Must Read Monday: Incarcerated Americans, Kyler Murray’s Tweets, and Pearl Harbor SurvivorsDecember 10, 2018
Which ½ of America are you in?
“… half of all adults in the U.S. have an immediate family member who has been incarcerated. That’s about 113 million people who have a close family member who has spent time behind bars.
“The study found that one in seven people have an immediate family member who has spent at least a year behind bars, and another one in 34 people have an immediate loved one who has spent more than 10 years or longer in prison.
“The study also found arrests affect everyone – including nearly the same number of Republicans and Democrats – but numbers of those affected increase when examining minorities and families living in poverty. The survey notes six out of 10 African-Americans and Native Americans had an immediate family member who had spent time behind bars.”
According to Prison Fellowship, 2.2 million men and women in the US are incarcerated. 95 percent will be released; 600,000 will return to their communities this year. What is your congregational plan for that?
There’s a huge correlation between education attained (or dropping out) and avoiding incarcerations (or being incarcerated). How engaged is your church in making sure low income youth, particularly boys, graduate from high school? That’s a target we can all aim in our communities because we’re talking about the discipleship and mentoring of kids.
We also need to have serious conversations about comprehensive criminal justice reform, prison ministries that are redemptive, and post-incarceration ministries designed to provide a positive fresh start.
“Hours after winning the Heisman Trophy, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray apologized for anti-gay tweets he made as a teenager, saying they don’t “reflect who I am or what I believe.”
So, who am I today? What do I believe? How have those changed since I was 15? That’s a conversation each of us and all of us can have today with teens as the past is being used to shame people in the present.
“I apologize for the tweets that have come to light tonight from when I was 14 and 15,” he tweeted Sunday morning. “I used a poor choice of word that doesn’t reflect who I am or what I believe. I did not intend to single out any individual or group.”
“The offensive tweets were deleted from his account late Saturday night, but screenshots of the tweets show Murray repeatedly using the word “queer” in conversations.”
I am not defending the content of the tweets Mr. Murray posted when he was 14 or 15 years old. I am suggesting that those who wanted to shame him, waited for the biggest night of his life to do it.
Ever heard the question, “Does anyone present know any reason why these two people cannot lawfully be wed?” Well, yes, actually. There’s a long litany of reasons but the Christian approach or even the civil approach isn’t to wait until pointing it out would cause maximum pain, shame and embarrassment.
Murray is not alone. Last week, comedian Kevin Hart stepped down from hosting the Oscars due to tweets from his past.
In Hart’s case, the revelations were not new but were newly used to target him. He has apologized in the past for the tweets. He has said he has grown and his views have changed. But the fact that he ever held and expressed such ideas is now considered such high treason that he cannot be allowed public success. I heard one commentator last week say that not only did Hart need to apologize but he needed to volunteer and give money – lots of money, the commentator emphasized, to pro-LGBTQ causes. Really?
In it, he observed:
“Like early modern Christians, they punish heresy by banishing sinners from society or coercing them to public demonstrations of shame, and provide an avenue for redemption in the form of a thorough public confession of sin.”
Surprised at the secular use of the word sin? Don’t be.
That is now a very rare “yes”
It’s worth a read.