So what’s the big deal with making people flash a photo ID at a poll before they vote? You have to have a photo ID to buy beer; why shouldn’t you be required to have one to vote? And how dare you call it a racist Jim Crow law! Since I know I have readers who have thoughts like these in their heads when they hear the criticisms of the voting law NC governor Pat McCrory signed yesterday and because I love you and want to have a more productive conversation with you than just flaming and shaming, I thought I would try to calmly go through the problematic portions of the law and explain why I and other people see them as problematic.
Yesterday, over 150 social justice activists in North Carolina were arrested at the state legislature building after a civil disobedience protest over a bunch of new laws the NC state government is racing to implement that activists say are going to really hurt the poor in NC. One of the biggest problem areas is education. To share two examples, one bill says that charter schools can hire instructors that don’t have teaching licenses; another one transfers $100 million from public schools to for-profit private schools without subjecting the for-profit schools to the same accountability measures the public schools have like standardized testing. Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove is a leader in the Christian neo-monastic movement who lives in community with the poor in inner-city Durham. On his blog today, he shared an open letter to his kids about why he chose to get arrested yesterday that exemplifies a basic contrast in the two visions for family that we encounter in the church today. Continue reading
Two weekends ago, our church’s men’s retreat examined and discussed one of my favorite scripture passages, 1 Peter 3:15-16: “Always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have; yet do so with gentleness and respect.” This verse summarizes for me
what evangelism is supposed to look like. Our men covenanted to live so that people in our lives would have a reason to ask us about Jesus and then have an answer for them when they do. It is out of this fundamental concern for
evangelism that I am most troubled by North Carolina’s Amendment 1 initiative. I just can’t see how a legislative initiative to permanently revoke the rights of people whose lifestyle many Christians disapprove of is anything like the model for public witness that Peter gave us. When did legislation replace evangelism as the Christian means of building God’s kingdom?