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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 pastor of the Resurrection Community Church in Berkeley, CA.

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

Posner's Dissent Cast Shadow on the GOP's Future

(0) Comments | Posted October 15, 2014 | 4:30 PM

When future legal scholars look back on the significant moments of 21st-century jurisprudence, they may well see fit to include Judge Richard Posner's recent dissent on Wisconsin's voter identification law as worthy of inclusion.

Like Justice John Harlan's famous dissent in the infamous Plessy v. Ferguson decision, Posner's dissent...

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Economic Numbers Are Always Supported by How We Feel

(0) Comments | Posted October 14, 2014 | 12:27 PM

How is the economic record of President Barack Obama since taking office? In our contemporary "shirts versus skins" political approach, I suspect the answer depends largely on how one examines the numbers.

When the president took office unemployment was at 7.8 percent; in the third quarter of 2014 it...

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Change Is a Comin!

(0) Comments | Posted October 2, 2014 | 11:46 AM

This has been one of those monumental weeks in life. I reached the midpoint as a quinquagenarian.

No longer can I rationalize 50 as the new 40, ignore the endless series of unwanted solicitations from AARP, or pretend that athletically there is no difference between me now...

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Democracy Is Not Always a Benefit to Those on the Economic Margin

(0) Comments | Posted September 25, 2014 | 11:52 AM

Since the Cold War, America has, and rightfully so, advertised the superiority of democracy. But what exactly does that mean?

Is it simply a matter of voting? Is democracy one of those things difficult to define, we just know it when we see it?

Nowhere is "democracy" mentioned in...

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NFL Arrogance Has Temporarily Made Rice a Standard-Bearer Against Injustice

(0) Comments | Posted September 17, 2014 | 5:28 PM

It has been a bad few weeks for the National Football League. The global sports leviathan, whose dominance is unquestioned, has suffered from the type of missteps usually brought on by acute arrogance.

It is arrogance rooted in a linear focus for success that can render one blind to...

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The NFL's Implausible Deniability

(0) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 3:35 PM

Winston Churchill once observed, "You can always count on America to do the right thing -- after they've tried everything else."

Churchill's backhanded compliment seems equally applicable to the National Football League in its handling of Ray Rice.

In what may be the biggest public relation blunder since then...

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The Vaunted Pursuit for Justice

(0) Comments | Posted September 4, 2014 | 12:50 PM

In the aftermath of the highly publicized protest of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, I was once again struck by the demand for justice.

Throughout recorded human history the notion of justice, however defined, has run a parallel course. Justice is a critical moral and political...

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Ferguson and Cheap Historical Comparisons

(1) Comments | Posted August 28, 2014 | 2:21 PM

If you spend an inordinate time, like I do, on Facebook, you have most likely seen images from Ferguson, Missouri, juxtaposed with iconic photos from the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

At first glance, the 21st-century color photos of military tactics applied by Ferguson police next to the...

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Ferguson: A Tale of Two Narratives

(0) Comments | Posted August 20, 2014 | 5:33 PM

It began with a report that a young, unarmed, black male was killed after being shot six times by a white police officer.

Ferguson, Missouri, population slightly more than 21,000, became the new epicenter for the nation's latest absurdity.

Plaguing the human condition in myriad forms, this particular...

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The Challenge of Major Depressive Disorder

(0) Comments | Posted August 13, 2014 | 4:30 PM

In wake of Robin Williams suicide and the subsequent discussions about mental health, I decided to repost a piece that was first published in 2002. Peace and blessings, Byron

The alarm goes off and you greet the morning with sleepless eyes or perhaps sleep is all that you desire...

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If Peace Is the Goal, a Difficult Conversation Awaits Two Old Allies

(2) Comments | Posted August 12, 2014 | 11:11 AM

I recently questioned whether being pro-Israeli or pro-Palestinian, in its current format, was simply a euphemism supporting the unproductive status quo. My inbox overflowed with reasons from both camps in an attempt, as one reader wrote, "to raise my conscious."

The emails, regardless of the position, did bear one similarity...

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Foyle Gives Back to Shine the Light of Possibility

(0) Comments | Posted August 7, 2014 | 5:36 PM

On Monday August 11, the Kerosene Lamp Foundation (KLF) will hold its second annual celebrity golf tournament and dinner at the Moraga Country Club.

"Swinging for the Kids" is a golf tournament that engages the Bay Area community with local celebrities, with the overarching goal to highlight the mission...

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Is Being Pro-Israeli or Palestinian a Viable Position to Hold?

(3) Comments | Posted July 30, 2014 | 8:52 PM

In 1990, I went to Israel for a two-week study mission. I spent time in Gaza and the West Bank.

I recall how evening conversations were periodically interrupted during my stay at a kibbutz in Kiryat Shmona by artillery fire coming from Lebanon. For those living in the area...

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Do Republicans Warrant Being the Majority Party in Both Houses?

(0) Comments | Posted July 24, 2014 | 12:46 PM

Conservative humorist P.J. O'Rourke once said of Republicans, they are "the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it."

O'Rourke's observation may prove to be the most cogent rationale for a Republican victory in November.

If tradition holds, Democrats will lose seats...

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California Moving Toward the Age of Enlightenment on Capital Punishment

(1) Comments | Posted July 17, 2014 | 12:31 PM

United States District Court Judge Cormac Carney's recent ruling on California's death penalty validated what those in opposition have known for decades, it is unconstitutional, violating the 8th Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

The arbitrary implementation and delay of California's death penalty system led Carney to opine...

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America Was Built on Hope Not Fear

(0) Comments | Posted July 10, 2014 | 6:05 AM

Well, son, I'll tell you:
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor -- Bare.
But all the time
I'se been a-climbin' on,

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It's Alive! The Supreme Court as Dr. Frankenstein

(0) Comments | Posted July 2, 2014 | 5:37 PM

In the 1931 version of the movie "Frankenstein," Dr. Henry Frankenstein, portrayed by Colin Clive, looks on as the hand of his creation slowly rises, prompting him to say:

"It's alive. It's alive... It's alive, it's moving, it's alive, it's alive, it's alive, it's alive, it's alive!....Oh, in the...

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Iraq Is Beyond Cheney's Comprehension

(0) Comments | Posted June 24, 2014 | 4:49 PM

Much has been said of former Vice President Dick Cheney's Wall Street Journal op-ed where he criticized President Barack Obama's handling of Iraq. Cheney's contribution to the discourse in Iraq is as meaningful as someone holding an emergency meeting on the Titanic to ascertain the whereabouts of the missing bucket....

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Santa Barbara Shooting Reflects American Culture

(2) Comments | Posted May 28, 2014 | 6:27 PM

Isn't it time to come to the realization that shooting sprees like the one recently in Santa Barbara that left six dead is simply part of American culture? Why treat it like an aberration?

From Columbine to Virginia Tech to Sandy Hook into the present, we are temporarily shocked by...

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California: A Tale of Two States

(13) Comments | Posted May 21, 2014 | 11:03 PM

California produces roughly 50 percent of the fruit consumed in the United States. It remains the Mecca for the high tech industry; it has Hollywood, and two of its public institutions of higher education (UCLA and the University of California) are consistently ranked among the top colleges in the nation....

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