Affirmative Action, the Nazi Conscience, Giving Back
KTF Weekly Newsletter
At KTF Press, we are committed to political discipleship and in this contentious political season, our formation is vital. Our newsletter is free this week, so please do feel free to forward it to friends who need information, encouragement, and who seek growth in faithfulness to Christ in our political climate.
We are less than a week away from the national mid-term elections along with a number of consequential state and local races including the governors of Georgia, Wisconsin, and Arizona. Again, here is a state-by-state voting guide to help you plan your vote for November 8. We are also re-sharing this ACLU fact sheet on voter intimidation. Additionally, Ballotpedia and Ballotready are great tools to help you stay informed on the policies and candidates you will find on your ballot.
And now, this week's highlights!
Rev. Willie Bodrick, II brings scripture to bear on America’s unjust socioeconomic system in a recent sermon (starting at 57:12). Beginning with the case of Brett Favre, he indicts the greed and economic exploitation, particularly along racial lines, that is not only a social, but a spiritual issue in this nation. He holds Lk. 16:19-31 up like a mirror and highlights how “Jesus delivers a parable that challenges our notions and our understandings of our intricate connection with one another.” “This text,” he suggests, “is a forewarning to us that we need to close the gap.” As Americans head to the polls, it is powerful and prophetic words like these that should inform the way that we choose to cast our ballot. Let us remember the poor and the vulnerable by supporting candidates who will work tirelessly to address issues like the housing crisis, the jobs crisis, and the racial wealth gap.
In a previous newsletter, I highlighted the current water crisis on the Island of Oahu due to the US Navy’s jet fuel leak into the aquifer. Libby Leonard, the same journalist I cited, recently penned an article exposing that private developers are now in the process of constructing the world’s largest wave pool using potable water on that same island. Yes, you read that correctly. As native Hawaiians struggle to access clean water to provide for their basic needs, well over a million gallons will be dumped into a pool for wealthy tourists. As followers of Christ, we must resist the urge to accept such ghastly disparities as the norm. One small step is signing this petition to stand with the local activists who are working to raise awareness and garner support.
This week, the Supreme Court hears arguments on the Affirmative Action case brought against the University of North Carolina and Harvard University. The conservative majority court appears poised to rule against race-conscious admissions in what would be a horrific blow to underprivileged Black and Brown communities. What is even more egregious about the case is that it is ostensibly built on the premise that such admissions policies disenfranchise another minority group, Asian Americans. Yet, as this article by Elie Mystal from earlier on in this legal saga highlights, the prime mover behind the organization bringing suit is not, in fact, Asian American. He is a white man with a less than benevolent agenda, as this podcast further elucidates. Furthermore, while Mystal explains that Asian Americans are arguably disadvantaged by the current admissions system, it is not the mechanism that most works against them that this legal case is questioning. What must be rejected is the colonial practice of pitting minorities against one another in order to ensure and maintain supremacy. Mystal’s analysis exposes how this practice is, tragically, alive and well.
Deion Sanders played at the highest levels of professional sports in the United States holding roster spots on both Major League Baseball and National Football League teams. Yet, when he entered the coaching world, he did not go to a top tier program but instead took over the less than stellar program at Jackson State University—a Historically Black College/University. He could earn well over ten times the money, play in front of hundreds of thousands of spectators, and not have to cut the grass himself. His interview with 60 Minutes is a rare glimpse into what generosity and the leveraging of platform and privilege look like within marginalized groups in the United States. In this case, Coach Prime, as he’s affectionately called, actively disadvantages himself for the benefit of his community in implicit resistance to white supremacy and anti-Blackness.
Max Boot’s column for the Washington Post this week opens with, “It should not be controversial to say that America has a major problem with right-wing political violence.” In our polarized populace, the desire for equivalency across the political spectrum is strong, but the evidence for this in our context simply does not exist. Violence encouraged, perpetrated, and even celebrated by the Republican party needs to be condemned in public and resisted in private. It is incumbent upon followers of Jesus to pursue the blessing of Christ through faithful peacemaking whenever we find ourselves in the company of those headed down conspiratorial rabbit holes and plotting violence or terror. The terrorist in the Atlanta spa shooting claims to be a practicing Christian, as do many who stormed the Capitol on January 6th. We must lovingly confront those in our pews, living rooms, and pulpits whether they claim Christ or not.
I fear that the same practices that shaped a population tolerant of unspeakable violence in Nazi Germany are at work in the United States today. We can see this in the swift dissemination of conspiracy theories surrounding the bludgeoning of Paul Pelosi or the persistent suspicion that Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s would-be kidnappers were no real threat. There are people and institutions in the United States that are working to bring us to a point where political violence is expected, perceived as inevitable, or even viewed as necessary. Thus, historian and scholar Claudia Koonz’s book, The Nazi Conscience, is worth our substantive engagement. A substantial amount is available here or you can order the book here. If we are to engage in the work of peacemaking, we must understand the calculated process of peace-breaking in which politicians, academics, and even some pastors and theologians engage.
May the Lord bless you and keep you this week as you navigate the storms of our personal and political lives and give you courage to seek His peace, receive His love, and experience His joy.
Thanks for reading, and see you next week!
The KTF team
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