Invoking Jesus to Defend Racial Insensitivity? Please!


Of all the defenses of Congressman Steve Scalise (R-La.), the new House majority whip, in the wake of revelations that he spoke at a gathering of white supremacists in 2002, I find Congressman Steve King’s (R-Iowa), reported in today’s Washington Post, the most outrageous:

“Jesus dined with tax collectors and sinners,” King said. “It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, it’s the sick. Given that piece of Scripture, and understanding that Scalise probably wasn’t staffed thoroughly, I could understand how something like this happened. But I know his heart, I’ve painted houses with him post-Katrina, and I know he is a good man.”

I’m sorry, Congressman King, but you can’t have it both ways. Continue reading Invoking Jesus to Defend Racial Insensitivity? Please!

Educating Children Who Aren’t Showing Promise

Twitter Globalization Article

Having spent all my professional life working to educate America’s children, I naturally bristle when I see a headline like the one that appeared in my Twitter feed from the Washington Post this morning: “Globalization isn’t America’s problem, education is.” I clicked on the link, prepared to be annoyed and to argue with yet another businessman who blames education for the country’s problems. Companies are in the business of rewarding those who show promise. Schools are in the business of convincing children who aren’t showing promise that they have something to offer the world. Continue reading Educating Children Who Aren’t Showing Promise

An Open Letter from a Teacher to the 1%

Spirit of '76
Spirit of ’76 by Archibald M. Willard

Dear One Percent,

We’re on to you. We’re not sure just yet what to do about you, how to fight you, but consider this fair warning: We are about to rise up and become David to your Goliath, Frodo to your Sauron, Jean Valjean to your Thenardier.

Our survival depends on it.

It’s no surprise that Senator Elizabeth Warren struck a chord last week that started a chorus of voices as the Senate voted on a bill to ease regulations on the banks that contributed most to the housing crisis and to cut Pell grants to college students living in poverty. Those two provisions are the noisy gongs, the clanging cymbals that tell us your stony hearts are incapable of love and charity. Continue reading An Open Letter from a Teacher to the 1%

For Readers Who Challenge My Thinking

Dr. Shrewsbury

Graduating from Concord College, with 
Dr. Shrewsbury, who always challenged me to think

Two days ago my blog took a toddler’s step toward what I hoped it would be when I launched this site two years ago:  a place where people of good faith could disagree in a way that encourages further discussion.

One of my loyal readers challenged my thinking and followed it up with a brief personal story about why she disagreed.  In her first sentence she said, “I’ve read your blog three times and for the first time, it doesn’t say anything for me.” Continue reading For Readers Who Challenge My Thinking

An Open Letter to Working Class Conservatives

Dear Fellow Americans,

You love this country. You’re frustrated. I love this country. I am frustrated. We share that, if little else.

Though my political beliefs are distinctly different from yours, we both want the same thing: a country in which the American Dream is still possible for us and for our children. We have been taught—and we are teaching our own children—that we live in a place where dedication and hard work result in success and financial stability. Yet we both see that slipping away, and we take turns being angry with our leaders, particularly those in the opposing party, when Congress makes decisions that affect the people we care about. Continue reading An Open Letter to Working Class Conservatives

Where Do Children Learn Racism?

Ash 7.30.86

No one is born with prejudices. Though we may sometimes argue about nurture versus nature, I don’t think anyone has ever suggested that racism is somehow wired into our genetic make-up. Prejudice is something we learn from the people who teach us how to be human.

My mom taught me a certain amount of prejudice against what she called “hardshell” Christians in her family—those who wielded a heavy weight of judgment and condemned others to hell. They taught her that women could not wear make-up, pants, or jewelry; that women couldn’t cut their hair; that women must be silent in church. Mom felt guilty for leaving such a church for most of her life, but she tried to free her children, telling us, “That bunch gags at a gnat and swallows a camel.” Continue reading Where Do Children Learn Racism?

Are Truth and Love Stronger than Race?

King Quotation

Inscription on the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial

Our nation is lining up on either side of a fault line that threatens to shake the foundations of our nation. I can’t help fearing that the Big One is coming—the racial earthquake that could destroy us. I’m frightened for our future. I’m frightened for our children. But I also have hope. Continue reading Are Truth and Love Stronger than Race?