Rev. Dwight McKissic on Jesse Jackson and Phil Robertson

This article from Dwight McKissic deserves more attention than it will get on a weekend between two holidays, but it also should not just sit there. So, here it is. Folks with publish authority, let’s try to let this one stay on top for a day and let it get seen. Thanks, Doug.

CHALLENGING JESSE JACKSON AND MICHAEL ERIC DYSON TO DEBATE THE PHIL ROBERTSON’S REMARKS FOR THE SAKE OF KINGDOM TRUTH

TEN REASONS WHY PHIL ROBERTSON HAS BECOME THE NEW ROSA PARKS

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

In an attempt to discredit and defame the unabashed and uncompromising Kingdom citizen—Phillip Robertson— Jesse Jackson has credited “white privilege” for providing the platform, context and cover for Robertson’s controversial remarks regarding homosexuality and race. (Read more:  http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-12-25/news/chi-jesse-jackson-duck-dynasty-20131224_1_duck-dynasty-jesse-jackson-sr-anti-gay-comments)

Michael Eric Dyson stated that when men express love for Jesus, above love for women, they sound “interestingly homoerotic to people who are outside of religious traditions” (Read more: http://hotair.com/archives/2013/12/26/msnbc-wonders-christian-love-for-jesus-is-kind-of-homoerotic-huh/comment-page-7/). People outside of religious traditions generally understand that Kingdom citizens believe that Jesus is Lord, King, Sovereign and Ruler. Consequently, they would also understand that there is nothing “homoerotic” about loving and worshiping Jesus if He is Lord.

What would trigger Jackson and Dyson to lodge such loaded rhetorical bombshells into an already explosive discussion regarding homosexuality and race? Jesse Jackson and Michael Dyson affirm homosexual relationships and same-sex marriage. Phil Robertson does not. The root cause of this division is not race, but different beliefs regarding homosexuality. Jackson, Dyson and Al Sharpton are passionate, militant promoters of the homosexual agenda. These three men have abandoned their Black Baptist Biblical roots on this issue. Interestingly, Dr. Martin Luther King and Phil Robertson would be in agreement regarding homosexuality.

Should a person be charged with speaking from a platform of “white privilege” and should those of us who love Jesus more than we love our female wives, be labeled “interestingly homoerotic,” because of our love for Jesus, and our common bond with Phil Robertson on the belief that homosexuality is a sin?

I would really love to debate these extreme positions adopted and articulated by these two Baptist preachers. The “white privilege” and “interestingly homoerotic” response adopted and articulated by Jackson and Dyson are far out of the mainstream thinking of African American Kingdom Citizens. Holding to the view that homosexuality is sin and marriage is between a man and a woman, should not subject one to the baseless ridicule, rejection and accusations of ignorance, bigotry, and racism experienced by Phil Robertson.

Jackson and Dyson are misrepresenting the Bible and Black America by articulating these extreme and unsubstantiated points of view. Disagree with Robertson if you must—that’s your constitutional right and freedom. But please don’t label his traditional view of homosexuality and his love for Jesus as “homoerotic” and “white privilege.”  President Obama ran for President in 2008 holding to a traditional view of marriage based on Christian beliefs. We all know in 2012 he changed his mind. Phil Robertson and the National Baptist Convention share the same view on the biblical definition of marriage. The majority of African Americans share Robertson’s view of marriage. How can Jesse Jackson then logically label his view, “white privilege”?

Perhaps Jackson and Dyson are responding equally to Robertson’s comments about race in the Pre-Civil-Rights-Era. Unfortunately, the exact question that Robertson was asked regarding race is not recorded in the GQ Interview that ignited this controversy.  Only a caption and his response are recorded.

 

Phil On Growing Up in Pre-Civil-Rights-Era Louisiana:
“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

Was Robertson asked,

  1. “What are your thoughts on how Blacks were treated in the South during the Jim Crow era?” If that was the question, Robertson certainly was aware of the fact that in Northwest Louisiana, where he grew up, there were lynching, murders, segregation, economic exploitation, unequal pay, an unjust criminal justice system, police brutality and the like. I am willing to give Robertson the benefit of the doubt. Had he been asked a question regarding how Blacks were generally treated in the South I believe that he would have given an honest answer, according to his trademark.

But, what if he was asked,

  1. “What did you see growing up in the South during the Jim Crow era?” A question of that nature limits itself to what he actually saw. Inasmuch as his remarks are in line with this question, why would we assume he is addressing a broader question? Most of Robertson’s critics are responding to what he didn’t say rather than to what he said. We don’t know what he was asked; therefore it is patently¸ unfair and unreasonable, to judge the man on his answer to a question that we are unaware of.

While channel surfing I have caught portions of Duck Dynasty twice. I must admit that I like nature scenes, family scenes, and Southern culture in general. Therefore, the show did arrest my attention once I landed there. Until this controversy I was unaware of Robertson’s name or the name of the show. My point is—to use Southern parlance—I have no dog in this fight. However, I do hate to see any man or woman regardless of color being mistreated, castigated, and humiliated without any evidence to support their baseless accusations against them.

For those who argue that Robertson was responding to the first question; they must prove this. For those who believe that Robertson was responding to the second question, then you would have to conclude that he was lying when he said he had not personally witnessed any mistreatment of Blacks in the area where he lived. On what grounds can we say for certain that he is not being truthful?

Robertson said, “I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person, not once.” Which one of us can say with absolute certainty and with evidence to back it up that Phil Robertson is not telling the truth about what he did not see “with my [Robertson’s] eyes”? Unless we can disprove his claim, it is un-Christ like for us to address him as if he is lying. Although blatant discrimination and racism certainly existed and was prevalent in the South during Robertson’s upbringing and still exist today, it is possible that in his “neck of the woods,” he literally did not witness it with his own eyes. He did not say it did not exist, He said, he never saw it. That is a huge difference. His critics are responding to him as if he said, it did not exist. Again, it is inappropriate to respond to a remark that he never made. Which one of us would like to respond to or defend a statement that we’ve never uttered?

Phil Robertson characterized Black persons that he knows during this time frame as “farmers,” “godly,” “singing,” “happy,” and non-complaining. Which one of those adjectives would be untrue, based on one’s personal observations? No one would debate that agricultural endeavors were the primary economic engine of the South in that time frame. Most historical Black Colleges in the South offered majors in Agriculture, and the official name of many colleges included the word “Agriculture” or the letter “A”; or as In Prairie View A&M University, Arkansas A, M, and N , and now UAPB and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Alabama  A&M, etc.

George Washington Carver was renowned for his farming and scientific exploits. He was also a “godly” man who taught Sunday School on Sundays at Tuskegee Institute, founded by Booker T. Washington, and agriculture and science during the week. He clearly viewed Genesis 19 as an illustration of the judgment of God on a nation that embraces homosexuality. While discussing Sodom and Gomorrah, Dr. Carver asked his class, “And what happened to these wicked cities?” He viewed the desire and activity of same-sex involvement as “wicked.” He then used his scientific talents to cause a sudden burst of flames and fumes to shoot up from the table, and the Bible students fled. He sure knew how to make Sunday School interesting and to illustrate his point. George Washington Carver taught against the practice of homosexuality. (George Washington Carver; An American Biography, by Rackham Holt, 1943, Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc., Garden City, NY, p. 198). I wonder what Jackson and Dyson would say about him. If Carver did the same illustration today, it would create a firestorm of controversy.

Robertson labeled Black persons as “godly” that he grew up around. In 1960, 80% of all Black families were intact. Today over 70% of Black children are being born out of wedlock. Bill Cosby’s book documents a higher percentage of White inmates during the Pre-Civil-Rights-Era than today.  Blacks are committing and being convicted of crimes at a higher rate than in the Pre-Civil-Rights-Era. School dropout rates are higher today than then. What exactly did Robertson say that was racist or untrue? I wish his critics would quote his exact words that could be viewed as “racist”!

A Black preacher, Charles Price Jones, wrote the popular hymn sung in Black churches during the Pre-Civil-Rights-Era, “I’m Happy with Jesus Alone.” A traditional favorite hymn that Kirk Franklin later did a remix of had a popular refrain: “I Sing Because I’m Happy, I Sing Because I’m Free. His Eye is on the Sparrow and I know He Watches me.” There was another fairly well known song of that time: “I am so happy, happy as can be, because I have a Savior, who is walking daily with me.” We learned in childhood back then:  “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.” A popular solo that has stood the test of time over the past 30 years in the Black church is named, “I Won’t Complain.” Because Phil Robertson did not hear Black people complaining did not mean they didn’t complain. We were simply taught to take our burdens to the Lord and leave them there. We dealt with injustice and racism within the confines of immediate and extended family and our churches. We looked to our Pastors to voice our complaints because at times they were the only individuals whose paycheck was solely derived from Black employment.

My point is: I recall the Blacks in my childhood as happy. I was happy.  Those that I observed were basically happy also; and that was because of our faith. And although we failed miserably at times, Robertson is right…there was a pursuit of godliness that existed among our families and leaders. I fail to understand why some find that point of view offensive.

I am ten years younger than Robertson. Certainly, I am not denying or turning a blind eye to the reality of racism. It was cruel and unusual; and unlike Robertson, I did see it, feel it and experience it. Yet, that did not keep us from experiencing the joy of the Lord. I refuse to let my past limit my present pursuit to maximize my potential. And it was the godly people Robertson was referring to. Exactly what qualifies his remarks to be “white privilege” and “homoerotic”? Please explain!

Perhaps it is the Rosa Parks and Phil Robertson analogy that has Jackson and Dyson upset. However, there are ten similarities between Rosa Parks and Phil Robertson:

 

  1. They both took principled stands.
  2. The positions that they took were rooted in biblical righteousness.
  3. Their positions were counter-culture at the time they took them.
  4. There was a huge backlash and criticism for their positions that they took.
  5. They both ignited public debate that captured the nation’s attention.
  6. Their positions polarized the nation.
  7. Their positions triggered boycotts.
  8. They both were on the right side of history.
  9. Their positions unveiled the weakness of the church; for Rosa Parks—the weakness of the White church. Jackson and Dyson are exposing one of the weaknesses of the Black church.
  10. They both became a cultural heroine and a cultural hero.

 

Yes!!! Phil Robertson is the new Rosa Parks!!!!

Comments

    • Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. says

      Mark,

      I’m grateful that A&E has reversed their decision. Hopefully, this particular controversy will fade out soon, but I am afraid that the battle between orthodox Christianity and homosexual advocacy is in it’s early days. When we look back on the genesis of this battle, I’m convinced the comparison between Phil Roberts and Rosa Parks will often be made. Both refused to back down to accommodate political correctness. Thanks for interacting here.

      • Chris Roberts says

        Phil Robertson: suspended by a private network which has the right to control its content. Not hindered in any way from exercising his right to free speech in public. No loss of freedom, no opposition from the state.

        Rosa Parks: arrested for not giving up her seat on a public bus. Public rights were violated, freedom was taken away.

        I’m trying to see the connection. If taking a stand and refusing to back down is enough, then just about all of us may be compared to Rosa Parks in some way or another.

        • Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. says

          Chris,

          Great point(s) you made. The difference in the rest of us who take a stand from Rosa Parks is this: We don’t ignite a national debate when we take a stand. There are no calls for or threats of boycotts when we take a stand–or certainly not the kind that brought such swift results in thus scenario. We don’t become the subject of news stories that shape, mold, and challenge our thinking on issues as did in the case of Rosa Parks and PR. Your point is a valid one, and certainly worthy of noting.

          I should have drawn this distinction in my article. In my judgment though, It does not negate, rebut, or refute my ten points. It simply makes a distinction, or proves the point that every preacher knows or have stated. And that is, every analogy or illustration breaks down at some point. You have vividly pointed out here where the Rosa Parks/Phil Robertson analogy breaks down. Thanks.

          • Dwight McKissic says

            Jim,

            Great addition to this discussion. Now that you’ve mentioed it, there was another European country, the name if which escapes me at the moment, where a pastor was also arrested for speaking out against homosexuality. The arrest for speaking out against homosexuality in other countries does make this matter more closely resemble the Rosa Parks incident. The greatest similarity has to do with the fact that both incidents symbolized the fact that an oppressed group of people were not going to go along to get along anymore. We wanted our free speech,religious rights and equal protection rights to be honored & respected also. Phil Roberts has become the face of the free speech/religious rights movement for evangelical Anericans, just as Rosa Parks was the face of the movement that launched Martin L. King into the national spotlight.

  1. John Wylie says

    Excellent article Dwight.

    Jesse Jackson has always been a bit confusing to me…there was a time when he would have been against homosexuality. The late Dr. E.V. Hill thought so much of Jackson that he endorsed him for president in 1984. I think the bottom line is that Jesse Jackson’s role in society is absolutely dependent on playing the role of victim.

    • Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. says

      John,

      I shook Jesse Jackson’s hand at a National Baptist Congress of Christian Education in St. Louis in 1978 and afterwards I told my wife that I (would not) (edit, see following comment) wash my hands for three days. That’s how esteemed and honored my appreciation and respect for Jackson was. My wife did not agree with my decision not to wash my hands for three days so I relented before that night was over. Nevertheless, I still appreciate and value a lot about Jackson. It was in 1984 when I heard him give a speech at the DNC supporting gay rights, when I begin to reevaluate my support of Jackson. And of course, since then his support for gay rights is on steroids. But I understand why Dr. Hill supported Jackson. Racism is as evil as homosexuality. Supporting and otherwise competent and capable person for President certainly addresses the problem of racism. Therefore, I respect Dr. Hill’s decision. If Jesse Jackson had maintained his earlier orthodox Christian view of homosexuality, he would have been an excellent spokespersons for our position. A voice like his is desperately needed on this issue, and in the future, it will be needed even more-so. Unfortunately, he is on the wrong side of this issue, and the wrong side of history. That is why I believe that for the sake of the gospel, his view must be challenged. Thanks for the conversation.

      • Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. says

        I told my wife that I would not wash my hands for three days after shaking Jackson’s hands.

        • John Wylie says

          I agree 100% with your comment. I just wish that he had stuck with his raising. He could have been great if he had coupled his social justice message with biblical morality.

  2. Bill Mac says

    Robertson was basically a hillbilly (I’m not using the term pejoratively) who grew up poor without running water. He earned two degrees and became a businessman and inventor. He turned down a lucrative pro-football career because of his love of nature. His wealth is not inherited, it is earned.

    How is this “white privilege”?

    I’m sure we all know by now that A&E has backed down. I thought that would be the end result although it happened sooner than I expected. Their love of $$$$$ trumped any alleged solidarity they have for the LGBT community.

    It galls me that Jackson thinks he can “demand” a meeting with A&E and Cracker Barrel as if he is someone to be feared and mollified. I hope they give him the appropriate response to his “demands”.

    • Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. says

      Bill Mac,

      I agree that the root cause here is not “white privilege,” but orthodox Christianity verses homosexual advocacy.

  3. Bill Mac says

    Isn’t it the very essence of Christianity to be happy in the midst of adversity? Do not churches all over this country have hymnals that contain Negro Spirituals and so honor the spiritual depth we saw in them during their struggles?

  4. says

    Incredible article, and it packs all the more punch coming from Dwight. I was sharing with my teenage son that I could have made similar comments, given the right context, as Robertson from my early years; yet I was never so blind as to miss the ugliness of racism that openly existed as well. I suspect Phil Robertson would say the same if asked.

    • Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. says

      Mark,

      Thanks for weighing in here. I’m grateful that you are discussing this with your son. That is very important. Fathers must pass on history and a the right theological view of history to their children(Deut. 32: 7; Psalm 78).

  5. dr. james willingham says

    Thank you Dwight. You make me glad that God led me to become a Black historian among other callings and professions. I always get a laugh out of saying to someone, “I guess I qualify as a Black historian, since I studied Black History in my Bachelor’s program (under one of the Great Black Historians, Lorenzo J. Greene) at Lincoln University in Mo., in my M.A. program at Morehead State in Ky., and in my work toward the Ph.D. which included writing a prospectus for a doctoral dissertation at an ivy league university. Plus, I did my doctor of ministry project on Christian Love & Race Relations.” Then I add, “I thought sure you could tell just from looking at me.” They sputter, “How-how could I?” “O”, I reply, “from my color.” Black folks are the people who really get a kick out of the humor of that remark. Whites just sort of look dazed. I wonder: why? It so appropriate, so germane, so relevant, so apropos.

    • Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. says

      Dr. Willingham,

      Thank you for always taking us back to history on these matters. It’s difficult to plot a course for the future, if you don’t know the place from where you’ve started.

      • dr. james willingham says

        Dear Dr. McKissic: It is a grief to me that most Baptists (about 99% I suspect) couldn’t care less about history (I am speaking of Whites here). Surely, it is the result of years of brainwashing by the dumbing down process in place in our schools, plus the ignoring of such things by the media (except as it serves their agendas), and endless barrage of lunacy by television and radio and now the Internet. If we had known our history, we would have never had a problem with the splits that we have suffered in nearly 200 years. O well, I suppose God has a higher purpose that He is seeking to accomplish.

  6. Nate says

    “I would really love to debate these extreme positions adopted and articulated by these two Baptist preachers.”

    Dwight: I would love to see a debate between you and these two men. Is there any possibility at all that one or both would agree?

    • Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. says

      Nate,

      Your question is a good one. It would be my guess that neither would want to debate this subject because the stark contrast would be so great.

      Even with their charisma, eloquence, and rhetorical skills, that are far superior, and more experienced than mine–Kingdom Citizens would clearly see that one argument is politically and socially based, the other argument is Biblically based. I believe that the Biblically based argument is won before the debate begins. However, both of those gentleman are incredibly articulate, intelligent, witty, and experienced in public discourse. They would clearly win on style and winsomeness with many who would listen. Again, there problem would be attempting to defend the indefensible. It’s at that point that I believe truth will triumph.

      I may send a formal letter requesting a debate to both gentleman next week. But your guess is as good as mine as to whether or not they would accept. My hunch is that they would not, primarily for the aforementioned reasons. They may also consider me to far beneath their statue to debate with. But for certain, someone needs to challenge their arguments, or else they will win “disciples” to their way of thinking on this issue-even from among the orthodox Christians. It goes without saying, that would not be good. Pray with me for God’s will to be manifest with regard to whether or not their is an actual debate. Thanks.

      • Nate says

        It would be interesting to see how Jesse Jackson would be able to defend his reversal against orthodox Christianity and give biblical reasons. While they may be more seasoned in a debate forum, you would have the Word, the historicity of the Black Church’s stance against homosexuality and its pro-family position, and the list of your 10 reasons.

        This (Robertson’s remarks) may be, Lord willing, a means to draw both black and white believers together for the Kingdom and give us reason to realize we are brothers and sisters in Christ, which is a far better citizenship than brothers and sisters in America.

        Thanks for the post brother and I pray that the Lord will continue to give your voice.

  7. Paul Burleson says

    Dwight,

    I have to confess that I’ve personally struggled just a bit with what Robertson said. Not so much with what he said as much as how it was communicated. And I’m aware that it could be more the reporting, and the abbreviating of it all that creates my problem.

    This is maybe also because I’ve become totally dis-enchanted with the “Westboro” mentality showing up against one kind of sexual sin, as opposed to all others, and a total disregard in my opinion, by many “Christians,” of the sins of pride, anger and hatred that are so often revealed when “confronting another” about their particular in a sin.

    I keep seeing Jesus spending His time and pouring His compassion on the guilty ones and His righteous anger on the ones who thought themselves qualified to pass judgment because they weren’t guilty of that particular sin.

    All that said, I value your opinion for obvious reasons and, since I personally believe and see in scripture that, “All sexual activity OUTSIDE of marriage, which is a covenant relationship between a MAN and a WOMAN, is missing the mark” [sin], I do believe you have given the best analysis I’ve read to date of the Phil Robertson thing. And you helped me get back in touch with reality about Robertson himself.

    I’m finding myself challenged about personal my attitude often. I used to be mad at the prodigal, then I got mad at the self-righteous elder brother, then I found out the Father loved them both and His love is to be expressed in my love, which often, isn’t. Cast back upon His Spirit’s power is not really a bad place to be.

    Knowing you personally, the way I do, I’m not at all surprised you’ve reminded me of the way things are, should be and can be. Thanks.

    • says

      Paul,

      Your quote here is priceless. I think I am going to post it as a Facebook status:

      “I used to be mad at the prodigal, then I got mad at the self-righteous elder brother, then I found out the Father loved them both and His love is to be expressed in my love, which often, isn’t.”

      And, Dwight, what Paul says here captures very well my own thoughts on this issue overall. Thanks for your thoughtfulness and courage.

    • Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. says

      Paul,

      Hearing from a spiritual patriarch and father to many is such a delight. Thanks for letting your voice be heard here. I’m honored that you would share your thoughts with me on this subject.

      Phil Robertson’s remarks did address all sex outside of marriage as sin. The media chose to emphasize and highlight his views on homosexuality.

      I agree with David Rogers, your application of the prodigal son parable was/is priceless. It certainly applies to this discussion. And I believe that you are suggesting that acts, attitudes, and demonstrations of our love for all men including homosexuals must be louder than our pontificating or articulating our positions on their sins. Great Point, Brother Paul, and one that has been missing from this discussion. It is absent from my article, and for that I am remiss. The truth must be spoken in love. Thanks for your gentle reminder of this biblical truth.

      I also saw where you left a comment at my place. I will place a brief note there asking you to come here for my response.

      BTW, I had dinner with Jack Taylor recently. We briefly discussed our mutual admiration and appreciation for you. The church I pastor will be hosting Jack Taylor’s Kingdom Legacy Gathering , March 13-16, 2014. It would be a joy having you here for at least a portion of that time. I will try and remember to send you information about it when my assistant returns from Christmas vacation.

      Know that your comment blessed me and challenged me. Thanks again for registering it here.

  8. Christiane says

    for me, there is NO comparison between Phil and someone like Rosa Parks
    . . . she is an iconic figure of the Civil Rights Movement and special to me

    I think Rosa Parks was a very, very brave woman. I honor her memory and I will not ever see her replaced by someone ‘new’.

    Please, please, people . . . leave Rosa Parks alone.
    She is of blessed memory.

    • Dwight McKissic says

      Christiane,

      Rosa Parks is an icon. She was also the catalyst that launched a boycott that ultimately changed America. PR’s remarks awakened a sleeping giant. That’s why Cracker Barrell and A&E quickly came to their $enses.inasmuch as PR was restored to the show without having to apologize or gravil(sp?) to the gay rights community is a major victory for the Kingdom of God. I understand your discomfort with the analogy. But, the similarities are certainly there. It’s a befitting analogy to me because it is virtually self explanatory to those who strongly oppose same-sex marriage.I respect your right to dissent though, and I deeply appreciate you. Happy New Year!!!

  9. William Thornton says

    At the very least Robertson’s quote about the singing, happy black field hands, the ones he never heard complain about white folks, should be challenged and expanded. Standing alone, and that’s the way is has been reported, it harkens to the antebellum period of paternalistic slave owners and of the justification of slavery as a positive good for the enslaved. One may find virtually the same words from John C. Calhoun in the congressional debates of the 1830s.

    The remarks might be excused as the casual ramblings of a contemporary observer but they must be contextualized.

    I never saw black folks mistreated either and PR and I are the same age. Our maid seemed happy to me but still took time off to travel to DC for King’s “Dream” speech.

    You are a better man, Dwight, than JJ because you grant the benefit of the doubt here, as do I, but the comment is problematic. I’d bet that if PR made that comment to you in a conversation you would explore the matter a bit further before you let it drop.

    The duck clan look like good Christians and interesting people to me. God bless ‘em. It just looks silly that we go through these periodic eruptions of indignancy over reality shows and Hollywood products. By June we will have moved on to the next iteration of the same, perhaps several, so I hope the boycott stuff is forgotten by then.

    • Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. says

      William,

      You are one of the more gifted, insightful, engaging, and skilled writers in the Baptist blog-sphere. Your communication style resonates with me, even when I may find myself at times not agreeing with some of your conclusions.

      PR’s “happy field Negro-White trash remarks” are open to multiple and varied interpretations. If you take what he said at face value, then I don’t find his words problematic or offensive. If I choose to give it the worst possible interpretations-then I could see it as possibly offensive. If we make everyone parse, define, contextualize, and detail, all of their racial comments, it will make race conversations tedious and perhaps tension filled.

      As you may know, I am certainly not shy ’bout engaging what I consider to racist, or racially insensitive comments. I just didn’t see that in PR’s remarks. But perhaps he may be challenged to expand his comments at some point and address the broader question of what did he know about racism in the larger culture, and how did he feel about it. I have no proof that he was asked that question. Therefore, I am not going to be judgemental or critical of him for not having addressed that question. It is always a pleasure reading you, and interacting with you. Thanks.

      One last thought. Perhaps you may want to consider writing a post, or privately contacting PR’s handlers(assuming he have those)–asking him to address the broader question of racism during the pre-civil-rights-era, that was beyond his eyesight. Just a thought.

  10. Chief Katie says

    Yes! Sensitive and astute comment.

    Pastor Dwight, there is hope for us yet.

    Perhaps a campaign of “He who troubles his own house shall inherit the wind” towards those who choose to support sin instead of righteousness might be effective.

    Wonderful offering Pastor.

    May I have permission to post this at the CARM forums?

    • Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. says

      Katie,

      Sure. You have my permission to post this at CARM forums.

      Finding agreement with you and Mark Lamprecht on the same day is most unusual. But as they say, a broke clock is right at least twice a day, so you and Mark’s clock must be broken today.-:).

      Thanks for the dialogue. It is always a pleasure talking woth you even when we don’t agree. We are apart of God’s Kingdom family. And it makes me a better person when I talk to members of my family who don’t always think like me. We are still apart of the same family.

      I’m not familiar with CARM, although I briefly perused their website after reading your request. Please let me know how the conversation goes over there. It appears that it is not open to everyone, so that is why I am asking you to give me some general indication of how the conversation is being bantered about over there. Thanks.

      • Chief Katie says

        Pastor Dwight. CARM stands for Christian Apologetics Research Ministry. It’s headed by Matt Slick. He’s fairly well known, at least in reformed circles. He has posted a good many videos that defend the faith and he is very orthodox. You can view them at CARM without joining.

        Apologetics is supposed to be for the defense of the Faith. They have a good admin staff and they try very hard to keep commenting on topic, but I must admit sometimes it becomes a gathering place for all manner of nonsense and spiteful comments. They do however, have special forums where designated ‘secular’ and ‘atheist’ posters can engage in topics such as evolution, special creation, and of course homosexuality and abortion. They are designated to promote honest conversation. It helps to know when you are engaging an atheist. It can be ugly sometimes but Christians need to know how to effectively defend and promote the gospel of Jesus Christ.

        Anyone can join and I know that you could be a great benefit for them. On the other hand, sometimes it’s hard to get away from some exchanges so it can eat up time it shouldn’t eat up. I have to try to limit my participation.

        I thought people would enjoy your post as much as I did, that’s why I asked for your permission.

        I’ll be happy to send you the comments.

        God Speed Dear Pastor.

  11. says

    Robertson’s comments were taken as racist because he says the same thing that racists used to say to defend Jim Crow. To paraphrase Walker Percy in his essay, “Mississippi: A Fallen Paradise,” he gives the dialogue of the white master of the house who would say, “All of the blacks I know are happy and doing well. If you don’t believe me, I’ll call my maid out of the kitchen and you can ask her yourself.” It was a paternalistic view that encompassed, as Percy called it, the noblesse oblige, or “nobility obliges.” In other words, white paternalism toward blacks was not because of any type of compassion or a biblical sense of love, but because of a more Greek or Stoic view of “we treat our blacks well because that is what noble and good people do. We are kind because it is ignoble an unflatering to be unkind.” The honor of the white was dependent upon how well he treated his blacks, not upon him seeing the black man as equal or in any way worthy of full participation in society. So, when the white man called the black man, “boy,” it was a statement that kept him in his place. The white man saw no problem with it because he might have personally treated him well. The reaction against Robertson’s comments come from a memory of white ignorance as to what the problems in society actually were.

    IF Robertson meant his comments that way, then I too would have a major problem with them. However, his comments can be taken different ways. As Dwight has said here, it seems more likely that Robertson was making a comment about where happiness comes from and he was saying that it comes from God and not from wealth, prosperity, or entitlements. If that is what he meant, he said it clumsily, but it was not an expression of racism. If he was saying that there were no real problems under Jim Crow, then he is expressing what Walker Percy illustrated as the Southern White stupidity that allowed for an oppressive system to continue virtually unchallenged by the white establishment and especially by white evangelicals.

    I tend to think that Robertson meant his remarks in relation to happiness coming from God, but that is just how I read them. He could be a racist, for all I know. But, his comments do not prove that and considering the larger context of what he was trying to say, seem to point in another direction.

    • Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. says

      Alan,

      Well said. His comments lend itself to varied interpretations, but yours is the one that I share. Thanks for sharing here.

      Your upcoming book will contribute greatly to these kind of discussions. I appreciate your patience. I have not forgotten.

  12. letjusticerolldown says

    One role persons like Dyson and Jackson and pastors COULD fulfill is to advance a basic element of wisdom–that there is a time and a place for everything under the Sun.

    Is there a place in wisdom for Phil Robertson to become a world renowned entertainer? If so, does wisdom suggest he become lead ethicist, philosopher and theologian for the nation? If he misconstructs, or appropriately constructs, a moral paradigm–is that cause to burn our cities or elevate him to sainthood?

    There is room in this nation for social evolution and disagreement. Wisdom ought entertain serious questions and challenges to our assumptions. But wisdom has to run on a set of tracks. This train left the station with no tracks to run on. Everything about this public fiasco is totally off the tracks.

    Every legitmate voice that plows into this controversy without first putting the discussion back on some level of wisdom just adds to the foolishness.

    Dyson and Jackson think of themselves as on the leading edge of some kind of progressive justice that has no grounding. And they will be sorely disappointed in another couple generations as to the end result of this endeavor.

  13. Dwight McKissic says

    letjusticerolldown,

    Your last paragraphs really gets to the meat of the matter. Jackson & Dyson view the gay rights movement & the civil rights movement as analogous. They see themselves as leaders in this effort. It is high time that those if us who see comparing a race of people with a people who choose to practice a sex act that the Bible call unnatural(Romans 1: 18-27). This is a cultural war that we must not sit on the sidelines, but fully engage in. Thanks for weighing in.

    • Greg Harvey says

      I’m not sure the term “culture war” is adequately descriptive. We’re simply not going to change the world through “culture”. And the world will always have a propensity to reject us. Jesus prophesied as much on the basis that “the world” rejects him so “the world” will reject us as well.

      At that point the question arises of what exactly the methodology is for extending discipleship in fulfillment of the Great Commission to specific members of “the world”. I could be wrong about this, but after reading SBCVoices for a number of years, I don’t recall anyone making the argument that we do that from a position of pure reason. Most of us would recommend spiritual practices such as reading the Bible and praying as a matter of foundation for pursuing others for the sake of the Kingdom. And I would offer that most of us would make “success” dependent on the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the “target”. (There are some who might articulate some kind of limits that the Holy Spirit imposes on the work of God in influencing a potential believer, but I’ve never read of anyone here absolutely rejecting ALL influence by the Holy Spirit prior to salvation.)

      We ought to be able to do our work as believers in reaching others regardless of cultural context. Or whether or not we are being persecuted. We are very poor believers if we do not believe ourselves capable of acting in an entirely hostile world, even one where the government constantly imprisons us. The concept of a “culture war” suggests that if we can only control the culture, then we will be more successful as believers in influencing others. Perhaps the opposite is true?

      • Dwight McKissic says

        Greg,

        Thanks for pointing out the inability of the church to win the “culture war” seperate from spiritual disciplines and spiritual renewal. “It’s not by might, (or) not by power, but by my Spirit says The Lord God Almighty.”

        We are called to sow seeds of the word of the Kingdom(Mt. 13). We are called to be the “salt of the earth, the light if the world, a city in a hill.” We are called to reach the lost, and to disciple & develop the saved. We are called to be ready to give an answer to those who ask about our faith in Christ. Engaging in a culture war, communicating a Divine perspective is certainly appropriate & biblical. But you are correct sir; in order to win the culture war it will require the whole church fully engaged in employing the Great Commission & The Great Commandment.

      • says

        Greg; perhaps we’ve gotten too used to living inside a culture where we can be Christians comfortably? We now deem that the norm, and when the surrounding culture starts getting uncomfortable, our first instinct is to try to “fix” the culture so we are again comfortable. I think it twists our priorities.

  14. Ron West says

    Thanks Dwight for your comments. It puts in words the thoughts many of us have much better than we could. Our common belief could be partly because of our common Arkansas and Ouachita backgrounds I discovered when I visited your church last year. I hope to see you again when I return to Arlington this spring.

  15. Dwight McKissic says

    Ron,

    I recall you visiting last year. Look forward to your return. Thanks for the encouraging words. Happy New Year to you. Our common background may not be radically different from PR’s background. That’s why I believe that I understood him.

  16. Adam G. in NC says

    Mr. McKissic, your article and prior statements about the Duck Commander’s comments on race has really caused me to think.

    I regularly visit a country store out here in the sticks that has a good equal proportion of white, black and latino patrons. Everyone usually hangs around a bit to gab at each other.
    What i’ve noticed in the past, but was always amazed at, was the fact that all of the whites/blacks of 50 years and older knew each other, their families, and ALWAYS spoke to each other…usually something like, “you remember so-and-so” or “tell so-and-so here about that time we ____, he don’t believe it”.
    All the young folks dont speak and generally dont know anything about each other. They usually are suspicious of each other…in a politely standoffish kind of way.

    My Dad is still good friends with the black tenant farmers that he worked and farmed with growing up. He still says that the worst whoopin he ever got was from their mom. It’s like they lived under a different set of laws, but were in the same family. It does seem strange to me. This is not the world I grew up in. Neighborhoods have since segregated themselves and everyone generally keeps to their own.

    • Chris Roberts says

      Is that an issue of race or just changing socialization? Take me away from Twitter and I’m not likely to speak to anyone, no matter what their race. Real flesh-and-blood people are a suspicious sort, likely to get a few paranoid glances from me. Our communities are different than they used to be in that we no longer have much in the way of community. It’s not just that white and black people don’t know each other; no one knows anyone.

      • John Wylie says

        Please tell me that your comment was a joke Chris. You are old enough that you cannot have been that affected by “twitter”. Even the teens in my church are not as bad as you just described yourself to be.

        • Chris Roberts says

          I exaggerate, but the point remains: society isn’t what it was. Socialization isn’t what it was. We are all much more mobile, not in one place long enough to have old memories with the same people, and we’re a bit more closed in than we used to be.

    • Dwight McKissic says

      Adam G.,

      Great observations. Those of us raised in the South in communities with a fairly balanced White/Black racial population gave observed also what you reported here. No doubt, PR also observed these cordial conversations & interrelations. This is what he was commenting on. You expressed it better than PR did. In hindsight, PR would have been better off acknowledging the general racist context of the South in that era. But he was limiting his comments to his observations & interactions. And as you have related here, those positive interactions existed then & now. I was blessed reading ’bout your account of interracial relations at a Southern Country Store. Thanks.

  17. Dave Miller says

    Fantastic article. Thank you for sharing it.

    And Doug, thanks for stepping in and publishing it while I was (and still am) away.

  18. Dwight McKissic says

    Dave,

    Thanks for the opportunity to publish here. I know that it may be open to any SBC pastor, but only you can convey a sense of warmth, welcome, and genuine gratitude to those of us who publish here. Much appreciation ‘ respect for you as the chief editor here, as well as your Kingdom minded spirit and attitude toward all. in the SBC.

    Doug Hibbard represents the generation behind you & I. We are old-old men compared to him. He’s young, vibrant, scholarly, relational, personality plus kind of guy, and fair & balanced. Having him as a part of your editorial team-and one trusted with authority-is a huge blessing to Voices, and their readership. Happy New Year to you. And keep wearing that lime green suit. It looks good on you.-:).

    • says

      Dwight, thank you for the compliment, and the humility-preserving part at the end as well–any mention of me in the same paragraph as the great green suit keeps my ego in check!

      On a more serious note, sometime soon I hope to be in touch with you about being in Arlington in May for graduation. It looks like responsibilities will prohibit being away from Almyra on Sunday, but I hope to have the honor of connecting with you while we’re down there.

      • Dwight McKissic says

        Doug,

        Look forward to it. My offer still stands. I’ll await hearing from you. Look forward to it with keen anticipation. Happy New Year!!!

        • says

          You know, your offer had slipped my mind. I will talk to my beloved about that!

          Happy New Year to you as well. I see you’ve got a Watch Night service–I pray that is a joyful celebration. We joked about having a late night service here, and my early-to-bed farmers pointed out that our 7:30 Wednesday night service was as late as they get!

          • Dwight McKissic says

            Doug,

            Watch Night Sevices are a staple in most African American churches. It’s a tradition that many argue goes back to slavery.
            We start at 10pm and the goal is to be praying/praising when the clock strikes 12midnight–celebrating the seeing if another year.

          • says

            I was once part of a church that had a similar tradition, though they were multi-ethnic. It was exciting to be in prayer and praise through those hours.

  19. Dwight McKissic says

    Dave,

    Here is what I was trying to say in the previous comment. Although I am different, and often post and comment from a different perspective than many who are of the SBC constituency–I am not made to feel differently. And that is important to me. The one time that I was treated differently, or made to feel unwelcome & actually invited to blog elsewhere, you addressed it immediately upon your discovery. And you handled it skillfully, fairly, and amicably to all parties involved. If you would have handled that situation differently I would have felt “different” here.

    I know that you don’t agree with every line that I write nor everlasting line that anyone else write here. But, you do an excellent job of moderating and allowing for open and diverse discussion here, while maintaing your distinctive’s and core beliefs. This is the only place in the SVC that I am aware of where diverse viewpoints are welcome, including our seminaries. I believe that is why I love Voices so.

    Finally, what Adam G., & Ben Coleman were attempting to communicate is true at Voices. We are allowed to communicate across diverse racial lines, and opinions, in a manner where all the brethren dwell together in unity. That was also PR’s point ’bout his observations & experiences in interacting with other races in his childhood. What he conveyed is also modeled here. And that ‘s the point that I have spent far to many words trying to communicate.