New Laws, Shifting Demographics

New Laws, Shifting Demographics

NEW YORK PRIDE: Marchers in the weekend NYC Gay Pride Parade celebrated New York's legalization of same-sex marriage.

Calls and emails to numerous New York clergy went unanswered over the weekend as Urban Faith sought reaction to the passage of a bill that makes same-sex marriage legal in the state. Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law after it was passed by the Republican-led state senate Friday.

Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage  (NOM) told the Wall Street Journal the move was a “disaster for the Republican party,” and said NOM will spend $2 million to defeat legislators who voted for it.

Former New York Giants wide receiver David Tyree was widely criticized last week for speaking out in opposition to the bill in a video for NOM. Tyree said it is “doing God an injustice by not making his heart known” on the issue, and was especially taken to task for suggesting that if a gay marriage bill passes in New York, it will be “the beginning of our country sliding toward … anarchy.

In some truly disheartening relationship news, a new Pew Research Center study indicates that while only 9 percent of Americans said more interracial relationships are bad for society, 16 percent of white evangelicals did and 13 percent of white mainline Protestants, Christianity Today reported.

“The views of white Christians stand in stark contrast to two other groups: black Protestants and those with no religion. Only 3 percent of either group said interracial marriage was bad for society. Eight-in-ten respondents said the trend ‘doesn’t make much difference.’  Those who are not religious were more optimistic, with 38 percent saying it was good for society,” the article said.

Meanwhile, Terry Shropshire began a Rollingout.com review of Ralph Richard Banks’ new book Is Marriage for White People? How the African American Marriage Decline Affects Everyone with this stinging rebuke:

“Malcolm X once warned African Americans that no one can exploit and hate on black people with the dexterity, efficiency and ruthlessness as other blacks. Case in point: a black Stanford law professor is gainfully profiteering off the collective marriage misery of middle-class African American women with a blog-level, contemptible book.”

The book advises black women to find love by marrying white men.

“While some intelligent points were sprinkled into the book at irregular intervals, overall, it answers none of the questions and relies on haphazard, shabby research and unsubstantiated theories wrapped in hollow, sophisticated rhetoric to make you give it a good look,” Shropshire concluded.

In other news, black leaders met last week in Washington to call for an end to the 40 year war on drugs, the Seattle Medium reported.

“This is a crime against humanity. [The] War on drugs is a war on Black and Brown and must be challenged by the highest levels of our government in the war for justice,” keynote speaker Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. told more than 200  people gathered at the Institute of the Black World event, the statistic and solution filled article said.

Among the statistics cited were these: “African-Americans are 62 percent of drug offenders sent to state prisons, yet they represent only 12 percent of the U. S. population” and “black men are sent to state prisons on drug charges at 13 times the rate of white men.”

Among the solutions offered are these: “Ask Congress to create new and fully-funded drug treatment facilities rather than more prisons,” and “Encourage and support religious leaders to assist incarcerated persons and providing community and moral leadership.”

In related news, dark-skinned black women receive considerably harsher sentences than light-skinned black women in the North Carolina prison system, a new study conducted by researchers at Villanova University found.

“Black women who were perceived to have a light skin tone were sentenced to considerably more lenient sentences, roughly 12 percent less time in prison than those with a dark skin tone,” The Grio reported.

“The current study adds to a growing body of colorism research that underscores the complexity of racism in our society,” one of its authors told the outlet.

One can only hope that shifting demographic realities will erase this prejudice.

A preview of the final 2010 census report indicates that minorities make up a majority of babies in the U.S. for the first time, but it also reveals that more African-American households are now headed by women — mostly single mothers — than by married couples, the Associated Press reported.

“Demographers say the numbers provide the clearest confirmation yet of a changing social order, one in which racial and ethnic minorities will become the U.S. majority by midcentury,” the article said.

Perhaps when that happens undocumented immigrants like Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas will have an easier path to citizenship. In a first-person essay in the New York Times, Vargas told his story of being sent from the Philippines to live with his grandparents in the United States when he was 12 years old. He described how his grandfather, educators, and employers at The Washington Post and The Huffington Post helped him keep his secret. Media critic Jack Shafer questioned the ethics of Vargas’ actions first on Twitter, then in his column at Slate.

All these stories involve complex spiritual and moral challenges that the church must continue to wrestle with. What is the appropriate Christian response to the legalization of gay marriage, to the 40-year “war on drugs,” to colorism, to African American marriage prospects and disheartening statistics, and to the plight of undocumented immigrants?

This Week’s Pendulum

This Week’s Pendulum

1 U.S. POLITICS MORE STATES TO LEGALIZE GAY MARRIAGE

Last weekend, New York became the 6th state to legalize gay marriage. Attempts to legalize same-sex marriage failed two years earlier. Governor Andrew Cuomo made campaign promises to legalize gay marriage in New York and his political strategy was successful. The law passed with a 33 to 29 vote. New York joins Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia in granting same-sex marriage licenses. Illinois, New Jersey, Delaware, Nevada, California, Oregon and Washington have same-sex union laws. Colorado, Wisconsin and Maine grant limited rights to same-sex couples. With more states examining their legal stance on same-sex marriage, it is clear that this issue will not be going away anytime soon.

2 WORLD SAND THAT CAN CLEAN WATER

Researchers have found a more affordable material for cleaning water in developing countries: sand. The sand is mixed with dispersed graphite oxide and then used to purify water. Many countries around the world need access to clean drinking water and the World Health Organization claims that “just 60% of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa and 50% of the population in Oceania use improved sources of drinking-water.” According to water.org, 1 in 8 people do not have access to clean water and 3.5 million people die each year from water-related disease. Continued research in hydrology will improve the lives for millions of people around the world.

3 NEWS TSA FORCES ELDERLY WOMAN TO REMOVE ADULT DIAPER

Since the 2001 terrorists’ attacks, the United States government and Transportation Security Administration have beefed up homeland security with newly created agencies and processes. Unfortunately the attempts to make Americans “safer” have often resulted in a loss of privacy and constitutional rights for U.S. citizens. This is the case with Jean Weber’s 95 year old mother.  Weber was travelling with her cancer stricken mother from Florida to Michigan. Weber’s mother was among the “3% of passengers who are subject to pat-downs.” The TSA agent told Weber that her mother’s undergarment was “wet and firm, and they couldn’t check it thoroughly.” She was forced to remove the adult diaper in a private bathroom, but her mother did have to travel through the airport without undergarments. TSA officials stand by their agents’ actions, but Americans won’t continue to stand for this type of humiliation and disrespect under the guise of protection.

4 MUSIC A NEW GENERATION OF GOSPEL

Jonathan McReynolds is not your average gospel artist. He’s not backed by choirs, or trying to keep up with the latest auto-tune or dance craze. He comes to the stage with an acoustic guitar and seemlessly interweaves India Arie’s lyrics into his single, “No Gray” that begins, “Lord, I’m split in two, part of me loves the world and the other loves you…” He goes on to confess his “luke warm” committment and comes to the conclusion that he will have to choose. This is the sort of open honesty I have yet to see in gospel artist. They are either super holy or trying so hard to be mainstream that thier message is lost. I am so excited to see McReynolds flourish! He’s going to be huge!

Update: He will be in concert at Maranatha Church on Jul 29th at 8:00pm.

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5 EDUCATION AN AMERICAN PARODY OF OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM: BAD TEACHER

Cameron Diaz and Jason Segal star in Bad Teacher, which opened nationwide in theaters this weekend. The tagline for the film is “Some teachers just don’t give a F,”  which isn’t far from the true story of Vanderbilt University’s scientific study where they offered cash rewards to teachers that had classes with high test scores. At the conclusion of Vanderbilt’s study, the incentives were not enough to raise the test scores. But, what is this saying about our education system? Is this film a fair interpretation of our education crisis? Are there more factors at play?

6 MONEY SMART JOBS ARE THE NEW FACTORY JOB

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is reporting that unemployment is at 9.1% (May 2011). While this is lower than the 10.1% we experienced in October 2009, it is still much higher than the 7.8% unemployment rate the country was at when President Obama took office. With several jobs obsolete because of technology and cheap labor overseas, smart jobs may help rebuild the U.S. economy. Smart jobs come with titles such as technician, specialist or analyst and they involve manipulating materials like plastics and chemicals. Although similar to factory work, smart jobs require more brain power than physical labor. Over the last 5 years there has been a 56.8% gain in the job category “Renewables and the Environment,” 29.8% gain in the “Internet” and 29.1% gain in “Online Publishing” (wired.com). Brush up on your tech skills because future jobs will require them.

7 TECHNOLOGY FACEBOOK VS TWITTER: WHICH IS MOST IMPORTANT FOR YOUR BIZ?

The most important technology riddle in business of late has been what is more valuable: Twitter or Facebook? Although fans on Twitter are more likely to buy from brands they follow, Facebook offers advertisements to 550 million members worldwide. Facebook is referred as “push marketing,” allowing brands to push content or services through incentives and rewards for interaction. Twitter is referred to as “pull marketing,” where fans seek out brands, start discussions, and use the service as a customer support service.  Both are necessary for now, and neither seem to be going away anytime soon.

8 TV THE BET AWARDS: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE WHY?

The Good: Jill Scott always knows how to class up any event.; Kevin Hart’s roast was hilarious!; and Beyonce’s performance of her new song “End of Time,” has the possibility to be a timeless anthem. The Bad: I wish that Rick Ross would keep his shirt on and that Kelly Rowland would stop devaluing herself to the status of a stripper, and WHY does BET feel the need to combine strip teases and gospel music in one event? Black people!!! Get it together.

9 MOVIES PAULA PATTON TO STAR IN MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 4

Paula Patton will play the female lead in Mission Impossible 4, alongside Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames, and Jeremy Renner. The film opens December 16, 2011, but the French trailer recently leaked online. Patton was last seen in Jumping the Broom, but looks like she is returning to her roots with this film; she starred alongside Denzel Washington in action thriller Deja Vu.  The English trailer should premiere next week. Watch the French trailer below!

“Mission Impossible” Trailer from misterbay on Vimeo.

10 CELEB WHY I HEART KEVIN HART

I love a man that takes risks, and Kevin Hart has been on a campaign to be a household name. He currently stars in an eBay, Ford, and Nike commercials; his comedy tour, Seriously Funny, has sold out shows, and yesterday he was hilarious at the BET Awards. Hart has shown diversity in his ability to market various brands, be relevant in the Black community, but not be afraid to poke fun at the Black entertainment industry as he did last night at the awards with his roast. Hopefully, his baby mama drama won’t plague his career.