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Byron Williams
Rev. Byron Williams is a columnist, author,pastor of the Resurrection Community Church in Berkeley, CA., and author of the forthcoming book 1963: The Year of Hope and Hostility.

Entries by Byron Williams

LBJ Wasn't Alone

(0) Comments | Posted April 14, 2014 | 2:57 PM

The 1964 Civil Rights Act is 50 years old. The majority of commemorations have focused on the legislative prowess of President Lyndon Baines Johnson. When Johnson became president after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the civil rights establishment was justifiably concerned.

Would a southerner, who had never been...

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When Will We Really Start Supporting the Troops?

(0) Comments | Posted April 8, 2014 | 2:46 PM

Speaking at the Michigan Military Academy in 1879, William Tecumseh Sherman famously opined about the nature of war: "I've seen cities and homes in ashes. I've seen thousands of men lying on the ground, their dead faces looking up at the skies. I tell you, war is Hell!"

Have truer...

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Leland Yee Is the Tip of California's Problems

(2) Comments | Posted April 2, 2014 | 8:11 PM

The collective ethos of dysfunction has made obtaining a supermajority in the California Legislature seemingly the only way to govern.

California, with its quirky initiative process by which voters attempt to solve one problem by creating another, has become a place that necessitated a supermajority in...

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There Is No Comparison Between Zimmerman and Alexander

(2) Comments | Posted March 26, 2014 | 3:42 PM

I have long been dubious of the court of public opinion. Too often it bears an over-reliance on emotion while conveniently disregarding facts.

A prime example are those rallying against the apparent injustice of Marissa Alexander, who is facing 60 years imprisonment in Florida for allegedly firing a warning...

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Eulogy for Fred Phleps

(2) Comments | Posted March 20, 2014 | 3:09 PM

The news that Fred Phelps, the Westboro Baptist church founder and a man known for hate-filled protests against gay people, is dead will not bring a chorus of eulogies from those familiar with his peculiar brand of ministry.

For more than 50 years, Westboro, largely under Phelps' leadership, has...

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The Significance of 12 Years a Slave Winning Best Picture

(0) Comments | Posted March 12, 2014 | 7:24 PM

In my book, 1963: The Year of Hope and Hostility, I examined the political and cultural events that continue to impact the nation, which included Sidney Poitier winning the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Homer Smith in Lilies of the Field.

It marked...

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SB 1062 Was Never About Religious Freedom

(4) Comments | Posted February 27, 2014 | 3:15 PM

"Well aware that Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burdens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion" -- The...

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Brewer Spoiled My Entertainment

(1) Comments | Posted February 26, 2014 | 11:13 PM

I have a confession: A part of me, a rather big part, was hoping that Arizona Governor Jane Brewer did not veto a bill that would have allowed businesses that asserted their religious beliefs the right to deny service to gay and lesbian customers.

It was a disgusting, irresponsible, and...

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Florida's Stand Your Ground Was Written for the Exception

(4) Comments | Posted February 21, 2014 | 11:17 AM

Haven't we've been down this road before? A seemingly clear-cut case, at least in the court of public opinion, only to witness that 12 jurors charged with reaching a verdict did not unanimously see it that way.

In the macro context, the case against Michael Dunn bore an eerie...

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Did the President Overreach?

(3) Comments | Posted February 19, 2014 | 10:22 PM

Is President Barack Obama overstepping his executive authority by declaring he would not sit idle while an obstinate Republican led House of Representatives repeatedly demonstrates that opposing him is more important than moving the country forward?

Politically speaking, the president's actions (using executive orders) are understandable. Congress won't work with...

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Will the Curtain Close on the American Revolution?

(1) Comments | Posted February 12, 2014 | 7:34 PM

Benjamin Rush, one of America's Founders, famously wrote, "The American war is over but this is far from being the case with the American Revolution. On the contrary, nothing but the first act of this great drama is closed."

On the heels of the nation adopting the Constitution, Rush offered...

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Coke's Super Bowl Ad and the Destruction of America

(0) Comments | Posted February 5, 2014 | 4:24 PM

I've always been a fan of Ray Charles' version of "America, the Beautiful." His rendition allows each of us to personalize our belief in American democracy.

By taking "America, the Beautiful" and running it through the prism of that American institution known as the black church, Charles made it...

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State of the Union: A Great Speech That Was 3 Years Too Late

(0) Comments | Posted January 29, 2014 | 6:04 PM

After the State of the Union address last night, I asked myself, "Where was that President Barack Obama, say, three years ago?" He was clear, passionate, and engaged. Stylistically, I thought it was his best SOTU address.

Unlike his 2013 address, where the president made 42 recommendations only to...

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President Obama Is a Failed Socialist

(0) Comments | Posted January 22, 2014 | 1:14 PM

The notion that President Barack Obama is a socialist is laughable on at least two fronts.

First, such charges are invariably rendered by those who couldn't pick socialism out of a lineup if it were posted on a placard held by Lenin and Marx (not Groucho).

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Berkeley Once Again Honors the King Legacy

(0) Comments | Posted January 15, 2014 | 12:36 PM

It is so much easier to lionize great individuals posthumously than it is to hear them authentically while they are alive. In American history, if posterity is to be the reference point, one could think such notables as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr. sauntered through life...

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Absurdity has an Unwitting Ally in the Court of Public Opinion

(2) Comments | Posted January 8, 2014 | 5:31 PM

We love a good stereotype; it does not require critical thinking.

Question: What's the difference between a lawyer and a catfish?

Answer: One is a slimly bottom dwelling scum sucker, and the other is a fish!

This joke reflects the verdict issued by the court of public opinion in...

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Oakland Mayoral Candidates Need to Introduce Bold Ideas

(0) Comments | Posted January 6, 2014 | 11:44 AM

I've been giving some thought to what I would like to hear from at least one Oakland mayoral candidate.

I don't believe it would garner much opposition to suggest Oakland doesn't need an overseer of the existing status quo. Ironically, a candidate who truly thought outside the box could...

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How Will We Define Success in 2014?

(0) Comments | Posted December 30, 2013 | 1:30 PM

How does one define success?

As the year concludes, I've been giving a lot of thought to the meaning of success. I would suspect by any tangible definition, 2013 has been a successful year for me personally.

I wrote a book that has been well received, commemorating the golden anniversary...

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My Tribute to Marvin Burrows

(0) Comments | Posted December 23, 2013 | 1:57 PM

Last week, I received the following Facebook post from Marvin Burrows:

"Last message for a while as I am going to Kaiser Hayward for surgery Friday the 13th in 2013! Oh well, I really want this surgery to work this time as I am sick of pain and the lack...
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Free Speech: Do We Know it When We See it?

(1) Comments | Posted December 21, 2013 | 4:22 PM

In the sophomoric cacophony that masquerades as meaningful public discourse it seems the adventures of the highly rated cable reality show Duck Dynasty has entered the fray.

Phil Robertson, a star of A&E's "Duck Dynasty," has been suspended indefinitely after slamming gays in a magazine interview.

In the January...

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