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3 months ago

Where is your theology? An internal political assessment

With the conclusion of the 2018 midterm elections, I have one question, specifically for the faith-based community: Where is your theology?

If you conduct a quick Google search you will find out the word “theology” means “the study of the nature of God and religious belief.” If theology is the study of God, then how does an individual apply theology in the real world? How does what we know about our theology affect our personal and political views? Conceivably, what we study becomes a part of our outlook, infiltrates our system of thought and helps to shape our day-to-day life.

According to the Pew Research Center (PRC), 80 percent of United States adults believe in God, 56 percent believe in the God of the Bible and 33 percent of those surveyed believe in a “higher power,” but not the God of the Bible.

Whether we want to admit it or not, much of what we believe, and the way in which we vote, has to do with our religiosity. The majority of individuals surveyed by the PRC claim to believe in a god. Of these individuals, 84 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of Democrats and 76 percent of people with no political party leaning consider religion to be either a “very” or “somewhat” important part of their life. Our study of God, mainly the God we serve or do not serve, influences our morals, values and belief system. And most assuredly, what we believe impacts how we vote.

Therefore, to my Democratic, Republican and independent friends, family and colleagues, I say again, where is your theology? We live in a cultural climate that is not uncommon to man. Division has always seemed to creep into our institutions. Hate has always run marathons across our landscape. Racism has always plagued our societies like a never-ending disease. With these difficult realities in mind, I say again, where is your theology? We should not be surprised by what we see in our nation or our world. Division and dissension are a part of mankind. Trouble will always find its way into the hearts of man, and bad things will always happen as long as this Earth exists. The question now becomes: What should our response be?

Should it be to treat your neighbor as yourself and to show mercy and compassion, love and respect, gentleness and kindness? Should your response be to be of good cheer when you face trials and tribulations because your joy does not come from things of this present age? Should your response be to let your light shine brightly in dark places? Should your response be to be alert and vigilant, to be set apart, to be not conformed to the behaviors and actions of this
world? The answers are obvious, which is precisely why the question is not, “What is your theology?” but where.

Many of us know what our theology should be. We know what our religious literature says about how we should operate in life. And through spiritual revelation, we know how our God has called us to live. But many of us have lost our way. Some of us have lost sight of compassion, love, and respect for our neighbor. Some of us have forgotten “The Golden Rule.” We have misplaced our theology — but there is hope.

When politics gets involved, it seems as if answering questions regarding theology becomes difficult for people of faith. It seems as if our knowledge of God begins to take a backseat to the gods of greed, malice, anger, racism, temporary pleasures and those many other things that take one’s focus off the one true God. This truth should cause us to pause and ponder.

Where is your theology? Who is your God? What do you know about him? Would your God be okay with your behavior? Would your God be pleased with how you treat the least of your community? Would your God be satisfied with the way you treat your friends, foes, and other fellows? How has your knowledge of your God influenced your vote and your life? How should it?

I ask these questions because it seems as if people of faith can sometimes find themselves expressing their God with their lips, but their hearts are far from that very thing they claim to believe and worship. In America, especially during election season, we sometimes present God in two ways: a God of love or a God of hate. Sadly, even those who serve and represent a loving, merciful, compassionate God miss the mark sometimes. And their failure is understandable, for we all are merely human. This dichotomous image of a deity continues to project itself in various forms. For Christians, a misrepresentation of God is toxic to the society we claim to love and desire to reach.

Our nation saw these images during slavery, where some who believed in the God of the Bible would use biblical references to subjugate a group of people. Instead of relaying the words of God in the way they were intended, these enslavers presented apocryphal elements of God’s divine nature and desire, which led to a bloody, bloody war between the free and slave states. We then saw these same misguided “Godly” expressions during the Period of Reconstruction and then Jim Crow. In today’s political and social climate, we still see the complicated nature of theology play tug-of-war with right versus wrong, good versus bad, love versus hate.

With this in mind, I must raise the question once more: Where is your theology?

Is your knowledge of God exegetical in that it adequately represents the God you claim to serve? Is it committed to exuding what your God would find acceptable, reasonable, and honorable? Is your knowledge of God eisegesis, in that it has consciously or unconsciously pushed out the core principles and ideals of the theology you claim to know and believe? We should all examine the way we vote, how we treat people, if we support the least of these, and ask ourselves whether or not our actions are in line with our God’s will.

Our nation is in trouble. There is hate, division and intimidation around every corner. And, though these negative and tumultuous elements are not new to our society, I fear that we are on our way to digging a pit so deep, it will be nearly impossible to climb out of in the future. I also fear that people’s theological amnesia has caused this trouble.

For generations, counterfeit religion has been used as a tool to control, oppress and intimidate people. However, I believe that rediscovering proper theology can be the solution to our nation’s problem. Peoples’ knowledge of God is mixed with numerous theological theories, hypothesis, and critical observations. As humans, we may not — and we will not — agree on everything. But one thing we should strive toward is the ability to respect each other, treating each other with dignity and showing compassion to both our supporters and dissenters.

Are we as believers in God doing that in the United States?

Democrats, Republicans, and independents: Where is our theology?

Wherever it is, I hope we find it.

Our nation’s future, our children’s future and our future depends on it.

Christian Crawford is a graduating senior at Auburn University at Montgomery from Birmingham and will be receiving a Bachelor’s in Social Science and Liberal Arts in political science in December of 2018. In 2015, Crawford conducted an impromptu prayer at his high school graduation that went viral across the country, and the world. That prayer led him to be featured in numerous news and media articles, and it also allowed him to appear on local and regional news outlets such as “Good Day Alabama” on Fox 6, “Good Morning America” on Fox and Friends, and more. Crawford has been a motivational speaker for eight years.

A Story Worth Sharing: Alabama’s Red Tail Scholarship Foundation takes flight to help African-American students soar to new heights

If anyone knows hard work, it’s Torius Moore. A self-professed “small-town kid” from Attalla, Alabama, Moore is an undergraduate student and pilot triple-majoring in Aerospace Science Engineering, Physics and Mathematics at the historic Tuskegee University.

Moore is the first person to receive a scholarship from the Alabama based non-profit, The Red Tail Scholarship Foundation, and now, the program’s chief pilot.

The Red Tail Scholarship Foundation’s mission is to honor the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African Americans trained by the U.S military to participate in combat situations. Funded solely by private donations and operating with no administrative costs, the foundation honors their mission by providing scholarships, mentors and flight training resources to African American students pursuing careers in aviation.

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According to Moore, “The scholarship foundation is revitalizing the historic, successful and gritty flight program from the 1940s. ”

He added, “For me, it is a change that is worth not just witnessing – but actually implementing.”

Not only does the foundation give back to their community, but they encourage their students to do so as well. In his role as the foundation’s chief pilot, Moore will teach members of the scholarship program to fly.

“I am always adamant about getting scholars in the airplane and in the skies where the Tuskegee Airmen used to fly. Let’s continue this tradition and uphold this legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen by creating more black pilots and transforming them into the new Tuskegee Airmen,” Moore said.

According to the foundation, only two percent of pilots in both commercial and military aviation are minorities, a statistic they are hoping to change, one student at a time.

Rich Peace, an accomplished military and commercial pilot, is a co-founder of the foundation and a mentor to many of the program’s students.

Peace says their organization is more than a traditional scholarship program.

“We’re going to teach you how to fly, we’re also going to provide guidance and mentorship beyond that,” Peace said.

Along with Torius, many other scholarship recipients have gone on to achieve success in the world of aviation. Since 2017, the non-profit has already awarded thousands of dollars in scholarships and training resources to 16 deserving students pursuing careers in aviation.

Peace says the foundation has had incredible growth over the last few years and is now facing a high demand from students hoping to become part of their program, which they hope to continue expanding.

“As leaders, not only do you have to lead the guys in this program, you have to develop them to do your job better than you can. That’s leadership,” Peace said.

To learn more or donate to the Red Tail Scholarship Foundation visit their website or email info@RedTailScholarshipFoundation.org

38 mins ago

Dothan City Schools to eliminate up to 70 jobs

An Alabama school system says it may eliminate nearly 70 jobs after decisions to close some schools in an effort to save money.

The Dothan Eagle reported Dothan City Schools expects to cut at least 47 staff members as part of the efforts.

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Superintendent Phyllis Edwards said the decision to close four schools means there are fewer support positions needed.

The types of positions being eliminated include clerical assistants, secretaries, nurses, education aides and the child nutrition program staff.

Several other staffers may be switched to teaching positions. There are no plans to lay off current teachers.

Edwards says she will make a formal recommendation on the layoffs and transfers next month or in April.

She said the school system could save about $3 million with the cuts.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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1 hour ago

Alabama prep star Maori Davenport drops suit against AHSAA

An Alabama high school basketball star who had been ruled ineligible dropped a lawsuit against the Alabama High School Athletic Association shortly after her senior season ended.

Pike County Circuit Judge Sonny Reagan dismissed the suit Wednesday at the request of Maori Davenport’s mother, Tara.

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The Charles Henderson star had sued the AHSAA and director Steve Savarese after she was ruled ineligible for accepting a payment from USA Basketball.

She played for Team USA last summer and received an $857.20 stipend, which was repaid.

The judge ordered Davenport’s temporary reinstatement and the case was twice delayed, meaning the Rutgers signee was able to play the season’s final five weeks.

Charles Henderson was eliminated Wednesday at the Class 5A state regional.

Jim Williams, an attorney representing the AHSAA, says his side did not have a chance to file an objection and “we did not consent to the dismissal.”
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

 

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2 hours ago

7 Things: Mueller probe could be over, Byrne officially the first Republican in 2020 U.S. Senate race, Alabama law forces government to give newspapers money and more …

7. Hate crime hoaxer has been arrested and charged with “filing a false police report

— Reports out of Chicago don’t look good for “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett as a grand jury has returned a felony indictment for what the Cook County district attorney believes was a fabricated hate crime to garner publicity. This is not the first time Smollett lied to the police. He pleaded no contest to providing false information to law enforcement after giving police a fake name in a 2017 DUI arrest.

6. Obama era regulations close a power plant; Alabama Power says employees will get new jobs

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— Alabama Power Company announced the Gorgas Steam Plant in Walker County will shut down, because of mandates put in place by President Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), on April 15. Alabama Power has said all Plant Gorgas employees will keep their jobs and be transferred to other facilities. Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-4) called this an obvious outcome of the “War on Coal.” He stated, “This is just another example of the ‘War on Coal’ that was prevalent during the Obama Administration and how it deeply impacts rural communities with little concern for those who are hurt.”

5. The State Department says ISIS bride can’t come home to Alabama

— A former Hoover resident and thrice married ISIS bride has been informed that the United States would not welcome her back to the United States. President Donald Trump pushed for that decision and tweeted, “I have instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and he fully agrees, not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country!” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made it clear she won’t be welcomed. “Ms. [Muthana] is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the U.S. She does not have any legal basis, no valid passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the U.S.,” Pompeo said.

4. White nationalist arrested with an arsenal and a hit list of Democrat politicians and journalists

— Christopher Paul Hasson, a U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant, called for “focused violence” and was planning a mass terrorist attack to kill “almost every last person on earth” and “establish a white homeland.” His targets included MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, Sen. Dick Blumenthal (D-CT) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). He also had 15 firearms and 1,000 rounds of ammunition. In court filings, the government said bluntly, “The defendant is a domestic terrorist.”

3. Alabama state law requires advertising in the local newspaper for various state and local entities, this means revenue for papers like the Democrat-Reporter

— A local newspaper embroiled in a racism controversy has benefitted for years from an Alabama law that predates the Internet and guarantees revenue for local newspapers. The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) alone spent over $4,000 last year alone. This is only one agency of the state government and one small-town newspaper. It doesn’t factor in other government entities in the area that are required to do business with the newspaper. These laws represent millions of dollars for newspapers guaranteed by archaic state law.

2. It’s official: Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Mobile) is running for United State Senate

— Byrne announced his run at a Wintzell’s seafood restaurant in Mobile. Byrne referred to his potential future opponent U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) by criticizing his “radical policies.” Byrne also laid out the fight ahead, saying, “The fight for America’s future is too important to sit on the sidelines. I am running for the United States Senate to defend the values important to Alabama.” Jones responded to the news by hammering Byrne. “Given the results of his losing bid for Governor in 2010, in which he did not even win the Republican nomination, it’s hard to see why they would nominate a career politician like Bradley Byrne now,” Jones stated.

1. After almost two years, the Robert Mueller probe is coming to an end

— Attorney General Bill Barr could be ready to announce the end of FBI special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and could submit a final report to Congress soon as well. These are the most obvious indications that the investigation is almost over. While it is unclear how much of the report will be made public, Barr has made it clear he plans to be “transparent” with Congress and the American people.

16 hours ago

Byrne first to officially declare run vs. Doug Jones – ‘Future is too important to sit on the sidelines’

Just down the street from where he grew up, Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) announced Wednesday evening his candidacy for the United States Senate while surrounded by family, friends and supporters gathered at Wintzell’s Oyster House in beautiful downtown Mobile.

Byrne became the first candidate to officially announce a run against the incumbent from Mountain Brook, Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL). In doing so, Byrne made clear his campaign will focus on his record as a fighter for Alabama’s values, drawing a clear and direct contrast between his traditional Yellowhammer State roots and the “radical policies” being pushed by Jones’ Democratic Party.

In his announcement speech, Byrne emphasized, “The fight for America’s future is too important to sit on the sidelines. I am running for the United States Senate to defend the values important to Alabama.”

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The congressman spoke about the “disconnect” between hardworking, everyday Alabamians and people stuck in the bubble of Washington, D.C.

Byrne urged attendees, “Look in Washington and tell me you don’t see people that have a vision that’s fundamentally at odds with what America is.”

“We need a Senator who will fight with President Trump to defend the Constitution, build the wall, stand up for the unborn, push for lower taxes, make health care more affordable and protect the Second Amendment,” he outlined. “I will fight every day to bring Alabama’s conservative values to Washington.”

Answering questions from reporters following the announcement, Byrne decried the Democratic Party’s embrace of socialism and “[killing] babies as they’re delivered.”

He also warned voters that Democrats should be expected to try and interfere in the Republican primary through “fake news” and  manipulative social media efforts. This comes in the wake of revelations that “Project Birmingham” was orchestrated to aid Jones’ general election candidacy in 2017.

Byrne, a labor-employment attorney by trade, is the former chancellor of the state’s community college system and one-term member of the state senate. He has served southwest Alabama in Congress since January 2014.

The Republican primary for the U.S. Senate in Alabama will be held March 3, 2020, with the general election to follow in November.

You can watch Byrne’s announcement speech and hear him answer questions from reporters afterwards here.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn