Sellout: Musings from Uncle Tom's Porch
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Uncharted Waters Ahead

April 21st, 2013

As I sit here in the quiet of the evening, with nothing but my keyboard and a blank page on my computer monitor, I’m reflecting on what has been one of the most tumultuous weeks in recent American history, and what I’m thinking about is pretty sobering.

Witnessing how we as Americans responded to the terrorist bombing in Boston and the manhunt which successfully concluded Friday night, and the failure of the president’s gun control agenda in the Senate, I’m reminded of several points I’ve made in the past, and nothing this week has changed my mind about them. If anything, they were reinforced.

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Hindering the Children

March 21st, 2013

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14, New International Version)

At a recent breakfast for our men’s ministry, we were asked to break into small groups so we could meet someone we didn’t know. Since these “icebreakers” are often filled with awkward silence, our pastor gave us a list of questions we could pose to one another, accomplishing the dual purpose of learning more about each other and covering up those pregnant pauses!

One question in particular struck me, and the answer I came up with surprised me a bit, because my passions and interests are many, so I thought it would be difficult to zero in on just one. The question was:

What in life currently breaks your heart to the point that you’d give up some personal things or time to make a difference in this area?

Try answering that question over pancakes and bacon! I didn’t have a lot of time to formulate a response, but this is what came to my mind:

“The way adults, individually and collectively, put self-interest before the needs of children.”

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On Guns, Err on the Side of Liberty

February 26th, 2013

Note: The Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE) hosted a group of prominent figures from the black community on Friday, February 22, 2013 at the National Press Club to speak out against gun control legislation currently being considered on Capitol Hill. The following is a statement I contributed to CURE in support of this event and in lieu of my attendance.

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‘A Nation of Cowards’

February 1st, 2013

Note: We continue to struggle with race in America, even after electing a black man to a second term as president, an event that has occurred only 21 times in American history. Although my book, SELLOUT: Musings from Uncle Tom’s Porch, was first published in 2010, it is still timely and topical today. It’s a personal testimony of my journey as a Christian American conservative  who happens to be black. The article below is the first chapter of the book. If the topic and the chapter below stir your interest, please visit my book page and consider picking up a copy. Read the rest of this entry »

One Trophy is Never Enough

January 6th, 2013

Mark my word, you will raise tax rates and you’ll feel good because you went out there and you got those rich people…You campaigned against rich people and you got enough envy whipped up in the country, and you’re going to stick it to those rich people. But guess what? You may not get any more revenue. You may not get any more economic growth. But you can say, “I stuck it to the rich people.” ~ Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)

I don’t like emotional appeals. I think emotion deceives and distorts, and I believe the Bible on the folly of letting emotion rule one’s actions: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

In the wake of the recent agreement to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff” – a hyperbolic and media-friendly term with little practical value – I am struck by the fact that one of the major components of the agreement, raising the income tax rates on individuals making $400,000 or more a year and couples making $450,000 or more a year, has, when subjected to impassioned scrutiny, more emotional than practical impact.

Anyone who looks at the “tax the rich” scenario with the cold eye of evidentiary analysis would correctly conclude that it will have no impact on the national debt, our unfunded liabilities, or even the annual deficit for one year.

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The Restored American Dream, circa 2013

December 31st, 2012

I recently read a couple of articles which, although they validated my skepticism about government assistance, also deeply troubled me.

The first was an op-ed piece in the New York Times by liberal columnist Nicholas Kristoff, who I will give credit for occasionally acknowledging truths that go against the conventional wisdom of the circles in which he resides.

The last time he wrote something that validated conservatives and, I’m sure, exorcised liberals who are intellectually and emotionally incapable of positively crediting their ideological opposites, it was his confession that conservatives are indeed more generous with their time, talent and treasure when it comes to charitable giving than his fellow liberals.

In his more recent article, he confessed that many government programs designed to fight poverty have actually perpetuated it, and this revelation greatly disheartened him:

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Fatal Attraction – A Message for 2013

December 27th, 2012

As we approach the end of 2012, with a contentious electoral season behind us and a year of potential ahead of us, I want to try and address some strongly held notions in America’s black community that, if we are courageous enough to challenge them, could make 2013 a year of significant change not just for black Americans, but for all of us.

The prevailing attitude in the black community in the wake of President Obama’s reelection could be stated as follows: “We delivered for you, so now it’s time for you to deliver for us.” This attitude, in my opinion, is predicated on an unrealistic assumption of how politics works in the real world.

Frankly put, if politicians don’t have to work for your affections before the vote, they certainly aren’t obligated to reward you afterwards.

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What Happened to the New Negro?

December 23rd, 2012

This past summer, I was invited by Shawn Akers, the dean of the Helms School of Government here at Liberty University and my boss, to present a lecture during his public policy summer intensive at the Liberty University School of Law, the topic being race and politics. I enjoyed not just the experience of teaching and engaging some of the brightest young minds in the country, but the process of preparing for the lecture. I never fail to add to my repository of knowledge as I do my research, and my prayer is that the outcome enriches the students as much as the process enriches me.

One of the resources I consulted in preparation for the lecture was black historian Carter G. Woodson’s Miseducation of the Negro, first published in 1933. I first read it a few years ago after coming across some quotes from it which I found surprising, because they validated some positions I’ve held for most of my life regarding the state of black America.

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As Black As God Made Me

December 15th, 2012

The recent flap over whether or not Washington Redskins rookie quarterback and NFL phenom Robert Griffin III – RGIII – is “black enough” reminds me of the importance of being raised by good parents.

RGIII was raised by a mother and father who both served in the armed forces, and who instilled in him from the very beginning the values of self-discipline, hard work and striving for excellence in everything you do.

The success of his parents’ teaching is apparent not only on the football field, but in the public spotlight and in the classroom. He appears completely comfortable with expressing himself to the media, and speaks smoothly and confidently on any topic addressed to him.

His academic achievements, although less well known, speak for themselves.

He graduated from Baylor University in three years with a degree in political science, earning a 3.67 grade point average along the way. He immediately began work on his master’s degree in communications, and he simply has to complete a thesis or a graduate project in order to finish. In every respect, he is an accomplished young man and a role model, and I’m confident the only time he’ll appear before NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is to receive accolades for his conduct.

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Should Christians Go Galt?

November 28th, 2012

As a longtime observer of politics, I am just a little bemused by the hand-wringing and navel gazing taking place within Republican Party circles, simply because every party that loses an election immediately goes into panic mode, and they always propose some version of “moving to the center” and discarding the “extremists” at the fringe.

The Democrats went through a similar period of introspection after 12 years out of the White House, and again following the 1994 Republican Revolution that captured the U.S. House of Representatives after 40 years of Democratic Party control. They pilloried the “extremists” and said they needed to move to the center, thinking it was the key to their long-term political viability. The party labels may change, but the song remains the same.

I was discussing this cycle with a pastor friend of mine since many in the GOP have decided to turn on the social conservatives, the heart, soul, hands and feet of the party who are, for the most part, evangelical Christians.

“Maybe the voters would love us more if we abandoned the principles of our most loyal supporters adopted some of the positions of our opponents,” they opine. Well, that may not be how they would present their argument, but that is in fact what they are suggesting.

Strictly from a political perspective, this is ludicrous.

If voters are given a choice between committed Democrats and Republicans trying to be more like Democrats, guess who they’re going to pick?

The whole notion of an opposition party is to promote and defend an opposing worldview, and offer the electorate a choice. To those who think the GOP is going to see a surge of electoral support without the passion and principles of the social conservative movement, I say “Good luck with that.” Moderates generally don’t sacrifice their time, talents, and treasure the way social conservatives do – that’s why they’re called moderates – and, to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, if you think the GOP is a defeated party with social conservatives in it, wait until you see what it looks like without them.

The Democrats, after all, once thought they should discard their “extremists” if they were going to win, yet they currently hold the White House and the U.S. Senate with a platform that is more left of center than at any time in their history.

It is precisely the devotion and commitment of evangelicals to the political process, however, that has my pastor friend apoplectic, and he threw down a proposal to me so radical that I can’t help but share it.

In some respects, his proposal reminded me of John Galt, a key figure in Ayn Rand’s book, Atlas Shrugged, who grew tired of being used and demeaned by the state and the “takers” of society, and decided to lead a movement where he and producers like himself would go on strike, “stopping the motor of the world” and showing them the futility of a society without the creators, innovators and producers.

Conscientious Christians on both sides of the political aisle have been used by the political process for decades now, and if they are honest with themselves, none of the goals they sought to achieve through these earthly institutions have come to pass in any meaningful way.

Whether you declare yourself to be on the left and look to politics to care for the poor, the sick and the hungry, or you land on the right and expect politics to protect the unborn, affirm the family, and promote life, liberty and the fruits of one’s labor, if you are honest with yourself, you will admit that you’ve gotten very little return on your investment of time, skill, money and passion.

So, my pastor friend suggested that it’s time for Christians to remove themselves from politics altogether – no voting, no running for office, no time, money or talent toward achieving political success. They will continue to obey the law, but they will completely disengage from politics.

In other words, it’s time for Christians to “go Galt” on the political process.

Have I got your attention?

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