Al Sharpton’s Beam v. Don Imus’ Speck

Far be it from me to defend Don Imus’ characterization of the Rutgers Women’s basketball team as “nappie headed hos.”  Imus himself has characterized his words as “repugnant” and they certainly were.  Imus has sincerely apologized.  He is being drawn and quartered by the Left and its media machine.  He will lose advertisers. He will lose prestige.  He will lose in more ways than can be calculated. And in many respects he ought to lose.  But should he lose his living – his source of income – because he said something stupid and without racial intent?

And now we hear from the women he ostensibly offended.  Do we really need to parade the team out for a press conference, as if putting them on display will somehow prove that what Imus said about them isn’t true?  We all know what Imus said wasn’t true.  When Imus spoke the words he himself knew they weren’t true. My momma always said that just because someone called you a name didn’t mean that was who you were. The harder you tried to prove you weren’t what they called you, the more you looked like you were. So just let it go. The person you really are will be finally determined by the life you live, not by what others say about you.

Imus isn’t the hypocrite here.  Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and the entire leadership of the (liberal) African-American community are the hypocrites.  Truth be told, Sharpton and Jackson have more racist tendencies than Imus has compassion for disadvantaged children (and Imus has a TON of compassion for disadvantaged children). And if Sharpton and Jackson were truly concerned about the portrayal of African-American women in the media, they would have used their platforms to rid this country of the deplorable rap music industry.

When talk radio host Glenn Beck pointed out to Al Sharpton that the lyrics of rap songs written and performed by black rappers show more disrespect to black women than Imus’ 30 second comment, Al Sharpton excused the rappers on the grounds that they don’t have nationally syndicated talk shows.  What?!?!  Here’s a partial transcript of the exchange:

BECK: This is what really bothers you, right?

SHARPTON: Absolutely. I mean, that is what hits me to the core. As I said, I have two daughters. And when I heard that, I heard him calling my daughters, who are not thugs, not in the street, not doing wrong, in college.

It`s like she said, when you excel, people call you that anyway. I had to come forth, and many others have come forth.

BECK: I have to tell you, it`s — I have — I have three daughters, and it`s not just if they excel. Calling your daughters — this is why this story reaches me, is because it is just so offensive on so many levels.

But here`s some women who have really accomplished something and to call them, you know, nappy headed hos is offensive.

However, Ludacris has a song called “Hos”. “Can`t turn a ho into a housewife,” apparently good advice from Ludacris.

How about Tupac: “I get around, all respect to those who break their neck to keep the hos in check.”

Notorious BIG: “Ain`t that a slut who” — and it goes into describing things that she does with her butt, different kinds of showers she likes and calls her a ho. DMX: “It`s all good. I`ve done it all to hos. Dominican hos, country hos, from sister to country hos.”

Three-six Mafia: “I heard it`s hard out there for a pimp. Couldn`t keep up with my hos.” Uses the “N” word. I mean, this is everywhere with rap.

Now I know you`ve given — you know, you`ve gone out, and you just had a press conference a couple of weeks ago. Will you tell me that you are trying to get these guys fired from their record contracts as much as you`re trying to get Don Imus thrown off the radio?

SHARPTON: No, what I will tell you is I`ve said that these record companies — ironically, the same conglomerate owns some of the record companies that you`re talking about, owns the radio station that Imus is on. These record companies ought to be hit so that we will take the profit out of that.

BECK: But you are not saying that with Don Imus. You are saying…

SHARPTON: With Don Imus…

BECK: You are saying, “I want you fired.”

SHARPTON: Don Imus is on a federally regulated radio station and television. If these guys were talk show hosts, I`d be marching to get all of…

BECK: These guys are being played not only on radio stations, but they`re also connected right to our daughter`s ears with their iPods.

SHARPTON: Glenn Beck — Glenn Beck…

BECK: This is much more hazardous.

SHARPTON: I am surprised. You have a good research department. I was surprised that when I met with the FCC about this about 18 months ago…

BECK: What I`m asking you…

SHARPTON: You don`t want the answer to that.

BECK: I do want the answer. Al, you and I have talked about this.

SHARPTON: I`m the guy that went to FCC and talked about this language and violence in hip-hop. “Nightline” even did a extensive report on this. So you don`t have to sell me. I want to know where all the people, including Mr. Imus, who claimed to be outraged by it, where were they when I were raising this, because it was…

BECK: I will be with you any time. We just don`t put people out of business, out of political correctness. Let`s encourage people to shed that.

SHARPTON: You cannot correct the rapper if you don`t have the same courage to stand up to people like Don Imus.

The lyrics of black rappers repeatedly referring to black women as “hos” and much worse, are played on radio stations around the nation and not a peep about those racial slurs from the so-called leadership of the African-American community. Yet Sharpton says that because rappers aren’t talk show hosts he won’t march to stop them from characterizing black women as hos.  He blames the lyrics of black rap on the “conglomerates” rather than on the black artists who write them! What a hypocrite!

Shouldn’t the leadership in the African-American community get the beam out of its own eye before it goes messing with the speck of dust in Imus’ eye? Truth be told, it isn’t the speck in Imus’ eye Sharpton and Jackson are after.  It’s his wallet. Once Imus’ writes the check to the black activist group of their choosing, this will all go away.

CNS News: Jesse Jackson accused of ‘shaking down’ Toyota

Rocky Mountain News: Rev. Jackson’s extortion racket

Divorce: American (Evangelical) Style

David Instone-Brewer writing in the April 6 edition of the Wall Street Journal raises a compelling question relative to the evangelical right and the current field of Republican presidential candidates: “Why are evangelicals so willing to accept divorce among their political leaders?”  Dr. Instone-Brewer points out:  “[A]mong GOP presidential front-runners, only Mitt Romney is in his first marriage.”

Dr. Instone-Brewer offers two answers to his question and a way out of the traditional strict interpretation of Jesus’ teaching on divorce (Matthew 19) which limits the cause for divorce to adultery:

  1. Many evangelicals have privately abandoned the Bible’s teaching on divorce.  Instone-Brewer argues that modern realties (“reasons for divorce go well beyond adultery, and fairly rapid remarriage is common”) and American law have both contributed to the abandonment by evangelicals of what the Bible says about divorce.  In was Ronald Reagan, himself divorced and yet also an icon for conservative evangelicals, who aided in shifting the cultural conversation away from marriage’s mutual obligations toward personal fulfillment when as governor of California he signed the nation’s first “no-fault” divorce law in 1970. The worldview of followers of Jesus in the 21st Century are informed more by the realities of the cultural than by Jesus’ own words. Clearly Jesus offers only one exception for divorce in Matthew 19.
  2. An emphasis on the rights of individuals encouraged by the current crop of evangelical preachers.  This is an insightful observation.  Instone-Brewers specifically mentions Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer with their emphasis “on promoting individual development,” which for some married persons may require they leave their spouse.  If you are going to merely market the gospel rather than proclaim it, the message is highly dependent on the consumer. And if point number one above is true, the message is by necessity driven by the whims and desires of hearer.  The prominent “pulpits” in America today look more to the culture than to the word of God for their authority.  Success in ministry is defined more by audience response than by faithfulness to the character and calling of the Church, a character and calling defined by Scripture, not by polling data.  The authoritative gospel is abandoned because it doesn’t play well to the focus groups.  Personal fulfillment trumps moral obligation in the 21st Century.

How can we have our cake and eat it to? How can we abandon the Bible’s teaching on divorce, fulfilling our own desires, while at the same time saying we have not abdonded the Bible’s teaching on divorce?  Dr. Instone-Brewer offers this way out of the evangelical dilemma: “new scholarship.”

As it happens, new scholarship supports a slightly less strict biblical understanding of divorce than the traditional one. Scrolls found near the Dead Sea, which confirm indications found in ancient Jewish authors like Philo and Josephus, show that the key phrase “any cause” was actually the name of a type of divorce. That is, Jesus did not reject divorce for any cause but rather, he rejected “Any Cause” divorce.

This “growing scholarly consensus” expands Jesus exception for divorce from adultery only to also include abuse, neglect and abandonment.  In 1 Corinthians 7:15 Paul seems to support this view when he says that marriage partners who are abandoned by their spouses are “no longer bound.”

None of this quite explains why evangelicals are letting their divorced conservative candidates off the hook.  Most, if not all, of the divorced candidates in the current presidential race – both Republican and Democrat – do not meet even the “new scholarships'” interpretation of the grounds for divorce.  When were Giuliani or Gingrich or McCain “abused, neglected, or abandoned” by their spouses?

David Instone-Brewer is senior research fellow in rabbinics and the New Testament at Tyndale House in Cambridge and the author of Divorce And Remarriage in the Church: Biblical Solutions for Pastoral Realities (2006, Intervarsity Press).

The Message of the Cross

In the Introduction to his new book (Church History: A Crash Course for the Curious) Christopher Catherwood writes,

“To me, people who claim to write ‘objective’ history – that is, history without bias – are almost invariably people who, when writing on religious history, have a strong bias against evangelical belief, the existence of the supernatural, or the guiding hand of God in providence. Our political prejudices are man-made, however strongly we believe in them, and I am always careful to try to weed out such opinions from my analysis of the past. Christianity is God-made, not human, while, say, a Baptist or a Methodist bias might be unfair regarding other equally good Christian perspectives. But a strong belief in the truth of the atonement, of God’s very existence, and of a meaning to history because God is in charge of it is surely to adopt a biblical rather than human interpretation of what happens and why. As Christians living in postmodern times, we ought to reclaim the idea that there is a final truth that God has revealed through Jesus Christ on the cross and that we live in a universe of which God is in control, and therefore it has meaning.”

This is precisely what we are fighting for in these postmodern times: objective, timeless truth centered in a God-intoxicated view of history. No soldier in this battle for truth is properly equipped to fight on its frontlines without a proper understanding of history. It is precisely because of that deficiency we find ourselves emersed in a philosophical/theological debate over what it means to be God’s people in a postmodern context.

And no defintion of what it means to be God’s people is complete without the cross.  The cross stands at the center of human history. How you view the events of Good Friday and Easter Sunday informs everything you believe and do.  The cross makes demands to which a majority of this world’s citizens are not willing to submit; and yet the word of God prophetically warns that “every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”  Immediately preceeding this stern prophecy is the declaration of the humility of our Savior – the One who is by very nature Life – Himself being humbled by obedience to Death, even the death of the cross.

The exaltation of Jesus Christ – His declaration as the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead – was a direct consequence of his humiliation by the cross (Philippians 2:5-8).  The cross is the focal point.  It is the preaching of the cross exclusively which opens the hearts of unregenerate men and women to the things of God. Regardless of the cultural context in which we find ourselves, this message ALONE – without the assistance of human ingenuity in packaging it – is the message which truly saves. 

When the Apostle Paul found himself in the midst of the spiritually dark and immoral culture of Corinth, he purposed to know nothing among them except Jesus Christ and him crucified.  There were no attempts by Paul to make the message of the cross understandable to the culture; he specifically points out in 1 Corinthians 2 that he intentionally avoided couching his message with enticing words, lest their faith stand merely in the wisdom of man rather than in the power of God.

The primary enemies of the cross today are within the church, just as they were in Paul’s day.  Having focused the attention of the Philippians on the centrality of the humiliation of Christ in the cross, and thus the importance of keeping the cross central to the life and mission of the church, the Apostle warns the Philippians against those among them who, while walking with them, are themselves “enemies of the cross of Christ” (Philippians 3:18).  Those enemies of the cross still walk among the church today, calling the church to speak the language of the culture rather than the soul-saving message of the cross. These enemies may indeed be well-intentioned, but knowingly or unknowingly they are robbing the church of the one thing that makes it distinctive from every other belief system and religious worldview: a sinless Savior willingly laying down his life for His sinful people in order to purchase them for God out of every kindred, tongue, tribe and nation so that He might present them to God holy and blameless and above reproach.  In place of this message, the enemies of the cross have offered a message of promising your best life now and heaven, too.  Nothing could be more antithetical to the message of the cross, and more detrimental to the life and witness of the church in our postmodern culture.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ Grandson on The Paul Edwards Program

Christopher Catherwood, grandson of the late Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, will join me TODAY (Good Friday, April 6) to discuss his new book Church History: A Crash Course for the Curious, in the context of the historical significance of the gospel events of Good Friday and Easter.  Hear the program locally from 4:oo pm – 6:00 pm ET on AM 1500 WLQV and around the world via streaming audio at

John MacArthur on The Paul Edwards Program

John MacArthur, Pastor-Teacher at Grace Community Church of Sun Valley, CA will be my guest on Tuesday, April 17th on The Paul Edwards Program, heard locally in Detroit on AM 1500 WLQV from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm ET and around the world via streaming audio at

Our conversation will focus on the Emerging Church vis-a-vis his new book The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception.  Normally I keep conversations like this one to myself, but if you have any questions you’d like to ask Dr. MacArthur please forward them to me at and I’ll see if I can work them in.