Race: the Power of an Illusion
During the last decade of the 19th century nearly 80% of eligible Alabamians, white and black, were voting. This changed dramatically when in 1901 a hundred and fifty-five delegates, all white and all male, met in Montgomery for a constitutional convention. They produced the sixth Alabama State Constitution. It was designed to disenfranchise blacks and poor whites and to consolidate power in the hands of a few wealthy citizens. In the vote for ratification, 3/4 of the state voted no. But the vote in the 12 plantation counties of south central Alabama was so overwhelmingly in favor that the proposed Constitution was ratified with 108,613 for and 81,734 against. This is very suspicious since the population of these counties was primarily black. It would seem these people voted to disenfranchise themselves!
The Alabama State Constitution needs to be rewritten because:
For more information contact Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform
In the last several years, Alabama has sentenced more people to death per capita than any other state in the United States. In 2005, we sentenced more people to death than Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee combined.
Alabama is one of the few states, which have no public defenders office. The state pays a pittance to court appointed attorneys who have to meet very low standards in order to qualify. If you are poor and accused of a capital offense you will most likely end up on death row. Alabama is the only state in the country that refuses to provide post conviction legal assistance. We are also the only state, which allows judges to override jury verdicts of life without parole and impose death sentences.
Health Care Reform
Good health is the will of God for each and every one of God’s children. Death, disease, and pain did not exist in the garden of Eden, and Revelation tells of a “new heaven and new earth,” where once again they will not exist.
In the fallen world in which we live, injury and sickness are a fact of life; physical death on this earth will never be overcome. But scripture paints a clear picture that health was God’s intent from the beginning and will be the goal once again in the end. This means that on a personal, national, and global level the physical well-being of all God’s children is close to God’s heart -- and should be close to ours as well.
There is no religious mandate for a specific, God-ordained system of health care or insurance. No amount of biblical exegesis will lead you to a policy conclusion about health care savings accounts, personal versus employer-provided insurance, single-payer public systems, or private insurance plans. Luke might have been a physician, but he never commented on whether or not computerizing medical records should be a national priority.
But these policy questions are still of vital importance. And, as they will be debated in the coming months at the White House, in Congress, and in the press, they should also be discussed in our churches. With an issue like health -- deeply personal but of great public concern -- the faith community has a unique and important role to play: to define and raise the moral issues that lie at the root of the policy debate.
There will be much heat, and maybe even a few fires, over policy specifics. The faith community has the opportunity to remind our political and national leaders about why these issues are so important -- why they speak to our values.
We need to stop framing our message about Immigration from a national security perspective, and instead, from the perspective of the suffering of immigrants and their families under the current broken system. Framing our message and necessary reforms from the viewpoint of immigrants is to better reflect the witness of Jesus, who was incarnate among the most vulnerable, and who has taught us that in welcoming the stranger, we welcome him. Our calling, in its simplest form, is to defend immigrants and their families, not the state.
Immigrants are not threats to our nation so that we should recoil in fear and ask for greater militarism on our borders. Immigrants are not mere objects of evangelistic crusades so that we can assimilate them into a culture and society while keeping them powerless. Immigrants are people who have families and are trying to make a better life for themselves.
Inheriting the Trade
In 2001, at age forty-seven, Thomas Norman DeWolf was astounded to discover that he was related to the most successful slave-trading family in
When Katrina Browne, Tom DeWolf’s distant cousin, learned about their family's history, she resolved to confront it head-on, producing and directing a documentary feature film, Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North.
Inheriting the Trade is Tom DeWolf's powerful and disarmingly honest memoir of the journey in which ten family members retrace the steps of their ancestors and uncover the hidden history of