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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 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

We Need More Than Six Days to Discuss Poverty

(0) Comments | Posted October 7, 2015 | 10:15 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...

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Has the GOP Been Right About Anything This Century?

(132) Comments | Posted September 30, 2015 | 4:26 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...

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Absurdity Separated By Four Days

(0) Comments | Posted September 24, 2015 | 12:46 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.


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Religious Liberty and Spider Monkeys

(3) Comments | Posted September 16, 2015 | 12:11 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.


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When Will We Have a Judicious Immigration Debate?

(2) Comments | Posted September 9, 2015 | 11:40 AM

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...

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Politics Be Damned! Voter Suppression Is Immoral

(2) Comments | Posted September 2, 2015 | 2:13 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...

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America Needs a Bottom/Up Trajectory

(0) Comments | Posted August 26, 2015 | 5:27 PM

If the 2016 presidential race stays true to form, it will be dominated by preliminary bouts, otherwise known as primaries, followed by the main event being the General Election.

The primaries will be a competition to see who is more in touch with the respective party's...

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The Liberation of Atticus Finch

(0) Comments | Posted August 20, 2015 | 4:41 PM

I was initially reluctant to read Harper Lee's "new" book, Go set a Watchman.

Those preliminary impulses were fueled by the controversy that surrounded the "lost" manuscript had been found and given a "blessing" by Lee, who is reportedly in frail health in an assisted living facility. Moreover, for more...

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How Great Is Serena Williams?

(60) Comments | Posted August 11, 2015 | 9:37 AM

Is Serena Williams the greatest women's tennis player of all time?

I'm quite certain we could have hours of debate. Using a combination of conjecture and statistics, to challenge the question with the names such as Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Steffi Graff, Margaret Court, and Helen Wills Moody.


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When the Legend Becomes Fact

(0) Comments | Posted August 5, 2015 | 12:09 PM

One of my favorite movie lines comes from "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance."

Ransom Stoddard: "You're not going to use the story, Mr. Scott?"

Scott: "No, sir. This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."

With all due respect to Mr. Scott, "when the...

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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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