culture from which Garner had come that Noel and Hansen have? Is it possible that any of them, particularly the one who faced indictment, believed as Noel does that Garner’s culture taught him that the color of [his] skin excused [him] from… responsibility for [his] behavior”? Of course it’s possible, perhaps even likely. Likewise is it possible that the prosecutor also shares these prejudicial and stereotypical perspectives?

    • Stephen Foster
      16 December 2014 @ 8:48 am

      Correction: …culture actually taught him to be disrespectful of “the law and police officers” (while addressing them as “Officer,” I suppose.)

      • nathan schilt
        16 December 2014 @ 10:46 am

        I wonder, Stephen…Are there any circumstances you can imagine where excessive force by a White police officer in dealing with a Black subject might not be proof of institutional, systemic racial injustice? Remember when cops looking for Chris Dorner mistakenly fired a hail of bullets into a pickup occupied by two non-Black females? There was no grand jury investigation, nor was there any prosecution. Had the occupants been two Black males, and had they been killed, would the shooting have been proof of racism in LAPD?

        How many times a year do very human law enforcement officers throughout the country overreact to situations? You know very well that the officers’ actions toward Garner were not homicidal. Yes, they set in motion a sequence of event that resulted in Garner’s death. But the takedown maneuver is not per se a homicidal action. It is not designed to produce death, nor is there an expectation on the part of those who use it that it will result in death.

        So back to my original question: Why is it that when non-Blacks are subjected to excessive force or injustice through mistaken identity or the perceived need for attitude adjestment, there is no suggestion of systemic injustice. What would it take to persuade you that injusitce suffered by Blacks at the hands of White authorities is qualitatively different from injustice suffered by Whites, Asians, or Hispanics at the hands of racially or ethnically different authorities?

        • Stephen Foster
          16 December 2014 @ 4:39 pm

          I wonder, Nathan…why someone with your erudition would permit to go unchallenged the ignorant and sanctimonious posts to which I’ve replied (the latest example of which follows below, having been time stamped 12/16/14 @ 11:47AM). I’m actually somewhat pleased to see your name on the ‘Recent Comments’ section, even if I disagree with what you’ve said. Although I’m disappointed, I’m not surprised, that there are not more comments by some otherwise reasonable voices on this general topic.

          Let me suggest that the history of white law enforcement with black Americans suspected, or questioned, is qualitatively different than that of the history of non-white laws enforcement with whites, Asians, Hispanics or other racially or ethnically different individuals in the U.S. Like it or not, this explains much.

          I would challenge the premise of your question or observation as to “why [it is] that when non-Blacks are subjected to excessive force or injustice through mistaken identity or the perceived need for attitude adjustment, there is no suggestion of systemic injustice.”

          It would be hard for me to believe that you’ve not heard the opinion that there is a dual system of American justice, one for the wealthy and another for those who are not wealthy. (Rarely, blacks who are fabulously wealthy have seemingly purchased their own version of justice.) There is, in the civil liberties community, frequent outrage when those who are not wealthy are the victims of excessive force, mistaken identity, or some version of profiling.

          • William Noel
            17 December 2014 @ 5:56 am

            Stephen,

            “Ignorant and sanctimonious?” If you’re going to make such a charge, show us the scriptural basis for your support of the racially-inflammatory and politically-correct. At the same time, measure the speech and behavior of people like Al Sharpton to the law of God.

            Your claim that blacks and whites are treated differently by law enforcement in America today is an outdated view being promoted to avoid having to deal with a problem that black society refuses to recognize or deal with: crime rates are multiiples higher among blacks than other social groups due to the breakdown in the family and promotion of disrespect for the law. According to the 2010 US Census, 82% of black children were being raised in single-parent home with no male father figure present and in some inner-city areas that was as high as 94%. Other studies show that most of those children don’t even know who their father is. That means the mother struggling to care for the kids and largely absent, so the kids have no strong parent leaders who are positive role models for law-abiding citizenship. Department of Justice surveys of black prison inmates show that more than 96% of them were raised in a single-parent home with no father figure in their life and a mother who was having to work so much to survive that she wasn’t around nearly enough to teach their children the difference between right and wrong.

            Som, what are the “solutions” being promoted by Al Sharpton and demanded by the mobs? First is promoting the concept that widespread criminal behavior is “normal” for blacks so everybody else should just accept it and get over it. Second is demanding that the law be changed to make it more difficult to prosecute black law-breakers. Third is the claim that white police officers are conducting a “war” on blacks. This claim was expanded by President Obama and Attorney General Holder when they announced a program to put body cameras on police officers for the purpose of documenting those “widespread” abuses of blacks.

            Anyone who believes that putting body cameras on police officers will have the results Obama and Holder want us to expect may be in for a rude reality check when they fail to produce the promoted results. The use of dashboard-mounted video cameras in patrol cars resulted in an increase in conviction rates and police departments already using body cameras report that they are seeing higher conviction rates as a result.

            This organized promotion of destroying respect for the law and then trying to tear-down the law itself is the same thing Satan has been doing since the beginning of this world. He seduced Eve into disobedience by promising what he could not deliver. Then when God called them to account for their actions, Eve blamed the serpent and Adam took it a step further when he blamed both Eve and God by saying “It was the woman you gave me.”

            You’re a student of prophecy. You know about the Papacy’s actions in trying to change God’s law and telling people they don’t have to obey God. Your arguments are supporting the current protest mobs in making the same demands. So, does that put you on God’s side? Or, does that mark you as being against God?

          • Jim Hamstra
            17 December 2014 @ 6:56 am

            William,

            I agree with you regarding the apparent motives and actions of some of the current Afro-American “leaders” in this country.

            What you seem to ignore is that the dis-respect and irresponsibility modeled by the actions of those responsible for enacting and enforcing our laws (ie laws apply to others but not to me), from top to bottom, is one of the major factors eroding public support for laws and law enforcement.

          • nathan schilt
            17 December 2014 @ 8:02 am

            As you know, Stephen, I did express my dismay with a collectiver group of posts. As for William’s post below, I’m sorry, but I don’t see it as “ignorant and sanctimonious, though if I don’t think that, as individual citizens of a democratic republic, we need to be silent about the structure and behavior of our governments. Nor would I be comfortable analogizing the mobs protesting police actions with the mobs calling for Christ’s crucifixion, though there are certainly interesting parallels that illuminate how mob/crowd psychology relies heavily on fear and intimidation to achieve its objectives.

            I agree with you that the wealthy and powerful fare better in any political or social setting than the powerless and poor, with one caveat: During violent transitional times, when the wealthy are weakened, and the oppressed are becoming the oppressors, they (the wealthy) generally become targets of the emerging order (c.f., le terror).

            But this reality does not bespeak a “dual system of justice.” It’s simply reality in a sinful world – reality which no society in the history of the world has done so much to overcome through freedom and the rule of law as America. Unequal application of the law is only intensified, and injustice magnified, by the illusion that more laws will make people be good. I have not yet heard a cogent argument that the conduct of officers in the Garner case fit within thelegal definition of criminal homicde in New York.

            It would be hard for me to believe that you are unaware that there is something like ten times more black on white crime than vice versa, or that excessive force and criminal behavior by blacks against white officers is far more prevalent than the reverse. Does that perhaps suggest a dual system of justice which allows such disparities to persist. What happens to society when everyone is angry because of perceived injustices, inequities and disparities which might be ameliorated through fear and intimidation?

    • William Noel
      16 December 2014 @ 11:47 am

      Think for a minute about what you have expended so many words supporting and justifying and whether they are in harmony with the teaching and example of Jesus.

      The loudest cries of today’s protesters are for the blood of the police officers involved in the deaths of two criminals. The cry is made for them to be charged and put on trial, only the demand is made in the same breath for a guarantee they will be convicted and punished to the severest extent allowed by the law. Evidence does not matter, just convict them and punish them!

      Remember the last time that happened? It was the Trayvonn Martin case. The police said there was no evidence to justify charges. But in the face of demands from civil rights leaders the case was taken to a grand jury that refused to return an indictment. Political leaders bowed to the demands of civil rights leadrs like Al Sharpton to bring charges and the case went to trial. Legal observers for even “liberal” TV networks like NBC and CNN all commented that the prosecution’s case fell apart so badly that the “evidence” they presented did the defense’s job for them and the defendant was acquitted because of lack of evidence. Today we have two grand jury rulings that there is no evidence to justify charges against the police officers. So it should be pretty obvious that the only result of a trial will be damaging the character and reputation of the innocent, which of course is the whole objective of the mob in demanding a trial.

      Jesus gives those of us who claim to be His followers a very different example to follow. He never stirred-up a mob to demand a certain outcome without regard to the evidence. Instead he told us to forgive those who were hateful toward us. But you are defending the mobs. Instead of recognizing that the evidence in both cases was given a thorough examination by the grand juries, you have joined the mobs in demanding not only that they be charged and put on-trial, but that they be convicted and punished in the most severe manner allowed by the law. In other words, you are allowing the blood-lust of the mob rule-out the possibility of a fair examination of the evidence resulting in a person being found innocent. You complain about a lack of justice? What you demand is a guarantee of injustice!

      Jesus never stirred-up a mob to demand that someone be put on trial with both their conviction and severest punishment guaranteed. But just such a mob was stirred-up by Satan and his angels to demand our savior’s death. Had you been there, would you have been among his followers who were weeping as they saw Him condemned unfairly? Or, would you have joined the mob in chanting “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Given the stridence of your arguments, I think the latter.

      • Jim Hamstra
        17 December 2014 @ 7:01 am

        I agree that Jesus never stirred-up a mob,

        But in the eyes of the Jewish leaders He did stir-up a mob on palm Sunday. And when they crested the hill where they could see Jerusalem He wept over the city. And then He proceeded to pronounce a series of woes upon the city and its people and its leaders who were leading the entire show into ruin.

        And if nobody is willing to put a stop to the corruption and lawlessness of those in this country entrusted with enacting and enforcing our laws, the stones will cry-out here in the US of A.

        • William Noel
          17 December 2014 @ 9:22 am

          It will take the Second Coming of Jesus to put an end to it. The corruption and lawlessness has become so rampant, so routine that it is common to find leaders taking the past offenses committed by others as license to do even larger and worse things. So the more I look at current events, the more I cry-out for Jesus to cut time short and return. As my daughter keeps asking, “How much worse can it get before Jesus comes?”

        • nathan schilt
          17 December 2014 @ 10:14 am

          Jim –

          There has always been corruption and lawlessness by those entrusted with enacting and enforcing laws, as well as by those upon whom laws are enacted and enforced. What was Jesus’ answer to the problem? Did He put a stop to corruption and lawlessness? Do you have a better answer than His? How does corruption and lawlessness in this country by the powerful and wealthy today compare with similar issues at other times in our country’s history?

          These are really rhetorical questions, Jim, just as your last “kitchen-sink” paragraph was sort of “kitchen-sink” rhetoric. We obviously have different moral views of America’s historic political character. I’d rather stay focused on the appropriate response of the Church to the Garner case. Begging the question of whether the lack of an indictment evidences corruption and lawlessness really doesn’t help to move us beyond our own capsules to make meaningful dialogue possible.

        • Jim Hamstra
          17 December 2014 @ 6:08 pm

          http://www.ajc.com/ap/ap/us/judge-boy-14-shouldnt-have-been-executed-in-sc/njTx6/

          Whoever offends one of these little ones would be better to have a millstone around his or her neck and be cast into the depths of the sea, than to face the judgment day of God Almighty.

          I have that on the authority of Jesus Christ.

      • Stephen Foster
        17 December 2014 @ 4:53 pm

        I considered leaving this post to itself. But this thread may/should remain permanently available and therefore will be treated with respect.

        One of the many points that Noel misses or can’t seem to fully comprehend is that part of the outrage is that in both of these recent incidents, the prosecutor did not function as prosecutors normally function when seeking a criminal indictment.

        Nathan can perhaps correct this, but from everything I’ve always heard and understood, when seeking an indictment, prosecutors normally give the grand jury their version of what happened as opposed to furnishing it with everything, including the defense’s version of the events.

        Furthermore, it would stand to reason that since the police and the prosecutor’s office are generally on the same side of the criminal justice system equation, there was an inherent conflict of interest in both the Ferguson, MO and Staten Island incidents. If criminal defendants are not afforded the same courtesies from these prosecutor as the police were in both of these incidents, then equal justice has not been administered.

        I could, and probably will, say more; but suffice it to say that I don’t place any confidence in the integrity of the criminal justice system, whereas you, Noel, clearly do place confidence in it. Frankly, that reality doesn’t bother me much.

        What is disturbing is that you invoke the name of the Lord in such discussions; as if He agrees with you—and in this instance, as if these police officers and Jesus had ANY commonalities. But for the fact that you are serious, some of this would be amusing.

        Since you don’t think that racism exists in America, except black racism against whites, you will naturally view any protesting against that which you believe doesn’t exist suspiciously. You believe that whites and non-whites are treated the same by white-administered law enforcement; so you equate any protestation or evidence to the contrary as an evil activity. It’s beyond anyone’s capacity to convince you otherwise, no matter what evidence is presented. Likewise, that reality doesn’t bother me much—or it certainly wouldn’t bother me much, if not for the fact that there are other whites who are similarly oriented; a disproportionate amount of which are men.

        Thankfully, few are as detached from reality, but are resentful about being accused, or feeling guilty, of bigotry by racial association. Unlike you, others are fully aware that there remains white racism in America: bigotry and prejudice against people of color, particularly with regard to superiority to black people—with the power to execute and enforce these feelings of intellectual and moral superiority. However they deny harboring such feelings and opinions themselves, and are resentful that the social evolution that has occurred doesn’t seem appreciated by those who continue to complain.

        This is sometimes confused by black Americans as identical to the bigotry and prejudice that you exemplify and personify; but isn’t. It does explain in part why those who know better allow people such as you to embarrass them.

        The notion that Jesus was actively oblivious to injustice is self-serving; but is essentially what American political conservatism is all about. At its core, in essence, political and/or economic conservatism in our country/culture represents a movement to conserve the natural advantages of the ruling or dominant segments of society, and the preservation of the institutions that undergird those advantages (whatever they may be) for those segments (whomever they may be). The suggestion that Jesus would not have us seek civil justice would have Christians, whose values in my view are the guarantors of justice, do nothing about injustice; which would in turn maintain the status quo, which is the objective of conservatism. This is (at best) an insidious notion. (I understand that you haven’t advanced this particular idea on this thread, and that that was Nathan.)

        On my next post, perhaps I’ll address the inescapable issue of black social pathology (which had nothing to do with Eric Garner’s death, the lack of accountability of those by whose hands he died, and the SDA church leadership’s response to it).

        • nathan schilt
          17 December 2014 @ 5:56 pm

          There’s a lot in this post, Stephen, and I won’t try to speak for William. I don’t think I suggested that Jesus doesn’t want Christians to seek a just society. He does seem to have made it pretty clear that a just earthly society is not possible to achieve. And He assiduously rejected what must have been overwhelming temptations to ally Himself with those who clambored for earthly justice.

          Tell me, what did Jesus do to intentionally change the political status quo? His courage in standing up to established religious authority certainly inspired the aspirations of Jewish movements such as the Zealots. The people of Israel desparately yearned for relief from Roman oppression and injustice. Was Jesus powerless to do anything about it? Could not Jesus easily have been accused of facilitating the status quo by not engaging injustice more directly?

          I really can’t say what God is calling you to do in terms of speaking out against what you perceive as social injustice. If Christ is helping you to see the world from a perspective that makes human well-being and happiness dependent on government ordered empowerment and disempowerment, please understand that He may not be sharing that will with others who seek to hear and follow Him. I must confess to finding it remarkable, after all you have said about the virtues of a secular state and the insidiousness of injecting Christian values into politics, that you now say Christian values are the guarantors of justice. Isn’t that tantamount to saying that God is a Democrat?

          When I get a chance, I want to comment about the Cloward-Pivken Strategy. I see the current unrest being very much a manifestation of that strategy,which was beneath the surface of American politcs for decades until the current administration made large portions of that strategy national policy.

          • nathan schilt
            17 December 2014 @ 6:10 pm

            Stephen, I really can’t tell you much about how grand jurys work. Even though I was a prosecutor, I never worked with the grand jury. But I think your understanding is generally correct.

            You need to understand, however, that grand jurors are drawn from the community. They are intelligent folks who shouldn’t need a leader or spokesman to tell them what to think or how they should view the evidence. I don’t think you can or should assume that prosecutors are biased in favor of law enforcement officers who break the law. I certainly wasn’t. Who would you recommend as unbiased – the Attorney General?

            If grand jurors are given all relevant evidence, what’s wrong with letting them make their own decision without emotional appeals by biased prosecutors and/or defense lawyers? They can cross-examine and ask questions. What evidence was withheld from the grand jury? Don’t you trust the unadulterated evidence and facts? Are you suggesting that, without an Al Sharpton to induce guilt and fire up the grand jury, there’s no way they could fairly evaluate the facts and evidence to reach their conclusion that the officers behavior did not constitute an indictable crime?

        • William Noel
          18 December 2014 @ 5:56 am

          Stephen,

          You wrote: “What is disturbing is that you invoke the name of the Lord in such discussions; as if He agrees with you…”

          This is typical of how you twist the words of other into meanings they never stated or intended. If being reminded of the teachings of Jesus is so offensive to you, then you are making a most revealing declaration about how small of a role God plays in your life and how you have allowed His priorities and teachings to become subverted to and twisted by superior allegiance to popular politics and the promotion of racism.

          Nor have I claimed racism does not exist in America. I simply dispute that it is as severe as people like Al Sharpton claim when they say it is “Tuscaloosa in 1963 all over again.” My family moved to Alabama in 1963 and I grew-up surrounded by the turbulence of those times with the civil rights movement so I was a firsthand observer while you were living in elsewhere. I see the differences and it is obvious to me that Sharpton and others are lying when they make those inflammatory claims.

          If you think things are bad for blacks in America today, it might be good for you to glance at a little history to see just how bad racial and religious persecution can be and by contrast see just how good things are today. Do you remember that little parable Jesus told about how the Jews treated a robbery victim on the roadside and who helped him? The Jews absolutely hated the Samaritans. But the Samaritan still ministered to the man in love because he was there and the man needed help. The love of God in the despised man enabled him to look past the cultural hatred in the other man and still minister to him. God’s love enabled him to minister healing instead of reflecting hatred. Contrast that with today. You and Al Sharpton are not encouraging others to minister God’s healing love. All we’re hearing is the promotion of division and hatred.

          It wasn’t easy being a Jew under Roman occupation. The Romans could be brutal and the Jewish kings ruling under Roman authority reflected that brutality. Remember Herod, who was asked by the visiting wise men from the east about where they might find the baby Jesus so they could worship him? He ordered the murder of every male child under the age of two in the area. That was brutality. Yet you have joined the chorus of racial protest because two grand juries didn’t return a racially-biased decision. Had you been living under Herod, endorsing a protest march as you have done would have gotten you beheaded or hung from a cross. Yet you still think racial discrimination is severe and intolerable today.

          Jesus never encouraged His followers to oppose authority or to fight it, yet that is what you endorse without reservation. He told us to submit to rulers and, in spite of persecution, to persist in ministering His love to others and to overcome evil by doing good. God offers us great power to overcome evil when we obey Him and love those who do wrong to us. That power and love spread in spite of persecution and opposition, even invading the household of Caesar (see Philippians 4:22).

          Hatred, dissension and racism all come from Satan. You can choose to continue promoting and defending him and the evil works of his followers. Or, you can choose to embrace and practice the teachings of Jesus and become empowered by God to spread His love. My life has been transformed by the love and power of God, so I pray that you will abandon the former and embrace the latter.

          • Stephen Foster
            19 December 2014 @ 5:46 am

            Your problem in this instance is that you’re talking to someone who knows better. I happen to know, from previous interaction with you on this site, that you believe and have previously stated that black against white racism is the only variety of American racism that remains in existence. (Are you challenging me to produce proof?)

            It is a fact that on this particular thread you have not said this. But it is also a fact that you have indeed previously communicated this ‘thought.’

            I agree that things are not as bad as they once were in America, nor as bad as they have been and continue to be elsewhere on Earth, nor as bad as they will be; yet I refuse to turn a blind eye at civil and economic injustice and racial bias in the criminal justice system. The fact that you don’t like it reinforces my conviction that I should continue; and, more importantly, that I am right.

            It is regrettable that you feel the way you do and believe it or not I’m not looking to offend you. But I have a conviction about you and your philosophy of life, let’s say. I’m not impressed by things you do because the ignorant yet ceaselessly sanctimonious things that you say speak so much louder.

            I have volunteered, and repeated, that the violent so-called protestors are my enemies—every bit as much as are those who defend that against which protestors are protesting. Yet for obviously straw man reasons you continue to disingenuously associate me with them.

            Let’s put it this way, if the government was violating what you perceived to be your second amendment rights, or something, by actively doing a house to house search for the expressed purposes of confiscation; you would strenuously and vociferously object, Noel; whether you had ‘confiscationable items’ or not—you know it, and I know it. You would voice your objection AND castigate the government authorities that ordered such activity.

            So please spare us the “Herod” crapola. I could continue; but you get it. (But it doesn’t matter if you don’t. I’ll love you anyway, my dear brother.)

            Noel, if you think that these grand jury decisions are the only things that got me engaged you should think again. We have a problematic history in America—and perhaps we’re both tired of it.

            (By the way, I was also outraged by the grand jury decision in the Tony Stewart case not too long ago. Race (ethnicity) could not have been a factor in that case as both race car drivers involved were of course white. Money and celebrity were the apparent factors. Think if the roles ‘played’ had been reversed and the victim had been Stewart; there might well have been an indictment…and again, everybody involved, prosecutor, everybody, was white.)

  31. Hansen
    17 December 2014 @ 7:01 pm

    Hokum, test post

  32. Elaine Nelson
    17 December 2014 @ 7:28 pm

    According to the media reports, prosecutors presented their case to the Grand Jury which can never be called unbiased as their job is to get a conviction and they are on good terms with the police because of their profession.

    • Nathan schilt
      17 December 2014 @ 8:26 pm

      Nonsense Elaine! The job of the grand jury is to determine whether there is probable cause to find that a suspect is guilty of a felony offense.

      By your assessment, everyone is biased, because everyone has certain assumptions and presuppositions that they bring to the fact finding process.

  33. Hansen
    17 December 2014 @ 8:08 pm

    Mr. Garner’s death resulted from resisting arrest, not selling untaxed cigarettes, just as Michael Brown’s death was not caused by him jaywalking, but assaulting an officer.

    In the case of Mr. Brown’s death, he was a physical wreck, asthmatic [selling cigarettes], diabetic, morbidly obese. SDA could do a lot more for the community by developing lifestyle programs, culturally sensitive ones, which would educate and enable members of the community to take better care of themselves.

    Stephen, Your views are shared by many people hanging ’round the barber shop or liquor store in numerous inner cities throughout the USA. They are typical of American Blacks, i.e. Black culture in America. I doubt that recent Black immigrants from Ethiopia or Nigeria [who aren’t criminals ] would share your views. Clarence Thomas probably disagrees with your view.

    All can agree that the Black community could take better care of themselves physically, something that Adventists are especially qualified to assist them in doing.

    • Nathan schilt
      17 December 2014 @ 8:35 pm

      I’m sure you couldn’t care less, but I find the statements in your last two paragraphs deeply offensive, Hansen. They are quite vicious, and as devoid of intellectual substance as the incendiary statements of those who foment violent protests to advance racial agendas.

      • Hansen
        17 December 2014 @ 9:33 pm

        Nathan, I really don’t understand your rebuke. It’s generally agreed that the man who died after resisting arrest did so because of his poor health, not police violence. Chokeholds, if there was one, are routinely used in martial arts and few people die from them. The health issues of the Black community are fairly well known: hypertension, diabetes, stroke, etc. They are more common in their community. These conditions are usually related to lifestyle choices. Adventists could perform a tangible benefit for their community through preventive health care and education. How is noting that vicious?

        As for Stephen’s remarks, he’s simply rehashing the views of thousands of other American Blacks i.e. “OJ didn’t do it,” “Justice for Trayvon,” “I can’t breathe” and so forth. While certainly more verbose, the substance of his remarks differs little from ordinary street corner perspectives.

  34. Hansen
    17 December 2014 @ 8:13 pm

    Names inadvertently reversed above,no disrespect intended.

  35. BILL SORENSEN
    17 December 2014 @ 8:58 pm

    All this talk about “unity in diversity” as applied to modern Adventism is just blowing smoke by a leadership that hopes to maintain unity by political agendas instead of making a statement of what is negotiable, and what is non-negotiable. Nothing is non-negotiable in modern Adventism and we have no stated belief system to test loyalty to the churches positions on anything. What we have is some non-definitive “unity in diversity” theory that has gendered Pluralism and is in the process of destroying the SDA denomination.

    I don’t know if the SDA church will become the final antichrist movement in the world, or if the antichrist movement simply rises out of the SDA church. But there is considerable evidence that one or the other is the reality. At this point, there is little or no evidence the church can recover from the Pluralism embraced over the last few decades. We could name half a dozen conflicts in doctrine and application including the one on this thread that has no possibility of any final unity or agreement in definition or application. Even if the Sabbath is the final focal point that decides loyalty to the bible and God’s kingdom, there won’t be a church to defend it in the near future. The Advent movement will keep “moving” either closer to scripture or farther from it. I see little or no evidence of modern Adventism moving closer to scripture but an ongoing confusion about the bible and what it teaches. In which case, the bible is losing its ability to define truth for many who claim the bible can not be discerned in what it teaches in meaning and application. In which case, we must rely on some “spirit ethic” to teach us what to believe and how to act. And the Holy Spirit now transcends the written word for many. My personal conviction is the God will yet create a bible Christian community that denies biblical ambiguity and opts for the confession that the bible itself is substancially clear on all necessary aspects of faith and practice. Just as our Protestant heritage affirms.

    • BILL SORENSEN
      17 December 2014 @ 9:27 pm

      We could also acknowledge that a lot of great Christian men have taught false doctrine. John Calvin being a classic example. The result of this being that these men may have led many to Christ on the one hand, and led them away from Christ on the other. This applies both to individuals and also to church instrumentalities. It genders a cult mentality. People are drawn to the person who may have shared some truth and helped them see something of value in a biblical relationship with Christ. In the end, they are more attached to the instrumentality than the truth they learned and embraced. And this especially applies to a church community and denomination. It moves final authority to the instrumentality instead of the bible.

      Herb Douglass represents this reality along with men like Morris Venden and a host of other individuals who became spiritual icons beyond challenge by any offical church leadership. Graham Maxwell was also classic as an “untouchable” SDA icon as a teacher. It is not necessarily by choice they attain this statis. But by a willing following who assume whatever they teach must be true. And isn’t this basic Adventism for many? They join the church, and that’s that. Nothing emulates Rome more perfectly than this mentality. And this has prepared the way of modern Adventism to be the final antichrist movement to oppose God’s kingdom. Most are scandalized by such a possibility and few believe it. And this is only another reason for such an end. The real lesson we learn from history is this, “No one ever really leaves from history.”

      • Jim Hamstra
        18 December 2014 @ 6:59 am

        You could add Ellen White to your list of great teachers who have a host of devoted followers long after their personal demise. Her writings have blessed me spiritually second only to the Bible. But notwithstanding, many Adventist simply follow whatever she says.

        I do not understand your claim that Calvin led people away from Christ.

        In fact, I do not understand your entire comment as it relates to this story. Are you suggesting that Adventist leaders who publicly comment on issues of great concern to their constituencies are building an image to the beast, or building an anti-Christ within the church?

        • BILL SORENSEN
          18 December 2014 @ 1:35 pm

          The simple point I was making is this, Jim. God’s means of grace, whether a church community or an individual, can often speak truth and error in the same sentence. As for Calvin, are you aware that he gendered the modern “once saved, always saved” concept? His view of sovereign predestination negates human accountability on any level of the salvation process and/or formula. None the less, he no doubt will be in heaven, though it is quite possible that many who followed his false doctine to its end will not.

          And of course, as you mentioned, even EGW can be wrested from her true meaning and used to corrupt and deceive those who do not take the time to consider the implications and context of many things she has said. Her view on moral perfection and/or character perfection is wrested and mis-understood by many who hold a legalistic view of salvation. But they are not worse than the antinomians who wrest the gospel from its biblical context and also deny the true meaning of her ministry and spirituality.

          Several years ago I used to post on the A-tomarrow forum run by J.R. Layman. He passed away several years ago. But in our dialogue I stated that the law in effect 100% of the time, and thus, the gospel is also in effect 100% of the time. He agreed. So I said I would not call him an antinominan on this basis, if he would not call me a legalist for the same reason. I fear many who support the LGT are more akin to legalism as they have no real gospel emphasis on the forgiveness of sin for those who “attain perfection”. Had the SDA church embraced and explained the Christian and bible doctrine of original sin, the paradox would be maintained of “righteous and sinful at one and the same time” as Luther said. Neither can they explain the nature of Christ without either making Him a sinner like us, or equally false, claim we are not born sinners.

          So in my evaluation, Adventism will eventually degenerate to nothing more than a cult movement, or, at least the antichrist movement will come out of the SDA church. I guess we could say half truths are equal to total error in the end. And this is where much of Adventism is today.

  36. BILL SORENSEN
    17 December 2014 @ 9:28 pm

    Sorry, I meant “no one really learns from history.” not leaves.

    • Jim Hamstra
      18 December 2014 @ 7:01 am

      Well I for one have learnt a lot from history, including both the Bible and also secular sources. So I guess that means i am “no one” 8-)?

      What history are we ignoring that should be informing this discussion?

      • BILL SORENSEN
        18 December 2014 @ 7:27 pm

        It was just a principle, Jim. No specific event or application.

  37. Stephen Foster
    18 December 2014 @ 2:56 am

    Christian values, those of love and the enumerated fruits of the Spirit, enable justice. How in the world does that fact conflict with the principle of church/state separation? And what does this have to do with Democrats or Republicans, or any partisanship? Values don’t seek political power; people do.

    How is the demand for civil justice the same as “[making] human well-being and happiness dependent on government ordered empowerment and disempowerment;” and what kind of attitude is that for an officer of the court? Isn’t that sort of a red herring?

    I promise you Nathan, I have never heard of the Cloward-Pivken Strategy, but tell me there’s not another straw man coming.

    Jesus didn’t come to right civil wrongs. That doesn’t mean He condoned civil injustice. He didn’t get married nor have children; nor did He ever own a home. Does that suggest that we shouldn’t likewise? Aren’t there many Biblical principles that instruct us to actively seek to do justice? Wouldn’t that include advocating for it too? Why would an attorney even question this?

    I do appreciate your pointing out the hysterical ignorance of the likes of Hansen. I’d made a veiled reference to O.J. purchasing his own personal ‘justice,’ and haven’t commented about the facts of the Michael Brown shooting, but Hansen naturally missed that. Prejudice causes, and/or results from, blind spots.

    (By the way, it’s been a while since I’ve had to go the barbershop. Michael Jordan made being ‘folliclely’ challenged ‘cool.’)

    • Hansen
      18 December 2014 @ 5:21 am

      Stephen, You are being played i.e. patronized [in my opinion].

      During the AIDS crisis, Hollywood SDA did nothing of note to reach out to the impacted community. When [gay]David Geffen gave 800 million dollars to a local healthcare institution, it was UCLA. No SDA intitution got a penny. The AIDS cohort was intentionally shunned by some SDA healthcare providers, if not all, in the L.A. area.

      The healthcare issues of the Black community are well known. Why in the world does the church operate a healthcare system, if not to educate targeted communities regarding specific needs? Social engineering/social gospel make great argument fodder but do not a lot to serve specific communities the church has been charged with serving.

      One healthcare institution in L.A., which was known for serving the Black community, King/Drew was scandalized by charges of Black racism, incompetence, and the bane of healthcare–deliberate indifference. That was ten years ago or so. Hopefully things have turned around since then.

      I doubt that discussions of this nature, taking an ugly turn, serve the interests of the gospel, the church, nor the community.

      I’ve been impressed by the work of ADRA in the opium producing areas of Asia. They have done a good job providing clean water, schools, and other services to the community. In L.A. perhaps not so much.

      • nathan schilt
        18 December 2014 @ 6:19 am

        Are you for real, Hansen, or are your “white redneck” comments just putting us on? I knew there were people who thought like you. But I didn’t realize there were intelligent people who would actually publicly say the things you have been saying on this thread in this day and age. To put it kindly, you have been using a chain saw – make that an IED – where a scalpel is called for.

    • nathan schilt
      18 December 2014 @ 7:36 am

      Stephen, when you said that Christian values are the guarantors of justice, I took you to be meaning “social justice” as that term is generally understood. The Christian values you reference are the antithesis of justice in the sense that they cannot be coerced through law, which is how justice is implemented. They are postures of the mind and heart.

      If by “civil justice” you mean fairness and equality as envisioned by the “natural rights” movement and given philosophical heft by John Rawls, then no, I don’t see that goal being either desirable or the probable product of Christian values/fruits of the Spirit. Perhaps I misunderstood what you meant by the term “civil justice.”

      I happen to wholeheartedly agree with your endorsement of Judeo-Christian values as essential foundations for the realization of the goals of any moral justice system. The writings of the Founders are filled with this insight. But I take a very dim view of the notion that more laws, rules, and regulations are likely to produce the fruits of the Spirit. In fact, I see exactly the opposite. As society becomes more and more dependent on rules, regulations, and bayonets to achieve the desired goals of justice, justice becomes more and more elusive, because self-government – the essence of the fruits of the Spirit – is not only obviated in such a system, but it is actively discouraged.

      I agree with you, Stephen, that it is very legitimate for Christians to advocate for justice in the earthly realm, even though I don’t think one can read that into Christ’s Gospel commission or Paul’s explication of that commission. I also agree with you that Church leaders, qua church leaders should advocate for robust religious expression and values in the public square – values which would certainly include the fruits of the Spirit inthe public square. But I don’t think the two should be conflated. The message of the Gospel calls us to voluntary behaviors and Kingdom postures of heart and mind. I don’t think those postures necessarily produce any particular type of government – Democrat or Republican – but I do think they are likely to result in justice systems that respect the need for both freedom and order, while recognizing the futility and dangers of the quest for earthly utopias.

    • William Noel
      20 December 2014 @ 11:08 am

      Ignorance is no excuse for not looking it up. It is a strategy used by the Democratic Party to use the welfare system and created misconceptions about poverty in America to subvert democracy and turn America into a socialist nation.

    • William Noel
      20 December 2014 @ 11:47 am

      It is ironic that you would claim to not know about Cloward-Piven. Two years ago during the American presidential campaign you wrote at least two pieces that I remember where you speculated wildly about how the election of either Rick Santorum (a catholic) or Mitt Romney (a mormon) could be the event pushing America into fulfilling a certain prophecy about the nation turning it’s back on the principles on which the nation was founded and aligning itself with the papacy. To you, all conservatives were evil, the people intent on doing whatever would fulfill that prophecy, so Democrats were good and the people who would bring-in a bright future for the nation. Only you didn’t know about Cloward-Piven or that it was the blueprint the Democratic Party has been following to subvert the principles of democracy and turn America away from the principles on which the nation was founded to align itself with the Beast of Rome.

      The irony here is so rich! The man whose supreme life focus is politics, whose support for the Democratic Party is unquestioning, and who rejects reminders about spiritual principles didn’t know what he was supporting! Or that the objective of that blueprint would fulfill a prophecy! Oh, the irony!

  38. Hansen
    18 December 2014 @ 7:06 am

    Nathan, I haven’t lived in America for a long time; consequently, I am not sensitive to political correctness. It’s also possible I have a form of Asperger’s which makes it difficult to relate to others, although I get along here as an expat OK. Perhaps the language barrier, which hinders too much free expression, works in my favor.

    As I said above, dialogues of this sort among so called Christian brethren, do little to serve the gospel cause. By gospel, I refer to the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection, something which has basically nothing to do with the travail of the Black man in America, the White man in Asia, or the Jew/Palestinian in the Middle East.

    The inflammatory terms used by both you and Stepehen to address those who, in good faith, see things not the same as you do, is a bit embarrassing [for you].

    I worked with law enforcement in the States. I was much more concerned about officers getting too cozy with criminals than I was about officers abusing them. I enjoyed the society of both criminals and law enforcement personnel. I saw more criminals acting the fool than I did officers.

    When I did testify for the prosecution, it was against White inmates for whom I hoped the death penalty. The death row inmate with whom I spent as much time as I could was Black, not White; neither of us seemed to mind.

  39. Hansen
    18 December 2014 @ 7:23 am

    Incidentally, I don’t consider WASP an insulting term. Perhaps others do so I apologize, if that is the case. To me a WASP recalls Luther, Melanchthon, Tyndall, et al, not Hitler or the AB.

    • nathan schilt
      18 December 2014 @ 8:00 am

      I appreciate your explaination, Hansen, and at least understand better what comes across to me as very extremist and inflammatory. I really don’t see that either Stephen or I have used inflammatory terms, but you are certainly entitled to your opinion. I agree with you that dialogues of this sort do little to advance the Gospel. Playing golf or celebrating birthdays does little to advance the Gospel.

      I don’t have much patience, however, with folks who make those types of arguments. Important as the gospel is, I don’t think God created us to simply be gospel tools. Nor do any Christians, yourself included, with the exception of monastic orders, live their lives with such exclusive single-minded focus. I do think there is great value, in a democracy where we believe in civic virtue and take our earthly citizen obligations seriously, to being able to discuss differences in political philosophy as it relates to our Christian commitments and presuppositions with respect and civility.

      And by the way, I happen to share your view, as does Eric Garner’s wife, that what the officers did to him was not caused or contributed to by his race. My gut impression is that his enormous physical proportions, relative to the officers, was the primary contributing cause to both his belligerence and the officers’ over-response.

    • nathan schilt
      18 December 2014 @ 9:04 am

      There is a difference, as you implicitly note, Hansen, between political correctness and avoidance of insult. Political correctness consists of the cultural and political manipulation of facts, and the suppression of evidence, in order to fortify and insulate from criticism metanarrative based claims/beliefs that advance the agend(s) of a politically influential/intimidating identity group.

      I took issue with your statements not because they were politically incorrect, but because they were insulting.

  40. Stephen Foster
    18 December 2014 @ 10:09 pm

    Unfortunately it appears the record needs to be set straight on a few things. I’ve never said anything about “Church leaders, qua church leaders [advocating] for roust religious expression and values in the public square.” I said that the values of Christians—not to be confused with their religion—are the guarantors of justice in America.

    I am certainly not in favor of “Church leaders, qua church leaders [advocating] for robust religious expression in the public square.” I don’t believe that the values of love and the fruits of the Spirit demonstrated in the public square should be at all conflated with religious expression therein.

    I hope and trust that we are all capable of exhibiting Christian values in the public square without conducting a religious service.

    It smacks of a false choice to be faced with “[recognizing] the futility and dangers of the quest for earthly utopias” and doing what we can to diminish the effects and incidences of injustice. I’m not clear on where you mark the border between civil justice and other forms of justice, assuming there other forms; but I agree that we civil laws can’t produce the fruits of the Spirit.

    I don’t agree that self-government represents the essence of the fruits of the Spirit. Self-government, in the governmental sense, has nothing to do with Christian spiritual fruits whatsoever. They have everything to do with behavior; that is, individual behavior has everything to do with the fruits of the Spirit. Self-government has to do with the people of a nation, state, or city, governing that nation, state, or city (or territory).

    As for Garner’s death, Garner’s wife also shared the fact the police knew Garner. His long arrest history, including three pending misdemeanor charges, gave them ample reason to know that they were dealing with neither a crazed nor a dangerous cigarette seller. Yeah sure, he was a big dude; but a big white guy—whose largely petty crime past had been that well known to the police—wouldn’t have been as likely to have gotten that treatment. Garner had been vociferously expressing his exasperation; but no one to my knowledge has alleged that when confronted by the police he had then been engaged in criminality.

    • nathan schilt
      19 December 2014 @ 8:07 am

      I’m not sure, Stephen, how easily one can distinguish the values of Christians from their religious convictions. Given your political antipathy toward politicians who acknowledge the religious heritage which guides and sustains their political values, I’m curious about how you can justify Church leaders overtly using religious texts and principles as a basis for political advocacy. When I suggested that church leaders should advocate for robust religious expression in the public square, I didn’t mean that they should advance religious values as political agendas. I meant that they should advocate for the conditional rights of individuals to freely express their values in the public square, even if they are founded on religious principles.

      Perhaps you disagree. I note that you have not really attempted to defend the making of “official” statements on this issue by Church leaders. Rather, you have defended the merits of their positions. I’m curious. Do you think it was appropriate for them to speak out as they did – purportedly as agents of the Church?

      If you read my post again, you will see that I did not posit the false choices that you impute to me (straw man?). As framed by you, I agree that those are false choices. I also agree that “self-government” was poor word usage. “Self-discipline” would have been a better word.

      • Stephen Foster
        19 December 2014 @ 9:23 pm

        The convictions of Christians produce their values; but you had mentioned “robust religious expression” which is something different than Christian values. The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear ‘robust religious expression to the public square’ is sectarian prayer, and particularly on facilities owned by government. Is it possible that I’m misunderstanding you?

        I don’t have, and have never expressed, “antipathy toward politicians who acknowledge religious heritage which guides and sustains their political values.” I have expressed political antipathy toward politicians whose interpretation or understanding of (their) religious heritage mandates that they impose their particular religious beliefs on the rest of society.

        I view what MLK, Jr. did in terms of speaking out against systemic injustice and advocating for civil and human rights and systemic justice, as different from ‘politics;’ just as you see what religious leaders who speak out against abortion as different.

        Perhaps it is difficult/impossible for you to relate to oppression and systemic injustice (inequality); which to some extent, I would understand. You possibly perceive advocacy against oppression and for systemic justice as adversarial political positions. This is what renders people who are privileged with social advantage, yet nonetheless advocate for civil justice and who simultaneously oppose oppression—when they are advantaged—so impressive.

        • William Noel
          20 December 2014 @ 6:49 am

          Stephen,

          Jesus never told His followers to focus on the “wrongs” being done to them or to seek to correct “inequality.” Yet that is the unending theme of your postings.

          Jesus taught us to overcome evil with good and by ministering His transforming love to those injured by all the results of sin. Yet you seem to know nothing of how to do that other than public protest and justifying theft under the guise of laws to “correct” society’s wrongs.

          An old saying tells us, “When all else fails, read the instructions.” The political and social actions for which you advocate have failed. So, why don’t you read the instructions Jesus gave us and start following His example of success in overcoming the social ills that surround all of us?

          • Jim Hamstra
            20 December 2014 @ 7:14 am

            “public protest and justifying theft under the guise of laws to “correct” society’s wrongs”

            I do not share many of Mr Foster’s political views. But somehow I must have missed the part of his writings where he advocated these “solutions” to society’s wrongs.

            Or is it possible that we have on both sides of this debate a lot of creative reading between-the-lines, and assumptions about the beliefs and motives of others?

          • Stephen Foster
            22 December 2014 @ 2:04 pm

            Jim,

            What you “have missed” is that Noel believes that when the government uses tax revenues to provide for food, energy, housing, medical care, etc., for the poor, that they have used a guise of law to steal from people like him.

            To Noel’s way of thinking, to the extent that anyone supports such governmental activity, they are supporting theft by the government. (How the government decides to allocate tax revenues other than for relief services may or may not be theft, of course.)

            Never mind that Noel has recently criticized me for not having a proper Christian stance toward the authority of the government; AND that Jesus said “render…unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s;” which includes/means taxes. Noel believes that if/when the government uses tax revenues to help poor people it is in violation of Jesus’ prescribed methods. (I only know this because Noel has specifically told me this in previous exchanges.) Never mind that the U.S. government offers incentives in the form of tax exemptions for giving to (a variety of) charities; and doesn’t tax charitable entities to boot.

            (By the way, I don’t blame you for issuing a disclaimer regarding my views.:-)

    • nathan schilt
      19 December 2014 @ 8:18 am

      Let me make it clear that I don’t like what I see on the Garner video. My gut reaction is that this was a completely unnecessary use of force. But then, I don’t know all the facts.

      The argument that it would have gone differently had Garner been White, with all other variables the same, cannot be falsified or proven. I don’t think the police thought they were dealing with someone dangerous either. I think they thought they were dealing with someone who believed he could ignore authority, and they didn’t want to have to send half the police department out there each time they had to confront him. There was no intent to use deadly force as far as I can tell. I don’t know what evidence the police were, or should have been, aware of, that would suggest the maneuver used to take Garner down has a likelihood of producing death or great bodily injury. Isn’t that kind of important to know?

      • Stephen Foster
        19 December 2014 @ 11:16 am

        You’re missing the point, by some margin. Actually you’ve got the point but don’t seem to want to simply accept it.

        Your gut reaction is from what you saw with your own eyes Nathan; “this was a completely unnecessary use of force.” I’ve long ago stipulated that I don’t believe that they intended to kill him.

        Of course I cannot prove, and it can’t be falsified, that had Garner been white he would have received different treatment. But that/your argument essentially represents/defends plausible deniability.

        Here’s what I’d like to see sometimes: some ‘conservatives’ not take the party line when they see something that isn’t right. It might force me to reconsider what I have concluded after many years, many conversations, and much dealing with political conservatives. I’d like to hear a few conservatives, especially those of the small government variety, simply say “what happened there was clearly wrong and someone should be held responsible’—or in lieu of that, I’d like to hear some ‘law and order’ types who are defending these prosecutors’ unusual behavior, say “I wish prosecutors would always present all the evidence—including possible exculpatory evidence—to all grand juries, all the time.” I won’t be holding my breath, waiting.

        We live in a messed up world.

        • nathan schilt
          19 December 2014 @ 4:21 pm

          Your perception, Stephen, constitutes a stereotype of conservatives. I could just as easily say the same thing of liberals: “They always take the party line when they see something that I think isn’t right.” How does that advance rational dialogue? I can tell you lots of things that I think are wrong, for which people in positions of authority should be held responsible. They’re just different issues than the ones that bother you.

          I prefer to discuss the issues. My opinions are just that – my opinions. I think a number of conservatives have expressed the view that the grand jury reached an erroneous result in Garner. I just don’t know enough about the case to be able to make that determination. Anyone has a perfect right to from an opinion. But why is it taking the party line to say there is insufficient evidence to form the opinions you seem to have?

      • William Noel
        20 December 2014 @ 7:01 am

        Nathan,

        I think it is the outcome that makes us all wish the application of force by the police had been less. Fortunately that was a highly unusual outcome.

        What we see in that video is precisely the way police are trained to escalate the application of force to the degree necessary to effect an arrest. One of the primary reasons they do this is for their own protection because of the number of police who have been seriously injured or killed in one-on-one or even two-on-one confrontations with a larger and stronger person like Garner.

        The situation reminds me of a man I remember from my newspaper days whose name showed-up in police arrest reports with surprising regularity. When he wasn’t high, JL was a nice guy and I once saw a police officer take him into custody without resistance. But there were other times when he got drunk or high and began beating-up his wife and it took three, four, or even five officers to arrest him. More than once the officers required medical attention to treat the injuries he inflicted and several times he kicked-out side windows in the back of police cars. (Pepper spray seemed to have no effect on him when he was high.)

        I say this to illustrate that the police never know how a person is going to react and they must always be prepared to apply overwhelming force for their own protection. (On that point, the majority of police officers killed in the line of duty are the first to arrive on a scene.)

  41. Hansen
    19 December 2014 @ 4:58 am

    “He [local Guangzhou official] said that some Africans behave violently and even attack police when being questioned, and three SWAT officer are usually at the scene when an African is being questioned.

    Sometimes five thin policemen cannot control one African who is tall and strong, the official said.”

    http://www.shanghaidaily.com/national/Guangzhou-police-intensify-efforts-to-crack-down-on-illegal-foreigners/shdaily.shtml

  42. Stephen Foster
    19 December 2014 @ 7:50 am

    It does not go unnoticed that I am possibly the only African American who regularly posts on this site (called ‘Adventist’). In fact, it is possible if not likely that I am the only African American who currently posts on this site. (This is interesting given ‘Today’s’ Adventist demographics.)

    Most African Americans that I know (and I know a lot of them) would not have the patience or the stomach to participate in this type of conversation with the likes of Hansen and Noel.

    Here’s an anecdote that may be somewhat informative and revealing to some of you. I heard a well-known African American comedian recently say that all of his black friends have a great many white friends; on the other hand, most of his white friends have perhaps one black friend. Interestingly enough, I can say pretty much the same for me and my friends. In point of fact, the overwhelming majority of my white friends are conservative Republicans.

    Every black person I know has had to be conversant with white peoples’ perspectives, and has been required to navigate their way in a predominantly white (American) world.

    Ask yourselves how many African American friends and acquaintances you have; and other than those blacks that you’ve seen on television (with whom, of course, you’ve never talked), how often have you engaged in a substantive conversation with an African American to discover WHY he/she believes what they do.

    Those of you who aren’t Americans can perhaps tell from this conversation why black Christians and white Christians often worship separately.

    • nathan schilt
      20 December 2014 @ 12:53 am

      Interesting points, Stephen. What you describe is a matter of culture and ideology – not skin color. In America, skin color has been exploited to create a political identity group, which has in turn created and reinforced a culture. It is fascinating that the educated Caribbean and African Blacks with whom I am friends find the notion of “white peoples’ perspectives” that have to be navigated quite mystifying. They do not understand why American blacks subject themselves to crippling, false metanarratives that advance political policies which reinforce feelings of grievance, entitlement, and intergenerational dependency.

      Historically, those who want to cling to their own minority culture, and who nurse negative stereotypes of the dominant culture, have always found it challenging to navigate the prevailing culture and succeed in that culture. Perhaps you could direct me to some countries where black citizens don’t have to navigate black myths of “white peoples’ perspectives” or legacy of white oppression in order to succeed.

      Don’t you find it disturbing that so many black youths are comfortable with hip hop and rap culture – that they denigrate values like studying, working hard, treating authorities with respect as “acting white.” It is tragic that the values which produce self-reliance, prosperity, and self-esteem are disproportionately held by non-black cultures in America. The reason you and the comedian you refer to have so many white friends is largely a matter of demographics (there are eight times as many whites) and values. Even though you may not share your white friends’ political values, you have much in common with them when it comes to social values.

      I have to smile, Stephen, when you prod us to engage in a substantive conversation with a black American to discover why he/she believes what they do (A Postum Summit?). Do you mean liberal African-Americans? Because if you don’t, I don’t really understand how speaking to one will tell me anything about why others think as they do. Would I find out very much about why you think as you do by getting to know Dr. Ben Carson?

      Do you believe conservatives when they tell you why they believe as they do? Of course you don’t! You are quite certain you know why I believe what I believe and why I have all the blind spots I do. “I want to maintain white privilege and power, so I just parrot the party line.” Do you think that if you spent considerable time getting to know Erv Taylor or Elaine Nelson you would know anything about why I believe what I believe?

      This is an important conversation, Stephen, and I appreciate your engagement. I have learned much from you. But I am saddened by the reality that political values are increasingly viewed through the lenses of historically constructed metanarratives that fuel greed, envy, and distrust rather than seeking to rise above them. In the context of that reality, blacks are simply willing pawns on one front in the Cloward-Pivken Strategy which I alluded to above.

      • Stephen Foster
        22 December 2014 @ 1:07 am

        This is what I mean by the party line Nathan: when there is a black death or when a black is brutalized by a white police officer, why are conservatives uniformly on one predictable side? This question is particularly appropriate when addressed to those who are suspicious of the government, its competence, and law enforcement capacities. (Has anyone asked why a taser wouldn’t have been considered a more appropriate response?)

        It’s like blacks not being willing to admit that O.J. got away with murder; or during Thomas’ confirmation hearings thinking that Clarence was being set up by the system and lied upon by Anita Hill, simply because of his skin color; or thinking Michael Brown was a choir boy. These are examples of what was the party line for black people at times.

        I haven’t stereotyped conservatives with this observation. By predictably and invariably defending or excusing white police brutality (and even the likes of a George Zimmerman for Pete’s sake, who, however he is classified, killed a black person) they reflexively, invariably stereotype themselves.

        You’re an intelligent and well-read guy Nathan. Can you begin to see how blacks are largely quite suspicious of conservatives; when the late George Wallace, Jesse Helms, Strom Thurmond, and Lester Maddox were, and currently one Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III are, conservatives—and when the same party line is adhered to in every instance like this?

        Unfortunately, your educated Caribbean and African friends sometimes don’t relate to the relatively recent and current history that these (Wallace, Helms, et al) and other like-minded individuals represent. Fortunately, on the other hand, sometimes well-educated people of Caribbean (Holder) and African (Obama) extraction do relate to this recent history.

        Yes, I believe it would be more instructive for people like you to spend more time talking to politically liberal blacks; which let’s face it you seldom do. The reason you don’t is because you’re not required to in order to function. On the other hand, people like me—and any other like-minded blacks I’ve known, have had to spend a whole lot of time talking to and dealing with many people who think like you, Nathan; because we have had to do so.

        No, you wouldn’t learn much of anything about how I think speaking to Carson. (Carson would possibly be eager to tell you a lot of what you would want to hear about what I think. He would undoubtedly be honest in his assessment; but you still wouldn’t learn much.) Unfortunately, from my perspective, blacks have never been monolithic in their approach to things.

        I am definite intrigued by this statement: “But I am saddened by the reality that political values are increasingly viewed through the lenses of historically constructed metanarratives that fuel greed, envy, and distrust rather than seeking to rise above them. In the context of that reality, blacks are simply willing pawns on one front in the Cloward-Pivken Strategy which I alluded to above.”

        Generally speaking, what are “historically constructed metanarratives,” Nathan; and isn’t any perspective of social policy constructed from history or “historically constructed”?

        I’ve shared what I think of conservatism. What have I said that is inaccurate? My observations regarding the denial of victimization and the charge of material envy simply bolster my conviction that conservatism is essentially the conserving of the ‘natural’/societal advantages of the dominant or ruling class of individuals.

        Clearly demonizing the poor is en vogue. Forgive me, this admittedly could be my imagination or prejudice, but you seem to have some issues with poor people who are greedy for government largess at your expense, but don’t seem to have much of a problem with greed for wealth. There are counterproductive and pathological attitudes and behaviors that are engaged in disproportionately by poor people, particularly many inner-city African Americans. The devastating and undeniable fallout of institutional racism certainly accounts for some of it; as does the church’s failure to penetrate, and educate, and overcome evil with good. And there are some things that black people do that are just plain ignorant. But I seldom hear some Americans of a particular ideological persuasion take/admit/assume any responsibility. What I often hear is victim blaming; as if there should’ve been no other shoe to drop from our unfortunate history. (And what of those who “distrust” others? Are you suggesting that we have good reasons to be trustful of human nature?)

        I’ve chosen not to research the Cloward-Pivken Strategy because I’d prefer you explain it to me when introducing it to me. I will say this about willing pawns: historically I have considered confederate soldiers who were not plantation owners as willing pawns. These were people who were willing to spill their own blood so that others—plantation owners—could continue to own slaves. THAT is willing to be a pawn! I would suggest that poor/’struggling’ conservatives, who, in relative terms, have little/nothing to ‘conserve,’ yet nonetheless act/vote against their own interests, are of a similar (or identical) mindset.

        I agree, this is an important conversation; and I appreciate your willingness to engage.

        • Stephen Foster
          22 December 2014 @ 1:14 am

          Correction: I am definitely intrigued by this statement…

        • William Noel
          22 December 2014 @ 5:34 am

          Why is there so much complaint about incidents involving white police officers and black victims and not a whisper of complaint about black police officers and black victims? Department of Justice statistics show that when a black offender is confronted by a police officer they were 2-3 times more likely to be shot by the black officer and 5-7 times more likely to have greater force used against them during and arrest than when the officer is white. So it looks like there is a motive at play that is disconnected from and even refuted by reality.

          This also exposes a lie promoted by Al Sharpton when he claimed white police officers were waging a war against black citizens, who were at-risk of being shot-down by white police while they are going about their normal daily activities. Even so, considering that crime in the black areas of some cities is more than 100X what it is in some white areas, that could make a person wonder of crime isn’t a “normal daily activity” in those areas.

          • Stephen Foster
            22 December 2014 @ 4:17 pm

            We’ve been through this before for sure. We (perhaps) know that these statistics did not come to you in a dream. So please furnish the specific link and the pdf page if applicable from whence we can see this same statistics ourselves.

            I looked at the Census Bureau’s Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2012, Law Enforcement, Courts, and Prisons (which of course includes DOJ statistics) and didn’t see this. If it is actually in existence, please provide the online sources of this information.

            There are needless to say some very poor neighborhoods with a lot of crime; and there are some very wealthy communities in which very little crime is reported. The fact that these poor neighborhoods are most often predominantly comprised of racial minorities; and the affluent, low crime communities are most often predominantly white, means exactly what? Since you have made this point Noel, please answer this question regarding your point.

            (Again, I will await Nathan’s explanation of the Strategy to which he has referred. He is, and has been, more credible. Thank you for offering that information however.)

          • Hansen
            22 December 2014 @ 5:12 pm

            Who is killing all those black men and boys?

            Mostly white officers. But in hundreds of instances, black officers, too. Black officers account for a little more than 10 percent of all fatal police shootings. Of those they kill, though, 78 percent were black.

            White officers, given their great numbers in so many of the country’s police departments, are well represented in all categories of police killings. White officers killed 91 percent of the whites who died at the hands of police. And they were responsible for 68 percent of the people of color killed. Those people of color represented 46 percent of all those killed by white officers.

            http://www.propublica.org/article/deadly-force-in-black-and-white

            http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/lpd07.pdf
            [primary source]

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/08/14/racial-imbalance-exists-all-across-local-governments-not-just-in-police-departments/
            [secondary source]

        • nathan schilt
          22 December 2014 @ 8:33 am

          Wow, Stephen. You’ve said a lot here. You paint with such a broad bush, it’s difficult to respond. It is particularly hard to respond to your binary, unnuanced world. I see issues as generally complex and multifaceted. I look at issues that the media brings to the surface on a case by case basis, without keeping score of how my response compares with the last case. My analysis of the Martin, Brown, Garner cases was quite different in each situtation. You see it as being the same, because race is the common denominator that dominates your political perspective.

          I don’t think Black liberals think much differently than White liberals. I work and get along well with many White liberals. We seldom discuss politics because we each know well what the response of the other is likely to be to any given political issue. What frustrates me isn’t that others see the world differently from me. It is that people like you refuse to accept my beliefs for what they are. You choose instead to cast them in class/race terms – strong against weak, rich against poor, White against non-white. This is what I mean by historically constructed metanarratives. I don’t think you buy into the gender metanarratives as much, but they operate on the same principle.

          Exactly who is it that you think we conservatives want to keep out of the “ruling” class? I don’t know of many conservatives – except the Republican political establishment – that believes in a ruling/dominant class. The conservatives I know and admire see liberalism (in the sense of the political Left) as the philosophy of the dominant, ruling class. We want political power to come from strong families, churches, and local communities as much as possible. We believe in personal freedom, personal responsibility, and personal accountability. We believe that government should operated within predetermined Constitutional constraints. I am pleased at your implicit recognition that these qualities produce “dominant/ruling” people. But they do not necessarily produce people who assume dominance and rule over others. This is where you go off the tracks. We conservatives believe that through an American style meritocracy, everyone has a better chance of success, and on balance, everyone is more prosperous than they would be in other forms of government.

          The Southern Democrats you cite were just racists. They believed that skin color equaled inferiority. I am saddened that you are so encapsulated as to put me and other conservatives in that category. I grew up in Denver. My family was very conservative politically. But they despised Southern de jure and de facto apartheid and its leaders. I don’t know what the party line was when Trent Lot made the comments that got him booted from being Senate majority leader. But I was shocked by them, and was happy to see him go.

          Your comments, Stephen, exhibit a highly materialistic world view. I don’t see greed and envy being predominant in any class or race. I see them as universal. Nor do I see any good that can come out of attempts to create legally coerced equality for supbjects of the ruling class. There will always be those who try to exploit the law to take advantage. But that is not a reason to suspend the rule of law or to change the law in order to produce extra-legal “justice” or equality for those who have made poor choices, or are disadvantaged in the lottery of life by circumstances over which they have no control. It is a very good reason for the haves to be compassionate and generous.

          • Earl Calahan
            22 December 2014 @ 5:49 pm

            We each are culturally a product of our race, our lifestyles, our advantages or disadvantages. Some of us have brought success to our lives, by a gut hunger to persevere regardless of the lowly start, of living on the wrong side of the tracks, and the handicap of poverty. Blacks, by contrasts in the USA, generally have had the handicap of poverty, plus the stigma of being considered of inferior breeding and ignorance, by most living in the Southern states, and by many of the other states as well. The stereotypes of the Black man were of a shuffling strutting soul saying youlsa Boss. He was shown the rear of the bus, and separate waiting rooms in bus and train stations, prevented from using public washrooms and toilets,forced to the gutter when whites walked 4 abreast on the sidewalk. Public schools for whites were built of brick, stone and glass in the windows. Public Schools for Blacks were clapboard with most windows broken out and cold in the winter, White kids who were truant were searched out and made to attend, while the Blacks weren’t bothered if they missed school. I could go on and on of the White privileges, versus the lack of concern for Black children’s needs. But you get the point. This was the ghettoization of the Black race up until the 1960’s. There were always some Blacks who were able to gain wealth and a reasonable standard of living equal to higher class whites, but they were still segregated to living in the Black sections of town. The Blacks were always thought to be a little lower than uneducated “poor white trash (PWT)”, and rednecks who still outnumber the downtrodden Black race, that is in the eyes of the PWT.
            This is why today there is so much inbred hate and distrust of some Blacks toward Whites, and of course many Whites harbor hate and distrust toward Blacks, as per their cultural habits.
            I do agree with Nathan’s above viewpoints that the majority of Whites do not hate Blacks, but they don’t understand why more Blacks haven’t joined their successful race brothers. The US government programs by both political parties have courted Blacks so as to remain in power, but the Democrats have been totally successful by extending benefits to the extent that as many as wish to can not work at all, but live on the dole. This has created now into 3 generations of takers, who don’t work. This has created a class of millions of people who continue to live in ghetto public housing, live on welfare, and food stamps, and all free services provided by government largess, (that is paid for by taxes on those who work). This means that those who don’t work have a total free lifestyle, and free time on their hands. They can never be satisfied with the dole, so they gravitate into turf gang hoods, drugs, crime, and every immoral desire. No marriages, many sexual alliances, and many children without
            a desirable home life with parental supervision in their early learning years by adequate role models. Those that survive join the government subsidy program as another generation of inadequate dole, so many resort to crime as they to, want the trappings of the beautiful people, the actors, musicians, professional sports stars, and celebrities. This is a serious impediment of bringing into society the groups that have chosen this cultural lifestyle, to be a beneficial asset to society at large. How long can it go on?? With the education required to progress in this 21st century technological workforce, the basics are not being learned. We have a very serious problem to solve. Is it possible, or do we reap the whirlwind of discord, and the racial problems in the USA continue to sow ill will??

        • William Noel
          22 December 2014 @ 5:34 pm

          Stephen,

          The website limits the number of comments so I could not reply to your latest message below.

          You found the website, so go dig for yourself! You found the website, so start searching. I’ll give you a hint: it will take more than 30 seconds of your time because there is no single report on the topic. You’ll have to draw data from other reports and correlate it.

          I’m not going down your rabbit hole.

          • Hansen
            22 December 2014 @ 6:19 pm

            William, It won’t take much longer than a few minutes to find all the data necessary to “prove” your remarks. It’s surprisingly easy with the right search parameters in Google. ~Ten minutes of time. I posted data with links above but mt comment is “awaiting moderation.” Level playing field too much to expect with ‘sensitive” issues. LOL

          • Hansen
            22 December 2014 @ 9:50 pm

            I’m going to guess that one reason there aren’t more Blacks in law enforcement is that too few of them are able to pass the battery of tests required for available positions. Sorry, but just being Black isn’t enough, although in places like California, for some civil service positions, it appears to be.

            A Black man with an attitude problem is going to end up dead in a correctional setting and likely escalate routine policing problems into more than they should be.

            Physical fitness tests, personality profiles, credit checks, arrest records, and so forth are scrutinized by hiring agencies. Once all the results are collated, results can be summed up by the ditty, “If you are White, you’re allright. If your Black, step back”; it’s not, however, about a person’s skin color. It’s about Black culture in America.

          • Stephen Foster
            23 December 2014 @ 2:23 am

            Hansen,

            If you have furnished the precise links to Noel’s information in a post that will soon appear, I thank you.

            Of course nothing prevents you from simply furnishing the link(s) without any incendiary commentary; which would obviate the need for moderation.

            (You may or may not be aware that Noel has unfortunately made numerous statements in the past citing non-existent statistical information; which has caused a significant credibility gap. I’m not saying this is another example; I’d just like to see the data.)

            Since you’re in such a helpful mood, perhaps you can also furnish us with what the exact meaning of the fact there are some very poor minority neighborhoods with a lot of crime while there are some rather affluent white communities in which very little crime is reported exactly is. Does this in fact mean that the largely minority poor in the high crime communities are in some real sense not as good as the largely white affluent in the low crime communities by chance? If you find that it’s their “culture” that’s inferior, why do you think that is so?

            Since Noel hasn’t answered this question, you just might care to offer an opinion.

          • Hansen
            23 December 2014 @ 4:53 am

            Stephen, Must be something about posting links which requires moderation. Both posts were free of my comments but both are in a moderation queue. Try just one link:

            http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/lpd07.pdf

          • Hansen
            23 December 2014 @ 5:01 am

            Page 14 of this year 2007 document for police by race:

            http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/lpd07.pdf

  43. BILL SORENSEN
    19 December 2014 @ 8:24 am

    As for “self government” is certainly does refer to Christians who conduct themselves on a spiritual level according to God’s kingdom. It is not solely a civil government concept. And this statement is far more typical of many blacks who manifest bigotry and prejudice than some would admit.

    “Those of you who aren’t Americans can perhaps tell from this conversation why black Christians and white Christians often worship separately.”

    The seperation was because the black SDA community asked for it. The reason being, they felt they could be more effective in ministry by having their own conference and church services. To blame white people for the separation is typical of either ignorance, or the inherent prejudice we all have to deal with in this world of sin. And in modern times, many black SDA’s worship in fellowship with white conference churches and belong as members. They also participate in various leadership roles.

    The sin of our nature can not be eliminated. So prejudice, pride, selfishness, greed and all other inherent sinful afflictions are still present in all Christians, but in light of the gospel, all these afflictions can be dealt with so that all Christian’s can “love one another” with respect and fellowship. Our sinful nature is not removed by conversion. It is subjected to the “new man” and as Wesley has well said, “Sin remains, but it does not reign”. This comment is from Rom. 6,7, and 8.

    • Stephen Foster
      19 December 2014 @ 10:22 am

      Bill Sorensen,

      I certainly do not mind, and actually like, being held responsible for what I have said on these boards. But I highly resent being held responsible for anything that I did not say.

      First of all sir, my statement, did not blame white people for “the separation.” Secondly you really need to get out more if you think that black Christians and white Christians are all Seventh-day Adventists.

      My statement had to do with “black Christians and white Christians” in the U.S. The conversation on this thread—between you, me, and a number of other individuals—does indeed exemplify why “black Christians and white Christians worship separately, without any doubt. You’ve gone so far as to suggest that…well, I’m not sure what you were saying to be perfectly candid with you.

      As for Adventists, for sake of discussion, let’s assume that what you attribute the formation of these conferences is the truth. Believe it or not, American blacks and whites started worshiping separately long before 1945, when the first Regional (largely black) Conferences in the North American Division were formed. My question then is why do you think it is that black leaders leading up to 1945 “felt they could be more effective in ministry by having their own conference and church services”?

      Of course, in reality, I reject as untrue that blacks asked to have separate “church services.” Really Bill, from where did that come?

      In 1945 and before, do you really believe that blacks had to ask for separate church services—especially in the South? Did someone actually tell you that Bill? Yet in your world, to your way of thinking, I’m bigoted, prejudiced, and ignorant for suggesting that this very conversation is emblematic as to why many worship separately.

      Really, what else needs to be said?

      (As for “self-government,” Nathan has already acknowledged that “self-discipline” would have been more appropriate.)

  44. BILL SORENSEN
    19 December 2014 @ 1:07 pm

    Daniel Horne was so far out of line in his statements as an official of the SDA church, that he should have been either disciplined, or, let go as a conference official. It would seem to me, Stephen, that you used this whole scenario to defend the idea that the church should get officially involved in civil rights. I quoted EGW above and this should be the stand the church advocates about the injustice in the world on every level. Again, here is her statement. Do you agree with her evaluation?

    ““The government under which Jesus lived was corrupt and oppressive; on every hand were crying abuses—extortion, intolerance, and grinding cruelty. Yet the Saviour attempted no civil reforms. He attacked no national abuses, nor condemned the national enemies. He did not interfere with the authority or administration of those in power. He who was our example kept aloof from earthly governments. Not because He was indifferent to the woes of men, but because the remedy did not lie in merely human and external measures. To be efficient, the cure must reach men individually, and must regenerate the heart. 566 {CCh 314.4}
    Again and again Christ had been asked to decide legal and political
    315
    questions. But He refused to interfere in temporal matters.”

    • Jim Hamstra
      19 December 2014 @ 3:03 pm

      Well then why did Ellen also instruct Adventists to violate the Fugitive Slave Act and not return escaped slaves to their former masters? And why did she not admonish other Adventist leaders of the time who operated Underground Railroad stations?

      Which Ellen are we to believe?

      And who exactly is it that should be admonishing or disciplining a Conference President? Do you volunteer to undertake this task? You are not in his place but you are certain how to handle this.

      • BILL SORENSEN
        19 December 2014 @ 5:16 pm

        “And who exactly is it that should be admonishing or disciplining a Conference President?”

        Those who hired him. What’s so difficult about this principle. And the opposition to slavery in principle is like “thou shalt not kill, or steal, etc……” Certainly the church can oppose any evil in principle. Like gambling and many other evil the civil government may allow.

        But the civil government does not approve duplicity in the black/white relationship. So all anyone can do is pick out specific incidents of injustice and/or a failure in administration of justice. Civil rights may be violated, but it has no offical endorsement by the government.

        EGW also spoke out against drinking and approved those who opposed it because it affects the civil community. Drunkeness while driving has a severe penalty by civil law. And finally, EGW was a prophet and not subject to the same guidelines as other church leaders may need to follow.

        And on another front, why didn’t the NY conference president speak out against all the rioting, plundering and looting that took place in the name of “entitlements”. Many came from out of town for the looting party they would join in the name of justice.

        Again, as EGW has well advised, the church must stay out of civil issues and can still speak out against sin and evil in general and the condition of the world as becoming more and more degenerate as we near the end. And an off hand reference to various issues may be appropriate. But to take a side in some specific issue is not adviseable. And just one more point and I’ll hang up my harp.

        Where was the black out cry against the OJ Simpson mis carriage of justice when they simply let him go when it was more than obvious he was guilty? Everybody knew he was guilty, and the proof of that is because they did not continue to seek to find out who was. What would be the point? They knew they would not find anybody because they already knew who did it.

        We need to live by EGW’s explanation of how Jesus dealt with civil injustice and follow the same format.

        • Hansen
          19 December 2014 @ 5:54 pm

          Whoa, Bill, You need to back up. You think OJ actually did it? You Redneck, racist… Lot of people think like what I just caricatured, mostly Black people and they are not kidding.

          Some people think Biblical languages are the answer to theological disputes. They aren’t because there are too many variables in the language and Scripture must still be compared with Scripture. Some people think EGW will bring doctrinal unity. When she was alive, people couldn’t agree on what she said. All sides today, use her to make their own point.

          Some people expect/hope to share a common perspective when the community of faith views the world; unfortunately, many church members are no more enlightened than the man down th’ corner. They invoke Christianity to sanctify their criminal outlook and the community of faith is just as conflicted as the world, along the same lines.

          • BILL SORENSEN
            20 December 2014 @ 7:00 am

            “Whoa, Bill, You need to back up. You think OJ actually did it?”

            Well, Hansen, if he did not do it, why didn’t they go all out to find out who did? I think most people believe he did for lots of reasons. But it seems obvious that if he did not do it, they would have continued to search for the real killer. Don’t ya think? Anyway, it was simply an illustration of civil injustice perhaps on many levels. Was our church supposed to get involved in the issues and try to determine all the facts and make a specific judgment? I think not.

            On Spectrum, after Pippim was disfellowshipped for the things he did, it would seem that many expected the church to investigate all the details of the matter and I guess hire an investigator so we could take him into court for his actions. The church is not a civil entity to determine civil law issues and get involved in civil justice on specific issues. The church disfellowshipped Pippim and that is a far as the church can go. He is not qualifed to be a member of the church. Civil law must determine civil crime and punishment for civil offense and as church members, we approve this system of seperation of church and state.

            And as for OJ Simpson, it did not matter if he was black or white, anybody could see there was no justice administered in the situation. And we could reference many incidents of white situations that parallel his. If you have enough money, you can “get away with murder” as the saying goes.

            As for the bible you said, “Some people think Biblical languages are the answer to theological disputes. They aren’t because there are too many variables in the language and Scripture must still be compared with Scripture.”

            What you seem to be saying is that the bible can not be understood and so it is impossible for Christanity to build consistency in doctrine and teaching based on the bible. Protestants disagree. We reject any “spirit ethic” that places spiritual manifestations above the clear word of God. You may well hold the majority opinion, even in modern Adventism. The bible is losing its validity and authority on a continual time line as more and more people reject its authority and opt for a “spirit ethic.” In the end, few will defend the bible as a sufficient revelation as the standard of truth and doctrine. So, what else is new?

        • Jim Hamstra
          20 December 2014 @ 7:24 am

          As usual you have simply ignored my Ellen reference that is inconvenient for your point of view. You have found what you were looking for in her writings, and you have overlooked what you were not looking for.

          Who “hires” a conference president? His constituency. Pastor Daniel Honore (aka Horner?), president of the Northeastern Conference, was “hired” by the people to whom he addressed his statement. So far I have not heard for calls to oust him from his constituency 8-).

  45. Hansen
    19 December 2014 @ 4:58 pm

    “Majeed [Black female], of suburban Rocky River, was sentenced to the county jail on April 3 after pleading guilty to assault. She was arrested on her lunch hour on July 18, 2013, after getting into a confrontation with a police officer who had stopped her for jaywalking, Besser said. Records show she was indicted on charges of felonious assault, assault on a police officer and resisting arrest. Her sentence began April 11.”

    Takes a lot of effort to turn a jaywalking ticket into a 60 day jail sentence and felony charges. Another example of a Black citizen who failed the personalty test, normally administered by law enforcement when interacting with people. Another example of racist cops persecuting the Black [woman]?

    • BILL SORENSEN
      19 December 2014 @ 5:19 pm

      And this is the precise reason the church must stay out of various civil conflicts.

    • William Noel
      20 December 2014 @ 10:56 am

      Wow! As a former newspaper reporter who has read hundreds of arrest reports telling the most amazing stories about things people did, I would like to read the officer’s narrative of the situation and see the basis for the additional charges. Was an anti-police racial attitude a contributor? Or, did the woman just happen to be black? Either way, when confronted by a police officer it is always best to be calm, respectful and cooperative.

    • BILL SORENSEN
      20 December 2014 @ 9:29 pm

      Maybe it was a woman cop who confronted her as a jaywalker? You would not think a woman would try to assault a male policeman unless he was pretty small, or, she was rather large.

  46. Interested Friend
    22 December 2014 @ 7:08 pm

    So, now will SDA leaders weigh in on the assassination of two nonBlack law enforcement officers by a Black man? How long will we have to wait?
    Maranatha

    • Stephen Foster
      23 December 2014 @ 2:43 am

      Interested Friend,

      What exactly would you have anyone say?

      Everything that either whites or blacks do isn’t necessarily controversial or protest-worthy. Some evil is unanimously perceived as evil. Eric Garner’s mother made an eloquent statement about the “senseless” assassination of these officers. No one minimizes the evil this represents. No one is defending the individual responsible.

  47. Interested Friend
    22 December 2014 @ 7:11 pm

    “So far I have not heard for calls to oust him Honore) from his constituency 8-).”

    And why would they even be inclined to do so under that circumstances?
    Maranatha

  48. William Noel
    23 December 2014 @ 6:07 am

    Hansen,

    I don’t know if you have noticed how the new website limits the number of comments in a string. That has prevented me from directly responding to your request for a Google link to the information I cited. There is no Google link to it because I am doing original research using published Department of Justice crime statistics. There is not specific report detailing use of deadly force incidents that breaks-out the race of the police officer(s) and the people injured or killed. Those data points must be drawn from different reports and correlated. I am professionally trained to do in-depth statistical and causal analysis so I am confident that I am doing it carefully and accurately.

    I’ll give you a few nuggets so you will understand the basis for the data product I provided. First, while the Brown incident involved the use of deadly force, the Garner incident did not. So Brown will show-up in one data set while Garner will appear in “Deaths while in Police Custody.” Second, over the past number of years police departments in larger cities have been hiring much larger numbers of minorities so reflect the ethnic diversity of their cities. As a result, in New York City the police are more than 60% non-white. Further, they try to assign officers to patrol in areas of the same race. Thus the probability that an officer of the same race will be involved rises greatly. Add that the overwhelming majority of crimes are committed by non-whites and the probability that a black officer will be involved in a confrontation with a black suspect rises exponentially. While the national statistics show that a black suspect is 2-3 times more likely to be shot by a black police officer than a white officer, in some larger cities such as Chicago that ratio rises to closer to 7:1.

    The real problem with arguing about crime statistics is how civil rights leaders studiously ignore the extremely high crime and domestic violence rates in the black community in cities and instead trumpet about the occasional incident where the police officer is white. Their action is a naked ploy for political power in the waning days of a hate- and race-mongering presidency where illusion and falsehood have routinely been allowed to run-over truth.

    • Hansen
      23 December 2014 @ 2:43 pm

      William, I have no problem with your remarks and I wasn’t questioning your statistical analysis or the conclusions you draw from them. Sorry if it appeared that I was.

  49. Jim Hamstra
    23 December 2014 @ 11:30 am

    So here is a Reuters report regarding how Black NYPD officers (current and retired) view the death of Garner “while in Police custody”.

    I am sure that different readers here will draw different conclusions as you always do 8-).

    http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/12/23/uk-usa-police-nypd-race-insight-idINKBN0K11F520141223

    • Nathan Schilt
      23 December 2014 @ 1:06 pm

      That’s an interesting link, Jim. Thank you. Obviously, it is an incredibly small data set, and we don’t know how it was selected. While I agree with Chief Parks that one really can’t reach any conclusions without looking at the underlying facts, I also think it is naive to think that racial profiling, both legitimate and illegitimate, occur in law enforcement.

      I also think it is easy to jump to the conclusion that what we perceive as unfair treatment must be the result of moral failure on the part of someone else. And there is no better attention-getting power grab in our present society than the charge of racism. I have personally been subjected to what I felt was totally over-the-top unnecessary belligerence and aggressiveness by a police officer when I inadvertently drove out of a shopping center without turning on my headlights. The cop just had an attitude. Had I been Black, I’m sure I would have attributed his attitude to that fact. But alas, as a White person, the only option open to me was that he was a jerk. And because he was the law, it would have been extremely stupid of me to react with indignation or outrage. Had I responded in kind, we would have definitely been off to the races.

      Throughout American history – probably the history of the world – ethnic and racial minorities have been subject to discriminatory attitudes and treatment. To the extent that they became encapsulated within a subculture that sought power and significance in defying and cutting across the grain of the prevailing culture, minorities have always found it difficult to succeed. The history of immigration in America clearly shows that immigrants who adopted the values and habits of the prevailing culture, and tried to assimilate, were most likely to be successful.

      No amount of law will eliminate prejudice and discrimination. But the Garner and Ferguson protests and violence are not simply the product of feelings that individuals simply overreacted. They are grounded in a bedrock of feelings that structures of law, order, freedom, and property rights are stacked against Black people because of their race. The charge that gives rise to protests and violence is the lie of institutional racism. It at least had some traction in Ferguson, Missouri, where the racial compostition of the police department was in no way reflective of community demographics. But that’s a tough sell in New York City, where the police force is 60% minority. Just what de jure institutional reforms should New York implement to reduce the likelihood of a repeat Michael Garner incident, without subjecting officers and the community to unacceptable risks? That’s a very legitimate question. And certainly, in that regard, it is legitimate to inquire as to what, if any, role race played in the actions taken by law enforcement. But incendiary rhetoric, designed to weaken the structures of order and protection which are most needed by poor minority communities is not the answer.

      • Nathan Schilt
        23 December 2014 @ 1:08 pm

        I meant to say that it is naive to think that racial profiling does NOT occur in law enforcement.

        • William Noel
          23 December 2014 @ 5:11 pm

          If it were not for profiling a whole lot of crimes would go unsolved because profiling has been essential to law enforcement since ancient times. When you describe the person you saw committing the robbery, you are creating a profile so the police know who to look for. Without a good description of your suspect you’re just looking for another human.

          The complaint about racial profiling is just one of the false arguments being raised to try and make law enforcement arrest fewer black offenders. But if we did that, the criminals excused from scrutiny would feel entitled to go and commit more crimes and we’d have a larger crime wave than ever. The root problem with blacks in crime is that there are so many of them committing crimes. If the problem is going to be reduced, then the number of blacks committing crimes has to be reduced. There are basically two options for doing that: lock-up more black offenders for longer periods of time or teach young blacks to not break the law.

          • Nathan Schilt
            23 December 2014 @ 5:54 pm

            That seems rather simplistic to me, William. If you just look at fatherless homes, children born out of wedlock, and kids not finishing high school – racial disparities in criminal behavior, government dependence, and incarceration almost disappear. These root causes are things over which the government has little control. And in fact there is a correlation between the rise of these problems and government programs ostensibly designed to alleviate them.

            The trick is this: How can government incentivize the behaviors and values which produce success, prosperity, and self-reliance by policies which subsidize failure, poverty, and dependence? The answer is – it can’t. In a rational world, one would conclude that those responsible for the policies are like indulgent parents who are more concerned about making sure their kids like them than in maximizing their kids potential for success. The result in both governments and families is generally disrespect and failure for which the parent/government is blamed. And rightly so.

            The default solution of course is to assuage the guilt one feels for failure of the dependent by continuing to subsidize failure in the name of love and compassion. Remarkably, this indulgent compassion produces feelings of envy, resentment and entitlement on the part of the beneficiary, regardless of the beneficiary’s race or ethnicity.

  50. William Noel
    24 December 2014 @ 5:41 am

    Nathan,

    Simplistic? Yes, because it is a simple situation that has become confused and complicated by those who refuse to recognize that government largesse has been growing the problem instead of solving it.

    Civil rights leaders and their political allies want us to think there is one black community when there actually are two: the prosperous and the poor. Blacks as a total Census group are around 13% of the American population. In the 1980 Census, the prosperous were about 35% of that group and by 2010 they had grown to about 56%. The prosperous are on-par economically with other socio-economic groups. While many of them have backgrounds in poverty and as a result have many of the same behaviors as poor blacks, they are becoming increasingly like others in things like encouraging their children to graduate from high school and college and pursuit of professional careers, faithfulness in marriage, not having children outside of marriage, etc. While the overall out-of-wedlock birth rate in the overall black population was 83% in 2010, among the prosperous it was less than 70% while in black inner-city areas it was as high as 97%. One Pew study funded by the Family Research Council following the 2010 census found that in Cleveland the average black school-age child did not know the identity of their father and more than two-thirds knew the identities of neither their biologic father or grandfathers!

    What I find shocking about the poor black community is, while it amounts for just around 6% of the American population they account for more than 58% of all crimes committed and more than 80% of violent crimes. This brings us to the root question in the public debate about blacks and crimes: How to solve the problem? This confronts us with a contrast between social and spiritual approaches. Social policy has been promoting the growth of criminal behavior. Will we continue that? Or, will we do as God teaches us and repent and turn-away from doing what devastates families? Our objective should not be to be lifting people out of poverty but to minister to their needs in the power of God so they will learn to follow Him and live according to His ways. What makes doing this so difficult is that American society has become so inundated by and oriented toward looking to government as the solution that it is more difficult than ever for people to believe God’s promises to guide and empower us. You and I have real ministry experience to understand this contrast, so our challenge is to continue being channels for God’s power so others will become inspired to doing what God wants us doing instead of depending on government policies.

    • William Noel
      24 December 2014 @ 6:26 am

      Nathan,

      Here’s the simplest and most dramatic example of getting more of what government social policy rewards: America has spent more than four times in the “war on poverty” than for the combined total spent for all the wars the country has fought in its’ entire history. What are the results? In the Revolutionary War we fought the British, the largest and most powerful military in the world, to a stalemate and narrow victory. We beat them again in the War of 1812. We rescued Europe in World War I along with parts of North Africa and Asia again against the Japanese and Germans in World War II. We fought conflicts in Korea and Vietnam, two wars with Iraq and in Afghanistan.

      So, what are the results in the 47-year “war on poverty?” Today the lowest number of Americans are working than in 37 years and that number is worsening. More people are receiving government anti-poverty benefits than ever. Fewer businesses are being created than ever. The amount of money people owe for overdue medical bills is at an all-time high and the number of bankruptcies resulting from medical debt are setting new records.

      With results like that, where is the logic in advocating for government social programs? We’ve found a new illustration of illogic and nonsense.

      • Jim Hamstra
        25 December 2014 @ 6:23 am

        1) I am no fan of Lyndon Baines Johnson.

        2) Blaming all of America’s economic ills on the “war on poverty” is standard right-wing parlance. Johnson pushed us even further down the slippery slope of Socialism than did Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It’s just Socialists all the way down.

        3) Ditto for blaming all of America’s political ills on the “war on terrorism” which is standard Libertarian parlance (Yours Truly being more of this persuasion). The Republican’s political “wars” and the Democrat’s political “wars” can never be won. They can only divert resources to their respective constituencies.

        3) Real wars (as in shooting wars) is one of the most economically destructive human activities. It is no coincidence that major economic disruptions have followed major wars. I would postulate (though I cannot prove) that America’s longest wars have been followed by America’s longest periods of economic malaise.

        Bottom line? We all have our favorite villains that we like to blame for whatever we do not like about our world.

        • William Noel
          25 December 2014 @ 7:05 am

          But, were they effective in causing destruction? Yes, How much destruction? Major.

  51. Stephen Foster
    25 December 2014 @ 3:18 am

    The essence of the divide or disconnect is that black Americans know that institutional/systemic racism is a reality; not a “lie.”

    It’s both frustrating and curious how Americans can simultaneously deny and describe institutional/systemic racism. Earl and Nathan have both described how the society has assumed and/or assigned a status of inferiority to people of color. Earl described the reality in his lifetime; and Nathan admits the self-evident reality that “throughout American history…ethnic and racial minorities have been subject to discriminatory attitudes and treatment.”

    Of course the further reality is that even minorities who have not “[defied or cut] across the grain of the prevailing culture…have always found it difficult to succeed;” in large part because of a presumption of inferiority in status, if nothing else. The DENIAL that “the prevailing culture” includes the supremacy of white people is laughable. It is inherent in the societal DNA. It is endemic to the culture itself.

    Nathan wrote, “The history of immigration in America clearly shows that immigrants who adopted the values and habits of the prevailing culture, and tried to assimilate, were most likely to be successful.” Black Americans for the most part are not foreign immigrants; and a culture does not have “habits.” But the salient point he seems to be making is that “assimilation” includes the acquisition of “values and habits” without which—sans assimilation—success is apparently rendered difficult/impossible; and these are ‘traits’ of the culture (in a similar sense to spiritual fruits, as in the fruits of the spirit).

    The terms “prevailing culture” or “dominant culture” (which I confess to have previously used) are suggestive of superiority, are they not?

    What’s scary about this is its insidiousness. The implication of all of this is that the ‘dominant’ culture is predominantly good; that the culture is therefore assumed to be synonymous with that which is good. This is how/why Native Americans were demonized at one time in pop culture entertainment. This is how/why our economic system is conflated with Christianity and its value system. It is how/why success is largely if not only measured in dollar and cents.

    What’s even worse—scarier if you will—is that the culture has been historically influenced if not led by the likes of those whose prejudices, attitudes, and philosophies have been exhibited on this very thread.

    Earlier, Nathan said that he “[was] pleased at [my] implicit recognition that [certain] qualities produce ‘dominant/ruling’ people”; which he erroneously inferred from my acknowledgement of the fact that “there are counterproductive and pathological attitudes and behaviors that are engaged in disproportionately by poor people, particularly many inner-city African Americans…and [that] there are some things that black people do that are just plain ignorant.”

    What’s been ignored is that the assumption of inferiority that enabled the history of slavery, the consequent, purposeful break up of family structure, the denial of educational opportunities, Jim Crow, lynching, ‘legally’ enforced segregation, denial of public accommodations, denial of equality of employment opportunities, voting privileges, and justice, etc. are all entirely representative of institutional racism. The suggestion that institutional racism disappeared with the passage of the Voting Rights Act or even the election (and/or reelection) of an African American as POTUS is ridiculous. When there are people with power who believe that ANY race/ethnicity—by virtue of its inferior intellect, culture, morals, or whatever—is in any way in fact inferior to any other race/ethnic group, institutional racism is present and accounted for. It is totally implausible to suggest that the attitudes, prejudices, and philosophies articulated by some on this thread are not held by many Americans who wield institutional power.

    (What has also been ignored is the question that I’ve asked Noel and Hansen. Why is there more documented pathology in the black community in the first place? Either of them may offer an opinion.)

    Nathan’s anecdotal encounter with a hot-headed police officer may be instructive in some way. Imagine if Nathan had been a black guy, driving an old beaten up car. Being polite would probably not have prevented an immediate demand for at least a drivers’ license and registration (which he’d better been able to produce); or to have been enough to have avoided a citation.

    Nathan also implicitly (or explicitly) advocates for a governmental benign neglect when it comes to the poor; and/or the black poor. This is based, I think, on the notion that the poor are getting poorer. The logic is that if the government wasn’t so indulgently paternalistic, the poor wouldn’t be so poor (or something like that); and assumes that the poor were not as poor—or that they weren’t becoming increasingly poor at as rapid a rate—prior to the government becoming so paternalistic; and that, in time, poverty would be reduced and/or the effects of poverty would be ameliorated if the poor were not essentially subsidized.

    If that sounds nonsensical…don’t ignore the obvious. The poor have always been getting poorer. There is absolutely nothing in history that would lend credence to the notion that benign neglect of the poor by the government has helped eliminate deprivation or want; and it is graceless to suggest that deprivation and want are synonymous with envy.

    As to the larger subject at hand, a statement by Bryan Stevenson, author of “Just Mercy,” resonates with me; in saying that the opposite of poverty is not wealth—the opposite of poverty is justice.

    Nathan suggested that he doesn’t think that liberal whites think differently than liberal blacks. In my view liberal whites think differently; or at least differently than I do. If I am honest with myself, I must admit that I’m a self-interested liberal. I think that white liberals, particularly those of privilege, are somewhat more concerned with the interests of other people, less privileged; and have a disinterested perspective of justice.

    • William Noel
      25 December 2014 @ 7:38 am

      According to the US Census, the fastest-growing segment of the American middle-class are blacks, who are now a majority of the black community in America. Like historic immigrant groups, they have advanced by assimilating into larger society, by no longer seeking to always be different, disconnected and apart from the rest of society. They have gained economic status by taking advantage of opportunities and putting personal effort into improving themselves instead of demanding that things be given to them to compensate for what was done to their great-great-great-great grandparents and not them. In short, they’ve left the past behind them and chosen to live in the present reality surrounding them.

      In contrast, your focus is continually on the past and what holds people back economically. The blacks in America who are getting ahead see things differently than you. Ancient history of slavery is left in their past. What some see as reason to charge discrimination is nothing more than an obstacle to be overcome and nothing more than the basic challenges of life faced by any other person. Their attitude is, “So life is unfair: get over it!”

      The “documented pathology” in the black community you mentioned is the result of several factors. Number One is the lack of strong parenting, most significantly the lack of fathers who are positive role models. According to the 2010 US Census, in some inner-city areas more than 94% of black youths live in homes with no because it creates an attitude of rebellion against the authority and relationship in their life they have been denied. If you need proof of this, all you need to do is correlate the growth of government welfare programs with the breakdown in the black home and the rise of crime over time. What you will see is a direct, cause-and-effect correlation where the driver is government welfare programs. This has created the opportunity for gangs to become the substitute parents to youth from such backgrounds and likely is what led to an 18 year-old black male two nights ago pulling a loaded gun on a police officer a couple miles from Ferguson, MO, and why rioting has broken-out in defense of such anti-social behavior.

      You can keep promoting the problem. Or, you can solve it. Defending massive government welfare programs and continually claiming discrimination doesn’t solve anything. The largest and fastest-growing segment of the black community in America refutes your claims.

    • Nathan Schilt
      26 December 2014 @ 8:57 am

      Let me ofer a few bullet point responses, Stephen.

      1. When I used the adjectives “dominant” and “prevailing” in the context of cultural assimilation, I did not mean in any way to suggest moral superiority. Obvious examples of morally inferior, but still dominant, cultures would be 20th Century communist cultures, fascist societies, rap culture, celebrity culture.

      2. The acknowledgement that minorities of all kinds – particularly ethnic and racial minorities – have always been, and probably always will be, subject to discriminatory attitudes and treatment is not the same as saying that society regards them as either de facto or de jure inferior. As a child and teenager, I knew I was not, and could never be, part of the in-crowd. My mother was a single parent; we were poor; I was shy. I was not athletic, not particularly talented, and not handsome. I was culturally illiterate because the industrial strength Adventism of my youth left me totally unfamiliar with the idioms and habits common to the dominant (evil?) culture of television and radio with which my peers were conversant. My older brother was mercilouslessly picked on by the cool kids. The few black kids in our school had far more self-confidence, and were far more popular than I.

      Was I the victim of institutional prejudice or discrimination? Of course not. No law or regulation made things that way, and no law or rule could change the attitudes and behaviors I felt coming from the dominant culture with which I was surrounded, even in an Adventist community. So how did I overcome all of that? By not letting it control how I defined myself. I had a strong mother and basically good adults in my life who did not permit me the luxury of believing that failure could be justified or ennobled by a metanarrative of injustice and oppression.

      3. If institutional racism is prevalent in America as an explanation for the statistically disproportionate failures of Black Americans, then how do you explain the fact that most Black Americans – especially those who finish high school, get married, and wait to have children until they marry – are highly successful? If failure can easily be explained by non-racial variables, doesn’t that undermine the attempt to locate responsibility for failure in the “system?” Bad cops are not necessarily racist, and racist cops don’t necessarily indicate systemic racism. When it comes to places like NYC – most of the failed/failing cities in America – it is overwhelmingly evident that there is institutionally systematized preference for people of color in many parts of culture, and that the dominant culture, particularly in government work, is often minority.

      4. I did not advocate for governmental benign neglect of the poor. First of all, “the poor” is too broad a term to permit meaningful discussion without further definition. Second, the history of 19th and 20th Century America is one of tens of millions of Americans climbing out of poverty without government assistance. As William points out, and as has been copiously documented in “America in Black and White,” Black Americans were climbing out of poverty and maintaining much more stable family structures than they have today long before idealistic, guilt-ridden White elitists decided they could both eliminate the bottom quintile from the economic ladder and atone for insitutional racism through command and control policies of liberal racism. Instutional racism had disproportionately concentrated Blacks in that bottom quintile. But attempts to institutionally end attitudes and behaviors that are the product of sin have only highlighted and intensified racial and ethnic divisions which are, in reality, less problemmatic in America than just about any other country in the world.

      5. The opposite of poverty is not justice. The most felicitous opposite of poverty is probably prosperity. Emotional, idiosyncratic definitions of terms in discussions like this only serve to cloud issues, beg questions, and impair clear communication.

      6. If White liberals are so interested in helping others (That is certainly not my perception of Adventist liberals.) why does that help always manifest itself as imposition of their moral will on other people? How is it disinterested benevolence to tell others that you know how to live their lives better than they do, and you are going to lobby for laws and regulations to make sure they do it your way? And why is it that White liberals fare relatively poorly when it comes to charitable giving of their own means?

      As I said before, the real issues are ideological, not racial. Race is simply a tool that can be used effectively to create feelings of dispossession and hopelessness in a large segment of society. The Left wants to tilt the scales by using gender, class and wealth to make as many Americans as possible angry with the present order so that the the present order can be institutionally and attitudinally weakened and destroyed, making way for a new order. Why would we think that the radical Left, which sat at the feet of Saul Alinsky and other radicals, and has adopted the Cloward-Pivken Strategy, doesn’t really mean what they have been saying about radically transforming America?

  52. Hansen
    26 December 2014 @ 7:07 am

    Stephen, There is more documented pathology in the Black community because Black people do more bad stuff. This has got to be a trick question because the answer is so obvious. Blacks are more likely to be criminals; consequently, their behavior is documented as such.

    A 100 unit apartment complex contains 2 Black families. One is a drug dealing den, the other prey on elderly Whites for money, prescription narcotics, and so forth. Family members of the [White]elderly who interfere with their predatory behavior are denounced as racists, as if adult children would let White criminals prey on their elderly parents.

    Statistically, 100% of the Black families in that complex are criminals and that’s what the documentation should reflect. The actual number of criminals is small but the percentage is extremely high. Blacks in that neighborhood are bad news.

    William, After citing some disturbing statistics you ask about a solution. The obvious one is genocide but no one ha a stomach for that. Now and them a despot comes along but they often destroy the wrong people. Genocide was a useful solution for the God of the OT so it can’t be too bad. The death penalty worked well too, but modern man is too “enlightened” for that.

    Chinese in California endured systemic racism, discriminatory laws, and violence but seem to have turned out all right. They had their communities torched and were driven from place to place. If you ever read the Godfather book [not the movie], the mafia chiefs expressed a very realistic view of the Black man when discussing the sale of heroin in New York.

    I spent a lot of years trying to give African Americans a fair shake but, consistently, they proved that most don’t deserve one. Blacks from other countries are a different story. It’s the culture of Black America with its ghetto mentality that needs to be destroyed. American Blacks without that mentality, no problem.

    • William Noel
      27 December 2014 @ 6:39 am

      The members of minority groups who climb out of poverty and leave behind the depravities of crime and institutionalized racism are the ones who make a personal decision to leave it behind them because living continually as a victim is not giving them the life they want.

      • Stephen Foster
        27 December 2014 @ 7:21 am

        Most minorities who climb out of poverty were never in any “[depravity] of crime,” cannot escape the unfortunate ubiquity of institutionalized racism even if they become fabulously wealthy, and the ‘victim’ thing is rhetorical gamesmanship. I’ll go out on a limb here: I’ve known more minorities than you have. Most blacks who climb out of poverty think like I do; that’s a fact.

        • Jim Hamstra
          27 December 2014 @ 7:30 am

          And I’ll go out on a limb here and say that I have known fewer African Americans than have you 8-).

          And the ones that I have known well, including my college room-mate, the best boss I ever had (other than my wife?), and my recent next-door neighbor, would all agree with you.

          • Stephen Foster
            27 December 2014 @ 7:26 pm

            You may be onto something there, Jim! I have a friend who used to refer to their spouse as “The Police.” Sometimes God gives us ‘help’ to stay on the proverbial straight and narrow highway.

          • Jim Hamstra
            27 December 2014 @ 10:10 pm

            One of my Muslim colleagues used to brag to us that Muslims were allowed to have four wives whereas Christians could only have one. I told him that Jesus gave us a very good reason to only have one wife when He said “No man can serve two masters.”

  53. Stephen Foster
    27 December 2014 @ 2:51 am

    Of course, by the grace of God, I am the product of the black American middle class; so this is familiar. The thing about reasoning from stereotypes with this topic is that it presents a means for letting us off the hook. It enables us to blame the victim, and permits us the luxury of not thinking very deeply/critically about cause and effect; because stereotypical thinking yields such intense focus on the ‘effect’ that ’cause’ is blurred/obscured. This is how one can look at the lack of fathers in most poor inner-city households as a cause and not a legacy effect/result of historical institutional racism; or can view the dedication of tax revenues toward feeding the children of these fatherless as the cause of the problem.

    The suggestion that blacks who are in or are joining the middle class do not think like me is demonstrably ludicrous. Blacks in America who are in, or are joining, the middle class are me!

    This is why I have emphasized the reality that blacks—blacks like me—middle class blacks, who have “[assimilated] into larger society” have had to learn (and know) how to speak to and deal with white people who don’t share our values. Meanwhile people such as those with whom I’ve exchanged on this important thread haven’t likewise had to learn or know how to speak to, and/or deal with black people who happen to share my perspective/values.

    This is another disconnect; a fundamental one. Does anyone really believe that the backgrounds of blacks who share my perspectives are significantly dissimilar from my culturally traditional background?

    My grandparents were born in the 1870’s. Slavery, Jim Crow, lynching, forced segregation, etc. do not represent ancient history to me. So saying that these injustices and atrocities happened to “great-great-great-great grandparents” is a canard; as is any notion that the past doesn’t serve to inform us as to why the present is what it is. I have a college education and had a successful career with major American corporations. I’ve been married for 35 years and have seven grandchildren; but I’ve been BLESSED. I am no better or smarter than many inner-city single mothers with multiple children. I am no better or smarter than many males who are now in prison.

    Successful black Americans like the First Lady, the Attorney General, former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell, former Urban League Executive Director Vernon Jordan, Senate Chaplain Barry Black, and Ben Carson, come from varying backgrounds. They all could have had another story. But for the unmerited favor of God, for reasons known only to Him, we would all be in quite different circumstances.

    Black Americans who follow the ‘prescribed’ path (finish high school, get married before having children, etc., as I did) are blessed. They had no control over the circumstances of their birth, or of their upbringing. Neither did those who’ve ended up incarcerated. Neither do any white people, in fact.

    Earlier Nathan asked me “Exactly who is it that you think we conservatives want to keep out of the “ruling” class?” Ironically, he inadvertently answered his own question when he indicated that we shouldn’t seek “to change the law in order to produce extra-legal ‘justice’ or equality for those who have made poor choices, or are disadvantaged in the lottery of life by circumstances over which they have no control. It is a very good reason for the haves to be compassionate and generous.”

    It is indeed factual that conservatives do not want any laws enacted that would bring more justice and equality “for those who have made poor choices, or are disadvantaged in the lottery of life by circumstances over which they have no control.” Instead conservatism is an ideological movement which essentially attempts to conserve/retain the institutional advantages of those who appear to have been advantaged “in the lottery of life by circumstances over which they’ve had no control.”

    Sure, many WOULD like others to join them—as long as they don’t complain or talk about the disadvantages they’ve overcome, until and unless they have overcome them. They should simply accept and ignore institutional disadvantages (“…life is unfair: get over it!” as Noel put it); suffering in silence. Thankfully, people like Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, Martin Luther King, Jr., Whitney M. Young, Jr., Rosa Parks, etc. never thought way. They succeeded while vociferously protesting and exposing the realities of racial injustice and oppression. Had they not done so, things would be much worse (for me that is, if not you) than they are now.

    (By the way Nathan, nerds get harassed only because those doing the teasing are hiding their insecurities and inadequacies—not because they (nerds) are assumed to be inferior. If anything, the opposite is the case.)

    At this point in American history ‘things’ may just be more ideological than racial; although the call for the genocide of black Americans from Hansen on these boards, provides evidence (as if any more was needed) that it remains racial for some.

    And I said “remains racial” simply because historically it (American conservatism) was largely racial; predicated on the idea that white people are inherently superior to people of color. Another way to put this would be that people of color, particularly blacks, were/are thought to be inherently inferior to whites. Clearly Hansen, among others, deeply believes this. (By the way, my question was a “trick question” in that I was attempting to smoke out this widely-held racist belief.) It is no coincidence that the ‘gallery’ of Southern politicians to whom I’ve recently referred all considered themselves to be conservatives; and racism has much more to do with just superior attitudes regarding skin pigmentation.

    (I will have more to say about Hansen at some future point of my choosing, and don’t want to get sidetracked.)

    The institutional preservation of “the present order” is the objective of the conservative movement. Liberals AND conservatives lobby for laws that seek to impose their objectives and worldviews. To suggest otherwise is naïve at best. Only libertarians can claim some relative innocence to the charge of wanting to impose “their moral will” on the larger society.

    Given that the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement, and subsequent legislation, are case studies in pursuing legal means to end immoral and discriminatory behaviors, if not attitudes, “that are the product of sin;” the idea that it is not a good thing to by force of law seek to “end attitudes and behaviors that are the product of sin” because doing so “[highlights and intensifies] racial and ethnic divisions” is not a very compelling argument. While it is certainly true that doing so has highlighted and intensified racial and ethnic divisions, it has been worth it.

    The last time I checked, sin was a bad thing, as are its ‘products.’ People like Hansen are free to hate, and others are free to be silent when racists suggest genocide as a remedy; because we simply can’t outlaw hateful attitudes. (Those who had read Hansen’s statements and remained silent are complicit in my opinion.) Thankfully we can and have outlawed behaviors. Transforming America or the world to expose the attitudes and would-be behaviors of folks like Hansen (and his like-minded ideological colleagues) would be a good thing; wouldn’t it? It is impossible to transform America to eliminate such attitudes; especially since those who would like to see such attitudes eliminated are morally repulsed by suggestions of genocide.

    I believe this is as an important a conversation as we could be having; because it has impact in, and implications for, the current and future SDA Church.

    • William Noel
      27 December 2014 @ 8:59 am

      Jesus taught his followers to overcome evil by doing good and demonstrating the power of God in how they lived so that others would be drawn to Him. In contrast with that, you defend the pursuit of social change by human concepts, ways that depend entirely on the winds of political popularity and what accumulates political power instead of learning about the power and love of God. More than that, you react angrily to any reminder of how the teachings of God contrast with your opinions. So, why should a person reach any other conclusion than what you advocate is different from the ways of God?

      • Stephen Foster
        27 December 2014 @ 3:29 pm

        Thankfully, there is a record of what we (all) have posted on this site. I am not proud of some of the things I have done in life. I am however NOT ashamed of ANYTHING that I’ve written on this site; nothing.

        I have just read an unmistakable recommendation of the genocide of many black Americans. Should I have reacted angrily to THAT?

        As you know Noel, I absolutely reject your religiosity in total; wholeheartedly and completely—but ‘I ain’t madatcha.’ I love you. Just because I reject your religiosity doesn’t make me angry at you, my brother.

        Anyway, who are you kidding with regard to your professed disdain for social change? Should no one have been involved in the Abolitionist Movement (in my great grandparents’ day); should no one have gotten involved in the Civil Rights Movement fairly recently? Of course, your demographic had little to gain by THOSE social changes, did it?

        It’s quite easy to rail against social changes that don’t do you much good. One might even consider that somewhat self-serving.

        I’ve admitted to being a self-interested liberal. You sound (shockingly) like a self-interested conservative. I don’t recall you commenting on that gun confiscation hypothetical scenario I presented previously. You’d undoubtedly have something to say if THAT were ever to become a reality. If you and Hansen didn’t exist I’d have had to try to invent you!

        • William Noel
          28 December 2014 @ 9:41 am

          Why is it that when you are presented with a contrast between the teachings of Jesus and your allegiance to popular liberal politics, the politics always win and the teachings of Jesus get conveniently swept-aside and ignored?

          You want to talk about the supposed “…genocide of many black Americans?” The Romans did far worse to the Jews during the time of Jesus. But He still told His followers to ignore it and do good to those who were doing evil against them. Since He is our savior and political opinions are passing, why would you risk your salvation by having greater allegiance to those who are enticing you to believe and do things differently than Jesus taught?

          • Stephen Foster
            28 December 2014 @ 3:01 pm

            Noel,

            You seem to not be able to accept the reality that I reject your claims of religiosity; no offense intended. This explains why I’ve ignored your representation of the teachings of Jesus juxtaposed to my temporal political ideological persuasion, or yours.

            I believe what Jesus taught is Truth. I believe that Jesus personally represented Truth. But I don’t care what you think; or whether or not you believe me. This is hard for you to accept, but you’ll have to get over it. Please don’t mistake this for being angry—it just is what it is, brother.

        • William Noel
          28 December 2014 @ 5:08 pm

          If there is one place where you and I will be in absolute agreement it is rejection of any discussion of genocide as relevant to the topic under discussion. That you would lump someone who would bring up such such an abhorrent reference with me shines sunlight on the quickness with which you jump to wrong conclusions about others.

          • Stephen Foster
            28 December 2014 @ 8:34 pm

            I have ‘lumped’ you and Hansen together. While you did not make the odious initial reference to genocide that Hansen did; your first mention of it was to say, and I quote, “You want to talk about the supposed “…genocide of many black Americans?” The Romans did far worse to the Jews during the time of Jesus. But He still told His followers to ignore it and do good to those who were doing evil against them. Since He is our savior and political opinions are passing, why would you risk your salvation by having greater allegiance to those who are enticing you to believe and do things differently than Jesus taught?”

            Instead of immediately identifying the suggestion of genocide—directed to you—as abhorrent, your initial reference to it was to complain that “[I] wanted to talk about the supposed genocide of many black Americans.” Then you have the hilarious temerity to suggest that after all this and all the other exchanges that we’ve unfortunately had, that I am jumping to conclusions about you!

            No, you didn’t make the “genocide” recommendation, and I never suggested that you did. You see, this plausible deniability ‘game’ can occasionally be played in two different directions.

            Besides, when did “[Jesus tell] his followers to ignore” whatever’s “far worse” than genocide? (Will you “ignore it” if/when the government comes to take away your friends’ guns?) Yes, we are taught to turn the other cheek (instead of slapping someone back). We are taught to heap coals of kindness onto the heads of our enemies. We’re taught to overcome evil with good. This was indeed the genius of the non-violent (and Christian-led) American Civil Rights Movement—it was actually both nonviolent and nonpartisan. There never was any retaliation for the fire hoses and police dogs in Birmingham; nor for the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church—and the murder of four girls—in that very same city. If that isn’t Christ-like then what is?

            Are you suggesting that King should’ve never delivered the “I Have a Dream” speech? Or that there should never have been a demonstration on August 28, 1963 period; or that Christians should never have participated?

            Sometimes Noel your neighbor or your brother may not necessarily need his/her domicile repaired. Sometimes they may need someone to speak for them or to advocate for them.

            Let’s face it brother, we make absolutely no sense to each other whatsoever; which I can live with. Why can’t you?

  54. Hansen
    27 December 2014 @ 4:32 pm

    Disenfranchised American Blacks compose a fifth column on American soil awaiting activation by Islamic radicals. Only a matter of time before they take the ultimate step warranted by the discontent which grips many of their number. What better way to strike at the system which has deprived them of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

    Their ongoing presence and rejection of American values poses a grave security risk to numerous American cities.

    • Stephen Foster
      27 December 2014 @ 7:18 pm

      How out of touch are you, Hansen? Are you Rip Van Winkle on Sominex? I understand you’re making your genocide case, but Islam has long been attractive to a segment of disenfranchised and incarcerated blacks…for nearly 80 years now, as it happens. I’m sure you’ve heard of the Nation of Islam as other white supremacists have been known to be fond of them. George Lincoln Rockwell and Elijah Muhammad were thought to have a mutual admiration society.

      Louis Farrakhan is not a new celebrity. Surely you’ve long heard of Muhammad Ali. The life and death of El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz serves as a cautionary tale for some who perhaps otherwise would’ve been susceptible. Thankfully black American Christians are among the most theologically conservative believers to be found. To the extent that disenfranchised blacks have been exposed to and influenced by religion; the belief in Jesus is a bulwark. This is why prison ministry is so crucial (well, there are actually several reasons).

      There are disaffected (and “disenfranchised”?) white Americans who have been recruited by radical Islamic elements because they (whites) are not as likely to be profiled for security purposes—you know, that institutional bias/bigotry/racism thing again.

  55. Hansen
    27 December 2014 @ 9:55 pm

    Stephen, regardless of how long Blacks have been embracing Islam in America, the Taliban, Al Qaeda, ISIS, and so forth are relatively new and violent organizations who all hate America. Both the “shoe bomber,” although not American, The “shoe” bomber’s profile is not unlike that of thousands of marginal elements in inner cities of the USA, simply waiting for someone to push the right buttons.

  56. Hansen
    27 December 2014 @ 9:59 pm

    Edit above: Stephen, regardless of how long Blacks have been embracing Islam in America, the Taliban, Al Qaeda, ISIS, and so forth are relatively new and violent organizations who all hate America. The “shoe” bomber’s profile [although British] is not unlike that of thousands of marginal elements in inner cities of the USA, simply waiting for someone to push the right buttons.

    • Stephen Foster
      28 December 2014 @ 1:39 am

      Not surprisingly, you completely miss the point. Because Islam has such an established and well-documented history in the African American community, with Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar being considered iconic and heroic figures; the recent violent extremist iterations of it get more traction elsewhere in the world—where there are different historical dynamics; and where Christianity hasn’t had such an impact.

      Without an eloquent and charismatic leader making a compelling and incontrovertible case, there will be no chance of a large following. You naturally underestimate and undervalue the effects of Malcolm X’s life and death in this equation.

      That said I do see your point. It is plausible to believe that if someone with your perspectives and sensibilities—someone who was an avowed and existential racist threat—came to power in America; then who knows what could happen?

      Another way to look at this is that white supremacists like you can be, are, and have long been considered as internal threats to domestic tranquility as well.

      I’m curious, are you a Seventh-day Adventist?

      • Jim Hamstra
        28 December 2014 @ 5:27 am

        To be fair, Malcom X was assassinated by other Black Muslims. Elijah Muhammad was not exactly a poster child of moral rectitude and non-violence. And his immoral legacy continues in the gangs of so-called Black Muslims within the American prison system. Their arch-enemies are other criminal gangs like the so-called Aryan Nation. These and other gangs exploit ethnic identities to sow hatred and violence. They are a plague upon society, especially within their own communities. But none of them represent a majority among their respective ethnicities.

        On the other hand I do regard Malcolm X and Mohammed Ali and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in high respect. But being Anglo-American I will not presume to speak for others of my own ethnicity nor for those of other ethnicities.

        My ancestors include some of the original Dutch settlers of Fort Orange and Nieuw Amsterdam. I have discovered that some of them did own slaves in New York State in the 1700s. In the 1800s their descendants were abolitionists. Five of my grandmother’s uncles fought for the Union in the US Civil War.

        You can find good and bad people almost everywhere. If you study the history of any culture or family you can find things to be ashamed of. All humans excepting Jesus Christ the God-man, have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.

        • Stephen Foster
          28 December 2014 @ 8:12 am

          Jim that is exactly my point—Malcolm X is considered an iconic 20th century African American hero by many African Americans; and it is widely known that he was assassinated by Black Muslims, quite likely on the direct orders of Elijah Muhammad. Malcolm X had discovered that Elijah Muhammad “was not exactly a poster child of moral rectitude” and had broken with him. This is part of “the life and death of Malcolm X” I’m talking about.

          This history alone has cast a long shadow of doubt about the Islamic faith. On the other hand, the peaceful images and personas represented by Muhammad Ali and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, among others, have had an effect that makes Islamic extremists less credible.

          But I do see Hansen’s point nonetheless. If people who represented an avowed existential threat came to power in the U.S., there is no telling what would happen.

          While it is certainly true that the Aryan Nation and the Nation of Islam are often enemies in the prison system, their mutual separatist philosophies find common ground. People like Hansen and Louis Farrakhan might agree on more than one would think; as did Elijah Muhammad and G.L. Rockwell.

  57. Hansen
    28 December 2014 @ 3:33 am

    Stephen, When I worked in the AIDS community in West Hollywood, I saw a lot of things which gay people outside of W. Hollywood could not fathom. First they denied it happened. When I said I was an eyewitness,they rejected my testimony as an outright lie, contrived to smear their community. I know what I saw but I did understand that what I saw there did not necessarily represent the activities of gays everywhere. My opponent correctly pointed out that a certain type of gay who is/was attracted to that environment may have behaved like that but not all do.

    You remind me of him. He lived in another world even though he shared certain characteristics with them. What you say may be true about your life and environment but it is far removed from the reality of the Black man down the corner. Clarence Thomas doesn’t have much in common with the leader of the eight tray gangsters either but they are both Black. At least Clarence has enough sense to recognize the chasm that divides them. Apparently you don’t.

    We can just sit back and wait. If there is a home grown terrorist attack from within the Black community with Muslim connections, You’ll know I am right. If not, it won’t be the first time I have been wrong about one thing or another. Blacks who deny the danger their community poses to U.S. security because of partisan ideology will be complicit in those attacks, crying peace and safety when there is a clear and present danger.

    • Jim Hamstra
      28 December 2014 @ 5:02 am

      This is like claiming that most Adventists are like David Koresh, or most Muslims are like Osama Bin Laden.

      Apparently they do all look the same to you.

  58. Stephen Foster
    28 December 2014 @ 9:26 am

    What I’m saying Hansen is that blacks with connections to the Muslim faith who may be radicalized to participate in terrorism are no more a threat to domestic terrorism than are people of your mindset. One feeds off the other, hate breeds hate—I can’t deny both are threatening.

    What I’m also saying, and demonstrating, is that people are all essentially created equal. But for circumstances beyond the control of all, the chasm that you’ve imagined exists between people could easily have had either person on the either side of it. As with all racists, i.e. race supremacists, this is hard for you to accept.

    • Hansen
      29 December 2014 @ 4:41 am

      Stephen, You are not an angry Black man, you are a hysterical one. This is not about race; it’s about criminal behavior by people who happen to be Black. As long as you either fail to realize that or continue to deny it because it doesn’t fit your paradigm, you will remain hysterical.

      I went to Maclay junior high school in Pacoima. I remained unaware of racial prejudice while I was there during two disconnected school terms. To my knowledge, in those days, the student body wasn’t divided along racial lines. I first became aware of racial prejudice during a Synanon game. Wendell, a Black saxophonist from Detroit, in response to goading from another game player screamed “You better believe I’m prejudice” His “prejudice” didn’t prevent him from sending me off with a handshake when I moved on.

      The disenfranchised Black criminals, or the Hispanic ones or the White ones, should all be measured and judged by the same societal laws. It was a White prosecutor who sought the death penalty for AB during a RICO prosecution, years ago.

      Luther is often described as a racist by toxic elements in Adventism. Nazi doctrine is alluded to vis a vis his essay “On the Jews and their Lies”. A decade before Luther wrote a very pacific essay “That Jesus Christ Was Born a Jew”. Why the great change in his thinking? Some have suggested it was because Luther got acquainted with their larger community and disliked them exploiting their connection to him and subsequent undermining of the gospel message. He had personally done a great deal for Christian Jews who were proscribed by the Jewish community and was comfortable with employing a Jewish Christian as a Hebrew teacher; he obviously harbored no individual hatred for individual members of the community, who embraced the gospel message.

      He opposed those who were still at war with Christ, who referred to Him as a “hanged thief” rather than a Blessed Savior, and so on. It surprises me that many SDA would side with unbelieving Jews against Luther. I’m not really concerned about Luther’s alleged “anti Semitism.” I’m concerned about the Jewish behavior that provoked it.

      • Stephen Foster
        29 December 2014 @ 5:18 am

        Yeah, whatever Hansen; this makes ‘some’ sense: someone (Hansen) calls for the genocide of some blacks in America as a “solution,” albeit one for which no one has the stomach (to administer or to consider); then reminds us that “the mafia chiefs expressed a very realistic view of the Black man when discussing the sale of heroin in New York” in The Godfather, and then claims this isn’t about race.

        But I’m considered the hysterical one, right? Listen Hansen, you’ve said what you meant. Please keep talking dude; by all means.

        I’m curious, are you a Seventh-day Adventist?

        • Hansen
          29 December 2014 @ 7:58 am

          Stephen, You may not have read “godfather” but you probably saw the movie. The book is actually much better. The particular scene I mentioned is in the movie but the dialogue is omitted. One reason heroin was to be sold in the Black community was because “they lack self respect.” While rather simplistic, it’s certainly accurate. If they believed the Irish or the Jews had the same issues, they might have targeted them as well. People who respect themselves usually respect others and, therefore, do not murder, beat, rob, rape, etc. Why else would they trash their own communities when they are upset? They don’t respect their own communities, aside from themselves.

          Really, if the White man is so terrible, burn down his end of town, not your own. Perhaps, finally, when radical elements agitated by Muslim extremists goad Black criminals into terrorist acts, it will be against the White man. At least that will make sense, in a twisted sort of way.

          • Stephen Foster
            29 December 2014 @ 1:00 pm

            For those of you who are not aficionados of the Mario Puzo masterpiece or the Francis Ford Coppola cinematic version thereof, the dialogue in the film version to which Hansen refers to black people as “animals anyway; let them lose their souls.”

            Of course, quoting Hansen regarding this scene, “the mafia chiefs expressed a very realistic view of the Black man when discussing the sale of heroin in New York.”

            Yet Noel accuses me of “blaming whites for every evil under the sun they haven’t done for a very long time.” This thread started with discussion of something that happened this summer; and something that didn’t happen (an indictment) some weeks ago. The call for genocide of course happened a few days ago. (This is amazing!) I recall watching the beatings, and fire hoses in Birmingham and Selma on television. Unfortunately that wasn’t fictional—nor long ago.

      • Jim Hamstra
        30 December 2014 @ 8:29 am

        “You are not an angry Black man, you are a hysterical one.”

        Thus Hansen reveals his/her/their own brand of objectivity.

        I am not a political liberal. I am not Afro-American. But I think it highly unlikely that Mr Foster is hysterical, based upon his voluminous writings on this web site.

    • William Noel
      29 December 2014 @ 5:59 am

      I agree with you that hate breeds hate. That is what we are witnessing with the anti-police protests following the Brown and Garner cases. Those who hate have stirred-up the passions of their followers into utter hysteria and nonsensical behavior. Otherwise peaceable people are committing acts of violence and doing other things that under other circumstances they would not do. They have become screaming, nonsenical mobs.

      Those who oppose or criticize them are far from the Christian extremists you assert. It is the black activists and their sympathizers who are stirring-up hatred and calling for violence against others. So if you need evidence of any Christians becoming motivated to committing acts of violence against others in the name of their faith, they’re the people illustrating your assertion. Who are today’s “race supremacists?” Typically they are black activists.

      Your equation of risk between radicalized Muslims and Christians who disagree with you reminds me of the stuff that falls from the north end of a southbound male bovine after a day in the hot sun. Giving blacks immunity from responsibility for their actions while blaming whites for every evil under the sun they haven’t done for a very long time reveals the lunacy filling the mind of the accuser. Radical Islam is dangerous because it is based on militancy and has the primary purpose of violently exterminating all who disagree with them. Your charge to the contrary, there is nothing in Christianity even remotely close. The list of radical Muslims and their violent deeds is very long and growing every day. The list of radical Christians who do violent things? That list is so short that historians have a hard time finding it. But facts don’t seem to prevent you from believing such myths.

  59. Earl Calahan
    28 December 2014 @ 10:55 am

    Stephen, I think Hansen is not a genocidalist, but is actually a futurist, citing the inevitable potential for genocide in the USA,
    should the current cultural divide between whites and blacks continue to escalate. Black gangs, who are controlled by leaders, mostly in life sentence prison terms, are continuing to compete for turf with white, Aryan, Latino, Russian (Chechen),Asian gangs. Yes there is some business between these factions, but they hate each other. Look at the terrible loss of life in Mexico between rival Latino gangs. With their billion$$ deals they have corrupted many govern. officials, up even to the Federal system. Mexico is rife with corruption at every level, just as in the USA.
    Blacks, as a group, recognizing the animosity of ill will toward their race, which is being fueled by the crime element of blacks taking up approx. 80% of prison space, committing murder of each other at the rate of all murders of all other racial groups, while making up perhaps 14% of the populace. Protesting that gets out of hand when some elements start burning and terrorizing the neighborhoods. Even though profiled (it’s a fact), why do they resist demands of police when it’s obvious the police will prevail?? Then of course many white minds are beginning to recognize they cannot continue to provide the dole, that up to half of Blacks, continue to bleed the system, because they can through political largess.
    It appears Steven, the present situation will continue to spiral out of control. Blacks are a very small element in society, and they are causing the greatest problems in daily life, regardless of
    who is responsible for the dilemma, what is the answer?? Will it lead to genocide in the USA????

    • Stephen Foster
      28 December 2014 @ 2:34 pm

      Earl,

      I know you’re an older guy, and I have respect for older people. I am actually getting pretty old myself. However the fact of the matter is that racists—and racist sympathizers—generally hate being called racists; or ‘outed’ as racists. Racist sympathizers are racists who are too intelligent to actually believe that they are inherently superior than are those of other ethnicities, but they want to believe it; or they are intelligent enough to know they shouldn’t believe it, but do anyway.

      It is, of course, a testament to how much progress we have made in society that racists don’t like being outed. There was a time, as you know, that racists were proud of being racists. Sadly, almost imperceptibly, they are coming back.

      You and/or others who disregard, ignore, excuse, or rationalize the call for, not the prediction of, but the call for genocide have done so for your own reason(s). You will, of course, have to come to grips with what those reasons are; but know that if/whenever you believe you’re inherently better, as in intellectually/morally/culturally/physically superior, than another ethnic group or race, you’re racist.

      That said, I think that predictions of genocide are not necessarily unreasonable. The attitudes of moral/cultural/intellectual/physical superiority that enabled the holocaust are certainly in play as we speak. The same attitudes enabled slavery, lynching, Jim Crow, forced segregation and other racist atrocities. Now it’s just a matter of an eloquent and charismatic leader undergirded by a network of enabling propaganda, hate-mongering, and brainwashing.

      I can envision a confluence of race, culture, religion, politics and economics causing this. Personally, I doubt that it’s mere happenstance that the demographics of my church are shaking out as they are (pun intended). This is in part why I am curious if Hansen is a Seventh-day Adventist. (Clearly there is or was some connection.)

      • Stephen Foster
        28 December 2014 @ 2:39 pm

        Correction: The attitudes of resentment and moral/cultural/intellectual/physical superiority that enabled the holocaust are in play right now.

        • Earl Calahan
          28 December 2014 @ 8:29 pm

          Steven, perhaps you’ll recall my writing of my experience of Dachau death camp in Bavaria. i came home a very cynical young man. i would be the last to harbor a desire of genocide, by any groups anywhere. You’ll recall the roles of police action and FEMA, following Katrina in New Orleans. There are govern. holding tanks on many military bases, as well as strategic established containment camps throughout the USA, manned by FEMA, under the umbrella of Homeland Security and FBI. Together these organs. together with other govern. agencies have purchased some 20 million hollow point cartridges. in the past 2 years thru GSA. What for?? However, i believe the first battles, should they come to combat will be militant groups of those who deem them selves as supremacists, who are armed to the teeth with every weapon available to the army, less WMD. Do you think the police would come between such combatants?? These things must be spoken to in advance of the possibility of happening. The problem is RACISM. i asked before if you can suggest methods of coping with this problem. In recognition of the ongoing friction between protestors and the police, what should be the Black’s strategy versus White cops/National Guard in future face offs?? Would different Black role models be helpful versus those currently in evidence. What should the White concerned populace be doing.

          • William Noel
            30 December 2014 @ 5:47 am

            Earl,

            I know you love your conspiracy theories but you really need an eyewitness update. Since reading your earlier claims about government preparations to imprison large numbers of people on military installations I decided to do a little research into some of the claims. You see, I work for the US Army Corps of Engineers doing direct support to installations and I’ve been to a whole lot of places you can’t go. Some of those places are the locations the conspiracy theorists claim are home to preparations for imprisoning large groups of dissidents.

            I’ve been all-over several of the exact sites about which claims are made. Because of operational security I am limited in the details which I can provide, but I will give you a few examples. AT the first site the claim is made that barracks buildings dating from World War II are being refurbished for the purpose you claim. Well, I was there in September and it is true that barracks buildings dating to that period are being refurbished. But it is to provide safe quarters for the tens of thousands of Army reservists who come their each summer for training. All I can say about a second claimed site on that base is you really wouldn’t want to be standing there when the troops open fire. A third site is an urban convoy training course that has hundreds of structures (modified shipping containers) but nothing to support habitation.

            The group I work with has sent recon teams to more than a dozen other sites claimed by conspiracy theorists and I can assure nothing exists there that would function in the ways claimed. At another installation I have been inside several of the large buildings that are claimed have been prepared as prisons and I can tell you they are only warehouses packed with all sorts of supplies troops need when they deploy and prepare for combat operations. One stored nothing but MREs. Another stored tents and related support equipment. Another was an electronics refurbishment facility doing depot-level maintenance work. No prisons there.

            Sorry, Earl. Those conspiracy theorists don’t know what they’re talking about.

          • Stephen Foster
            31 December 2014 @ 6:17 pm

            Earl Calahan stated and asked me: “However, i believe the first battles, should they come to combat will be militant groups of those who deem them selves as supremacists, who are armed to the teeth with every weapon available to the army, less WMD. Do you think the police would come between such combatants??”

            If this were ever to happen, Earl, one would hope that the police would come between such combatants.

            “These things must be spoken to in advance of the possibility of happening. The problem is RACISM. i asked before if you can suggest methods of coping with this problem. In recognition of the ongoing friction between protestors and the police, what should be the Black’s strategy versus White cops/National Guard in future face offs??”

            Black protest strategy should always be non-violence. The challenge for those of goodwill is that there are divisive white racists in the media and elsewhere and ignorant blacks who are strange bedfellows in destructive cahoots.

            “Would different Black role models be helpful versus those currently in evidence?”

            I’m assuming that you’re talking about Sharpton, as his name provokes most white people; irrespective of anything that he might say. Personally, for those reasons, it would be pragmatic to have a less polarizing person be perceived as an African American spokesperson.

            “What should the White concerned populace be doing?”

            By this I’m naturally assuming you mean people of goodwill (like yourself, for example). You should be doing the same thing that concerned black people should be doing; which is to seek to build bridges wherever possible, and loving wherever and however possible, while also persistently calling racism ‘out.’ I’m “concerned” that racism is gradually becoming normalized and legitimized by strategic, purposeful propagandists. But if we think about it Earl, the prophesied time of trouble will be worse than anything that has yet occurred. While we should fight and oppose evil, why should EXPECT anything other than it?

        • William Noel
          29 December 2014 @ 11:17 am

          Any comparison between the mass extermination of Jews in World War II and racism in America today reveals how disconnected from reality and hysterical the person making the claim has become. You really need to start paying more attention to the words of Jesus than the wild hallucinations of Al Sharpton.

          During the years my wife and I worked in New York City we met and talked with hundreds, if not thousands of survivors of the Nazi death camps. I have a close friend who managed to escape from Pol Pot’s murder squads in Cambodia (but lost his entire family). I had a close friend whose young age was the only thing sparing them from the Japanese death camps in China that killed more than twice as many people as the Nazis. Stephen, you simply don’t know what you’re talking about. Obviously you are also oblivious to the utter nonsense and growing absurdity in the hysterical and baseless claims you keep making.

      • William Noel
        29 December 2014 @ 6:06 am

        You wrote: “The attitudes of moral/cultural/intellectual/physical superiority that enabled the holocaust are certainly in play as we speak. The same attitudes enabled slavery, lynching, Jim Crow, forced segregation and other racist atrocities. Now it’s just a matter of an eloquent and charismatic leader undergirded by a network of enabling propaganda, hate-mongering, and brainwashing.”

        Rarely have I ever seen such an accurate description of the liberal-socialism you have embraced and which the Obama Administration has inflicted with such effectiveness! But the charismatic leader’s power is fading and his support group has suffered a severe electoral blow. Will they go away? No. Still, the horrible fruits of their labors are becoming obvious. Since such politics is the lifeblood of your existence I can appreciate your continuing and growing hysteria about all things racial. You have allowed your faith in God to become eclipsed by your politics so you have nothing else for which to live.

  60. Stephen Foster
    29 December 2014 @ 12:33 pm

    Hansen-Noel,

    You two should strongly consider going on the road together as an act. I understand that your sense of entitlement and limited previous interactions with black people like me is quaking to your world. I recognize that this is, has been, and remains, very hard to deal with. It may even have been somewhat traumatic. However it was and remains important that this understandably very rare conversation take place.

    The fact is that for better or worse, what we three have posted on this thread about race in America— and I might to a lesser extent include Nathan and Jim—serves to represent large numbers of people who, for a variety of reasons, can’t or won’t likewise engage.

    Earl’s statements and question are somewhat different, but they are important and deserve response.

    I applaud this site for permitting these postings to stand, because they are instructive. For my part, I have sincerely attempted to seriously address the various points raised; but I am after all, one individual. My role on this site, as I see it, is to represent a worldview that most frequenters of this site otherwise have little exposure to and/or interaction with.

    I may be the only African American SDA who normally appears in this venue. I happen to know that there are African American SDA leaders who visit here; but for various reasons, won’t post here. I also know that my views are definitely in the African American SDA mainstream.

    I’ve asked Hansen if he is SDA. I’ve asked Noel if he would remain silent or inactive if his perceived second amendment rights were ever to be eradicated. We’ve had genocide recommended as a solution; and been told that, except for politics, I have no other reason to live. (This is a sample of traumatized thinking/arguing.) What’s more, I have said nothing at all on this thread about Christian extremists. I have suggested that the mindset that Hansen represents is as dangerous as Jihadists’; but I don’t know what Hansen is. (In fairness, I have previously linked abortion clinic terroristic bombers and Islamic terrorists together.) Of course I have also never said that American slavery and racism were and have been the same thing that occurred in the Nazi atrocities and Jewish holocaust; but there nonetheless are some undeniable similarities. And of course the call for genocide on THIS thread IS of THAT mindset. The attitudes of resentment and moral/cultural/intellectual/physical superiority that enabled the holocaust are hereby evident. (This lack of critical thinking and this volume of juvenile ad hominem are eye-popping.)

    Nathan has demonstrated and represented that it is possible not to be hateful and ignorant while having and articulating differing perspectives.

    Earl proves that older guys are ready, willing, and able to listen to others.

    Jim provides proof that all isn’t lost!

    • William Noel
      29 December 2014 @ 6:02 pm

      Stephen,

      The recent behavior of black mobs in various cities and what the promoters of recent public protests have triggered is doing something about which you should be very concerned. You have a massive conceptual disconnect going on because you keep claiming things the public just doesn’t see or believe while they are seeing a whole lot that you refuse to believe, but they do. “Selma” may be the title of a new movie, but there have been so many changes since 1963 that your claims just lack credibility outside of your brain and the minds of a very small number of others. Argue all you want that it is true, but without more credibility you’re just breaking wind in a hurricane.

      The products of all the protests now overshadow what shreds of credibility you used to have, or what you might hope to gain. I think you and I will agree that the man who shot the two police officers in New York was not in a right mind. But the fact that he was motivated by the racist rhetoric of Al Sharpton, in particular, and other black activists has caused the larger American public, both black and white, to perceive a cause-and-effect relationship between the protesters and the killings. More than that, blacks behaving in anti-social ways, including public protests, are increasingly being viewed as a threat to the safety of the larger public. This is not just in the larger cities. That was illustrated to me just yesterday when my son, who is a gun buff, was showing me some different features of handguns in a large sporting goods store not very far from your home. The lead sales person in the department told us that the entire chain was having sales almost double what they expected even with Christmas and that the spike had started the day after the shooting of the two police officers in New York. I expressed surprise and the person next to me joined the conversation with the statement that he was in the store to buy a gun for personal protection because “if some crazy black person is willing to shoot two cops in New York, I don’t know what some crazy black person might try to do to me.” Immediately another customer said he was here for the same purpose. What really surprised me was he was black. His wife was also buying a gun to carry in her purse.

      The fear is there and it is real. It is people like you who keep making wild claims about problems the larger public can’t see evidence to support that are causing the fear to grow.

  61. Stephen Foster
    30 December 2014 @ 12:04 am

    I’ll let you in on a secret. Blacks have long suspected—well, actually believed—that the fascination with, and devotion to, guns and the gun culture of people who think like you, have no connection whatever to the fear of big government; but rather with anticipation toward using them against people of color, at some point.

    What else is new? It’s probably true.

    So anyway, if the American government mandated the confiscation of handguns or something, and commenced door to door searches for same; would you find that reason to protest? If by chance any such legislation was in process, would you pursue political means to prevent its passage and subsequent implementation?

    It dawns on me that among the reasons you appear so unhinged in dealing with me is that you have not had to deal with opinionated black people. Apparently, the other opinionated black people with whom you are familiar are on television. Perhaps I should remind you again that my grandparents were born in the 1870s? Jim Crow isn’t ancient history to me. Need I remind you that when I perceive injustice in 2014, seeing an unarmed black man taken down by multiple police officers to the point of unconsciousness, after saying multiple times that he couldn’t breathe; I will object to that quite vociferously? When I see in 2014 that no one is held legally responsible for this, I will object some more, my brother.

    If you’ve met any holocaust survivors then you must know what “never again” means. You also know or should know that they are understandably sensitive in perceiving anti-Semitism. Some of us blacks feel the same way regarding our history and our ancestors. There are undeniable similarities between the genocidal holocaust in Europe and black American history. (Attitudes of resentment and of moral/cultural/intellectual/physical superiority that enabled the holocaust remain in play.) You and Hansen are to people like me as are anti-Semitic holocaust deniers to the children and grandchildren of holocaust survivors.

    Naturally people like you and Hansen don’t believe that there is such a thing as racial injustice anymore— except affirmative action. (Frankly I doubt if either of you believe there HAS BEEN American racial injustice. Hansen, of course, believes that genocide is the solution for black crime in America.) This is your problem, it isn’t mine—except to the extent that there are, and have been, many people with civil and legislative power who think like you (and who also, of course, have guns).

    I’ll agree with you about one thing; it’s fear that animates people like you. Fear has never done much for me.

    • William Noel
      30 December 2014 @ 5:29 am

      Let’s put a few things together. Let’s start with the long-established reality that the largest number of property and violent crimes in America are committed by blacks. Then let’s add your devotion to the teachings of disrespect for law promoted by Barack Obama. On top of that let’s add your unquestioned allegiance to the teachings of Al Sharpton and the results they have produced. Why are you surprised that personal defense is a growing issue for law-abiding citizens?

      Apparently you overlooked that two of the three gun buyers I described were black. The fear is not confined to whites.

      You wrote: “Naturally people like you and Hansen don’t believe that there is such a thing as racial injustice anymore…” I never said that, nor have I implied that. So, please stop lying and twisting my words. Our world is filled with unfairness because of sin. No laws have ever succeeded in eliminating unfairness. That is why Jesus taught us to live in His love and to overcome evil with good. If you are ever going to overcome the problems you see you must first be able to look beyond them and embrace what actually works.

      • Stephen Foster
        30 December 2014 @ 10:04 am

        This is for those of you who may be following this for various reasons. You will notice if you care to that Hansen-Noel, especially Noel, has frequently invoked the name of Sharpton and slightly less frequently that of Obama in this thread.

        The purpose for doing so is, of course, juvenile and shallow guilt by association. I have not once said anything about nor defended anything ever said by Sharpton. I have seldom referred to the POTUS and haven’t referred to thing he has said or done on this thread either.

        Yet, hypocritically, Noel has just said, and I quote, “Then let’s add your devotion to the teachings of disrespect for law promoted by Barack Obama. On top of that let’s add your unquestioned allegiance to the teachings of Al Sharpton and the results they have produced,” while accusing me of lying about his previous suggestions to me (on another thread) that the only active racists in America today are blacks. I am now asking if he is challenging me to produce evidence of this.

        My initial post—my very first statement—on this very thread was to volunteer and assert that “Rioters are as much my enemies as is the racism, bigotry and classism that enables, ignores, and excuses unequal protection and application of American law.” I went on to state that rioters “…are unwittingly doing exactly what racist, bigots, and classists want them to do. Peaceful protests are what racists/bigots/classists like least.” I said this before saying anything about injustice.

        Noel’s purposes for using the names of Obama and Sharpton are 1) to illicit some sympathy for his positions; in that those two names, particularly the latter are lightning rods for most white people. They are polarizing names in most every instance. It is the just old wedge game. If Noel can somehow associate black Foster with ‘uppity’ Obama or especially opportunistic Sharpton, this positions/renders whatever follows sympathetically, for most. 2) And to change the subject from whatever I had been talking about to something that Noel would rather talk about: the low hanging Al Sharpton fruit. If he can get me talking about, or better yet defending Sharpton, Obama, or Jackson, he doesn’t have to deal with me or with what I have actually said.

        Actually Noel, I haven’t at any time expressed any surprise at all “that personal defense is a growing issue for law-abiding citizens. This exemplifies a poor reasoning pattern.

        So then my questions: if the American government mandated the confiscation of handguns or guns generally, and commenced door to door searches for them; would you find that reason to protest? If any such legislation was in process, would you pursue political means to prevent its passage and implementation? This goes to your claims that we (Christians) are to ignore civil injustice and not protest against it or seek legal or political or civil remedies for them.

        (Are you denying that you’ve suggested this? Would you like me to produce your statements in the past about black racism being that which remains in the U.S.?)

        • William Noel
          30 December 2014 @ 6:28 pm

          I’m not going down that rabbit-hole into your fantasy world.

        • Hansen
          30 December 2014 @ 8:12 pm

          Steven, You haven’t actually said much, considering the number of words you use. I don’t about William but I have met a lot of opinionated Blacks. The prisons and jails in California are full of them. They often have a lot of [bad] attitude to go with their opinions. That’s what gets them into trouble with law enforcement. I an guarantee you that if they were respectful, compliant and– this is important–innocent, they wouldn’t have the problems that they do.

          A Black inmate once approached me and said “I’m the shotcaller for BGF outta Chicago.” “Really, that’s quite an accomplishment,” I responded. I then when to my mentor, an [incidentally Black] chaplain, and told him that I met the BGF shot caller.

          He looked me up and down the way Kingfish might have looked at Andy. He explained to me why a shot caller would never identify himself like that. “He was just gaming you,” he said. We had a good laugh together.

          He understood what you obviously don’t. Most Black criminals are, more or less, soiciopaths of one sort or another. They lie. They will fake all kinds of things, including respiratory conditions, if they can gain an advantage by so doing. Once they can get some slack out of you, they will use it against you, maybe get your gun and kill you with it if they can. Then they go to prison where all their friends are to be hailed as a hero.

          You really do live in a fantasy world. I worked with scores of AIDS patients in the 90s. The only one who ever intentionally wiped her/his filthy, HIV infected blood on me was…Black.

          • Jim Hamstra
            30 December 2014 @ 8:45 pm

            “Most Black criminals are, more or less, soiciopaths of one sort or another.”

            And I suppose criminals of other ethnicities are less sociopathic than are Afro-Americans?

        • William Noel
          30 December 2014 @ 11:40 pm

          Stephen,

          Believe it or not, I once was just like you. I had strong opinions on a lot of topics and lots of strong words for anyone who disagreed with me. I could argue anyone into the ground. I had all the logic and had filled my head with all sorts of things I thought were true to support my views. I had a form of godliness but did not allow God to play a role in my political or social views. No, God was separate and apart from them. He had power in His sphere, but not in them.

          Then I discovered I had become like the pharisees Jesus rebuked in Matthew 23:27. I thought I looked great on the outside, but inside I was filled with dead men’s bones. Spiritually, I was dead. Oh, I still had a form of godliness, but it was powerless because I wouldn’t let God empower it. You could’ve put my name in the dictionary next to the word “hypocrite” because that’s what I was. I praise God that He has changed all that. Like Ezekiel’s vision, He has put the bones back together and filled them with marrow. He’s joined them together, covered them with muscles and skin and breathed new life into me. He’s made me into an empowered and growing servant. I have seen Him do amazing things that leave me on my knees amazed that He would use me when He did them. I have been witness to His power to heal racial divisions and help people stop fighting and accusing and sinking into the hopeless depths of racial strife and to rise above it. So I know He is both willing and able to do it for you.

          Yes, I was an Adventist through all of it. I even earned a degree in Theology while I was that way. I could give anyone a lesson on prophecy and list all the proof-texts you wanted from memory. But it was worthless until I let God take control.

          You’ve let all things political and racial become supreme in your life and pushed God into a distant, lesser role. I pray that you will let God’s love and power reverse those priorities so you can become an instrument of His love instead of a promoter of hatred and strife. Until then you’ll just be dead bones.

          • Stephen Foster
            31 December 2014 @ 1:08 am

            Hansen-Noel,

            You have been pretty much exposed. At this point it doesn’t make much sense to me to say much more.

            Hansen, I would still like to know if you are a Seventh-day Adventist Christian. Noel, I would still like to know if you would protest a house-to-house confiscation of hand guns; and would you seek political and civil means to prevent such. I could have included other weaponry in the question, but you get the point.

            Obviously neither of you are willing, and certainly not anxious, to answer these questions.

            Hansen, of course, makes my point in that the only opinionated blacks with whom he has been in contact have apparently been gang-affiliated, incarcerated, and (malicious) HIV-infected individuals. Hansen, in a pathetic way, is humorous; although we know it’s really not funny.

            Noel is driven to distraction at best, by being confronted with his illogical inconsistencies. He is at once fear-driven and ideological; while claiming to be loving and apolitical. Again, I can live with the reality that he doesn’t make sense to me (and I don’t make sense to him). Clearly, he finds it difficult doing likewise.

            Part of the illogical inconsistency of course is that Noel is an Adventist who doesn’t like Adventism. I predict that others of his ideological bent will find frustration as the church becomes more demographically diverse. (This has already happened and will continue.) Theological and philosophical/liturgical frustrations that some already experience will be exacerbated by cultural ones; including how the church responds to social issues and institutions in these last days.

            This is one example of how what we have long been told would happen will happen—but not necessarily as expected.

    • Jim Hamstra
      30 December 2014 @ 8:38 am

      I think it would be fair to say that fear animates much of what goes down on both sides of the racial divide. And I think it would be fair to say that fear animates a lot of what has been written on this web page.

      There is no fear in love but perfect love casts out fear.

      • Jim Hamstra
        30 December 2014 @ 8:51 am

        The teachings of Jesus as related by Matthew and John are the reason I choose not to own fire arms, and do not encourage others to own fire arms.

        When in my youth I was accosted on the streets of Detroit by a small gang of young Afro-Americans looking to rob me, it was Jesus Christ who protected me, not a knife or a gun.

        I am truly and deeply dismayed to see how some of my fellow Adventists respond when they feel threatened. Whatever happened to loving your enemies and doing good to those who hate you and praying for those who spitefully use you. Whatever happened to love and peace and patience and forbearance being fruits of the Spirit?

        Jesus said that those who take-up weapons will die by weapons. This truth is being portrayed in those parts of the world where the populace are armed to the teeth. If we persist in this attitude in the US of A, we risk becoming the kind of madhouse of mayhem that we see stretching from Libya to Afghanistan. And all of this in the name of God.

        We all show what kind of God we worship by our words and actions.

        • William Noel
          30 December 2014 @ 6:10 pm

          And all of it stirred-up by people for whom racial division is more important than learning to live with each other and respect each other.

          • Jim Hamstra
            30 December 2014 @ 6:58 pm

            It takes two to quarrel, unless the single person is schizophrenic.

        • Jim Hamstra
          30 December 2014 @ 8:46 pm

    • William Noel
      30 December 2014 @ 6:24 pm

      There is far more to “Never again!” than just wanting to avoid another holocaust. If you study what leads to holocausts you find a common pattern of behaviors where divisive leaders take advantage of difficult economic times to disregard the law and seize power through subversion of the electoral process or by military conquest. The largest holocaust of the 20th Century actually was in China where the Japanese invaded to expand their empire and, if it were not for the brutality of their rule, likely would have been driven-out by the Chinese. Next largest is the early Soviet pogrom against the Jews and rebellious tribes in the Ukraine and western Asia. Between the 1929 Soviet revolution and 1955, Soviet records show that an almost equal number of people were pushed into prison camps and starved to death or murdered by Stalin’s secret police. The German holocaust was small by comparison, but we still view it as the ‘great holocaust’ because it was so intently focused on exterminating one ethnic group: Jews. Why did Hitler hate the Jews so much? He blamed them for driving the severe economic rules that the Allies imposed on Germany after World War I. The Nazis started out as a minority party. They gained power by using physical intimidation, subverting the electoral process and then imprisoning anyone who opposed them. The number who voluntarily joined the Nazi party never was a majority. Even at their peak membership the great majority were members only to avoid the personal dangers they would face if they did not join. Their most powerful tool was stirring-up racial hatred.

      Study world history and you’ll find that the Obama Administration has been following the Nazi model in great detail. Pol Pot did the same thing in Cambodia in the 1970s. Several other tyrants in Africa and Asia have tried to do the same thing with varying but lesser degrees of success.

      • Jim Hamstra
        30 December 2014 @ 8:49 pm

        Comparing Barack Obama with Hitler or Pol Pot is egregiously absurd.

        How can anyone be expected to take such comments seriously?

        Surely the Holy Spirit does not animate or endorse such rhetorical absurdities?

        • William Noel
          31 December 2014 @ 5:44 am

          It is absurd until you discover that they all are/were adherents to 19th Century liberal-socialst philosophy. The differences are the particular circumstances where they came to power and how quickly they were able to act to implement that philosophy.

          I am an intense student of history and once was a devout student of such liberal-socialist writers as Marx, Engels, Lenin and others. Hitler was an intense student of the strategic thinking of Engels. Mao Zedong in China (who led a revolution that killed the more people than any other “holocaust” in the 20th century) was another student of Engels and Marx. Barack Obama was a student of the 20th century followers of those liberal-socialists, most notable among them Frank Marshall Davis, whom he praises in his books as the person who gave his political philosophy a conceptual foundation. Davis is an intense student of Hitler’s methods and an outspoken advocate for following them to overthrow democracy. Obama’s closest advisor, Valerie Jarrett, is the daughter of another of those outspoken anti-American socialists. What is the common thread in that philosophy? That the U.S. Constitution must be done away with as the basis for law and policy, that presidents must be able to rule without the approval of a Congress, etc.

          Yes, the mass murder committed by the others is different, but the strategy of overthrowing the rule of law is the same. I’m not saying such mass murders by the government will happen in America but we’re well on the path to seeing a prophecy fulfilled about America turning its’ back on the legal principles upon which the nation was founded.

          • Jim Hamstra
            01 January 2015 @ 6:02 am

            Well I guess everyone can find their favorite conspiracy theories if they look hard enough.

            Humans often find what we look for and seldom find what we do not look for.

  62. Jim Hamstra
    30 December 2014 @ 8:35 am

    “And I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness. The wise man’s eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I know that one fate befalls them both.”

    Thus spake one of the wisest and also most foolish men who ever lived. And he could have been describing some of the dialog on this web page. Would that we could look and think more carefully before we speak or write.

    • Jim Hamstra
      31 December 2014 @ 4:40 am

      So all we like Solomon are curious mixtures of Wisdom and Folly, sometimes seeing things clearly and other times stumbling around blinded by our own passions and biases and limitations. The tragedy is that often we cannot tell the difference until it is too late, until Fate (events that we cannot control) overtakes us. And make no mistake that Fate WILL at some point overtake us.

      Much of this debate has been about fear of things we cannot control that pose real or potential threats to our personal and collective security. Some seek to control these events through collective action (eg politics, protests, gangs, posses, militias) and others through individual action (build my bunkers and arm myself to the teeth, or prepare a place of refuge for the inevitable time of trouble).

      To depend upon God is to accept that we cannot depend upon ourselves, individually or collectively. This is the spirit of Psalm 91.

      Where to draw our own lines between prudence and presumption? God grant us all the courage to change the things that we cannot accept (Proverbs), the serenity to accept the things that we cannot change (Job) and the wisdom to know the difference (Ecclesiastes).

  63. Hansen
    30 December 2014 @ 10:35 am

    Jim, People are at different stages of Christian maturity. For some, especially those of a particular disposition, being able to go as a lamb to the slaughter is quite contrary to their human nature. It may take years of growth and experience to get to that point.

    Perhaps someone is just having a bad day when accosted, stressed out, tired, etc. All the disciples forsook Jesus and fled. Peter’s first response in the garden was to fight. Blacks being hassled for simply being Black is one thing. Being hassled for criminal behavior is an entirely different matter.

  64. Earl Calahan
    30 December 2014 @ 11:05 am

    William, you disappoint me. If you have Government Security to be able to enter questionable security areas, you also are under oath not to reveal what is undercover. Either that fact or you are extremely naïve as to not believe that the USA doesn’t have adequate containment plants for deemed discontents and terrorists, as does every nation on Earth, as well as transportation devices and personnel trained in the handling of such elements of society, in expectation of the potential requirements. Sorry brother, but Homeland Security, FEMA, NSA, and the FBI, are all
    charged with handling of the enemies of the USA. It’s a fact that intelligent people do not deny, except those under oath not to do so, or the odd “whistle blower”, of which many have disappeared or escaped.

    • William Noel
      30 December 2014 @ 6:27 pm

      I gave you no specifics and all the information I shared is unclassified. I also cleared what I shared before sending it. The reasons I could not share specific site information with you are another matter.

      I just wanted to give you eyewitness information that the conspiracy theorists you like have very creative imaginations but have a hard time telling fact from fantasy.

      • Jim Hamstra
        31 December 2014 @ 4:45 am

        And I want to thank you for your eyewitness accounts of these things.

  65. William Noel
    31 December 2014 @ 7:00 pm

    Stephen,

    The first of the Ten Commandments directs us to have no other Gods in our lives than the God of Heaven. But in all discussions you avoid any possibility of Divine authority in the affairs of men and revert to your political theories to defend your points of view instead of the Word of God. Is that because you are not allowing God to play any authoritative role in your life? You sure make it look that way.

    In Galatians 3:28, Paul declares that in Christ there is neither male or female, Jew or Greek, slave or free. But the theme of your comments is racial politics and what divides people along racial and economic distinctions. Are you unaware of what scripture teaches? Your words make it sound that way.

    A major theme in scripture is the power of God to change people. Another is His promise to empower us to minister God’s power in ways that demonstrate His love an power. Further, God promises that all believers will be empowered by Him. Yet there is not a hint in your words of any desire to become empowered by God or to minister His love to others. Instead, you are focused on continually on pointless debate and avoiding anything related to God. So, according to scripture, you are not a believer in God. Yet you claim to be a believer in God. So, who is lying? You? Or God? Add the many contrasts between the teachings of scripture and the practices of the liberal-socialism you defend and the evidence against you mounts even further.

    So, why should I pursue pointless and endless debate with a non-believer?

  66. Stephen Foster
    01 January 2015 @ 1:28 am

    Dec. 18 5:56A
    “Jesus never encouraged His followers to oppose authority or to fight it, yet that is what you endorse without reservation. He told us to submit to rulers and, in spite of persecution, to persist in ministering His love to others and to overcome evil by doing good. God offers us great power to overcome evil when we obey Him and love those who do wrong to us.”

    “Hatred, dissension and racism all come from Satan.”

    This misinformation you assert is hypocritical because YOU VEHEMENTLY OPPOSE whatever authority with which you happen to disagree; which is why I have repeatedly asked you if you would protest an abrogation of the second amendment that would obviously come from authority. You’ve refused to answer this question because it exposes the conspicuous lack of critical thinking with which you approach most any topic. You vociferously oppose the liberal economic and social policies of any liberal governmental authority; and violate your own principals in doing so—unless you actually meant “[He] never encouraged His followers to oppose ideologically conservative authority; or authority with which Noel agrees.”

    Another example is that, while hatred and racism certainly always come from the devil; dissension from injustice and especially from the oppression of others is a good thing.

    Dec 27 8:14A
    “Jesus taught his followers to overcome evil by doing good and demonstrating the power of God in how they lived so that others would be drawn to Him. In contrast with that, you defend the pursuit of social change by human concepts, ways that depend entirely on the winds of political popularity and what accumulates political power instead of learning about the power and love of God. More than that, you react angrily to any reminder of how the teachings of God contrast with your opinions.”

    We’ve mentioned this before, but at least as was originally conceived, the standing social order was designed to benefit you; which is to say that white males were the understood designees and intended beneficiaries of the rights/privileges/freedoms guaranteed by the founding documents of the United States of America. For you to oppose those who demand the extension of these rights/privileges/freedoms throughout our society is demonstrably hypocritical and totally self-serving. This is why I asked you should MLK Jr. never have made that speech.

    Dec 30 6:24p
    “There is far more to “Never again!” than just wanting to avoid another holocaust.”

    No, there actually isn’t; except to the extent that the dehumanization and marginalization of any people, occasioned by attitudes of resentment and of moral/intellectual/cultural/physical superiority, can be identified and dealt with in advance. This is the ‘stuff’ of genocidal holocaust(s). “’Just’ wanting to avoid another holocaust” is an insensitive way to frame anything anyway!

    • Stephen Foster
      01 January 2015 @ 1:40 am

      It occurs that the only methods that you have to be taken seriously on these boards is to either use the Lord’s name and/or to criticize other people; while doing both is the ‘preferred’ methodology. Your facts seldom if ever stand up.

      You slander Valerie Jarrett and by implication Vernon Jarrett, a respected pioneering black journalist. Valerie Jarrett was at one time married to the late Vernon Jarrett’s son, William. Valerie Jarrett is not Vernon Jarrett’s daughter…and please don’t further embarrass yourself and deny that Vernon Jarrett was the individual to whom your shameless McCarthyesque statement made reference. (Or do you not perceive that there is a difference between being “the daughter of another of those outspoken anti-American socialists” and being the former daughter-in-law of “one”? You SHOULD be ashamed of yourself, being a former journalist yourself, but then again…

      Here’s how I know you’re not ‘real.’ You’ll never answer questions that expose the illogic or hypocrisy of your sanctimonious statements. Like me you’ve invested time in discussing and debating these issues, yet criticize this as a waste of time by others; and when pressed, refuse scrutiny by saying something about refusing to go down a rabbit hole; or something to that effect. Who do you think you’re kidding man?

      It is immaterial to me whether you think I’m a believer or a non-believer; so, if the only way for you to escape further embarrassment and exposure is to claim that you don’t want to further debate a non-believer, then by all means, take whatever escape route you must.

  67. Hansen
    16 January 2015 @ 6:32 pm

    The numerous descriptions in the press of the French terrorists depict a group of people very much like thousands of Blacks in the L.A. area. Disenfranchised, poor, unemployed, living in high crime areas, graffiti, hiphop culture. How fine are the lines that divide criminal behavior from protest and terrorism?

    During the Rodney King riots, a group of Black criminals motored up to Beverly Blvd and visited a high profile camera shop containing lots of professional equipment. They held guns on the people in the store and systematically “looted” the place. It was just a robbery, done in broad daylight during a time of social unrest. There was no ideology or cause being furthered, other than the ususal ones which inspire criminal behavior.

    Commentators at the time described a sense of betrayal felt by the Jewish community, who had a history of alliance with the Black community.

    I suspect it’s just a matter of time before the same type of individuals who carried out the French attacks will try something similar in Los Angeles. A union of Black Muslims, Radical Islam, and sociopaths is not going to turn out well.