Wednesday, September 21, 2016

For my white friends outraged or embarrassed by the riots in Charlotte: Do something...

Martin Luther King Jr. Public Domain.
In times like this it becomes clear who is "more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity." Regardless of the facts in this particular case, it is time for white Americans to recognize that we have a serious problem that requires empathy, knowledge, and constructive actions - not implicit bias and selective outrage. More transparency would be a good place to start: North Carolina should repeal HB 972

Your outrage, just like the violent "language of the unheard," is not helpful. Contact your state and federal legislators. Vote. Get more engaged in your local community. Do something...
"I will continue to condemn riots, and continue to say to my brothers and sisters that this is not the way. And continue to affirm that there is another way. But at the same time, it is necessary for me to be vigorous in condemning the conditions which cause persons to feel that they must engage in riotous activities as it is for me to condemn riots. I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the [African American] poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity. And so in a real sense our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention."
- Martin Luther King Jr.

ACLU Action Alert: Ask Charlotte Mayor Roberts and Police Chief Putney to release footage of Keith Lamont Scott’s killing.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Nobody is attempting to "define permissible categories of religious speech" in Rowan County?

In a divided 2-1 ruling, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit just reversed the lower court ruling from last year that found Christian-only, Commissioner-led prayers in Rowan County unconstitutional. The ACLU will be appealing today's decision to the full Forth Circuit.

As these are always "fact-sensitive cases," I want to draw your attention to this quote from the Forth Circuit's majority opinion released today:
"The Board's practice here, where each commissioner gives their own prayer without oversight, input, or direction by the Board simply does not present the same concerns of the 'government' [attempting] to define permissible categories of religious speech."
Now try to square that with this quote from Rowan Commissioner Jon Barber when the Commissioners starting praying behind closed doors in 2013 in reaction to the lawsuit:
"The holy bible reflects the views of this Board of Commissioners."
And as David Gibbs III, lead attorney for Rowan County commissioners, told a crowd at a "Return America" rally later in 2013, you just can't have a prayer without Jesus because...
"If you have prayer without Jesus, you just formed a non-Jesus religion."
I'm sure glad nobody is attempting to define permissible categories of religious speech in Rowan County. Note that Greece v Galloway was a 5-4 decision, so the next U.S. President will appoint the deciding vote in cases like this in the future...

Ron Baity, president of Return America. Photo Credit: Winston-Salem Journal.
More information:
Update: ACLU (1 Nov 2016) — “The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit announced yesterday that the full court would reconsider [this] September 2–1 panel decision…”

Friday, September 2, 2016

New available posts on Medium

I decided to try out Medium. I really like the simplicity of editing and publishing with their platform, but the search indexing and reach of my posts have not been too stellar so far. So I'm still undecided...

Here are my Medium posts to-date, which I will not be duplicating here: