VIDEO: Redemption of America???

Recent events in Ferguson Missouri that snuffed out the life of Mike Brown is haunting and it reminds me of the 1960’s and 70’s. From 1965 to 1971, I was a staff organizer for the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO), one of the major civil rights organizations. I recall very vividly the rebellions that occurred in Harlem NY, Newark NJ, Detroit, Watts CA, and other urban centers, all of which were precipitated by a white police officer shooting a black youth.

In 1972, I was the chairman of the South East Queens Community Corporation, an anti-poverty program funded by the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO), one of 25 similar programs in the five boroughs of New York City. During my tenure, there were two separate incidents that took the lives of Randy Evans and Clifford Glover. Both of these deaths were a result of extra judicious executions by the New York City Police Department and they resulted in local rebellions also called “riots” by some. And in typical fashion the police officer in question was not held accountable.

Since that time, 40 or 50 odd extra judicial executions have occurred in New York City, and in all these cases there was no police accountability. These instances of “alleged” police brutality are endemic throughout the United States, yet police accountability remains elusive. While official measures have been and continue to be undertaken to remediate this obvious problem that disproportionately impacts the black community, and no measurable improvement has been manifest. In addition to the wanton killing of black youth, the criminal justice system seems to be a highway to mass incarceration. Moreover, the “war on drugs” “racial profiling” unemployment and under employment, a decrepit and dysfunctional education system are all working components that animate what many characterize as a “criminal injustice system.”

Unfortunately, the quality of black political leadership, elected and unelected, has not been consequential or in any way effective improving or modulating this pervasive and critical situation. There are apparent limitations that minimize the extent to which black political officials and leadership can positively impact the circumstances that plague the black community in America.

Accordingly, there seems to be no solution or mitigation to this crisis in the foreseeable future. The nature of the crisis impacting the black American community at large is complex and sophisticated as throughout history black folk have taken one step forward followed by two steps backward…

Despite the victories and advances achieved by the modern civil rights movement, vis-à-vis, the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965 respectively, the black community remains marginalized. Following the civil rights movement the number of black elected officials have grown substantially, but black political leadership, such as it is, remains inadequate going forward. Similarly, during the first civil rights movement during the 19th century, black Americas achieved unpatrolled political and economic advances. These advances were enforced by the imposition of federal troops, referenced as the period of “Reconstruction” which was ultimately defeated. The demise of Reconstruction was the result of the “great compromised” of 1876, if my memory serves, and it facilitated the burning down of “black Wall Street” in Tulsa Oklahoma…

Interestingly enough, in spite of the civil rights movements of the 19th and 20th centuries the black American community, the oldest political minority in the country, remains a political weakling in terms of political leverage, as compared to other political minorities such as, Hispanics, Asians, women, and gays for example. Ours is a complex and sophisticated dilemma that is perpetuated by ideas and concepts far beyond the obvious. Accordingly, a multifaceted and sustained strategy with short and long-range achievable objectives is the solution. The formulation and application of a coherent strategy forward requires a serious planning process that is perhaps a weakness in the black community generally speaking. In this regard I commend all who are so moved to pick up and carry torch leading to economic, political and social empowerment, which has already been earned by our forbears over the centuries…

The battle will remain protracted as there are various elements that reinforce the economic, political and social status quo. These factors are seen and unseen, real as well as make-believe… Among the various elements that continue to generate information and enlightenment as well as confusion, is the impact of mass media, analogue and digital. Media can be particularly pernicious as they coordinate the current 24 hour news cycle. In addition to competition among competing media, the respective companies tend to focus on sensationalism, glib sound bites and ratings… Also, ideas and concepts play a dynamic role in reinforcing the status quo and these conventional ideas and concepts formulate a sublime sophistication and complexity that obscures the root of the problem…

It is common knowledge that “we are what we eat.” Concomitantly, it is axiomatic that we are what we think as well… Therefore conventional ideas and concepts provide the basis for how we think and what we tend to think. The “race question” permeates this long-standing crisis in America, but only cursory and surface attempts are undertaken to explore the race question and the conversation never approaches the malignant and sublime aspects of the race idea. While there continues be conversations on “race” as it is popularly understood, the conversation is avoided by many and when it is engaged, the conversation occurs in a framework that legitimizes the notion of multiple races as a natural phenomenon which characterizes human beings. However, the idea of multiple races as generally understood is in fact a phantom…

I reside among those who understand that multiple races are a contrived social construct designed to achieve particular economic and social objectives. The concept of race was crystallized intellectually and academically during the “age of enlightenment” which ultimately positioned the “black” race as inferior and less than human. Perhaps the race conversation going forward should begin with that premise. I happen to be a uni-racialist, and we uni-racialists hold that there is but one human race. Nevertheless, the struggle continues and I remain in solidarity with those who toil, none violently, on behalf of advancing the future of the human race.

I will continue in the struggle as inspired as I was when I first joined the community organizing staff of NWRO. 

G.J News 

Ace News Room 

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#black-politics, #ferguson, #missouri, #national-welfare-rights-nwro

Procession of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Secular Power II…

Christianity enjoys a dramatic and chromatic history. Although events in Jerusalem set the stage for the growth and spread of this religion, Rome became the sine qua non for the religion in the western hemisphere and concomitantly in the world. Subsequent to the rise and establishment of Christianity in Rome, which occurred in 325 AD, Roman Catholics enjoyed an exclusive monopoly of the faith in Europe, until the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century.

History records 16th century Europe as a dynamic period well-known for the “Renaissance” “age of enlightenment” “age of discovery” as well as for the bifurcation Christianity into Catholics and Protestants.

The Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant denominations are the lenses by which the western hemisphere generally experience and understand Christianity, but Christianity in the east offers a parallel developmental process. Orthodox Christianity a/k/a the Eastern Oriental Orthodox Christian Communion is observed in countries of the Middle East, Africa and Asia. This Eastern Orthodox line of the Christian faith predates the Church of Rome by 300 plus years. As such, it was the members of the Eastern Oriental Orthodox Christian Communion who represented the growing Christian community that experienced the cruel and odious machinations of the Roman Empire as they persecuted Christians. It was not until 313 AD, by way of the Treaty of Milan, that Rome’s persecution of Christians came to an end. Subsequently, in 325 AD, Roman Emperor Constantine convened the first ecumenical council, (Council of Nicaea) that resulted in Rome’s 1200 year domination of Christianity. Emperor Constantine established Rome as the headquarters of the Church in the west, while positioning Constantinople as the capital of the Faith in the east.

Emperor Constantine was a self-proclaimed convert to Christianity following his vision of the cross during his successful military campaign to unify Rome. The emperor credited his military victory to this vision of the cross which reportedly inspired him to accept the Faith. Emperor Constantine’s objective for convening the first ecumenical council was to consolidate the growing Christian religion under the domination of Rome. This was achieved following the Council of Nicaea. The Eastern Orthodox bishops that did not submit to the domination of Rome were branded heretical and excluded from remaining council proceedings and all future ecumenical councils. The irony of a new convert to Christianity having the capacity to convene a synod of African, Asian and Middle Eastern bishops and require them to submit to Rome’s political domination and ecclesiastical hegemony is profound. Nevertheless, the Council of Nicaea is etched in the stone of ancient history as the advent of the Roman Catholic Church in Europe. By way of military campaign’s Rome conquered Europe and the rest of the known world and proselytized the supremacy of the Roman Catholic Church as well as imposing the Greco-Roman historical “master” narrative. Rome enjoyed an exclusive monopoly over the Christian religion until the 16th century when the Faith was bifurcated into Catholics and Protestants.

Prior to the advent of Roman Catholicism, Christianity was eclectic and diverse in representation and expression in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. As the new “fulfillment theology,” it was initially proselytized by the priests of the Magi, the first worshippers of the infant Christ. Following there (Magi) visitation with offerings of Frankincense, Myrrh and gold, each returned to their respective communities and proselytized Faith. Three hundred years hence, when Emperor Constantine appropriated Christianity on behalf of the military expansion of Rome, he consolidated the Faith under one religious creed and absolute earthy authority… According to the proceedings of the first ecumenical council, the bishops that resisted the domination of Rome were excommunicated from further council proceedings and excluded from all future ecumenical councils. In particular, Ethiopian bishops did not agree to Roman domination and they (Ethiopian Bishops) also had irreconcilable ecclesiastical differences from Rome, relative to the nature of Jesus Christ, the Trinitarian doctrine, and the infallibility of the pope, among others.

The various controversies that attended the Council of Nicaea are recorded in history as the “east vs. west schism.” It is the objective of the work to explore parallel and divergent development of Christianity in both the east and west… In addition to this east – west dichotomy, early Christianity played a consequential role in the military conquests and growth of the Roman Empire. Imperial Rome ruled the entire known world under Christendom until the growth of Islam was able to successfully challenge the land holdings of the Holy Roman Empire, during the 8th century in Egypt, Jerusalem and Spain… Nevertheless, imperial Rome and the Holy See continued their efforts to “discover,” conquer and redefine the world, albeit now with a level of competition in some regions.

Specifically, Spain would be ruled for 700 years by the Moors until Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand returned the country to Catholic authority in 1492. The Spanish royalty with the authority pope financed the exploits of Christopher Columbus, and subsequent discovery of the “New World.”

Jerusalem was briefly reclaimed by the Knights Templar under the auspices of the papacy, for less than a century. Egypt on the other hand was lost to Islam and absorbed by ethnic Arabs in the name of Islam.
The Papacy in conjunction with various European kings and queens continued their concerted efforts to “discover” and conquer lands occupied by so-called “heathens” and bring them under the rule of Christendom, or to reclaim the territories (such as the Holy Land and Spain) that had been lost to them. Muslim’s conquered Jerusalem during the 8th century and retained control until the 11th century when it was briefly recaptured during the Crusades under the auspices of the pope. In 1492 Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain, again in conjunction with the papacy, recaptured Spain from the Moors who had ruled it for seven centuries. Only months after Christopher Columbus returned to Europe from his initial voyage to the “New World,” the Spanish-born Pope Alexander VI gave Spain and Portugal a head-start in their quest for domination over these newly discovered regions. The Pope decreed that all lands discovered west of a meridian 100 leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands would belong to Spain while new lands discovered east of that line would belong to Portugal. This papal instruction also specified that all lands already under the control of a “Christian prince” would remain under that same control.

This established line made Portugal angry. King John II (the nephew of Prince Henry the Navigator) negotiated with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain to move the line further to the west. King John’s rationale to Ferdinand and Isabella was that the Pope’s line extends all around the globe, thus limiting Spanish influence in Asia. On June 7, 1494 Spain and Portugal met at Tordesillas, Spain and signed a treaty that moved the line 270 leagues west, to 370 leagues west of Cape Verde. This new line gave Portugal, more claim to South America, yet also provided Portugal with automatic control over most of the Indian Ocean. While it would be several hundred years before the line of the Treaty of Tordesillas could be accurately determined (due to problems determining longitude), Portugal and Spain kept to their sides of the line quite well. Portugal ended up colonizing places like Brazil in South America and India and Macau in Asia. Brazil’s (Portuguese-speaking population is a result of the Treaty of Tordesillas). Portugal and Spain ignored the instruction from the Pope in enacting the treaty, but all was reconciled when Pope Julius II agreed to the change in 1506. Hence, the Papacy divided the “New World” between Spain and Portugal, as the first Colonial “masters” of the world.

Other European powers of the day such as Briton, France, Germany, Denmark, and the Dutch, had no land holdings in the “New World” and so conspired with “pirates” to raid the territories and cargoes of Portugal and Spain. Ultimately by way of the Protestant Reformation the dissident European powers rejected the authority of the papacy. In the wake of the unfolding Protestant Reformation during the 16th century in England, the bifurcated European Christian powers rivaled each other as they scrambled for “New World” territories to derive wealth and power from the free labor of enslaved Africans. Going forward, the dynamic between Catholics and Protestants became the backdrop and design of the post 16th century world, particularly in the context of the expansion into the western hemisphere. In the spirit of the original Christian teachings Catholics and Protestants have essentially promoted “religious tolerance” among themselves apart from a few fascinating and violent exceptions. In the secular framework, among the competing European powers have over the centuries collaborated and cooperated, despite their colorful internal rivalries and wars. Ultimately, the competing European secular powers united around their shared objectives to conquer and control the “New World” and the continent of Africa.

The respective European colonialists respected each others holdings and economic interests in the “New World” during the trans-Atlantic trade of enslaved Africans, and treated there “human” property similarly. Following the end of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, these European powers cooperated and conspired as they undertook what is known in contemporary history as the “Scramble for Africa” (1876 – 1912). Subsequent to the Scramble, the Berlin Conference (1884) divided the territorial spoils of Africa, by petitioning, creating random boundaries and assigning various countries to the European “New World” colonial masters. The Monroe Doctrine (20th century) ensures that the former colonial masters in the countries of the “New World” would remain in place, while promoting the virtues of self-determination for indigenous populations.

European secular governments, in the context of the “Western World,” have a compatible geo-political vision. Although the European governments separate religion from state, they all espouse the Judeo-Christian ethic, in terms of Catholic and Protestant renditions of Christianity. The religious leaders of the western world, vis-à-vis, the pope, archbishop of Canterbury, and the respective bishops that lead the faithful in denominational Christianity generally share a coherent world view. Both the religious leadership and the secular leadership in the western world have demonstrated a symbiosis throughout the history of the Roman Catholic and Protestant global narrative. There is intriguing irony, though with respect to the colonization of the African continent by secular European powers, and the role of Ethiopia in the context of the ancient east – west schism. Specifically, Ethiopia is the only country on the continent of Africa that was never under colonial rule. Although, ancient Ethiopia has a well documented Judeo-Christian heritage and tradition that predated the advent of the Church of Rome by more than three centuries, pre-Roman Christianity was branded heretical.

Catholics and Protestants currently share the world Christian demographic which numbers just above two billion, and about 15 to 20 percent of the world’s Christian populations are observers of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. The accommodation between Catholics and Protestants is organic as they both observe similar holidays and Holy days, and they both use the Gregorian calendar. On the other hand, Orthodox Christians use the Julian calendar which observes Christmas Day, for example, on January 6, of the year.

Over the centuries there has been much speculation “what if” Ethiopia’s biblical canon, and Judeo-Christian narrative was not excluded from the popular western canon of scripture… Due to Rome’s domination of the growing Christian religion, the Greek translation of the original Hebrew scripture was translated into Latin. This translation became the book that converted European countries to Roman Catholicism, under the authority of the papacy. Following the Protestant Reformation, it was translated into English and made accessible to the common person, thus breaking Roman monopoly of the Christian word. From King Henry VIII, to the King James verson, the English translation proliferated throughout Europe and the known world. What if the fathers of the Roman Church had retained all the books in the original Hebrew Bible, as opposed to removing 15 books from the 81 books? In both instances (secular and religious) it can be persuasively argued that Ethiopia was indomitable and unique…

At the point of the first ecumenical council (325 AD), the Ethiopian Orthodox Church had already established 81 books of Judeo-Christian scripture. It is not hard to imagine that the Roman Catholic Church decided to include 66 Books in the Latin translation because that choice offered an introductory narrative for establishing Roman Catholic dominance of Christianity. It is possible that if Ethiopia’s lineage had not been unequivocally disconnected from the Roman Christian dispensation, the economic, social and cultural subjugation of African people (imposing the master narrative) may have been impossible to achieve… Instead, the Roman Catholic Church formulated a revisionist Greco-Roman narrative that embodied, and established Rome’s religious and secular origins and world view…This may have made the economic, social and cultural conquests, subjugation of African people, and imposing the master narrative difficult, if not impossible to achieve… The Roman Catholic Church fathers and historians formulated a revisionist Greco-Roman historical narrative that embodied, promoted and established Rome’s religious as well as secular origins and world view…

The Greek poet and historian Homer, in his classic book The Iliad, was unequivocal as to whom he revered and received great learning from. Homer credited the Egyptians for much of his education, and referred to Ethiopia, and Ethiopians with divine attributes, vis-à-vis, the land of Punt (Land of God)… Some suggest that if the Ethiopian component was included in the Latin Canon of Scripture it would have made it difficult, if not impossible to impose a multi-race narrative and social construct contrived to position Africans, and black people as less than human. The advent of the “Negro” as an inferior race of humans, the trans-Atlantic trade of enslaved Africans would likely not have been industrialized and institutionalized to the extent that it was.

Instead the ancient east – west schism and race based dichotomy was established and institutionalized. Hence, the religious world and the secular world continue their precarious interface…

Gary’s Consulting News   

Ace News Room 

#christianity, #islam, #judaism, #secular-power

‘ Procession of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Secular Power ‘

Abounding complexities underpinning our modern world may be approaching the point of global conflagration as the geo-political hegemony of the West, is challenged by indigenous regional people’s seeking self-determination, elected government and frequently seeking separation from western influences: 

The unfolding political facts on the ground in target countries, the “Arab spring” presently overwhelming the Middle East and North Africa are classic examples of proliferating violence. A compelling argument can be made that virtually all regions of the world are experiencing turmoil of one sort or another… Beyond the myriad influences that inform and animate this calamitous international environment of conflicting nation states and insurgent forces, is a religious dimension which is virulent, ancient and ignominious. Religion has often played a distinct role in the subtext of military and imperialistic undertakings by secular governments throughout history. Specifically, the juxtaposition and popular narrative between Judaism, Christianity and Islam continues to convince their respective adherents of their incompatibility with others. Although the concept of “religious tolerance” continues to be promoted broadly over the centuries, engaging it has proven to be utterly insufficient. Unfortunately the quality and scope of “tolerance” can be undermined by the invisible energy of arrogance as these ideas may be organically connected. Perhaps the concept of “religious tolerance” can be replaced with the concept of “religious appreciation,” going forward. The appreciation of another person’s religion or other differences does not suggest acceptance of the others beliefs or values. Religious appreciation implies acknowledgement, respect, mutual co-existence, and religious appreciation embodies ecumenism, that noble quality in human beings.

With religious juxtapositions in the popular imagination as a context, local governments as well as geo-political players and insurgents vociferously engage their political, economic and military objectives. Although the religious juxtapositions are individually challenged within their respective institutions by sectarian strife, their internal challenges are generally ignored in favour of pointing an accusatory finger at another religion… None of the three religions of Abraham, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, can tout their theological purity. Accordingly, contemporary expressions and observances of these three great religions are based on revisionist histories which have caused schisms in each religion along sectarian lines.

Currently the only unequivocal connection that these religions have is a shared past in their collective assertion that the prophet Abraham is the patriarch of these religions. Therefore the historical testaments of the three monotheist religions is a familial relationship by way of their acknowledged patriarch. Moreover, the theology of monotheism asserts that all of humanity is children of God: The Genesis narrative observed and articulated offers a familial account regarding the advent of humanity. Thus the essence of disagreements among the three Faiths can be viewed in the framework of family dynamics… Clearly, much was lost in translating the historical procession of the religions of Abraham, from Judaism, to Christianity to Islam. The political facts on the ground in regions impacted by these conflicts are rooted in popular revisionist renditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Religious hyperbole associated with these conflagrations maybe better understood by examining the historical procession of the Abrahamic religions and generating a broader appreciation and understanding of the dynamic factors that currently account for these human affairs/events in the world…

The earliest historical records of human society indicate an inclination (if not proclivity) in the human imagination toward a higher and invisible spiritual power… Peoples in all regions of the world in the earliest times organized their communities around the place of worship. The local place of worship and its priesthood became the center of early societies and communities. Consequently, religious leaders often became the organic rulers of fledgling communities and thriving societies until the advent of the “king” and secular power, authority and government. The initial rivalry between priest and king morphed into a precarious courtship, and frequently “marriage” between the “church” and “state.” The church and state relationship remained in place for millennia, until the advent of the America and federalism, which proclaimed the separation of church and state. The separation of church and state idea was a product of The Age of Enlightenment composed in the Protestant Reformation, the rise of objective science and reason, and the age of discovery in the western world… The Protestant Reformation bifurcated Christianity into Catholics and Protestants, while the industrial development in the western world generated enormous economic wealth in Europe and America. Ultimately, secular power in the context of the military and economic component eclipsed influences of the church and religion in the material world. It could be argued that the church still enjoys a clear monopoly of the spiritual concerns. Nevertheless, the relationship between church and state remains a dynamic and intriguing enterprise as they modulate the status quo from respective vantage points… Secular public and private powers in the course of achieving relative military victories, territory, resources and raw material often proposes a religious context to their geo-political objectives. In ancient Rome at the advent of Roman Catholicism in the 4th century Emperor Constantine utilized the “Faith” as a theme for his numerous military forays and conquests of the known world. The emperor’s military campaigns were done in the name of advancing Christendom throughout the world. The Christian Crusades authorized by the papacy during the 12th century established the Knights Templar, a military wing of Christendom, mandated to reclaim the holy land that fell to Islam in the 8th century. Interestingly enough President George W. Bush, in 2003 initially dubbed his intervention into Iraq, as a “crusade” which resurrected memories of that historical west vs. east military confrontation between Christianity and Islam. More recently, in the wake of the “Arab Spring” which began in Tunisia with a popular “revolution,” North Africa and the Middle East became active theatres of military conflict, unconventional and asymmetrical warfare, highlighting the ancient Christian and Muslim juxtaposition. The adversarial nature characterizing the current relationship between Judaism, Christianity and Islam thus has its origins in antiquity. This religious dichotomy continues to find its way into the popular narrative and backdrop of the competing geo-political objectives in target countries and regions.

The escalating conflict in the Middle East is perhaps a classic example of what happens when artificial and arbitrary boundaries are imposed on regions as they begin to unravel… While western powers continue to entertain strategic and tactical operations to contain the advances of indigenous Islamic military forces, others assert that the western powers can only forestall that which is inevitable… The Middle East as we know it, in terms of national boundaries of their respective people’s of the region, came about 100 years ago based on political and economical design by the British and the French foreign ministries. This scenario was the outcome of the exploits of “Lawrence of Arabia,” Napoleon and the French Foreign Legion. The British and French segmentation of the region was codified following WWI, when the authority for countries comprising the Middle East was divided between Briton and France. Now these artificial boundaries are deteriorating, strongman rule enabled by western powers has waned under the force of organic and indigenous uprisings, and the overall influence that the western developed countries enjoyed with “strongman” regional leaders may no longer be relevant.

Both secular and religious leadership can be cited for engaging in the diabolical and abominable behaviour over the centuries… But justice is anticipated in the secular as well as the spiritual world. It was Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who posited that the moral arch of the universe is long but it bends toward justice. The question whether there will be appropriate accountability remains an open question. Based on end time eschatology, accountability and ultimate justice will prevail… Increasing public opinion argues that world events as they are currently unfolding have profound biblical implications going forward…

Gary’s Consulting News 

Ace News Room 

#ace-news-room, #christianity, #islam, #judaism