Daily Devotional for Wednesday December 17, 2008
A Forum on Race, Religion, and the Media
(Genesis 1:26,27; Deuteronomy 10:17; Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; Galatians 3:28)
A forum on race, religion, and the media becomes little more than a sad example of people bound by the flesh instead of living in the Spirit. First, I wanted to thank all in the Liveprayer family who prayed for me last June as I appeared as one of six panelists in a public forum dealing with race, religion, and the media. That event was sponsored by the Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists, CAIR, that extremist Muslim civil rights group, the Tampa/Hillsborough Human Rights Council, and the Hillsborough County branch of the NAACP.
The other panelists included, Arthur Jones, Pastor of Bible Based Fellowship Church and a friend of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Ahmed Bedier, civil rights activist and president Tampa/Hillsborough HRC (formerly the head of CAIR), Michelle Bearden, religion reporter, for Tampa Tribune/WFLA-Ch. 8/TBO.com, Otis Anthony, host of Sunday Forum on public access WMNF-FM, and Ken Irby, Visual journalism Group Leader & diversity director of the liberal Poynter Institute. The forum was moderated by Eric Deggans who is the TV and media critic for the St. Petersburg Times and president of the Tampa Bay area chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists. Obviously, when I was asked to be on the panel I had no illusions what I would be walking into.
Over the years, I have appeared in numerous of these types of events. These are forums most Christian leaders refuse to get involved in since they know they will be facing lots of opposition and hostility. Those who do end up representing the Christian viewpoint, are usually men and women who are eager to lay aside the absolutes of the Bible in order to "get along," and "be liked." The effect is those who attend don't ever hear what the Bible says and only reinforces the mindset of so many who call themselves Christians, but reject the Bible as our only authority and Truth.
What that evening was about was simply taking a stand for Christ and His Truth in the marketplace. It was what Paul did so often on his missionary journeys as he took the Gospel to those who preached the false religions and philosophies of that day, contrasting the light of the Gospel with the darkness of lies of this world. It would have been very easy and legitimate to decline the invitation based on my schedule, especially knowing up front the personal attacks that were sure to come because of who the other panelists were and the audience which would attend. However, these are the opportunities God gives us to take a stand for Him and His Truth. How can we say no to God?
Unlike most pastors and Christian leaders, the bulk of my work is done in the marketplace, dealing with people who don't know the Lord. So I was not shocked at how that evening unfolded, only saddened by it. I was not disappointed when I arrived and found a large contingent of Muslims in the audience. I had no doubt that Bedier would have a big turnout to confront the evil Bill Keller who has the audacity to call their beliefs "a false religion," "a 1400 year old lie from hell," and Mohammed "a murdering pedophile." The rest of the audience was about 90% black, which was also expected since the other panelists except for Beardon, were also black.
As expected, Bedier was there making the case that Muslims are tainted by the media, that convicted terrorist Sami Al-Arian, the notorious Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader who operated for years out of the University of South Florida, and the two USF students preparing to go on trial on terror charges, were innocent and targeted because of media bias. He made the laughable claim that TV programs like "24" are why Americans hate Muslims. Of course, there was no mention of the wonderful Muslims who carried out 9/11, or the Muslims who daily preach death to all infidels and that the goal of Islam is world domination and to kill all Americans and wipe this nation off the map. He also failed to mention all of the Muslims who every day around the world are killing people in the name of their false god "allah." Of course, anyone who dares to speak out against Islam and tell the truth about this false religion is considered a bigot, Islamaphobic, and spewing hate speech.
Anthony is a Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton wannabe who has a weekly radio show on a public access FM radio station in the Tampa market. He was predictable, with every one of his comments focusing on how the media and white establishment keep black people from succeeding. Obvsiouly, his message only plays to those in the lowest economic class, much like Jackson and Sharpton, people who are looking for excuses to fail rather than reasons to succeed. This is not to deny racism exists or excuse it in any way, but EVERY PERSON can find excuses to fail. It takes courage and fortitude to succeed in life, to overcome the challenges ALL people face along this journey. We ALL live in a fallen and evil world and have our own set of hurdles to overcome. We either let those hurdlers stop us, or we leap over them. Of course, true victory, true success in life is not measured by how the world measures success but how God measures success, and that is impossible to achieve without Jesus!
Pastor Jones and Ken Irby, who also pastors a church, made me sad. These are men who God has given a position of spiritual influence, and sadly, both were clearly stuck in the flesh and unwilling to fully surrender themselves to the Truth of God's Word. Jones, who is friends with Dr. Jeremiah Wright, was clearly an advocate of Wright's faulty and unbiblical black liberation theology. Black liberation theology, a perverse theology originally taught by James Cone, seeks to contribute to the liberation of black people from the perceived racism in the country and in Christianity. It is a perverse view of the Scriptures and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and is a radical view held by a very small minority of black pastors. This is NOT representative of the black church or the overwhelming majority of black pastors who preach and teach the true Gospel of Jesus Christ without looking at it thru the lens of color.
I made the statement recently that there is only one race, the human race! People may have white skin, black skin, brown skin, yellow skin, red skin, or any other color skin, they may have different ethnic backgrounds, but they are all part of the same race, the human race! The Bible says that ALL MEN are created in the image of God. God created all men equal. It is satan, not God, who seeks to divide men by their skin color, ethnicity, financial means, and any other way you can dream up to divide people. God created men equal to live in harmony with one another. It is satan who introduced division into the human experience.
*I would suggest you revisit my Daily Devotional on racism, as well as the YouTube video I made on this issue. These are both resources you should forward to everyone you know, especially those who are still bound by the flesh concerning the issue of race. Devotional: http://liveprayer.com/ddarchive3.cfm?id=3271 Video: http://liveprayer.com/b3.cfm
As the discussion moved to questions from the audience, despite the fact there were 6 panelists, all but one or two were directed at me. Of course there was one Muslim after another condemning me for using "hate speech" when referring to their religion and asking me how I justify calling Islam a 1400 year old lie from hell. So I took the opportunity to preach the Gospel to those Muslims in attendance, explaining that they had bought into a lie from hell dreamed up by their false religions founder, Mohammed, who was a murdering pedophile according to their very own writings. I clearly told them that there is only one way to be saved, and that is by faith in Jesus Christ. The boos flowed when I stated that fact.
The other questions directed to me were basically calling me a racist since I refused to be like Father Pfleger in Chicago and blame white people for all of the woes minorities deal with each day, nor would I join in with the rest of the panel and blame President Bush for everyone's problems while speaking of Barack Hussein Obama like he was the great messiah who came to save our nation. Insinuating I was a racist was laughable since over half of the Board of Directors of Liveprayer are black pastors, I have preached in over 200 black churches over the years, and at least 300,000 of the subscribers to Liveprayer who read what I write each day are black. I shared that all people have problems and challenges in this life, and that the only true answer to those problems and challenges is only found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Once again the boos flowed.
The biggest problem I saw that June night is one I have written about extensively over the past few years, and that is the watered down Gospel, those who only preach a social Gospel, and people who call themselves Christians, yet refuse to challenge people of the false religions and philosophies of the world. They are more than willing to lay down the Absolute Truth of the Bible in order to be friends with them. I am all for being friends with everyone, but our first responsibility is to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. How can you say you love someone, yet know they are going to die and go to hell and never take the time to share with them how they can be saved because you don't want to "offend" them? Sadly, both of the pastors on the panel with me Thursday night were more interested in political correctness than spiritual correctness.
I love you and care about you so much. God does have a sense of humor. As the event ended, in walks one of my dear friend, William Sanders who not only happens to be black, but helped coordinate bringing in 12 nights of black Gospel acts to the Liveprayer Gospel Tent at the recent Florida State Fair. He got a chuckle over hearing some of the comments made about me being a racist. As I was leaving, an elderly man dressed in Muslim robes came to shake my hand. He looked me in the eye and softly asked why I was bombing his people. I thought he was joking at first, than he raised his voice and tried to grab me when my security people had to step in. He was yelling at me for starting the war in Iraq. I have to admit, that was the first time I have ever been accused of that.
Sadly, racism is still an issue in this nation and always will be until the Lord returns since it is a trap of satan men fall into when operating in the flesh. Racism is alive and well across the globe and not exclusive to the United States. Neither is discrimination. My wife of 25 years is Korean and I have experienced discrimination simply based on the fact my wife is from another country. So people can either operate in the flesh and wallow in racism and discrimination, blaming it for all of their problems, or they can operate in the Spirit and rise above it. As I tried to share with the people last June, racism is not a social issue, it is a spiritual issue. We can either be controlled by our flesh, or give our hearts and lives to Jesus Christ and be controlled by His Spirit.
Seeds were planted that June night, and there is not one person who came, those on the panel, the audience, the media who covered the event, or the employees who operated the lights and sound system, who can die and claim they never heard the Gospel. In the end, it is up to each one of the people to decide for themselves what they want to do with Jesus, just like it will be the responsibility of each person alive to either accept Him into their heart and life by faith or reject Him. Know that I am praying for you today. Praying that you will be bold and not shy away, no matter how hostile the situation may be, as you tell others about Jesus. He is our only answer for all of the issues of this life and for eternity.
In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller