Everything Old Is New Again

In a recent statement, the Virginia NAACP said, “We are done dying. We will not stand silently while another African American’s civil rights are violated.” This was said in response to 2nd Lieutenant Caron Nazario, who was pepper sprayed by a Virginia police officer during a “routine” traffic stop. This happened in December 2020 but the video surfaced this week. It was also before Minneapolis police shot and killed Daunte Wright, a 20 year father during a traffic stop, 10 miles from where George Floyd was killed and 14 miles from where Philando Castile was killed. So, what does this say about America? For Black America: We will NOT stand by silently. For the rest of America: Law Enforcement is Racist. While, we have to go after specific police officers who kill Black Americans with almost universal impunity, we must also recognized that the system is broken. This week is just further evidence that it’s not just a cop here, and a cop there, or a “few bad apples.” The entire law enforcement community in this country is broken and has been since its inception. Because since it was formed, it has always made room for, within its “serve and protect” mantra for the sanctioned harassment and killing of Black Americans. None of that means that individual officers should not be tried, convicted and jailed, but it won’t be enough to stop the next Black person from being killed. Let me say it again for the people in the back: THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN BECAUSE IT’S RACIST.

Emancipation Destination

“It was announced Monday that director/producer Antoine Fuqua and his Fuqua Films and actor/producer Will Smith and his media company Westbrook Inc. have opted to move production of their forthcoming film “Emancipation” from the state. “At this moment in time, the Nation is coming to terms with its history and is attempting to eliminate vestiges of institutional racism to achieve true racial justice,” the pair said in a joint statement obtained by CNN. “We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access.” CNN: Will Smith and Antoine Fuqua pull ‘Emancipation’ production from Georgia Georgia, this is just the latest consequence of a Republican led state congress attempting to to maintain power by any means. Not sure it will be the last.

The Right Terror

“Domestic terrorism incidents have soared to new highs in the United States, driven chiefly by white-supremacist, anti-Muslim and anti-government extremists on the far right, according to a Washington Post analysis of data compiled by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.The surge reflects a growing threat from homegrown terrorism not seen in a quarter-century, with right-wing extremist attacks and plotsgreatly eclipsing those from the far left and causing more deaths, the analysis shows. Since 2015, right-wing extremists have been involved in 267 plots or attacks and 91 fatalities, the data shows. At the same time, attacks and plots ascribed to far-left views accounted for 66 incidents leading to 19 deaths. Victims of all incidents in recent years represent a broad cross-section of American society, including Blacks, Jews, immigrants, LGBTQ individuals, Asians and other people of color who have been attacked by right-wing extremists wielding vehicles, guns, knives and fists.” WaPo: The rise of domestic extremism in America Not really surprised by ANY of this. 

 The Barrett Effect

“Historically, when someone with a religious objection to a state law sought an exemption from that law before the Supreme Court, so long as the law applied equally to everyone, regardless of whether someone is religious or not, then everyone had to comply with the law. As the Court held in Employment Division v. Smith (1990), religious objectors must follow “neutral law[s] of general applicability.” Now introduce Justice Amy Coney Barrett and the Supreme Court has been rapidly dismantling Smith. Last week, the Court ruled that people of faith who want to gather in relatively large groups in someone’s home must be allowed to do so, despite the fact that California limits all in-home gatherings to just three households.”

The Court’s new 5-4 decision in Tandon v. Newsom makes it easy for many religious objectors to refuse to comply with the law. The majority wrote, “Government regulations are not neutral and generally applicable whenever they treat any comparable secular activity more favorably than religious exercise.” But the Court also defines what qualifies as “comparable secular activity” very broadly. Although no justice signed their name to the majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan dissented.” Vox: The Christian right is racking up huge victories in the Supreme Court, thanks to Amy Coney Barrett As a Christian, I am all for protecting religious freedom. I however, am not of the thought that my religion gives me the right to disregard neutral laws or discriminate against others. The real danger here is that this ruling just makes it easier for the religious right to not follow other laws which can and will lead to discrimination against others. What is also troubling is that the Supreme Court does not always count all religions equal. So, it is really saying if you are in the correct religion you can break the law. Furthermore, in this case, this was a law to protect the lives of all Californians regardless of religion. And to protect their exemptions, the Supreme Court just said regardless of common sense or safety, the religious right can do whatever they want.