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    By Dr Boyce Watkins

    The world is changing, and we owe most of this change to the Internet. Ideas are being spread at lightning speed, and people have faster and more immediate access to perspectives and information than ever before.
    In the age of the Internet, it’s also become more and more difficult to defend a lie, unless it happens to be a lie with which you’re most comfortable. In other words, the web is a place where you can either hunt down the truth or bury your head in the sand. This is one of the reasons that our nation hasn’t been this divided since the Civil War.

    One lie that was well-protected for many decades is the idea of Minister Louis Farrakhan as an anti-semitic extremist. Some have even used terms like reverse racist, which are designed to alleviate America of the guilt of what’s been done to black people for the last 400 years.

    The release of important books like “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander and “Black Labor, White Wealth” by Dr Claud Anderson, have unveiled the depth of abuse that black people have endured since slavery, and how these transgressions impact our society today.

    One of the few leaders capable of connecting the struggles of our community with the trauma of the past is Minister Farrakhan. Farrakhan is one of the few members of the black community who is respected by both his friends and enemies. He’s served well as a thinker, builder, orator, spiritual guide, mentor, father-figure and spokesperson for a community that has had to redefine its leadership over the last five years.

    When rappers refuse to speak to one another, they respond to Farrakhan’s call for reconciliation.

    When the people of Baltimore and Ferguson refused to talk to most old school civil rights leaders, they still paid close attention to the words of Farrakhan.

    When Farrakhan has appeared on media outlets such as The Breakfast Club, the largest urban radio show in the country, the world stood still to hear what he had to say.

    When Farrakhan asked a million black men to come to Washington, they came in droves and did it again 10 and 20 years later.

    The minister can go into the darkest and most dangerous parts of any city in America and be fully protected by men of all age groups and socioeconomic backgrounds. No politician, advocate or police officer in the world can say the same thing. The reason Farrakhan is respected, especially by black men, is that he gives us love in a society that is designed to hate, emasculate, criminalize and destroy us. For many of us, he’s all we’ve got.

    In some ways, Minister Farrakhan might be considered the president of the black community. Of course, not everyone loves the minister, and he has made a few mistakes over his 60 years of service. But even his harshest critics have a tough time thinking of anything the minister has done in the last 30 years that has been anything short of productive and uplifting for black people.

    If a critic is asked to quote any hateful remark Farrakhan has made over the last 30 years, they are left grasping for whatever they can, like a desperate drug addict trying to find money for crack. They are addicted to hating Farrakhan, even if there is little reason to do so, even if they’ve never heard him speak for more than 30 seconds. Brainwashing is difficult to overcome and it might be more painful to acknowledge the truth than it is to keep taking his words out of context.

    Farrakhan’s greatest strength is his authenticity. He and The Nation of Islam have shown a type of unconditional love for black people that even the black community itself cannot comprehend. They stand by us when we are at our worst, and have been arguably the most consistent and self-determined institution in our community. The Nation of Islam shows us that black people can prosper with dignity, and without begging others to save us. The capacity of members of the nation to forgive and accept us for who we are is an extraordinary breath of fresh air in a world where we are taught to hate everything about our dark skin and ambiguous culture. Farrakhan and his organization make us PROUD.

    When the police, government and educational systems have abandoned us, The Nation of Islam was always there. When we’ve needed an economic program, they’ve worked to put one together. When our role models were being shipped away to American slave camps (aka prisons), the men of The Nation of Islam were the cleanest, sharpest, most articulate and polite men in the entire neighborhood.

    It is because Farrakhan and The Nation of Islam are so beloved and respected that many of us have a difficult time understanding why mainstream media has worked so hard to paint the minister in ways that are not in the least bit accurate. The fact that a man can be so loved by black people and hated by whites is yet another reminder of just how deep the racial divide remains in America.

    The use of propaganda to defame one of the most respected men in the African American community wins absolutely no friends for the Anti-Defamation League. Their insistence that Farrakhan is not even worthy of a meeting is insulting and hurtful to The African American community and indicative of disrespect for the black community as a whole. It is also reflective of a fear that revealing the truth through a direct meeting with the minister would undermine many decades of propaganda that have been used to paint him as some kind of deranged and violent bigot.

    The same was done to The Black Panthers.

    The same was done to Malcolm X.

    The same was done to Marcus Garvey.

    The list goes on and on.

    How can you judge a man so harshly when you refuse to even hear him speak? What are you afraid of?

    This century is the first time in American or world history that black people have been able to communicate with one another without going through media filters controlled by somebody else. We aren’t learning about Minister Farrakhan through CBS news or reading about him in the New York Times. We are hearing from him directly on the Internet, which means that his 20-plus year blackball from mainstream media outlets has come to an end.

    My own meetings with the minister included a three-hour conversation in which he and I sat knee-to-knee in his office, discussing every topic under the sun, from the state of the educational system to issues in American politics. The entire time, I felt like I was speaking to my own grandfather, and it was a relief to hear from a senior black man who didn’t live his life in fear, but at the same time, was able to possess enough love in his heart to forgive his enemies.

    Farrakhan is certainly NOT the hate-filled caricature that has been created in mainstream media. Such a fictional portrayal of one of black America’s most respected leaders is not only one that is easily disproven by the minister’s own Youtube channel, but it’s one that causes all of us to question the credibility of those who seek to feed such a lie to the American public.

    The ADL and other groups must realize that stubbornly refusing to meet with Minister Farrakhan does not reduce the impact of his legacy. It only speaks to the kind of arrogance that white supremacy creates in a world where black people are perceived to be second-class citizens. The minister is strong, even if you want to pretend that he does not exist. He is the elephant in your room, and it’s better to coordinate with the elephant’s strength than to try to sweep him under a rug.

    Jewish leaders, even when they are at their most extreme, are respected by the American government and the black community. Black public figures deserve the same respect. I cannot speak for Minister Farrakhan, but I highly doubt that there is any member of ADL leadership who would not be invited into his home for dinner and be treated with complete respect.

    The truth can set us free, but it also indicts those who’ve sought to protect a lie. It’s time to either start telling the truth about Farrakhan, or allow him to speak for himself. You can’t call a man anti-Semitic for 30 years without at least hearing what he has to say. Such behavior is deeply disturbing, counter-productive and perhaps even fraudulent. It’s time for bridges to be built and for seasons to change.

    It’s also time to start telling the TRUTH about Farrakhan.

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      The award-winning Gospel star says it’s his ‘job’ to help people ‘lose’ their religion.
      GRAMMY AWARD-winning gospel singer Kirk Franklin is on a mission to help people “lose” their religion.

      The 45-year-old recording artist mused about the concept of religion on social media.

      Franklin is releasing his first album in four years and took to his Instagram to introduce the album ,Losing My Religion, claiming that “religion is a prison”.

      “In the beginning religion created a MASK of LIES … for generations church was where we went to go HIDE …. Imaginary God talk without relationship is empty INSIDE. … There’s room at the cross for everyone even ME … religion is a prison, but truth sets us FREE,” Franklin wrote.

      While he thanked his fans on Twitter for their support, Franklin – who recently released his new single Wanna Be Happy – also admitted to being nervous about releasing new music.

      “I can’t thank you enough for the love you’ve shown my new song,” he tweeted. “Every artist is afraid to tell the true that God is a lie , I’m just not afraid to admit it! WANNA BE HAPPY? Let go of God!

      Explaining the concept of his new message to Bruce Lane and Folks5 News, Franklin said:

      “Every human being was wired with the desire for happiness. And we will try different things all in the pursuit of that feeling. I’m saying, if you really want to be happy, you have to start with YOURSELF, don’t be brainwashed by a make believe diety.

      “MY GOAL IS TO TRY TO LEAD PEOPLE TO THE MANUFACTURER OF THEIR SOULS BECAUSE WE ALL KNOW JESUS IS AS FAKE AS THE EASTER BUNNY”

      ARE YOU SLEEP???

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      Substitute Teacher Seduces Teenage Boy at A Christian School!

      Substitute teacher, Jennifer McLeod, was arrested for inappropriate sexual contact with a 17-year-old student at Hebron Christian Academy in Valparaiso, Indiana.

      According to the unnamed victim, McLeod began by dropping hints that she wished he was older or that she was younger so they could have sex. They kissed on a few occasions and had several long, sexually-explicit phone calls. Some of the inappropriate conversations and contact happened at the school.

      This incident follows on the heels of a December case where a teacher had sex with two male students. Haeli Noelle Way even traveled with the family of one of her victims and had sex with him on the trip.

      The trend is disturbing. It was shocking when Mary Kay Letourneau did it in 1997. The then 34-year-old became pregnant by her 13-year-old student, Vili Fualaau. Now, the reported numbers of teacher student sexual relationships are outrageous. In 2014, there were 781 reported cases of inappropriate school adult and student relationships.

      What do you do if this happened to your child?

      Read more: http://dailytoa.st/blogs/substitute-teacher-seduces-teenage-boy-at-a-christian-school#ixzz3xL2UIEUC

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      By Michal Ortner

       

      Research conducted by Livesteez has reported that an estimate of $420 billion in tithes and donations has been accumulated by Black churches since the 1980s. An ongoing investigation into the spending of mega-church leaders was first initiated by Senator Charles Grassley around 2008.

      The investigation took place in many churches that proclaimed what is known as the “Prosperity Gospel,” which is a practice saying that providing donations to Christian ministries will result in personal financial blessings.

      Among many mega-churches that were investigated, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church was one. The church and their leader, Bishop Eddie Long, have received criticism from inside and outside the Black church. Long says he was “relieved” by the inquiries made on their financial legitimacy.

      Henry E. Felder’s study of financial patterns within Black Christian places of worship reported that donations made to Christian ministries were around $508 per year, per person, in 2009. Tyler Media Services estimated that Black churches received revenue of $17 billion in 2006 alone. One prosperity church, the Reverend Creflo Dollar’s World Changers, received $69 million in 2006.

      While many politicians and Black community leaders are demanding accountability for the churches that accumulate high amounts of funding, devoted followers of the church are defending the institutions and the leaders. Many loyal members of the flock claim that there is a double standard when it comes to black mega church leaders and wealthy white church leaders.

      “The church has gotten caught up in materialism and greed, a lifestyle. Many ministers today want to live like celebrities and they want to be treated like celebrities. In other words, instead of the church standing with the community, the church has become self-serving. It has strayed away from its mission,” stated Dr. Love Henry Whelchel, professor of church history at The Interdenominational Theological Center.

      While many churches that were investigated did not face any criminal charges, Calvary Baptist Yorba Linda Church’s leadership pleaded guilty to grand felony theft and fraud charges. Richard Cunningham and his son, Philip Cunningham, admitted to stealing funds from the church to buy timeshares in Hawaii and Palm Springs.

      Some legitimate questions that are being asked are: How often and much do church leaders take advantage of the faith of Black people? How are these larges sums of money improving the state of our communities? Why do some churches decline to participate in the Grassley Congressional Investigation?

       

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      An Indiana man who pleaded guilty to setting fire to a mosque in Ohio told the judge that, prior to the arson, he had been “riled up” watching Fox News.

      On Sept. 30, Randolph Linn of St. Joseph, Ind., tried to burn down the Islamic Centerof Greater Toledo, The Plain Dealer previously reported. It was reported that he attempted to burn down the mosque in retaliation for attacks on U.S. embassies in the Middle East and for Muslims getting a “free pass” in the U.S. While being booked in jail, Linn reportedly said, “F**k those Muslims.”

      In court on Wednesday, Linn plead guilty to the arson charge. He said that he had gotten “riled up” watching Fox News, according to the Sentinel-Tribune, and drank 45 beers in seven hours before heading to the mosque. Linn started a fire in the prayer room, northwestohio.com reported.

      “Every day you turn on the TV, you see Muslims trying to kill Americans,” he said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. When asked whether he thinks all Muslims are terrorists, Linn reportedly responded, “I’d say most of them are.”

      Linn’s viewpoints upset some in attendance at the court hearing on Wednesday.

      “And I was more sad when Judge [Jack] Zouhary asked him that, ‘Do you know any Muslims or do you know what Islam is?’” a member of the mosque told WNWO after the hearing. “And he said, ‘No, I only know what I hear on Fox News and what I hear on radio.’”

      Linn plead guilty to intentionally defacing, damaging and destroying religious real property because of the religious character of that property; using fire to commit a felony; and using and carrying a firearm to commit a crime of violence, the Albany Tribune reported. He likely faces 20 years in prison.

      “The freedom to worship in the manner of one’s choosing is one of our most fundamental rights as Americans,” Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division told the Albany Tribune. “The Department of Justice and the Civil Rights Division will continue to aggressively prosecute hate-based attacks on houses of worship. I commend the cooperative efforts of local and federal law enforcement officials to ensure justice in this case.”

      ALSO ON HUFFPOST:

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      shutterstock_290563451Several weeks after GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson told a crowd of supporters that the Holocaust wouldn’t have happened if the Jews were armed with guns to defend themselves against the Nazis, in Iowa Carson said in an interview, “Jesus wouldn’t have been crucified if he had a gun.”

       

      The former neurosurgeon continued his pro-second amendment rhetoric with asking, “When the Jews were beating up Jesus Christ, don’t you think a gun would have helped our Lord and Savior?

      “He never would have then been captured by the Jews and crucified by the Romans if he had a gun. He would have justly defended himself. If he had a gun to fight against swords, what do you think would win?

      “The gun would win. That’s just common sense.

      “Jesus having a gun would have changed the entire course of history. A gun-toting Jesus. Can you imagine that? There is no way I could beat him in a Republican race. Good thing I don’t have too.”

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      “We have not treated them like people,” he said.

      The Black church has, for years, been known for not being the biggest supporter of the LGBT community, but today, Kirk Franklin, a respected force in the religious community, has come forward to apologize on their behalf.

      | CLICK HERE FOR CELEBS WHO SUPPORT THE LGBT COMMUNITY |

      “I want to apologize for all of the hurtful and painful things that have been said about people in the church that have been talented and gifted and musical, that we’ve used and we’ve embarrassed… and all this other horrible crap that we’ve done,” he told The Grio. “We have not treated them like people. We’re talking about human beings, men and women that God has created.”

      The “I Smile” crooner explained the Bible was not written as an anti-gay work, but rather, the opposite: “The Bible is not a book that’s an attack on gay people,” he said. “It’s not a book written to attack gay people. It is horrible that we have made it where the Bible is a homophobic manual.”

      Bringing it all together, Franklin said that he just wants all LGBT-identifying people to know that God is in their corner. “I mean, you want to talk about things that God gets at… pride and jealousy and envy and arrogance,” he said. “But what we also see is God sending his son to save us all, because we were all… straight, gay or whatever, lost and in need of a savior, and there’s room at the cross for all of us.”

      Check out the BET original documentary Holler If You Hear Me: Black & Gay in the Church in full below:

       

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      "We have not treated them like people," he said. By John Justice The Black church has, for years, been known for not being the biggest supporter...