Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Coulter's Attack on Single Moms

I had to give the sisters a standing ovation. The women of “The View” put their foot so far up Ann Coulter’s behind she’s still screaming for someone to pull them out.

For those who missed it, Coulter appeared on “The View” to discuss her new book “Guilty: Liberal Victims and Their Assault on America”. It didn’t take long for things to get out of control. “We’ve all been discussing your book on camera,” Barbara Walters said in her introduction of Coulter.

“Yes, I’ve heard,” Coulter said, interrupting Walters.

“Good, you should be pleased,” Walters snapped back, which silenced Coulter.

From there Whoopi Golberg pressed a discussion on Coulter’s view of single mothers. “What is your issue with single mothers?” Whoopi Goldberg inquired.

After a lengthy rant, Coulter then took issue with the manner in which Hollywood is portraying women having children out of marriage. “It’s the new thing, as opposed to the sex tape,” Coulter said of single moms. “Hollywood, mainstream media, the New York Times, women’s magazines, exalting single motherhood, movie after movie about single motherhood, book after book, sisters are doing it for themselves.”

Goldberg stopped Coulter in the middle of her assault against single moms,“ Are you married? Do you have kids?”

“No, but it wouldn’t change the difference of the facts I cite,” Coulter said, referring to the claims she makes in her book.

“Well, it would,” Goldberg countered. “If you had children, you would know more of what you’re talking about.”

Coulter then accused Walters of reading her book like it was something Adolf Hitler had written.
I’ve never heard my book read aloud, like you’re reading Mein Kampf, and I just did,” Coulter told Walters, referring to Hitler’s manifesto. “Read it like you’re reading Mein Kampf again!”

“I don’t think I did,” Walters said.

“I think you did,” Coulter snapped. “You spat out the words, like I wasn’t sitting here.”

“I don’t appreciate the way you’re talking to her,” Sherri Shepherd told Coulter defending Walters. “Nobody is attacking you. You don’t have to talk to her like that!”

“They are killing her...she just as well lay down in a grave somewhere and consider herself "DEAD"......Wow....her picture in the dictionary right beside the definition of 'JERK',” one of my friends responded in an email.

I enjoyed the way they poked holes in Coulter’s claim. I stood in pride as they put an old school whipping on Coulter and her conservative perspective. I made an assumption that only Rush Limbaugh and his locked in the past disciples would resent the women of “The View” and side with Coulter. Boy, was I wrong.

Something must have gone bad in the water. I turned on the radio this morning to listen to Russ Parr and his morning crew. The subject was Ann Coulter. I had to pull my car over as I listened to caller after caller agree with her views. I checked my radio. Did I have the wrong freaking station? Nope. Parr’s voice confirmed I was dialed in at 97.5 FM.

One caller chastised those single moms for sleeping with no count men, having their babies while assuming they could change the no good baby daddy. Another caller slammed the single mamas for raising sons to become thugs and crooks. His claim- a woman can’t raise a boy by herself. No one should be allowed to come into this world without a daddy, and it’s the fault of those women who had sex with the bums.

I expected my sisters to come to the rescue. They were just as bad. One caller attacked single moms for the misery they cause society. “They have babies then go to file for child support. They shouldn’t have babies if they’re not ready to have them…”

I was exhausted by it all. Instead of beating on women who do their best with what they have been given, we should be blasting all of the dead beat dads out there for refusing to be more than a child support payment-if that. I understand the argument coming from a white woman with no children, no husband, no life and no compassion. I get why Coulter feels the way she does, but someone help me, please help me, uncover how so many black folks got trapped into embracing that brand of thinking?

Have we forgotten how the entire village came together to raise June Bug and Juicy Fruit? What happened to the community that came together to add love when Baby Jane made a mistake and got pregnant. My problem with all of the black folks who threw the first stone is in how their claim negates the strength of black love. It places the life of each child back in the hands of the baby mama, and forgets how we, as a community, came to the rescue when Papa was a rolling stone.

I despise the way we attack the single mom because it leaves her alone to do what each of us should do. Single moms should never be single moms. Not when there is a church around the corner, and the next corner and the next. Not when you have a family of brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins and friends. Not when you have a mother, father, grandparents and play mamas and papas to fill the voids. We should never throw those stones at a single mama when there is a village to step in to raise the children.

I can’t blame Coulter for being stuck in the insight of conservative America. I have no problem with a person who hasn’t experienced the love of a community when a baby is born without a mother and father in the home. I understand why she would think all of the woes of society can be attributed to the death of the traditional family structure. There are some statistics to validate her point. I won’t argue against that, but I will blast any black person who chimes the tune of conservative rhetoric.

There’s a phrase used to express feelings related to such folks. Negro Please.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

More than Our Praise

I just completed a lengthy conversation regarding the state of the Black church in Durham, North Carolina. Every year, the folks who attend Black churches in Durham gather for a citywide revival. My friend asked if I would attend. Why not? I am the pastor of one of those churches. I told him I can’t stomach the emotions that come after I walk away from witnessing the faithful play games with God.

Don’t take this the wrong way. I love the worship of my people. The love the rhythm of the music and the stirring of the crowd that comes after each “Amen”. I love the call for justice to roll down like the river and the release of pain that comes with each “Thank you Jesus!”

I haven’t given up on black faith. I’m simply disappointed in how we have strayed from the principals that led us to this historical moment. I’m discouraged by how we’ve watched our communities deteriorate as larger temples are built in the midst of boarded up houses and drug infested neighborhoods. I shared with him the frustration I carry due to listening and watching as people seek ways to overcome the cycle of pain that has stripped them of all hope. I shared how I feel when I sit and watch, listen and wait for proof that our claims match our actions.

“But you have been on the top,” he reminded me of my former days as pastor of the Orange Grove Baptist Church-one of Durham’s leading black congregations. You know what it’s like to be one of the leading pastors in the city. You know it’s not all the fault of the leaders”

“I do,” I responded. “That’s why it hurts so much. It hurts because I have learned the lesson due to my own mistakes. I’ve learned that we have established institutions that pimp the people, and, in the process, create huge gaps between those who have and those who seek to find their way.”

I did my best to help him understand my position. For the past month I have grieved due to what I perceive to be dying faith among so many. I’ve listened as countless people share with me their issues with organized religion. I hear them talk about why they refuse to participate in the church of my mother and father. Something is missing. In the past, I perceived this as an excuse coming from those unwilling to change their ways. I would pray for God to touch them, teach them and lead them. My thoughts have shifted.

Some of what I feel may be correlated to my own struggles with that old time religion. I will confess I have deep wounds resulting from the insensitivity and callous ways of those who cast me out. I’ve prayed for God to release the anger I carried. In time I have discovered that my issues go much deeper than what has happened to me. What miffs me is about how our clinging to our past prevents us from seeing what God has for our future. There is something missing-something significant and critical-that demands our attention. People are hurting. People need comfort and peace. People need direction.

What does all of this mean about me? Sadly, it is getting harder for me to align myself with those who call themselves Christian. Why? Because I hurt for those who have been harmed by the language of misguided faith. I feel for my gay and lesbian friends who can’t find a home to worship while being open about their relationship. I ache for those who listen to the venom coming from pulpits while they only seek to find their own way to God.

I’ve cried all week over the death of men, women and children in Gaza. I trimmer whenever I hear a minister talk about God’s will related to war. I’m angry at the waving of flags in God’s name, and the promotion of an agenda as a holy war. I’m fed up with narrow minded Christians that launch words of hate rather than walking in love.

I’m tired of the lies and rebuke. I’m past being tired at the competition among the faithful to build a mega movement and the theologically unsound sermons that keep people in bondage. We need something different. Something empowering and transformative. Something more than words on a Sunday morning and a few programs that make us feel better each week.

We need to reach this generation that has given up on living spiritually. Can’t you see them as they walk away? Can’t you see them looking for other ways to deal with spiritual matters?
I tried to get my friend to see it. Maybe it’s too soon for his eyes to be opened. Or, maybe it’s just me.