Category Archives: Politics

Houston, You Really Have a Problem

by Robert Earl Houston

I thought it was a really stupid joke.

Many of us, who first heard of this through the medium of social media (because you only hear about ebola on my major cable news outlets) passed a gem on, initially, that said that the Mayor of Houston, Texas, Annise Parker,  had subpoenaed sermons from four pastors regarding sermons, preached across their respective pulpits, on the subjects of homosexuality, gender identity or on the mayor herself. Further, that any of those ministers who failed to comply could be held in contempt of court.

I thought it was a faux Fox News Story. I look at Fox News like I look at a fun house. Lots of clowns, shooting canons and mirrors, and of course, all anti-Obama all the time news coverage. When I saw Fox News’ brand on the report, I dismissed it as a gag and joke. But then, more of us started digging into the story and found out – it was true.

The subpoena was the result of a lawsuit filed by Pastors Jared Woodfill, Steven F. Hotze, F.N. Williams, Sr. and Max Miller against the Mayor, the City Secretary (Anna Russell) and the City of Houston. The subpoenas target five pastors in Houston – Pastors David Welch, Steve Riggle, Khan Huynh, Magda Hermida, and Hernan Castano. The lawsuit was filed due to their opposition to an ordinance known as HERO (Houston for Equal Rights Ordinance” which bans discrimination among businesses that serve the public, private employers, in housing and in city employment and city contracting. A petition drive was enacted (17,269 signatures were required for ballot approval and 50,000 signatures were submitted) and the city ruled thousands of signatures ineligible and did not place the contesting item on the ballot, triggering the suit by the ministers.

Oddly, the law firm representing the mayor, in preparation for the January 2015 court case, issued a subpoena requesting all types of items (see the link), but it is item # 12 that has created a firestorm:

“12.  All speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession.”

This is wrong on so many levels. First off, there is no precedent in American Jurisprudence that allows a municipality to sue or contest a congregation or a pastor on the basis of their speech. I will agree that some pastors are loose canons or suffer from preaching a gospel that is not in print – HOWEVER, even dumb speech in this country is protected speech. Even speech that I may not agree with still is protected by our U.S. Constitution, which gives no authority to a Mayor to subpoena SERMONS.

This seems, to me, to be extra-constitutional. The outcry from Pastors and Ministers across the country is defeaning (oddly, I’m yet to hear or read of any official statements from any of African-American Christian conventions, although at least two of the suing ministers are black and baptist).

The right to preach is sacred in this country. This nation which has produced orators, revivalists, prophets, and encouragers has also produced crazies, idiots, flimflam artists, bigots in robes, as well. However, it is all protected free-speech. I may not agree with what you have to say, but I have to understand that you have the right, if it’s your pulpit, to espouse it. It may not be pretty, but it’s how things are done in this nation.

The Mayor has been doing spin control. But this may be too little, too late. She began to blame her opponents for the broad original language to “deliberately misinterpret the city’s intent.” City Attorney David Feldman called it “a media circus.” But in this case, the circus did not come to town, the city by subpoena, brought the town to the circus.

This post is not to comment upon the HERO ordinance. (I don’t live in Houston, I live in Kentucky) No, my goal is to enlighten and condemn the city of Houston for coming after ministers and demanding their sermons. Religious beliefs are protected beliefs, even when they are considered anti-government. Our own Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. Ralph David Abernathy, Dr. William Augustus Jones, and other ministers rallied against policies of the government including war, poverty, racism, etc., but not once was a city municipality so stupid to request copies of their sermons, as if to send out a “warning shot” to other ministers, don’t try this in your pulpits. It may not be the intent, but it is the appearance.

On Friday, Mayor Parked announced that the city (these are attorneys that are contracted) had refiled its subpoenas. On twitter she wrote: “City just refiled subpoenas in #HERO. Clarified our intent. No mention of sermons. All about petition process instructions. Never intended to interfere w/pastors & their sermons or an intrusion on religion. Our discovery motion now clearly focused on petition.”

Too much.
Too little.
Too late.



by Robert Earl Houston

originalThis evening the news was announced that Nelson Mandela, the first black president of the nation of South Africa, had passed away. He was 95.

Much will be made of his life and legacy but I wanted to make a few observations:

First, he was one of the last world-wide icons. His struggle with the minority regime in South Africa is legendary. As South Africans suffered under the imperialist strong hand of Great Britain and were responsible for countless murders including Steve Biko and others, Nelson Mandela because the embodiment that you can be jailed but not broken, ridiculed but not defeated, and in spite of the odds, if the Lord be for you, you will not be defeated.

Secondly, he showed that progress is not a one-person operation. Mr. Mandela refused to try to move hundreds of years of enslavement and disenfranchisement by himself. He built a coalition of religious leaders, Desmond Tutu, Allen Boesak and others, and reached out to the economic community and activists to formulate a boycott or economic withdrawal of companies who did business in South Africa. The government policy of apartheid met a worldwide coalition that would not allow their racist policies to stand.

Lastly, he showed that age is not a factor. Although he died at the age of 95, he was entertaining world figures – Presidents, leaders, athletes, personalities and such literally until his body could not take it. But imagine that he became the first black president of his nation at the age of 76. Way past the US retirement age. Way past the Social Security retirement age. At that age, Madiba (his Xhosa tribal name) found himself not only at the helm of a nation that once imprisoned him for 28 years, but also with the loving support of his people.

He will soon be feted with a state funeral and I would be surprised if this is not the largest gathering of Presidents, Potentates and Kings in the history of the world. He brought people together in life and he will do so in death.


Dysfunction, Dysfunction, What’s Your Function?

by Robert Earl Houston

republican_leadershipIt’s 11:30 p.m. on Monday evening and in 30 minutes, the United States of America will effectively shut down the government, excluding all essential personnel and programs because of one thing – dysfunction.

Truth be told, the GOP is celebrating the shut down because they would do anything – and I mean anything – to hurt, embarrass, cripple or destroy the Presidency of Barack Hussein Obama. After legislation was passed in the House and the Senate, approving President Obama’s signature legislation, and then it was upheld by the Supreme Court, a band of terroristic hijackers, all coming from the GOP are trying to circumvent law. The Budget does not pass the law, the budget approves spending for existing law. The Affordable Care Act is not pending legislation – IT IS THE LAW – and to not fund it is to overrule EXISTING LAW.

Admittedly, this kind of brinkmanship does damage to the nation. The GOP is not doing this to buffet up a law – this is being done to stick a proverbial finger in the eye of the President of the United States. This has never been done. No government shut down has occurred in the 200 plus years of this Republic – to hold up an entire budget because a handful of Representatives seek to destroy EXISTING LAW after they could not stop it in legal methods.

40 times the GOP led House has passed a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) and 40 times the Senate has not passed it. The Affordable Care Act has produced GOP mega-stars such as Michelle Bachmann, Ted Cruz, and others – who are more concerned about making money, notoriety and mailing lists instead of doing what can benefit the American people.

Never in my 53 years of life have I seen such a heartless group of politicians. It makes you wonder if the Tea Party would like to take us all the way back to 1776 – when the government was male-dominated, women were silent, slaves were in the fields, and land was being confiscated under the doctrine of “manifest destiny.” According to these Tea Party activists, they aren’t interested in cooperation and governance – they are interested in one word – No.

I will agree that the deficit is a problem but they have bad memory. President Obama inherited one of the worst economies since the Great Depression, which was fueled by Congress’ reckless pursuits in the Middle East without providing funding for several wars. The President cannot and has not wrote one check – but the check writers blame him for everything knowing full well that their own malfeasance under President Bush helped precipitate this fiscal mess.

I hope that the GOP is against the President for political reasons and not racial reasons but I cannot help but to remember that on the day he was initially inaugurated in 2009, the GOP met to devise a “one term President” strategy which was led by Kentucky’s  senator, Mitch McConnell. Never in the history of the Republic has this occurred. They have, led by nomads like Orly Taitz, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, James David Manning, and other mouthpieces, who have attacked the President from his ethnicity to his citizenship to his birth certificate and even have gone as far as to accuse President Obama of working for the CIA in his younger years as if it was something seedy and ungodly, while forgetting that the CIA is part of THIS government.

The GOP is about to make the same mistake made during the Newt Gingrich years, however, this time, to exclude 40,000,000 million Americans from Health Care Insurance which will benefit local municipalities, eliminate making Emergency Rooms as Primary Care offices, and will allow those with pre-existing conditions and children to enjoy what the same GOP House and Senate members enjoy – health care.

By the way, we will remember this in 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020, 2022 and beyond.

The Case for Voting Rights

by Robert Earl Houston

In a perfect world, the Portland Trailblazers would have just won the NBA title, the Nashville Predators would have won the NHL Title, Tiger Woods would have won the U.S. Open, and James Gandolfini would still be with us. Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world.

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) turned back the hands of time and removed decades long enforcement of voting rights in several jurisdictions, and kicked the can into the back yard of the GOP dominated House of Representatives led by John Boehner. The House of Representatives which can’t even agree on what day of the week it is, is now charged with enforcing voting rights – when this past election had a sub-current of voter suppression as a strategy by said GOP.

This rollback affects voting rights in primarily nine states – Alaska, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia. And partially the states of California, Florida, South Dakota, Michigan, New York, New Hampshire, and North Carolina, Coincidentally, most of those states are GOP led and can you imagine them having free reign to do as they please? Welcome to 1953 all over again.

The rolls are populated with the names of those who died in order to secure the voting rights of millions of previously disenfranchised Americans. As the country continues to experience a demographic shift, those who once yielded power in this country, who are now in the throes of losing said power, have no interest in justice. Their interest is in self-preservation.

This generation, with it’s lethargic attitude toward voting and civic participation, is about to get a very rude awakening. This is the opening that people like Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and others have been praying to their god for – The God of Ozzie and Harriet – so that the ballot booths return to the good old days when there was no such thing as blacks who could vote, hispanics who could hold office, women who were allowed to vote. Their next tactic is easy – don’t do anything, allow the courts to get tied up for years and years, and work on voter suppression ideas that we haven’t heard of yet.

So, the issue of voter rights has gone completely full circle. Get ready for the rejoicing from the right – and prepare to show up to the polls and be told that “we don’t allow your kind in here” in the halls of democracy. 

Today, the Voting Rights Act died . . . and this funeral will be paid by this SCOTUS.



by Robert Earl Houston

I worked for the Internal Revenue Service in Portland, Oregon many, many years ago. I worked in the Audit Division which allowed me to assist the Agents in building their cases for primarily conference with the taxpayer and sometimes against the taxpayer.

Every tax season the audit bureau would receive directions for this year’s audits based upon received taxes that were selected in what we called TCMP – the taxpayer compliance measurement program. For example, one year it could be clergy returns; another year it could be auto mechanics; another year it could be taxpayers with a high amount of charitable contributions.

Having said that, I think IRS has done itself and our President, Barack Obama, a disservice in targeted 501(3)(4) corporations with the words “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in this title.

An already sizable, anti-government, anti-Obama constituency in this nation is already looking for something, anything to harangue the President about. To his credit, we haven’t had to endure the scandalous hearings of the past administrations going as far back as Kennedy (Vietnam), LBJ (Vietnam), Nixon (Watergate), Reagan (Iran Contra), Bush 1,  Clinton (Impeachment), and Bush 2 (Iraq).

Any of us who are black understand that when holding jobs that have never been held by “us” before, we are encumbered to be better, work better, strive better, negotiate better, and conduct ourselves better because of the eventual extra level of scrutiny.

Do I think President Obama initiated this? Of course not. Why would President Obama go after the Tea Party via the IRS? He’s already defeated them in the arenas of ideas. If all they have left is Sarah Palin as a spokesperson who has been banished to Facebook, he’s won. They have been supplanted by the NRA which was formerly known as the National Rifle Association and now could be labeled the National Republican Association, they are weaning in their influence. Their main lighting rod, President Obama, will step off the stage in 2017 and that will signal the end of crazies like James David Manning, Orly Taitz, Pamela Barnett and others of the un-loyal opposition, who have suggested terroristic responses to the President or arrest or him being transported to Guantanamo Bay.

However, whoever gave the direction to IRS for this year’s TCMP program to go after the Tea Party is not worthy to continue in government leadership and should be brought forward. They did not have the President’s best interests at heart, and wouldn’t serve his best interests by continuing in office.

The Portland Diaspora

IMG_5176by Robert Earl Houston

I am a proud son of the Portland, Oregon area. It was in Portland that I learned how to walk, talk, run, and sleep. It was in Portland that I began the process of education at Ockley Green Elementary School, Jefferson High School and attended several schools – United Theological Seminary and Bible College, American Baptist Seminary of the West, Multnomah School of the Bible, and Golden Gate Theological Seminary – all either based in Portland or Portland-based extensions. I began my secular employment there and my church employment there. I learned how to sing in Portland, I learned how to play piano and organ in Portland. I lived with my parents on Borthwick Avenue and then Rodney Avenue. After I was grown, I lived on Vancouver Avenue, Lombard Street, Skidmore Street, and Taylor Street. I fell in love the first time in Portland and had my heart-broken for the first time in Portland. Most importantly, I gave my life to Jesus Christ in Portland, Baptized in Portland, and was called to preach in Portland.

That Portland is now gone.

Gentrification has occurred in a manner that I have never seen before. In the 1940s through the 1960s, a migration of African-Americans came to Portland seeking a better life from their roots in the South. They came from Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and other states to seek employment in a bustling small town that was primarily known for it’s lumber and maritime industries. Most black people in that area settled in an area called Bagley Downs in Vancouver, Washington, which flooded and most blacks settled in the Albina area (then called Albina, Oregon), inner North East Portland, and St. Johns to the far north of the city. Very few African-Americans lives in Northwest, Southwest and East Portland.

The community was thriving albeit without the full support of the city for necessary services. When I was a child in the 1960s, I remember that nothing was convenient – stores were not like their other locations. Gas stations were far and few between. Shopping for groceries meant going to Tradewell or Fred Meyer or Safeway.  Fred Meyer had two stores – one on Union (now Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.) and on Interstate (now Rosa Parks Boulevard). To shop for clothing meant a trip to the Lloyd Center, the nation’s first mall. We had schools that were the pride of our communities – Grant, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Monroe/Benson for females and males respectively.

However, we rarely had our own radio stations. We didn’t have flourishing restaurants or chefs in the communities. There were three main drags – Union Avenue, Vancouver/Williams Avenues and Mississippi Boulevard. If you had a prescription, you went to the Rexall store. If you were a black female and about to give birth, only one doctor delivered most of the black babies – Dr. Richard W. Franklin at Emanuel Hospital (aka the black hospital). I actually worked with Dr. Franklin in my early 20s at Emanuel.

Churches were thriving and located almost next door to each other. New Hope Missionary Baptist Church on Gantenbein, Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church on Vancouver Avenue, Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church on Ivy, St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church on Morris, The Churches of God in Christ on Ainsworth and Stanton, The Catholic Churches on Williams Avenue and Vancouver Avenue, Mt. Olivet on Schuyler, Maranatha, New Song and other churches scattered within a 20 mile radius.

Something has happened. In the name of Urban Renewal, what were once proud African-American communities are now gone. Homes have been sold to planners and now there is not a trace of the black community in most of the areas. Schools have been closed. Houses torn down. Churches gone. The Wonder Bread bakery where my mom worked for years – gone. Geneva’s Lounge which burned down years ago – not a trace. St. Mark Baptist Church, Mt. Sinai Baptist Church, Providence Baptist Church – now just a memory. Even the site of where Morning Star stood and suffered a horrific fire is now the settlement of homes called “Morning Star Village.”

Bicycle paths line the streets. Street festivals are common place. Bars have increased some 20 fold in the community. Adult Book Stores, Lottery gaming establishments, stores, clothing stores, and the such have moved in and black people have been forced to relocate to “the numbers” which is a 30 to 60 minute drive from downtown Portland. The old neighborhood was less than 15 minutes.

I applaud success but I cannot applaud the displacement of those who built those homes, created the infrastructure and paved the way for those who live in the area today. Housing prices are now astronomical. My parents bought our childhood home on Rodney Avenue for $35,000.  Recently the house was up for sale at over $600,000. African-Americans are being redlined and instead of encouraging them to stay, the doors of the suburbs are now open. It has had a whirlwind affect.

I feel, personally, that this form of gentrification has long term affect on the psyches of those who no longer have a sense of community. The are locked out economically from homes that for generations have housed the men and women who scrubbed the floors, cleared the boats, built the ships, laid the asphalt.

What’s my point? I don’t know if I have one. I’m partially glad to see services that are long overdue and small businesses invading the area. However, the cost may be too high for the livability of African-Americans. Thank God for those who are still trying to bring about a sense of community. The word “diaspora” comes in clear here. Normally, we consider the African Diaspora, when speaking of native-peoples who were removed from their lands.

But there has now been a Portland Diaspora.

I welcome your comments.

Casual Shots: 2013 Presidential Inaugural, Washington, DC

The Stupidity of Glenn Beck

PissObama1-640x426by Robert Earl Houston © 2012

. . .  or how to set race and religious relations back 400 years.

Glenn Beck, mouthpiece for the Tea Party and multi-millionaire, who lives protected in an 8,000 square foot, 7 bedroom/bath, mansion in Dallas, Texas, has crossed lines before. He has over and over again played the race card and unbelievably has said point blank that “President Obama is a racist.” He is stupid at best and vile scum at worst.

However, he has stepped greatly over the line again.

Glenn Beck, who is an avowed Mormon (I guess they don’t teach love thy neighbor in that church he attends or pray for those who are in authority over you or live peaceably with all men or any other pro-humanity scriptures) has offered to the word a jar of urine containing a bobble-head of President Barack Obama. What’s further insulting is that he claims that this is a “response” to the artwork of Michael D’Antuono’s picture of Barack Obama as a type of Christ – which I’m no fan of, personally – as if the President posed for that picture personally.

Here’s my take.

If Glenn Beck had an issue about it – go after Mr. D’Antuono. Put him in a jar. He’s the artist. That’s akin to not liking the Mona Lisa portrait and rather than to damn the artist, you slap the fool out of Ms. Lisa. Mr. Beck has not only insulted the sitting President of the United States, he has also defamed African-Americans and once again he proves that Mormons don’t give a damn about African-Americans, which we knew, and why 99% could not even consider voting for Mr. Romney (another Mormon) in the first place.

Mormons have an entrenched history in considering African-Americans as “second class” and until recently, they held a public view (I doubt seriously that it’s been white-washed from all of their adherents) that we don’t even possess souls. We are souless creatures to them – kinda of like cats or dogs or furniture.

This is why most theologians don’t consider Mormonism as a branch or associated with Christianity. Their religious views that Joseph Smith is their savior instead of Jesus, their polygamy matches their polytheism (and many of them have several wives) and their racism (and yes, this is racist what he did) means that Mormonism is producing leaders like Glenn Beck as the poster child for their hateful religion.

Go after the President after his policies. That’s American. But to sink this low. That’s Mormon at the very least and racist at most.

Sunday Night Re-Cap, November 25, 2012

by Robert Earl Houston

What a weekend this has been. This has been one of the best Thanksgivings I can remember and it all started with the people that I love dearly – the First Baptist Church family for our annual Thanksgiving Day service. The service went very well and I’m thinking that next year I’m going to try moving it to the day before Thanksgiving. With all of the cooking activities that take place on Thursday morning and the new Thanksgiving day holiday of shopping, I may need to make adjustments. Anyway, the service was good and the Lord led me to preach, “That’s One Crowd I Don’t Want To Be a Part Of” which examined the ten lepers who were healed by Jesus and the sole one that came back to offer thanks and worship. Very appropriate for the day.

For Thanksgiving we feasted on Fried Turkey, Corn pudding, scalloped potatoes, green beans, cornbread dressing, sweet potato pie and the works. I ate in moderation. And I must admit, Jessica earned her chef’s hat this year! Way to go baby, way to go! Then the rest of the day was football until I passed out.

On Friday night, Jessica and I drove to Louisville for a scheduled program by the Messengers of Christ at Hill Street Baptist Church which, unbeknownst to us, had been cancelled at the last minute. So we took the night to have dinner at Cheddar’s Restaurant over the bridge in Indiana and then returned to our hotel room at the Galt House, which was filled with families that were in the area for the annual Light Festival. A good night indeed. I’ve learned as a pastor that things happen, programs cancel and we don’t always know the whys and wherefores, but God is still good.

We returned home on Saturday morning in time for the Men of Praise rehearsal. Many of the guys are out due to the holiday but those who were there, we pressed on, and actually we had one of the best rehearsals I can remember and there was a period of “male bonding” that is unique to the black experience that took place afterwards. We just sat there and talked – from sports, to shopping, to relationships, to you name it. It was a great time and rather than to hurry them out, we just let this happen. Sometimes, the best pastor is not the one who preaches but the one who can listen.

Sunday morning we had cancelled early morning service and I guess the word didn’t get completely out. For those who don’t know, I live RIGHT NEXT DOOR to the church, and my doorbell rang several times with parishioners who didn’t get the word about cancellation. They took it in good stride – that’s the one thing about have 99% of your congregation within city limits.

We concluded the Book of Hebrews in Sunday School and Deacon Zenas English taught our combined class. We had a great discussion and I appreciate his insights on the text. Kudos!!!

At 11:00 a.m., the people gathered slowly and by the time of the sermon, we had a very decent crowd. The Men of Praise SANG their hearts out. That number was affected by the holidays, but as I mentioned earlier, they were pitch perfect! They sang “Faithful is our God” and a new song I taught on Saturday by my friend, Dr. Patrick Bradley, “I Know There Is Something About God’s Grace” that the congregation picked up and welcomed immediately. God be praised for the men!

I preached on “SCANDAL” based on John 8’s description of the scandal of the woman caught in adultery. Several things caught my eye: First, Jesus was teaching and then interrupted by this scandal by his nemesis, the Scribes and the Pharisees; Secondly, when they accused her, Jesus went silent and wrote in the dirt. I suggested that it could have been words of praise because the accusations ceased;  Thirdly, Jesus dismissed them by saying “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” and the only one qualified to do so was Jesus himself. Instead of condemnation, He pardoned – just as He does in our lives.

God be praised for one young adult brother joining the church under restoration.  It was a good day.


Now that the election is over – what is with the looney part of the GOP with their asinine insistances since the election???  It reminds me of the character Marvin Martian who is always trying to blow up something and they are literally out of their minds.  Look at their stupidity:

a.  “Obama Stole the Election” – uh huh.  Ever heard of a court case called Gore v. Bush ????

b.  “Obama Wasn’t Eligible” – the birther wing led by Alan Keyes, Orly Taitz, WND and fools of that ilk have turned “Birtherism” into a cash cow. They disparage the President, look for conspiracies and “-gates” and are doing more harm to the country than good – oh and by the way Orly and WND and Sheriff Joe are ALWAYS begging for money but never produce a spreadsheet to see where their contributions go. Hmm . . .

c.  “Let’s Secede” – OK, let me see – 25,000 people in Texas sign an electronic petition. There are over 25,000,000 people who live there that mean 1/100 of 1 percent have signed this foolish petition. Idiots . . . They can secede, just pay your portion of the Federal Debt, give us back all of our highways, bridges, airports, colleges, Federal Aid, and we’ll be glad to oblige.

Man, I must really need some coffee.


There were a lot of great games over the holidays. I’m saddened that Oregon won’t be playing for the national championship but they’ve got to stop playing Portland State and The College of Pharmacy and schedule some serious games in the future. Methinks it would be wise for the Ducks to schedule 2 non-conference games a year – one against the SEC and the other against Big 12 or another major conference or Notre Dame.

On the Cowboys front. This season is over. Stick a fork in it. We could have traded Romo for the pick to get RG3. He humiliated the Cowboys. Great Stadium. Great Venue. Horrible team.

One Pastor’s Response to “Taking Our Country Back”

by Robert Earl Houston

Ever since the election of Barack Obama in 2008, the words “We need to take our country back” has been the deafening mantra of the political right-wing of this nation. As a pastor of an African-American congregation in the upper regions of the Bible Belt, I want to offer a perspective of those words and why I and many in this nation despise the use of this phrase.

First off, the right wing and sadly, right wing evangelicals are not owners of this country. You may own houses, lands, businesses and at one time, people – but you have no exclusive claim on this nation. We are all shareholders. We are all part owners of this great land of the USA. When I was pastoring in California, one of the women of our church gave a speech during church anniversary and she likened the church to the porch of her childhood home. She said that her family could identify when each plank was laid down and they were plankowners. We are all plankowners, disrespective of our political views.

Secondly, it insinuates that illegal means were used to elect our president. You can disagree with policy. You have that right. But this is a country of laws. The president was duly elected TWICE. He did not, as some like to say, usurp anyone to be elected. He did not illegally gain votes. He did not force anyone to vote for him. He was, just as EVERY PRESIDENT BEFORE HIM, duly elected into office. I’m surprised at evangelicals especially – because for people who allegedly know the Word of God, and know that we have an obligation to pray for those in leadership, how can you contrast that with a hatred that seems to go beyond political ideology and appears to be misguided at best and hints of racism at worst.

Thirdly, it suggests that others don’t belong here. Listen, there are groups I have problems with theologically, ideologically – but this land is big enough for all of us to co-exist. According to their mantra, they don’t believe that people of color should be here, that people with different lifestyles should be here (or even alive), that people who are elderly and sick should still be allowed to be here, that people who cannot find a job should pay taxes on money they don’t posses – while forgetting that the colonists usurped the authority of the native American Indians by taking over their lands, wiping out their culture – all in the name of a ridiculous theory of “manifest destiny” while bringing over slaves of black, brown and asian hues to create commerce and infrastructure. I believe all of us belong here.

So, when another political party wins, the nation is not “there’s” it’s still belongs to all of us. Otherwise, that kind of thinking will result in people doing stupid things. This government is not President Obama’s government – it belongs to all of us. Mitt Romney had it wrong – corporations are  not people; government is people – for it and by it. Our democracy is built upon the fact that we can co-exist. After 200 plus years, it seems to me that we should be able to stand on that principle.


by Pastor Robert Earl Houston

H.B. Charles Jr.

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