Religious Liberals Sat Out of Politics for 40 Years: Now They Want in the Game

In Nashville, a crowd of ministers carrying palm fronds occupied the governor’s office during Holy Week, demanding the expansion of Medicaid to cover more of the uninsured. In California and 16 other states, an interfaith network has organized thousands of volunteers to swoop into action when immigrants are arrested or houses of worship are vandalized. Across the country, religious leaders whose politics fall to the left of center, and who used to shun the political arena, are getting … [Read more...]

How Long…Standing in the Mirror

Standing in front of the mirror the question emerged and nagged me without ceasing, “What have I done today to make life better for someone other than myself?” How long must I stand still staring at the reflection that resembles a familiar face? Will the inquiry continue to eat away at my conscious and stab my heart with a sharp blame dripping with guilt? “How long, Oh Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not save?” asked the prophet … [Read more...]

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu on the “Searing Truth” of American Racism

You may have heard about the speech given by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu in relation to the removal of four monuments to white supremacy in the Crescent City. We are providing the full text, in addition to a video clip, because this is a rare speech that deserves be read in its entirety. It stands out because, even now, so few white politicians are willing to speak honestly about the real racial history of these United States. Many in the media observed that the speech was "eloquent," … [Read more...]

An Open Letter to Black America

Just like the lotus flower, we too have the ability to rise from the mud, bloom out of the darkness, and radiate into the world.— Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha) Dear Black People, Well, I guess that’s a start. I know who I want to write to, but finding the language to articulate precisely what I want to convey is difficult, perhaps even impossible. But I’ve set my manuscript work aside anyway because I feel the need to write something about the recent killing of Bowie State University senior … [Read more...]

What Does Repentance Look Like for the White Church?

A Conversation with Lisa Sharon Harper We are four months and counting into the administration of one of the least qualified people ever to assume the presidency—and the key demographic that ushered him into the White House, white evangelicals, has shown few signs of buyers’ remorse. In this Q&A with Lisa Sharon Harper, Deborah Jian Lee continues her work of asking how evangelicals of color have been responding to this betrayal at the polls. Harper is the chief church engagement officer … [Read more...]

Have Faith, Not Fear

Everybody is excited and anxious about executive orders to ban Muslims, Congress’ repeal and replacement of Obamacare, enhanced law enforcement to detain and deport undocumented immigrants, and increased efforts to rollback civil rights advancements for people of color and the LGBTQ communities. There is every reason to be concerned about the rapid degeneration of long, hard fought gains for women, including protection of reproductive rights, choice, and health matters. We are witnessing the … [Read more...]

Betrayed at the Polls, Evangelicals of Color at a Crossroads

He seemed drunk and ready for a fight. The man, mid-fifties, towering and broad shouldered, shouted over the other partygoers to his wife, “Honey, have you seen my jacket? It has my gun in it.” George Mekhail, a pastor in his early thirties, tried to ignore the man for most of the party. That is, until he staggered toward George, amped for a confrontation. George’s friend Jeff had invited him to this family friend’s Christmas gathering in Arlington, WA, a rural, predominantly white town … [Read more...]

Are Young Black Millennials Reclaiming a Theology of Resistance?

"I Speak to God in Public" Last year, independent artist Chance the Rapper dropped a mixtape titled Coloring Book that received immediate critical acclaim. One of the undeniable threads in the critique was just how much Chance’s personal faith and spirituality were an integral part of the music. Many speculated whether or not the mixtape classified as part of the gospel genre given that superstar Kirk Franklin was featured prominently on a track. So it was no shock that during his February … [Read more...]

Honoring Dr. King’s “Beyond Vietnam” Speech

We all know that students and a good percentage of working adults across the country get a day off from school and work on the third Monday of January in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday. Although he was assassinated in 1968, it wasn't until 2000 that King was honored with an official federal holiday, observed by all 50 states. A lot of people fought long and hard to establish MLK Day, having to overcome almost insurmountable obstacles to make it a reality. But to what end? … [Read more...]

Prison Shakespeare Programs Have Dramatic Impact On Inmates

Prison might be the last place you would expect to see a great performance of Shakespeare. But for more than a decade, Marin Shakespeare Company in California has taught Shakespeare in several prisons, and to rave reviews. In 1989, the company launched to reinvigorate Shakespeare in Northern California, but has expanded its scope over the years, teaching a variety of workshops and programs, including outreach through the Shakespeare for Social Justice Program, started in San Quentin Prison in … [Read more...]