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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 host of the NPR-affiliated broadcast The Public Morality and serves as adjunct professor at Wake Forest School of Divinity.

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

Does Minimum-Wage Fight Invite Minimum Morality?

(3) Comments | Posted April 23, 2016 | 4:02 PM

What constitutes a moral issue? Is it, as many claim, a factual issue or a disagreement in belief? Or is it based on a particular type of experience or situation?

I happen to believe government budgets are a moral issue because they reflect priorities. My moral barometer for measuring societies...

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Moonwalking into the Past

(1) Comments | Posted April 5, 2016 | 4:49 PM

The state of North Carolina has become the latest entry in that cyclical process that temporarily renders itself an object of national embarrassment with a self-inflicted wound. The legislature passed a bill that was signed by Gov. Pat McCrory, during a special session, demonstrating everything that is wrong when one...

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Liberal arts are where we learn how to be citizens

(0) Comments | Posted March 17, 2016 | 9:38 AM

I remember as an undergrad; so many of my classmates majored in business administration. Why? A business degree at the time appeared to place one on the proper trajectory toward finding a job.

My friends would ask me rather sarcastically, "What do you plan on doing with that political...

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We Shall Be Governed No Better Than We Deserve

(0) Comments | Posted March 14, 2016 | 6:54 PM

I wish to offer my preliminary observations of the challenges facing the eventual nominees from both major political parties.

I'm not interested in which candidate has the largest genitalia, who is involved in Nixonian dirty tricks, who repeats himself during a debate, who doesn't understand that the ghetto is not...

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Between the Hard Rock of Liberty and Equality

(0) Comments | Posted March 8, 2016 | 10:48 AM

One of the aspects that I most enjoy about the privilege of writing weekly posts is the interaction with readers. Now I certainly don't interact with those who consider me as Satan's love child, but I do try to read all lucid correspondence.

It matters little if it is dissenting...

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We Need More Diversity on the Court in Ways You Might Not Expect

(1) Comments | Posted February 29, 2016 | 4:41 PM

With the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, much has been said of late about who will replace this member of the Court who will not soon be forgotten -- and more important, when that replacement will occur.

Whenever a nominee is confirmed to the Court, I certainly hope...

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Reactionary Racism Revolts

(3) Comments | Posted February 18, 2016 | 6:50 AM

Breaking news: Just because someone suggests, alludes, surmises, speculates, implies, infers, deduces or forthrightly declares something or someone is racist does not make it so.

One of the most charged words in the American lexicon, "racism" can at times be used in the same cavalier manner we use "and," "but,"...

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The Color of Water

(0) Comments | Posted February 15, 2016 | 3:04 PM

What if I told you that a city with a large African-American population and low tax base had water emanating the tap that was brown in color and appeared undrinkable? Many would offer that I'm referring to Flint, Mich., but in this case I happen to be specifically discussing St....

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An Authentic Integration of Black History

(0) Comments | Posted February 10, 2016 | 10:25 AM

Were it not for Google, I might have forgotten that February 1 began Black History Month. But the illustration by Richie Pope honoring Frederick Douglass on the search engine would not allow me to forget.

Black History Month, in its current form, says so much about who we are collectively...

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Facing the Hard Rock of Flint

(0) Comments | Posted February 1, 2016 | 3:44 PM

As H.L. Mencken opined: "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."

The polluted water in Flint, Mich., becomes the latest entry in this largely unproductive use of discourse in pursuit of a solution.

Flint's water crisis is an epic display of dehumanization that...

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Choking on Our Certainty

(4) Comments | Posted January 25, 2016 | 8:01 AM

There is an unhealthy arrogance of certainty permeating our political discourse that says: Only our side is virtuous. Only our side is pure, moral, high-minded, ethical and principled.

If we do indeed see ourselves in this light, what is the best that can be offered to those in opposition to...

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Finding the Authentic MLK

(0) Comments | Posted January 18, 2016 | 4:23 PM

Another Martin Luther King holiday is upon us.

Some will no doubt partake in mock freedom rides at a special King Holiday rate; some will march in the spirit of Chuck Berry, with "no particular place to go;" others will attend breakfast in King's honor.

There is something about the...

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Be it Resolved That Our Congress Members ...

(0) Comments | Posted January 4, 2016 | 11:15 AM

With our New Year's resolutions in full effect, at least in theory, what is it that we've decided to do differently? What changes are we prepared to make? Will we be more of this and less of that?

A Google search for "New Year's resolutions" will uncover some 24 million...

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The Myth of American Exceptionalism and the Uniqueness of America

(29) Comments | Posted December 27, 2015 | 9:27 AM

There is a recurring theme throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, particularly on the Republican side: "Be afraid -- be very afraid."

It is enough to conclude American greatness lies in our historical rearview mirror. It is somewhat counterintuitive if one also accepts the myth of "American exceptionalism."

The notion of...

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Enforcing that "Well-Regulated" Part Won't Mean a Government Takeover

(11) Comments | Posted December 22, 2015 | 8:14 AM

"A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
-- The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

The aforementioned 27 words may be the most emotionally charged language in the Constitution. Many...

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The Supreme Court Tackles How Legislative Districts Should Be Calculated

(0) Comments | Posted December 14, 2015 | 11:41 AM

The Supreme Court heard a case out of Texas last week that, if the plaintiffs are successful, would dramatically change the constitutional landscape of the nation.

The fundamental question before the Court: Who should be counted in creating voting districts? Should districts be based on all residents, as it currently...

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Why Sinatra Is Still Relevant

(0) Comments | Posted December 11, 2015 | 4:24 PM

Several years ago I was talking with someone a few generations younger about Quincy Jones. They were recounting his illustrious career, noting that he even worked with Michael Jackson.

I then stated that Michael Jackson, as great as he was, was not the biggest star that Jones worked with....

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A Quiet Past, a Stormy Present

(0) Comments | Posted December 10, 2015 | 10:01 AM

The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.


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Woodrow Wilson and the Difficulty of History

(0) Comments | Posted November 25, 2015 | 8:50 AM

How do we negotiate history?

The aforementioned question is at the heart of the debate between students at Princeton University and the administration about the role of the nation's 28th president, Woodrow Wilson.

Prior to becoming commander in chief, Wilson also served as New Jersey's 34th governor, an...

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How Will the Absurd Impact Paris?

(0) Comments | Posted November 18, 2015 | 9:09 AM

Terrorism is defined as the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.

Whenever terrorism is inflicted on the West, like the recent attack in Paris, it invariably takes on two phases.

The first phase is the act itself. It is an act...

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