iOS app Android app

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 also host of the NPR-affiliated broadcast The Public Morality.

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

Facing the Hard Rock of Flint

(0) Comments | Posted February 1, 2016 | 4:44 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...

Read Post

Choking on Our Certainty

(4) Comments | Posted January 25, 2016 | 9:01 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...

Read Post

Finding the Authentic MLK

(0) Comments | Posted January 18, 2016 | 5:23 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...

Read Post

Be it Resolved That Our Congress Members ...

(0) Comments | Posted January 4, 2016 | 12:15 PM

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...

Read Post

The Myth of American Exceptionalism and the Uniqueness of America

(29) Comments | Posted December 27, 2015 | 10:27 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...

Read Post

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

(11) Comments | Posted December 22, 2015 | 9:14 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...

Read Post

The Supreme Court Tackles How Legislative Districts Should Be Calculated

(0) Comments | Posted December 14, 2015 | 12:41 PM

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...

Read Post

Why Sinatra Is Still Relevant

(0) Comments | Posted December 11, 2015 | 5:24 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....

Read Post

A Quiet Past, a Stormy Present

(0) Comments | Posted December 10, 2015 | 11:01 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.


Read Post

Woodrow Wilson and the Difficulty of History

(0) Comments | Posted November 25, 2015 | 9:50 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...

Read Post

How Will the Absurd Impact Paris?

(0) Comments | Posted November 18, 2015 | 10:09 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...

Read Post

Living in Our Own Private Silos

(0) Comments | Posted November 2, 2015 | 12:25 PM

What is America's greatest threat?

Is it gay marriage, abortion, illegal immigration, or terrorism? Is it liberalism or conservatism?

While there are some who may realize their response among the aforementioned possibilities, I find them overly simplistic. I suspect the culprit is less obvious to the naked eye.


Read Post

Vermont Voyager Voices Vexations of Many

(1) Comments | Posted October 26, 2015 | 5:24 PM

In 2004, the shrill sound of a yell came from a man from Vermont.

That moment was largely viewed as a political gaffe. The man, Howard Dean, became known for the "Dean Scream," which became the death rattle for a campaign unable to recover.

Now there is another yell emanating...

Read Post

Amending the Constitution Could Curb Gridlock

(10) Comments | Posted October 19, 2015 | 1:25 PM

Given where America has evolved, are we not due for constitutional convention to
amend our sacred document?

Under Article V of the Constitution, Congress and the states can introduce
amendments using different methods provided under that Article. The
congressional method has been the only method...

Read Post

We Need More Than Six Days to Discuss Poverty

(0) Comments | Posted October 7, 2015 | 11:15 AM

If I had my way, I would schedule for Pope Francis to make quarterly visits to the United States. When was the last time America's news coverage spent six consecutive days, at some point, covering poverty?

Not because it was part of their agenda, but due to...

Read Post

Has the GOP Been Right About Anything This Century?

(132) Comments | Posted September 30, 2015 | 5:26 PM

Here's what Peter Wehner, who headed the White House Office of Strategic Initiatives under President George W. Bush, had to say about the Republican presidential contest as it currently stands:

"This year is different, and what is happening now is leaving a searing impression," he said. "This is toxic...

Read Post

Absurdity Separated By Four Days

(0) Comments | Posted September 24, 2015 | 1:46 PM

September marks two seminal episodes in American history. Separated by four days, the collective embrace of each event could not be starker.

We have, and rightly so, committed ourselves never to forget the four coordinated terrorist attacks on 9/11 that resulted in nearly 3,000 deaths, mostly Americans.


Read Post

Religious Liberty and Spider Monkeys

(3) Comments | Posted September 16, 2015 | 1:11 PM

Either America is infested with elected officials at the highest levels of government, some with aspirations of becoming commander in chief, who are unable to pass a high school civics course, or worse, they maintain a brazen disregard for issues that do not align with their political agenda.


Read Post

When Will We Have a Judicious Immigration Debate?

(2) Comments | Posted September 9, 2015 | 12:40 PM

Since the Donald Trump phenomenon began I have asked a simple question:

"Which has the best chance to reach fruition: Donald Trump becoming president or a sparrow reaching Mars with an anvil tied to its tail?"

As of this writing, the sparrow is a...

Read Post

Politics Be Damned! Voter Suppression Is Immoral

(2) Comments | Posted September 2, 2015 | 3:13 PM

If you still believe there is not a systematic attempt to suppress voter turnout, read what Paul Weyrich, one of the leaders of the modern day conservative movement had to say in 1980:

I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of...

Read Post