As Deacon of Multicultural Ministry in a well-established Charlotte church, I take my mission very seriously. Yet as a Christian traumatized by the overt racism in my land, I often don’t know where to begin. One year ago I could … Continue reading →
When President Donald Trump chose Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA to deliver a graduation speech, the school’s leaders were elated.
According to University President Jerry Falwell, Jr., President Trump is a “dream president” for evangelicals.
Not all of the 65,000 “distance learners” would agree, including Ivan Herrán, a church deacon and facilitator for incoming community college students. Ivan has not found the Trumpian message or agenda particularly helpful to the Hispanic community.
In addition to working full-time, Ivan has earned a Biblical studies and counseling degree from Liberty, and will attend the 2017 graduation. The irony of having President Trump as his graduation speaker has not gone unnoticed.
Washington Post contributor Daniel W. Drezner may have gotten well over his skis when tweeting that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had referred to immigrants entering from Mexico as “filth”, in the prepared transcript for his border speech.
Drezner later retracted his statement with an apology for not correctly noting the context in which the phrase was originally intended. Sessions, for whatever reason, did not give voice to what he had written, and dropped the “filth” reference from his public proclamation.
When speaking before white folk, our black citizenry often feel forced to de-emphasize the fact and effects of our history regarding the “slave caste” upon which our new nation rested.
Their concern — that white folks are often in denial and just don’t want to hear about it — has validity. However, it is possible for one to be too accommodating.
Dr. Ben Carson, our new African American Secretary of HUD, shocked our country this week with his assertion that his ancestors were somehow inconvenienced immigrants nonetheless motivated by the American Dream.
When Candidate Trump declared undocumented Mexican immigrants to be dangerous drug-dealers and rapists — dangerous people who must be quickly removed, a southern Illinois town didn’t flinch. With the promise of jobs, coal production and the overturn of Roe v Wade, it never occurred to them that the cost of accepting possibly unfulfilled promises was one of the city’s greatest assets — a beloved Mexican restaurant manager.
Larry is committed to the “Greater We”, embracing and celebrating our nation’s diverse backgrounds and cultural histories.
However, raised during the 50’s and 60’s, strict racial segregation was a way of life in the South.
As Black History Month ends, Larry recalls a time of “we-they thinking” in this honest, confessional reflection of his formative years, believing that there is much to be learned from the past, as long as we are not willing to repeat it.
We all would like for the immigration issue to have a simple solution. Must literally millions of people live in fear? Dare we throw away an entire generation of US citizens, who in the minds of many are worth-less and therefore disposable?
Larry doesn’t have all the answers, but he in committed to allow the teachings of Jesus to inform his viewpoint, as he daily seeks to embrace the immigrant communities that he has come to love, and invest in the young US born bilinguals — citizens who have so much to offer.
For years now Larry has been writing about the increasing negative sentiment directed at our Latino residents. In 2012 he wrote:
“We can say what we will about immigration law, but that doesn’t do much to free me from a haunting fear that I cannot dispel. With every new immigration effort targeting Hispanic immigrants, I feel it a little more. It’s like a noose slowly tightening.”
Hispanics often celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day as a Day of Love and Friendship. How ironic is the February 14, 2017 Charlotte Observer headline. A former supporter of George W. Bush’s compassionate conservatism, Larry knows that a nation of laws must be a nation of compassionate law.
Larry was once taught that the institutional church and the kingdom of God were the same. Experience, however, has taught him differently. Larry grew up during racial segregation. Being a church leader involved in Hispanic outreach has resurfaced old questions about social responsibility.
A portrait of Andrew Jackson now keeps a watchful eye in the Oval Office, often appearing over President Trump’s left shoulder. White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon likes to cast the president as Jacksonian.
Jackson, well-known for his forcible removal of large numbers of American residents, made no secret of his belief in white supremacy.
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