A "Unite Rochester" blog by CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle: "Two Steps Forward, One Step Back"

CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle reflects on the current challenges of our nation, offering words of hope in his latest "Unite Rochester" blog, recently published online:

"There is little doubt that for most African Americans, and for most persons committed to a progressive agenda for American society that the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States is proving to be a major step backward.

It is hard enough to accept the fact that the successor to our nation's first African American president was the one person who went out of his way to question the legitimacy of Obama's election, his American citizenship, and even his intelligence. However, the election of Donald Trump is bringing with it the appointment of Jeff Sessions of Alabama as the Attorney General of the United States. Sessions' opposition to expanded voting rights makes it unlikely that any attempt to end voter suppression practices across the country beginning in Alabama will be ignored or rejected.

Given the likelihood that the next four years may see two or three vacancies on the U.S. Supreme Court means that policies ranging from reproductive choice, to gun control, voting rights, affirmative action, worker's rights, and immigration policy could be established that will remain in effect decades after Trump has left office. I would never have imagined that eight years after enough white Americans cast their votes to elect Barack Obama that a rally could be held in Washington, DC, a few blocks from the White House where an Alt Right group would be celebrating the election of Donald Trump with talk of white nationalism and displays of the Nazi salute. We have gone from two steps forward to at least one step back so far as this being a country that has embraced racial and religious diversity is concerned.

I have seen these shifts in progress and suppression before. In 1967 there was elation that came with the confirmation of Thurgood Marshall as the first black Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. That appointment came after a long career as the nation's leading civil rights attorney responsible for the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision that ended segregation in public schools. That was two giant steps forward. Upon his retirement Marshall was replaced by Clarence Thomas who first benefited greatly from affirmative action and then spent the next twenty years doing everything in his power to repeal the very policies that positioned him for his appointment. That was an enormous step backward.

Despite these backward steps, I remain convinced that the words so often quoted by Martin Luther King, Jr. remain true today: "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward Justice." Despite the election of Donald Trump and all the disappointment that has come with it for more than half of the U.S. population who did not vote for him, social progress will continue in this country. In fact, after four years of a Trump administration, people may realize that our society did take a step back in more areas than they could ever have imagined. There will be two steps forward once again in the United States of America, and the journey toward a more perfect union will be resumed!"

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http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/local/blogs/unite/2016/11/27/two-steps-forward-one-step-back/94529468/

 

CRCDS President in the Public Sphere

CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle believes strongly in the public role of theological leaders. One look at his calendar reveals a leader who clearly “practices what he preaches.”  Within the past few weeks, Dr. McMickle appeared at the "Birth of a Nation" screening and panel discussion at the Little Theater in Rochester, NY was the keynote speaker at the international Lester Randall Preaching Fellowship in Toronto, Canada and appeared on WXXI's "Connections" with host Evan Dawson, weighing in on the African American vote in the 2016 election.  Dr. McMickle has also been visible in online and print media providing perspectives on race through his regular contributions to the Rochester, NY Democrat and Chronicle's Unite Rochester blog and recently as a signatory to a published religious pluralism agreement as well as a guest essayist on the current election for the United States Presidency.

Dr. McMickle encourages all of us to be involved in and to offer our voices to conversations in the public sphere.

For a review of Dr. McMickle's comments, articles and appearances, please click here:

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/opinion/guest-column/2016/10/15/interfaith-community-taking-action-children/92161572/

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/opinion/guest-column/2016/10/22/vote-hillary-clinton/92562356/

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/lifestyle/2016/10/20/watch-and-discuss-birth-nation-friday-little/92463294/

http://www.crcds.edu/listen-to-the-podcast-wxxis-evan-dawson-interviews-crcds-president-dr-marvin-a-mcmickle/

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Dr. Marvin A. McMickle, Keynote Speaker at Lester Randall Preaching Fellowship, Toronto

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Dr. Marvin A. McMickle, Keynote Speaker at Lester Randall Preaching Fellowship, Toronto

 

 

 

CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle: "Making Rochester White Again in Pittsford and Brighton"

CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle addressed the distribution of racist literature in two affluent Rochester, NY suburbs in his most recent Democrat and Chronicle Unite Rochester blog post. Read the post here:

"It has been two weeks since a group of white supremacists began passing out leaflets in the middle of the night in Pittsford and then in Brighton announcing their desire to make Rochester great again. When you go to their web site you find out how they plan to make their wish come true; they will make Rochester great again by making Rochester white again. There can be little doubt that this group is a local expression of the sentiments unleashed in the broader American society by Donald Trump’s announced intention to Make America Great Again. I will leave until another time the absolutely unfocused nature of what Trump means by make America great again. The assumption is that the greatness he has in mind resides somewhere in a past where women and minorities had not yet achieved the opportunities they now enjoy.. It is amazing how some people’s glorious past was somebody else’s terrible memory of oppression, exploitation, and suffering. I don’t want to make America great again as much as I hope to see America finally become the land of equal opportunity that has been its promise since its founding in 1776. Meanwhile, here in Rochester I am intrigued by the fact that the leaflets about making Rochester white again are being passed out in two predominantly white suburban communities. One would think that if there was some concern about making Rochester white again that those leaflets would be passed out somewhere in Rochester where most of the African Americans reside. Of course, that is the problem isn’t it? If those midnight messengers came into Rochester they might actually run into some Acrican Americans who might take great offense at the message on those leaflets. To the credit of the people of Pittsford and Brighton, they have expressed outrage over someone targeting their communities for this kind of message. I wonder why those who advocate this idea of making Rochester white again are only willing to spread their message in the middle of the night when there is less chance of them being identified? That was the practice of such hate groups as the KKK who did most of their hate-mongering in the dead of night. It is probably because, like most bigots, their ignorance is exceeded only by their cowardice. My address is 1100 S. Goodman Street in Rochester. Let’s see if the people behind these leaflets has the nerve to come to Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School at any time of day with their message of hate and intolerance. I will let the whole community know about it if they do."

Click here to view the blog online: http://blogs.democratandchronicle.com/unite/2016/10/09/making-rochester-white-again-in-pittsford-and-brighton/

 

 

Listen to the Podcast: WXXI's Evan Dawson interviews CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle

connections-evan-dawsonCRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle was interviewed by  WXXI's radio host Evan Dawson on Friday, September 30, 2016. The one-hour call-in radio show focused on the African American vote in the 2016 Presidential election.

To hear WXXI's broadcast, click here:

http://wxxinews.org/post/connections-african-american-vote-2016

 

 

"Using the Good Book for Bad Thoughts" by Dr. Marvin A. McMickle

On September 7, 2016, CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle published a "Unite Rochester" blog in the Rochester, NY Democrat and Chronicle entitled, "Using the Good Book for Bad Thoughts." Read the full text of Dr. McMickle's blog here:

As the LGBTQ community in this country continues to seek and oft times receive full acceptance in all areas of our society, I am shocked and ashamed of the fact that many people within the Christian church remain closed-minded and unwelcoming of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.

What is especially troubling to me as a long-time pastor and now as a theological educator is how some people attempt to use the Bible to justify their bigotry on this topic. I repeatedly hear such persons quoting from Leviticus 18:22 that refers to same-gender sexual contact as an abomination.

There are two things about this approach that trouble me. First, there is the simple fact that Leviticus is a 10th century BCE document that reflects a culture and a communal life that has largely disappeared in the modern world; even in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv! More importantly, there is so much more in Leviticus that these Bible quoters seem free to ignore. In Leviticus 19 it says we should not place tattoos on our bodies. I have heard no preacher condemn tattoos. It says that men should not cut the hair at the side of their heads or trim their beards, but I hear no preaching against going to the barber shop.

That same chapter also forbids wearing clothing made of two different types of fabric; hence silk and wool, or polyester clothing should be condemned. Leviticus 19 states that we should be kind to any foreigners living among us (immigrants and refugees). Yet, the anti-immigrant rhetoric in our society is harsh and visceral. Leviticus 19 also urges us not to hold grudges against one another.  Why are the people who are so quick to quote Leviticus 18:22 and the evils of homosexuality so mute about what is found in the very next chapter, let alone the rest of the entire book?

Some Christians want to be able to embrace one favorite verse while ignoring all the rest. It does not and it cannot work that way. If there is one verse that all Christians should embrace perhaps it should be Leviticus 19: 18 that says, "love your neighbor as yourself." I would encourage every preacher to make this one verse the center of their theology.