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Byron Williams
Rev. Byron Williams is one of the leading public theologians in the nation. He is a columnist, author, and the former pastor of the Resurrection Community Church in Berkeley, CA.

He is now President and CEO of the Kairos Moment a progressive theological think-tank in Winston-Salem NC.

He is the author of the bestselling 1963: The Year of Hope and Hostility, which won the 2014 International Book Award for US History. His previous book, Strip Mall Patriotism: Moral Reflections on the Iraq War, is a series of essays covering a four-year span in what is arguably America’s worst foreign-policy decision.

In 2010 and 2011, Williams' work was nationally recognized by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), which nominated him for “Columnist of the Year.”

Williams has spoken across the country and appeared on numerous television and radio news programs, including CNN, MSNBC, ABC Radio, Fox News, and National Public Radio.

Entries by Byron Williams

Looking at the GOP From the Outside

(0) Comments | Posted April 22, 2015 | 9:57 AM

Not long ago, my wife and I visited the Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro, NC. There was an exhibit highlighting the era of Jim Crow segregation with identical Coke machines. Presumably the machine that cost 5 cents for a soda was reserved for whites while the one costing 10 cents...

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Lincoln, Lynching, and the Long Way Home

(4) Comments | Posted April 15, 2015 | 2:06 PM

The assassination of Abraham Lincoln 150 years ago this month was the precursor to the domestic terrorism that would be unleashed on black Americans for the next century.

Reconstruction was far more punitive than it would have been had Lincoln lived. In his second inaugural address, Lincoln had sent...

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Corporations Are Becoming People Too!

(5) Comments | Posted April 10, 2015 | 12:49 PM

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
-- The First Amendment

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Religious Freedom Restoration Act Is No Way to Govern

(0) Comments | Posted March 30, 2015 | 12:02 PM

You are so last century if you:

  • Print out MapQuest directions.
  • Use a Wang computer.
  • Rely on a BlackBerry but are not part of the federal government. (I was guilty of this one until six months ago.)

You are also trapped in the 20th century if your state enacts...

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Economic Poverty Is Bolstered by Moral Deprivation

(4) Comments | Posted March 25, 2015 | 2:56 PM

The economic data strongly suggest that the country is headed in a positive direction. The stock market roars, unemployment is down, jobs are being created, the nation's right-track/wrong-track metric is improving, and consumer confidence is up, but something is not quite right.

While the 2014 job growth was the...

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Review: Rage to Redemption in the Sterilization Age

(0) Comments | Posted March 23, 2015 | 11:07 AM

Eugenics is defined as a movement claiming to improve the genetic features of human populations through selective breeding and sterilization, based on the idea that it is possible to distinguish between superior and inferior elements of society.

This macabre practice is most commonly associated with Nazi Germany. But as...

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OU Frat Chant and Civics

(0) Comments | Posted March 19, 2015 | 8:42 AM

Nothing like an 11-second racist chant on a fraternity bus to reveal the ongoing gap that exists between our lived commitment to the Constitution and our rhetorical adherence.

I received numerous emails in response to last week's post where I opined that expelling the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) students...

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It's Not Unconstitutional to Be Racist

(30) Comments | Posted March 11, 2015 | 1:29 PM

Racism is a repugnant disease of the heart and mind, but it's not unconstitutional.

That is the perennial tension when episodes like the recent incident involving the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity at the University of Oklahoma come to light.

The video that went viral on the 50th anniversary of...

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Jobs or Quality Jobs?

(4) Comments | Posted March 4, 2015 | 9:03 AM

If the economic predictions offered by MarketWatch in January come to fruition, 2015 should be a good year--economically speaking. Supported by an unemployment rate that has plunged from 5.7 percent in January from 8.6 percent three years ago, MarketWatch predicted the following upbeat news:

  • 3-percent growth for the first time...
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Are Republicans Destined to Be 21st-Century Whigs?

(190) Comments | Posted February 26, 2015 | 11:36 AM

Republican victories in the recent midterm elections that gave it majorities in both houses of Congress obscure the fact that it is a party in decline. It currently possesses a political trajectory that could place it alongside the Whigs.

Led by Senate stalwarts Daniel Webster and Henry Clay, the...

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Harper Lee's Gift

(0) Comments | Posted February 11, 2015 | 1:55 PM

When my son was 8-years-old, he bestowed on me the greatest compliment that, in my view, a parent could receive.

He had just completed To Kill a Mockingbird, as a part of our reading ritual; we were discussing the book and its characters. He gave me his...

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Same-Gender Marriage Enters the Twilight Zone

(1) Comments | Posted February 3, 2015 | 12:44 PM

I've asked Rod Serling, creator of the 1960s television series The Twilight Zone, to write this post.

Serling: "You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into wondrous lands whose boundaries are that of imagination. There's a signpost up...

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Isn't It Time to Take Hoover's Name Down From FBI Headquarters?

(0) Comments | Posted January 27, 2015 | 3:36 PM

Why does the headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigation still bear the name of J. Edgar Hoover?

Those who continue to hold Hoover in high esteem are a diminishing lot of so-called "true believers." Any merits of his more than 40 years of service are outweighed by a legacy...

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Why Are Selma's Perceived Oscar Snubs an Issue?

(0) Comments | Posted January 20, 2015 | 4:31 PM

The so-called "Big 5" Academy Awards consist of:

• Best Picture
• Actor in a Leading Role
• Actress in a Leading Role
• Directing
• Writing (either Original Screenplay or Adapted Screenplay)

The failure of the movie Selma to garner 4 of the 5...

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Claiming Islam Does Not Make it So

(0) Comments | Posted January 15, 2015 | 9:46 AM

Last year, Frank Ancona, the Ku Klux Klan's Imperial Wizard, told NBC 12 in Virginia, "We don't hate people because of their race. I mean, we're a Christian organization."

What may appear to many as absurdity run amok, Ancona's statement raises the question: What constitutes a "Christian organization"?

Does one...

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Death of a King Could be the Rebirth of the King Narrative

(0) Comments | Posted January 7, 2015 | 1:20 PM

The third Monday in January is when America commemorates the King holiday. It is a strange phenomenon, uniquely American in that we honor heroes in a manner that causes the least amount of discomfort.

Though counterintuitive, it is to bemoan Hollywood for historical inaccuracies, but opt for the Hollywood...

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The True Hero of Selma

(3) Comments | Posted December 31, 2014 | 8:13 AM

How should we judge former President Lyndon Johnson based on the newly released and widely acclaimed movie Selma? Was he a reluctant, foot-dragging politician, or one of its heroes?

Some close to the Johnson legacy feel the movie that depicts the bloody civil rights campaign in Selma, Alabama that led...

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Joe Cocker Spoke Directly to My Soul

(1) Comments | Posted December 24, 2014 | 8:21 AM

The first time I saw Joe Cocker live, it was one of the most memorable experiences in my musical inventory. When he sang the Beatles,' "With a Little Help from my Friends," it marked the emotional crescendo in what became a symbiotic relationship between audience and performer.

With everyone...

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When Racism Intersects With Absurdity

(0) Comments | Posted December 18, 2014 | 10:02 AM

Racism is one of those unique words in our lexicon that embodies a slippery slope of understanding, belying a comprehensive definition.

One says it, what do they mean? Another hears it, what did they hear? As a result, charges of racism can sometimes intersect with absurdity.

If reports...

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Leaderless Movements Are Impossible to Maintain

(3) Comments | Posted December 11, 2014 | 9:00 AM

Question: What were the historical contributions of E.D. Nixon, Joseph McNeil, James Farmer, William Anderson, and Fred Shuttlesworth?

Answer: They were among the leaders who organized civil right movements in Montgomery (1955), Greensboro (1960), Freedom Rides (1961), Albany (1962), and Birmingham (1963) respectively.

It is no accident that the...

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