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Burns Strider
Burns Strider, a native of Grenada County, Mississippi, is the founder and principal of Eleison LLC, President of the American Values Network, and Senior Advisor to the Chairman of American Bridge. Strider is best known as the Democratic Party's "faith guru" and advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton regarding the nation's diverse and complex tapestry of religious thought and communities. He was senior advisor to Clinton in her 2008 campaign for President.

Strider is one of the 12 most influential Democrats in the nation on faith and values politics according to the Religion News Service.

Eleison Group is the nation’s leading consulting firm committed to creating common ground between the political, business, and non-profit worlds with America’s diverse values-based communities. Strider advises a broad clientele including Reverend Jim Wallis and Sojourners, The Democratic National Committee, The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, NRG Energy Corporation, the United Methodist Church, Catfish Growers of America, The Faith & Politics Institute, Oxfam America, Bread for the World, Harbor Wing Technologies and has advised over the past 3 electoral cycles on more than 100 U.S. House, Senate, statewide and national campaigns.

The American Values Network (AVN) is a nonprofit committed to educating, enrolling, and activating Americans in progressive causes. In its first year, AVN had a budget of over two million dollars largely focused on climate change and clean energy initiatives. A TV advertisement written and produced by AVN calling for ratification of the New START Treaty was recognized by the 'Campaigns and Elections' as the best issue advocacy advertisement in the nation for 2010.

American Bridge, its Correct the Record Division, employs a dedicated research, video, tracking, communications, and digital operation providing rapid response to false attacks from Republican politicians, party committees, and right-wing interests groups to meet its mission of electing a Democratic President in 2016.

Strider has served in an array of positions including Director of Policy for the U.S. House Democratic Caucus, Senior Advisor to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Director of the U.S. House Democratic Faith Working Group and Rural Working Group, regional Communications Director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Chief of Staff to U.S. Congressman Ronnie Shows (D-MS).

Strider began his career as an intern in the early 90’s for then-Congressman Mike Espy (D-MS) and then-Senator Al Gore (D-TN). He also served as speechwriter to Mississippi Secretary of State Dick Molpus.

In the mid-90's Burns spent three years in Hong Kong as a Missionary with the Southern Baptist Convention serving as youth minister at International Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist mega church on Hong Kong Island.

He has been a commentator for National Public Radio and has taught and lectured at various universities and workshops around the nation including Trinity College, University of Virginia, Ole Miss, Mississippi State University, Georgetown, Delta State University, Princeton, Harvard, Democratic National Conventions, Young Democrats of America and Camp Wellstone. He is a contributing blogger on Huffington Post, Faithful Democarts and The Mississippi Business Journal.

He is the son of the late and legendary Grenada County Sheriff Jesse A. “Big Daddy” Strider, who served Grenada County, Mississippi from 1966 – 1984 bringing about racial reconciliation, tearing down barriers and building bridges. He endorsed a young Mike Espy for Congress in 1986. This endorsement and the subsequent television advertisements help make Espy the first African American Congressman in Mississippi since reconstruction. David Halberstam, among others, has written about Sheriff Strider and his efforts for racial justice.

Burns’ oldest brother, today, serves as Grenada County sheriff and his family, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and others, live in Grenada, many on the Strider family farm.

Strider and his wife, Karen, a native of Kentucky, live in Washington, DC. They raise two nearly perfect boys, Will (12) and Pete (10). They are members of First Baptist Church of Washington.

Entries by Burns Strider

Winning One for the Future in Mississippi

(0) Comments | Posted May 15, 2015 | 4:09 PM

We know all too well about misdirection, misinformation, misappropriation and missed opportunity in Mississippi. The political boss hogs feed at the trough at the expense of our future. Initiative 42 can change this.

Does anyone question the right of all children in Mississippi to a free and adequate public education?...

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The Quiet, Unshakable Faith Of Hillary Clinton

(12) Comments | Posted April 9, 2015 | 11:51 AM

This blog was originally published by Religion News Service.

Late on a Saturday night in 2012, I received word from my sister in Mississippi that my mamma had passed away. My home was silent as my wife and two boys slept upstairs. I was reading when the sad...

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Fighting Terrorists, Not Soviets

(1) Comments | Posted November 23, 2011 | 3:52 PM

Times have changed. Even though the likes of Beck and Limbaugh still frequently throw around the word "communist" as a favorite epithet, the Cold War has entered its third decade of being spoken of in the past tense. School children aren't taught to "duck and cover" under their desks in...

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6 Reasons Mississippians Said No to "Personhood" Amendment

(462) Comments | Posted November 8, 2011 | 10:46 PM

Only a few months ago strategists were urging their candidates in Mississippi to stay clear of the "Personhood" initiative they'd be sharing space with on the ballot. More than a few candidates, believing it was the only safe path, chose to take a public position in support of...

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License Plates, Heritage and Fellow Mississippians

(38) Comments | Posted February 15, 2011 | 10:37 PM

Some of my fellow Mississippian want to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War with license plates honoring Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Forrest, born into a large, poor family was a self-made man amassing a fortune through cotton planting, land speculation and slave trading. He was one of...

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Republicans Are in Schism!

(20) Comments | Posted February 10, 2011 | 12:26 PM

The Republican house isn't built on a strong foundation of rock, but rather shifting sands. And the foundations are settling noticeably as the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) holds its yearly conference in Washington. Make no mistake, schism is official within the world of conservative politics.

CPAC has...

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Senators Kyl and DeMint Exploit Faith for Political Means

(2) Comments | Posted December 15, 2010 | 4:08 PM

While American troops will be working through the Christmas holidays, putting their lives on the line for our safety and while millions of Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of the "Prince of Peace," Senators Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Jim DeMint (R-SC) brazenly choose to distort and manipulate this most...

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Nancy Pelosi Should Remain As Leader of the House Democratic Caucus

(58) Comments | Posted November 5, 2010 | 4:06 PM

Today Speaker Pelosi let it be known she would seek to remain as Leader of the House Democratic Caucus come the new Congress in January. I applaud this decision. Keeping Ms. Pelosi as House Democratic Caucus Leader is the smartest move members of that caucus could make. Her tenacity speaks...

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Manning Up to Sharing Our Testimony as Democrats

(5) Comments | Posted November 3, 2010 | 2:21 AM

Democracy is truly a beautiful thing. In America we fight it out, folks vote and our government shapes itself accordingly. We move forward.

Democracy can be hard, too. The harsh realities of money and its undue influence on working folks and middle class Americans simply seeking what's best for their...

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Fox News, Talk Radio, and "Imam Obama"

(81) Comments | Posted August 24, 2010 | 5:40 PM

A great deal of electronic ink has been spilled this past week about the recent Pew poll where about 1-in-5 Americans said they thought Obama was a Muslim. Everyone is asking how this happened and what could the White House have done differently to prevent it?

In hindsight most...

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Newt Gingrich Rejects Religious Freedom and the Golden Rule

(73) Comments | Posted July 30, 2010 | 3:50 PM

The churches I grew up in have remarkable Veterans Day celebrations. They are like Father's Day, Mother's Day and Valentine's Day all rolled into one. I love those celebrations. The church choir sings "God Bless America," and the preacher or deacon calls out the various branches of military service: Army,...

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Wrong-Headed and "Half-Assed," Graham Caves When Real Leadership Is Needed

(3) Comments | Posted June 17, 2010 | 12:45 PM

America has often been the leader in innovation and the driving force of change throughout our history. One of the pressing issues of our time is climate change, and as South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has said in the past, "We refuse to accept the argument...

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Big Daddy's Rules for the 2010 Campaign Trail

(10) Comments | Posted June 11, 2010 | 11:42 AM

The edges of the American political and social landscape are loud right now. Too many Americans have retreated to their corners willing only to hurl names and labels and insults across the great divide to those with opposing opinions.

This is not healthy for our nation. Not the opposing opinions;...

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Big Daddy's Rules for the 2010 Campaign Trail

(0) Comments | Posted June 11, 2010 | 11:35 AM

The edges of the American political and social landscape are loud right now. Too many Americans have retreated to their corners willing only to hurl names and labels and insults across the great divide to those with opposing opinions.

This is not healthy for our nation. Not the opposing opinions;...

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Coal Mines, Potato Salad, And Damn Good People

(3) Comments | Posted April 8, 2010 | 4:08 PM

The unfolding coal mine disaster in West Virginia has me constantly checking the news for updates on the plight of our fellow Americans who are victims of this latest tragedy.

It seems that every few years we find ourselves going through the same motions, experiencing the same feelings and faced...

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FOX News Funds Research and Smear Campaign Against American Pastor

(283) Comments | Posted March 18, 2010 | 4:12 PM

This past week, Glenn Beck publicly revealed that his staff is moving beyond simply twisting the news for ideological ends to now funding opposition research and internet attack campaigns with the stated purpose of destroying the personal credibility of pastors who dare to question statements made by FOX...

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Congressional Pilgrims Going South in Search of a "Grace Note"

(7) Comments | Posted March 4, 2010 | 6:28 PM

If I had been Paul banging out parts of the New Testament, in the days of yore, certainly I would have claimed myself as a "Southerner of Southerners" from a cotton growing family.

My father, "Big Daddy," was the Sheriff in my native Mississippi County in the 1960s, 70s and...

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Pelosi Unpatriotic? I Don't Think So

(20) Comments | Posted May 19, 2009 | 3:11 PM

I missed my 20 year high school class reunion down in Mississippi because I was with Nancy Pelosi at the World War II Memorial's grand opening. In those days I worked for the Speaker and one of the areas I managed for her was issues and outreach to our nation's...

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Shovel Ready Jobs Needed in Washington

(2) Comments | Posted February 5, 2009 | 11:28 AM

Pungent piles of Republican nay-saying to the American jobs and stimulus package are getting so deep in Washington that shovel-ready jobs are needed to shovel it all to the dump. Could this be the Republican job creation...

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Just When You Thought You Were American -- Conservatives Say Not So Fast

(53) Comments | Posted October 22, 2008 | 9:49 PM

2008-07-28-bnet_logo_white.gifGovernor Palin and her brand of Republicanism are about to overcook my grits.

She and those who drink from the same mug have decided that you are not a real American, maybe you are even anti-American, if you...

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