Category Archives: OP ED

OBSERVATIONS OF THE MOORE MESS

The image of the State of Alabama has been irreparably damaged by the Roy Moore mess. Our state has become the butt of jokes by late night talk show hosts, and the press. This will hurt the State both now and in the future. Business and industry will not want to locate in such a state and many of our brightest and best will not want to be identified as Alabamians.

We can observe many ugly things in this mess, some of which exists in other states.

  • We are a divided state. Different mentalities exist. There is a rural vs urban mentality, and educated vs uneducated mentality, a fortress mentality and a hero mentality. The fortress mentality exists among small groups believing that they must stick together and take up for each other. They believe they are right and all others are wrong, and that people are out to get them. Most of their enemies are only imagined. They call that paranoia. Some people are always looking for heroes. Why do you think Roy Moore dresses like a cowboy, and flashes his little pistol? These are shades of John Wayne and Roy Rogers. The era of the cowboy passed long ago. Cowboy heroes were mostly creations of Hollywood.
  • Trump style corruption has been contagious. Moore supporters take the position that the press is against them, taking up one of Trump’s terms, they call the media “Fake News.” Like Trump, they want to control the news. They come out, read statements expressing their opinions, and quickly escape refusing to answer questions from the press. That’s not fair or just. Perhaps the press should stipulate “we will not cover your event unless you answer our questions.”
  • Some religious leaders shame the faith. They undoubtedly have become a part of partisan politics and the fortress mentality, and they love to see themselves on TV. They manage to position themselves behind or alongside major speakers where everyone can see them Shame on them. People of real faith do not use God to further their purposes. They allow God to use them to further His.
  • Some people put party before principle. With them, it’s my party, right or wrong. If he is a Republican, I must support him. That is not true. That same kind of belief brought Adolph Hitler to power. Do the right thing!

It was surprising to hear Governor Kay Ivey say she believed the women who accused Moore of harassing and molesting them, but she had to support Moore because he is a Republican, and the Republicans need one more senator. She lost the respect of many Alabamians when she said that. Some people have forgotten who the real victims in this mess are. Roy Moore is not one. If you feel sorry for him, your sympathy is misplaced. His past is simply catching up with him.

The real victims are the women and young girls that he groped or molested. If you are a parent of young girls, ask yourself how would you feel if some man did to one of your children what women are testifying that Roy Moore did to them.

This mess needs to be settled and settled quickly—not in the court of public opinion, but in a court of law. But let’s be sure the judge is fair and impartial, not one who puts his/her political party above the law.

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MEMORIAL DAY’S MISSING NOTE

It’s good to remember and honor those who died in our many wars. However, as some of us know, the good is often the enemy of the best. We have recently observed Memorial Day. Through television, we have seen memorial services, both large and small, near and far. Through thousands of speeches, we have been encouraged to remember the fallen. Yet, there has been one supremely important note missing from most speeches.

Perhaps, if we are open-minded enough, we can learn from the Civil Rights Movement how to memorialize people. They fought a war for justice, equality and fairness. They fought it by using nonviolence. Yet, that war cost them dearly in terms of pain, suffering, and death. They built memorials to their heroes; people like Martin Luther King, Jr., Medgar Evers, Fred Shuttlesworth, and many, many others who were a part of the struggle for civil and human rights. You only have to visit the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum to see many of the relics of that struggle. One of the best displays is the burned Greyhound bus, from which freedom riders (who were nothing but young college students, both black and white, male and female) were pulled out of the bus by an angry mob and unmercifully beaten.

Across the street from the museum is the 16th Street Baptist Church where you’ll find a memorial for four little girls who were murdered in Sunday School by a bomb planted by a hate-filled racist.  In the park directly in front of the museum, you can see the bronze statues of vicious dogs and water cannons that were used on the demonstrators, including the children. Those memorials and speakers who speak about those days normally don’t leave out the most important note, which is a statement, a statement that says loudly and clearly, “Never again! Never again!”  Never again white-only schools, white-only restrooms, white-only water fountains, white-only movies, white-only restaurants. Never again being forced to sit on the back of the bus. Never again being denied the right to vote by racist trickery or racist redistricting. Never again having to get off the sidewalk for white people. Never again!

Shouldn’t this same missing note be sounded loudly and clearly for those who honor our war dead?  Those who died in the War Between the States, World War I, World War II, the Korean Conflict, Viet Nam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and on and on the list goes. Don’t we have enough white crosses in our cemeteries? Don’t we have enough people without arms or legs? Don’t we have enough veterans so terribly shocked by the gruesome horror of war that they can’t function in society? Isn’t it time we say never again to war?  Isn’t it time we learned to solve our differences without constantly going to war? Shouldn’t we be saying at our war memorials, never again!

I know some of you are thinking we’ve got to defend our country and our freedom. The sad truth to that widely-believed statement is that no country in the world has been a serious threat to the United States of America or to our freedom since December 7, 1941. Shouldn’t we be saying loudly and clearly, never again!

Robert G. Wilkerson, D.Min., is a minister, writer and co-founder of People For the Christian Way. drbobwilkerson@bellsouth.net. PeoplefortheChristianWay.com

Reasons Churches Shouldn’t Be Taxed

 

A growing number of people in America seem to be church haters.  Their main spoken objections to churches is that they are tax exempt. However, there are at least five reasons why they should be exempt.

  1. Churches do not sell a product.
  2. They exist only on donations. The money given has already been taxed.
  3. They perform acts of charity. They feed, clothe, counsel, educate, and provide shelter, housing, and medical care for the poor and needy. They provide children’s homes and orphanages. They provide shelter and food for the homeless and helpless. Church members continuously give millions of unpaid, volunteer hours to hospitals and nursing homes. It is impossible to list all the good that is done by churches and their people. In recent years, churches have formed disaster relief teams and go into areas after floods, tornadoes, and other things and provide help that the government doesn’t. The Saddleback Church went into Louisiana after the Katrina disaster. They sent 17 semi truckloads of food, diapers, and formula to help the needy. Each Monday, they help 300-400 families with bags of groceries and do many other charitable things.
  4. Any organization that exists off donations and does charitable work qualifies for tax exemption. If you take away that exemption from churches, fairness dictates that all charitable organizations should lose their exemptions as well. Wouldn’t that be a sad day?
  5. They make valuable contributions to society. Churches, synagogues, and mosques, through their teachings of the Law (The 10 Commandments), and love (the teachings of Jesus) contribute to the order and stability of society. Without such invisible under girding, people revert to the law of the jungle.

Robert Wilkerson is a minister, Christian writer and co-founder of People For the Christian Way.

 

 

GAMBLING: AN OUTRAGEOUS PROPOSAL

cartoon_indo_288254dIt is outrageous that gambling is being considered for legalization in this state. Have our political leaders sunk so low they are willing to use the methods associated with, and dominated by, criminals and organized crime to bring in money? Gambling should be against the law and looked upon as a crime. It has been shown that legalizing gambling does not limit it. On the contrary, organized crime and criminal activity thrive where gambling is legalized.
Gambling corrupts government—the large sums of money generated by gambling are often used to bribe state and local officials, and to put people into office who favor it. A New York Times editorial noted, “Gambling is a business so rich, so fast, so powerful, and perhaps inevitably so unsavory, that it cannot help but undermine government.”
In addition to the corruption, gambling hurts a state’s economy. It takes money that could be invested, loaned, used to start businesses, etc., and puts it in the pockets of multimillionaire owners of gambling establishments.
Not only does it hurt the economy, it hurts the people. It is a reverse Robin Hood, taking money from the poor and giving it to the rich. One New York gambling agent said, “Seventy percent of those who gamble with me are poor, Black, or Hispanic.” Two businesses that thrive in gambling areas are pawn shops and quick loan operations.
Gambling can be addictive like drugs and alcohol. There are over 12 million compulsive gamblers in America today, 96% started before they were fourteen years old. Even now, it is growing in popularity among young people. Youth aren’t the only ones affected by gambling. It has a destructive effect the family. It often produces bankruptcy, strife, and divorce.
Gambling is directly opposed to the Judeo-Christian ethic, and is contrary to biblical principles. Gambling promotes materialism—the Bible opposes it. Gambling encourages people to risk what they have in the hope of getting lucky. On the other hand, the Bible teaches honest work, integrity, savings, and benevolence.
Gambling should be vigorously opposed by all people of the Judeo-Christian faith, if for no other reason than the effect it will have on the weaker brother and the community.
If you truly love your state, you will do all you can to keep gambling out, and to unseat those who are advocating its spread.

Robert Wilkerson, DMin, is a writer, minister, and public speaker. He is president of People for the Christian Way and lives in Birmingham, Alabama. drbobwilkerson@bellsouth.net.

VOTE “NO” ON AMENDMENT ONE

Amendment Number One on the November 4th ballot prohibits Alabama Courts from considering foreign, international, or religious law, which in turn could interfere with the freedom of many religious groups. Alabamians who believe in religious freedom should vote against it because:
• It would make it against the law for some religious leaders to perform marriages according to their own religious traditions.
• It poses potential threats to international adoptions, marriages performed overseas, and could cause nightmares over questions of property rights.
• It could be applied to the by-laws and rules churches use to hire and ordain, and restrict how they govern themselves.
• It would contradict Federal and international laws concerning the rights of persons married in other states and countries. This would lead to many unnecessary lawsuits for which taxpayers would be forced to pay the legal costs.
• It is unnecessary. The Supremacy Clause in Article 6, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution states, “The U.S. Constitution, federal statues, and treaties are the supreme law of the land” and therefore take precedence over any foreign laws.
• As Americans, we believe in freedom of religion, not just ours, but others as well. As Christians, we believe we should “love our neighbors as ourselves.” This amendment does not reflect either belief.
• It is a violation of an old established truism: “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.”
The real danger in this bill is that it is an intrusion on religious freedom. It may be someone else’s religion today, but once the precedent is set, it could be yours. Vote “NO!”

ATTACK ADS/8 REASONS TO REJECT THEM

It’s the political season again, and we are being bombarded by attack ads, many of which are so gross they insult our intelligence. Whether they insult us or not, for any ethical person and surely even more for people of faith, there are eight reasons we should reject attack ads.

1. They are filled with lies, exaggerations, and misrepresentations.
2. They rely upon the public’s ignorance of the candidates and the issues.
3. They appeal to the worst side of human nature, hoping to hit hot buttons and stir anger, and resentment that will destroy their opponent’s chances to win.
4. They are unethical.
5. They are immoral.
6. They are unfair; the ones under attack have no opportunity to defend themselves.
7. They contribute to the public’s loss of confidence in all politicians, and sadly, to the political process itself.
8. They are not Christian. Christians are “not to be deceived, but to speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:14-15).

Christian citizenship obligates us to vote and vote intelligently. Unfortunately, attack ads do not help us in this respect. “Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed” (Proverbs 12:19).

7 REASONS PRAYER SHOULD NOT BE IN SCHOOLS

I. It would violate the Constitution. Although the words “separation of church and state” do not appear, that document clearly calls for the separation of church and state. Those who wrote it knew history. They knew how horrible and oppressive life could be when the two were not separated. All attempts to circumvent this provision have been struck down by the courts and will continue to be.

II. It would not be fair or just. Most of those advocating prayer in schools are advocating Christian prayer. If Christian prayer were to be allowed, then prayers of other religions (Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu, etc.) would have to be allowed as well. They are citizens and pay taxes that build, operate, and maintain schools; therefore, they have equal rights.

III. It would be a terrible burden on the schools. Teaching and monitoring religion is not the purpose of public schools, and they are not trained or equipped to do it.
IV. The places for prayer and religious instruction are the home, the church, the synagogue, the Mosque, etc. It is the parent’s responsibility to education their children in religious matters, not the schools.

V. The advocates of prayer in schools may have less than Christian reasons for their advocacy; reasons like getting elected or re-elected to public office by sincere, but uninformed voters.

VI. Jesus Christ would not vote for prayer in public schools. He never forced himself, his teachings, or his prayers on anyone.

VII. Prayer still exists in the schools, but it exists quietly and privately in the hearts and minds of the students and staff. As one young girl told me one day—“Prayer will never be taken out of schools as long as there are final exams.”