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Is Racism a Symptom or the Problem?

Providence Crowder

By Providence Crowder

In observing the recent hoopla over racist comments made by Los Angeles Clippers professional basketball franchise owner Donald Sterling in a private phone conversation, one thing remains painfully obvious about the state of our nation—race is still a toxic issue.

Even as toxic as it is, I want to take a moment to speak frankly about race, racism, and how I believe we as people should view the issue in order to become truly free—and move forward.  Not that my opinion means much, but I do have one.  Why does racism have such a powerful grip on the hearts and minds of people all over the world? What is wrong with people, and what is racism anyways? Read the rest of this page »

Watch Night Services: The Anticipation of Freedom

by Tommy Davis (davist1@tntemple.edu)

Traditional historians agree that the predominantly black church in America should remind itself of the horrors of slavery.  The atrocities experienced at the hands of Southern Democrats instigated a spiritual revolution among black Christians and brought about a passionate black church which recognized that God cared for them.

Contemporaries speculate why many black American Christians annually observe what is termed “Watch Night” services, a yearly religious observation to bring in the New Year.  The Watch Night tradition dates back to 1862 when Republican President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation that took effect on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached its third year of the bloody civil war. The proclamation declared that “all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.”

The Emancipation Proclamation was zealously anticipated. Historians pointed out that many black Americans gathered in groups around clocks or watches eagerly awaiting the arrival of midnight on December 31, 1862 because the Proclamation was to take effect on the first moment of January 1, 1863.[i]

Despite its extensive wording, the Emancipation Proclamation was restricted in many ways. It pertained only to states that had withdrawn from the Union, leaving slavery unaffected in the loyal border states. It also expressly relieved parts of the Confederacy that had already come under Northern control.

Although the Emancipation Proclamation did not instantaneously free a single slave, it fundamentally transformed the atmosphere of the war.  The slaves now recognized that they had no obligation to obey slaveholders.  Frederick Douglass, an abolitionist who escaped slavery in Maryland, proclaimed:

“About twelve o’clock, seeing there was no disposition to retire from the hall, which must be vacated, my friend Grimes…rose and moved that the meeting adjourn to the Twelfth Baptist Church, of which he was pastor, and soon the church was packed from doors to pulpit, and this meeting did not break up till near the dawn of day.  It was one of the most affecting and thrilling occasions I ever witnessed, and a worthy celebration of the first step on the part of the nation in its departure from the thralldom of the ages.”[ii]

Mr. Douglass and others had gathered at the Twelfth Baptist Church to continue enjoying the occasion of the new executive order.

After January 1, 1863, every progress of federal troops expanded the domain of liberty. Moreover, the Proclamation announced the acceptance of black men into the Union Army and Navy, enabling the liberated to become liberators.

From the first days of the Civil War, slaves had acted to secure their own liberty. The Emancipation Proclamation confirmed their insistence that the war for the Union must become a war for freedom.  As Frederick Douglass confirmed during the Watch Night service: “There was evidently no disposition on the part of this meeting to criticize the proclamation; nor was there with any one at first.  At the moment, we saw only its anti-slavery side.”[iii]   It added moral force to the Union cause and strengthened the Union both militarily and politically.  Again, Douglass noted that the Proclamation was “confined within certain geographical and military lines.”[iv]    As a signpost along the road to slavery’s final destruction, the Emancipation Proclamation has assumed a place among the great documents of human freedom.   It was the forerunner of the Republicans’ victory in passing the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1865—banning slavery in ALL America.

Thus, during Watch Night, black Americans should be reminded of this glorious event as observed by the pioneers of freedom from both corporal and spiritual bondage.  The Lord saw fit to answer the prayers of millions of slaves and those free persons who valued freedom for every one of their fellow men.


[i] David Barton, American History In Black & White (Aledo: Wallbuilders, 2004), 28

[ii] Frederick Douglass, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, p. 792

[iii] Ibid, p. 792

[iv] Ibid, p. 792

The Silent Church and Political Correctness

jeansuit crop

by Providence Crowder

I admit I am no fan of the current U.S. President or his administration. Personally I feel that the path that the Democrat Party and modern liberals are taking this nation on is a disastrous one. But, putting my personal political preferences aside, I recognize that as a Christian, our political systems and governments are severely flawed and dominated by sinful people with selfish motives. Christians are waged in spiritual warfare with the powers of darkness—and the sources of our national woes go beyond what any Democrat, Republican, Constitutionalist, or Libertarian can remedy.

We live in a world filled with crime and violence wrought by men and women consumed with hate and motivated by selfish pride. With brother wronging brother, neighbor offending neighbor, and nation pitted against nation, it seems, as philosopher Edmund Burke has suggested, that evil has prevailed while good men sat idly by and did nothing—and the little that was done was like trying to put out a forest fire with a glass of water.

With human trafficking, abortion, divorce, homelessness, poverty, fatherlessness, drug and alcohol abuse, and age, sex, and racial discriminations among the many social ills running rampant all over this nation and the world, one may reasonably ask—Where is God in all of this? Or better yet, where are God’s people, the ones that he has chosen in the world, in all of this? Read the rest of this page »

We Can Overcome

chappyby Tommy Davis

Race seems to be the controlling criterion in contemporary dialogue when it comes to evaluating relationships among black and white Americans.  Nothing is more harmful to the brainpower of black people than the elevation of the myth that one cannot thrive due to racism.  Undeniably, racism is a reality, but it has never been sufficient enough to prevent black Americans from gaining an economic advantage in a struggle to better ourselves.

In 1834, a group of Connecticut businessmen declared that the “white man cannot labor upon equal terms with the negro….the black can afford to offer his services at lower prices than the white man.”  Fugitive slaves had escaped there and opened businesses.  When slavery ended in 1865, blacks carried their work ethic into the free market.  Their white counterparts legislatively enacted discriminatory laws in an effort to stifle the competition from blacks.

Many 19th century black Americans wanted nothing more than the freedom to be productive.  A shared intellectual currency at the time motivated blacks to perform very well without viewing race as a disability.  In the 1870s, blacks occupied positions as lieutenant governor, mayor, sheriff, magistrates, treasurer, superintendent of education in five states including Republican Speakers of the House in Mississippi and South Carolina.

One day after Congress approved the Thirteenth Amendment ending slavery, Republican Senator Charles Sumner introduced a motion that made John Rock the first black attorney to be admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. He was already an American teacher, doctor, dentist, and abolitionist.  John Rock was also one of the first black Americans to earn a medical degree (1852).

It’s how we respond to experiences and learning that makes the difference.   In 1910, 71 percent of blacks over nine years of age were employed or operated family businesses.  This heightened racial tensions that prompted whites to burn down black business and suppress the black vote in an effort to gain economic ground.

We needed the government to protect our civil liberties rather than provide wealth.  When the 1964 Civil Rights Act came up for argument and a vote, Senator Olin Johnston, a Democrat from South Carolina said: “This is indeed the blackest day in the U.S. Senate since 1875, when Congress passed a civil rights bill similar to this one.  It was 89 years ago that the [Republican] Congress passed the nefarious Reconstruction era civil rights laws, identical with what we are now discussing….”     It was Republican William McCullough who stated in supporting the bill:  “I believe in the right of each individual to have his constitutional rights guaranteed.  On the other hand, he must always be prepared to shoulder the obligations and assume the burdens of citizenship….”

Rev. Tommy Davis is a full time chaplain in upstate New York

Abolitionism and the Evangelical Heritage

Providence Crowder

by Providence Crowder

Author Donald W. Dayton produced a remarkable historical summary of America’s evangelical[1] legacy in his work entitled, “Discovering an Evangelical Heritage.” This book provides compelling evidence that confirms “the Christian witness” has a powerful impact upon society when the gospel is put into action.  Unlike contemporary evangelicalism, which by and large evades questions of social responsibility,[2] Dayton sets out to prove that the evangelical heritage left by nineteenth century evangelicals such as Catherine Booth and Charles G. Finney demonstrated that the gospel and social responsibility were once intimately integrated.  He provides thrilling accounts of how the nineteenth century evangelical “abolitionists”[3] understood that to right societal wrongs, social injustice demanded a radical and Christian response.  The abolitionist movement was chiefly political and religious; abolitionists believed that slavery was a sin.  Through moral suasion, they set out to change laws in an effort to permanently abolish it. Read the rest of this page »

If Abortion Were Made Illegal Again, Should A Woman Who Commits An Abortion Be Punished?

I AM AN ABOLITIONIST!

by Providence Crowder

Some pro-life advocates evade the question, “How should a woman who commits abortion be punished if abortion were made illegal?” They avoid this question because the pro-lifer’s position is that we do not judge or seek to punish women in crisis situations — but rather to “preserve the life of the child, to extend compassion, and to provide emotional, spiritual, and physical support” to women and families facing unplanned pregnancies. 

Abortion proponents intentionally word the question this way in order to corner abortion abolitionists into conceding that abolitionists seek to “punish” women.   Regardless of their antics, abortion abolitionists should not avoid this question because answering this question objectively does not pose any moral dilemmas or contradictions to the abolitionist because how, or whether one is punished or not, for committing the act of abortion does not change the outcome of what abortion is or what abortion does—abortion destroys lives.  The result of an induced abortion is always a dead baby and a trail of brokenness.   

Abortion proponents ask:  If abortion is murder, then should a woman who commits abortion be punished as a murder?  They also argue that if an abortion abolitionist does not agree that a woman should be punished as a murderer, then his or her argument about abortion is inconsistent.  They reason that if we believe that abortion is in fact murder, then why do we not believe that women should be punished as murderers.  To answer their question of how abortion should be punished, I will refer to the history of abortion in this nation.  Read the rest of this page »

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