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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

Government That Reacts to the People

(0) Comments | Posted July 29, 2015 | 1:10 PM

Does democracy work best when government reacts to the people or the inverse?

Unless one is a despot, I suspect an overwhelming majority, at least in theory, would offer democracy works best when government reacts to the people.

But why has it been...

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President Obama's JFK Moment

(1) Comments | Posted July 22, 2015 | 10:40 AM

On June 10, 1963, President John F. Kennedy began what would be an
unprecedented 17-day span of unforgettable oratory.

On June 11, Kennedy spoke to the nation on civil rights, giving the most
significant speech on the subject by any commander in chief since Abraham
Lincoln. On...

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The Liberal Inequality Fighters

(2) Comments | Posted July 15, 2015 | 3:56 PM

Liberals love to bemoan the extreme right -- seeing them as allergic to critical thinking, representing the fortress that blocks enlightenment.

But this conversation is not only arrogant; it is shortsighted in that it can blind liberals to the shortcomings on its own side.

A term coined...

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Is There Space for Southern Heritage That Does Not Ignore Slavery?

(0) Comments | Posted July 9, 2015 | 12:02 PM

Is there space to celebrate what is referred to as southern heritage that does not include ignoring slavery or viewing it as ancillary to the legacy that is embraced?

Opposing sides of this closed-end question will invariably stand their ground with the intensity of a relatively unknown brigadier general fighting...

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Reading the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution Should be Annual Events

(0) Comments | Posted June 24, 2015 | 4:31 PM

Every American over 18 should read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution annually. It's not enough to have read the nation's most sacred documents in high school, memorize a portion of the preamble or know that somewhere in the document that outlines America's intention to break free from British...

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The Spirit of Nero Lives in the Tar Heel State

(0) Comments | Posted June 16, 2015 | 12:44 PM

It was either a brazen act of defiance by the legislative branch of government or tomfoolery masquerading as the democratic process. But in overriding Governor Pat McCrory's veto of Senate Bill 2, lawmakers in North Carolina demonstrates their opposition to same-gender marriage is greater than their understanding of and adherence...

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Christianity Has Only Itself to Blame for Its Demise

(0) Comments | Posted June 9, 2015 | 3:04 PM

The number may vary but the trend line is consistent: The Christian church is in decline. From church attendance to those who identify as Christian, all numbers are heading south.

Is Christianity the new middle class? Has it become an amorphous term to describe something that most assume they...

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Loosening the Grip of Fear

(0) Comments | Posted June 3, 2015 | 11:35 AM

I have this reoccurring fantasy that every president after George Washington began their first day on the job by uttering "Oh" followed by the appropriate expletive of choice after having read the "For Your Eyes Only" document that ran counter to the America that the new commander in chief articulated...

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The Second American Enlightenment

(0) Comments | Posted May 27, 2015 | 3:24 PM

As the quote attributed to Winston Churchill brilliantly offers, "You can always count on Americans to do the right thing -- after they've tried everything else!"

It seems the nation has once again reached this Churchillian precipice on several issues that were believed to be bedrock conservative principles, and thereby...

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Did Seymour Hersh Uncover the Powerful and Obnoxious Odor of Mendacity?

(1) Comments | Posted May 19, 2015 | 9:37 AM

In the movie Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, the patriarch, Big Daddy, observes:

"What's that smell in this room? ... Didn't you notice a powerful and obnoxious odor of mendacity in this room?"

It seems that Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has picked up Big Daddy's observation...

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Using the Poor as Novocain for Growing Economic Fears

(2) Comments | Posted May 13, 2015 | 3:21 PM

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback recently signed into law a bill that would curtail what those who receive public assistance could purchase with their government-issued debit cards.

This exhaustive list includes, but not limited to:

Alcoholic beverages, gambling venues, tattoo, massage and body piercing parlors; spas and nail salons,...

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The Effervescence of Poverty Will Eventually Go Flat

(0) Comments | Posted May 6, 2015 | 4:38 PM

The events of Baltimore are temporarily in the nation's rearview mirror.

If recent history holds true to form, it will only require that a similar event take place elsewhere, or that the verdict on the six police officers indicted for the death of Freddie Gray not meet expectations within...

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Absurdity's Traveling Road Show Makes an Impromptu Appearance in Baltimore

(0) Comments | Posted April 29, 2015 | 9:17 AM

The traveling road show known as absurdity recently visited Baltimore. Like its antecedents -- in Ferguson, Missouri; Beavercreek, Ohio; North Charleston, South Carolina; New York City; and elsewhere -- once again an unarmed black man was killed by those sworn to protect and serve.

In this latest absurdity, how...

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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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