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May 20, 2010

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Account Deleted

I'll bet he did it on purpose because he hates blacks in his heart. I'll bet he keeps a white sheet next to a bible in his closet.

Somebody check his trunk!

cheripickr

Ed, do you think that Hammer personally felt Knight did wrong or did he mean it in the context of in being a "novice", he doesn't "realize how racial politics are in this city" i.e, he's too green to have learned the rules, and not that they are necessarily good rules?

Ed Cone

I think the quotes used in the post (along with further discussion in the article, which I'll link when possible) make it clear that John is not just discussing what is politically expedient, but what is right, and that he views Knight as being wrong in some meaningful way, not just as having made a political gaffe.

cheripickr

Although I don't read the Rhino enough to be able to read Hammer, I would tend to agree with you. In that case, do you agree with Hammer in regards to Knight?

Ed Cone

I agree with John that Knight should have been more thoughtful in this case, and I think it's helpful for The Rhino, a Knight ally, to speak up.

This incident is not the end of the world, but -- as with his recent decision on prayer -- it indicates that Knight is not thinking enough beyond his own experiences and recognizing the scope of his role.

The mayor comes across as a decent guy, and I liked his practical handling the Nussbaum center funding. That's the kind of low-key leadership that shows him at his best.

Being a novice, or an outsider, is not all bad -- but at a certain point, you need to understand your job.

Bubba

I think it is imperative to institute a firm affirmative action quota program in our city for these purely ceremonial activities like this.

Perhaps that will be enough to satisfy people who always seem to be keeping the racial quota score, even in the most insignificant matters possible.

Plus, it will give the Pulpit Forum yet another area in which they can act in a completely stupid manner, while drawing support from all sorts of enabling affinity group members.

Sue

Am again late to the party, but I figure the mayor did the prayer thing (and couched it in the you-just-can't-disagree-if-it's-about-the-troops cover) for one of only a few reasons:

(1) He's just stupid, which I doubt, but this will almost guarantee legal action and we have tons of money for that, right? (see: Forsyth County)

(2) He is a small-world honestly devout Christian who sees prayer as the way to do anything - and the small-world comment means that his only lens is his own experience and knows nothing about other people who are a whole lot of his constituency

(3) He's making inroads into the "we want prayer" constituency that may or may not be primarily what we call "conservative" or "right wing"

(4) He's making a controversy to hide something else (don't look over here!)

The mayor's lack of political savvy or even a basic eyeball for inclusion makes me incredibly sad. It also makes me think that #4 above may be the mayor's M.O. and that's disturbing. Who wants to be represented by someone whose world view is so limited, or worse, doesn't even know a black veteran or how to call the Human Relations (or whatever it's called) department to ask about one. This is moving us backward, the wrong direction for Greensboro.

Ed Cone

My guess is #2, and also that some people around him may want to stoke the culture-war stuff to sharpen the divisions in local politics -- all of which is the subject of my Sunday newspaper column.

Spag

Which part of number 2, Ed?

cheripickr

The only thing I can possibly imagine that could constitute a more despicable act or motive than the ones Sue depicts regarding the mayor above would be if he actually PRAYED for guidance in the best selection process by which to choose the attendees, which some of you, by your judgements, must hold knowledge of.

Bubba

Why do you hate black veterans, cp?

Spag

See discussion of Zionism and conflict with Jewish American liberals on this blog from two days ago. Apparently, honestly devout Christians who believe in prayer are "small world" and not exposed to the rest of the world, but a whole state founded on one religion and ethnic group of people is not.

As I wrote the other day, I just don't see how liberal American Jews can be Zionists while constantly criticizing/fear mongering about the dire consequences of Christian involvement in government in the United States.

The arguments are never simply that it might be unconstitutional- instead they seem to be predicated on the premise that any mix of religion and state in the United States is inherently dangerous, discriminatory, will lead to bad things, is "simple" etc. Except for Israel of course...

Perhaps someone can try again to reconcile this conflict for me.

Overall, the American Right is far more consistent on both accounts whether you agree with them or not.

Mick

My opinion:

The Mayor stepped in it. Unintentional, rookie move.

Terry

leaving aside Mr Hammer's obviously racist remark that he believes there are no black country club members....

Ed Cone

The mayor's worldview is limited not because he prays -- many people pray -- but because he seems not to understand (or not to care) that many of his constituents, for whatever reasons of personal or political belief, regard prayer at a government meeting to be intrusive and unwelcome, and the sudden change from a moment of silence to be ill-considered.

As with his blunder on the vets, he seems not to appreciate the diversity of the city he leads.

Brandon Burgess

Well, there is more to being a mayor than appreciating diversity. Mayor Johnson appreciated diversity but obviously Greensboro needed more in a mayor. Not that Knight isn't an arse.

Sue

@cp: the mayor and everyone else is welcome to pray - we could use more of it but privately; prayer should be personal. Instituting it at a city function (calling it an 'invocation' is a meaningless distinction) seems like a really poor choice for the larger community but may very well be the way the mayor sees his world - and therefore MY world. I knew the "small-world" thing would be misinterpreted; the point is that he sees his way as the only or best way and seems oblivious to how it might offend people who have other ways of worshiping, of approaching diverse groups, of offering leadership not to the greater community but only to that group who sees the world his way. Or he didn't care. (That's the "small-world" meaning: his world is the only one he knows or thinks is right or thinks 'everybody' does it the same way.)

Sue

Apologies, cp. That was Spag's comment I was addressing. (am pleading "antibiotic haze" at $10/pill)

Sue

Spag, really? "Apparently, honestly devout Christians who believe in prayer are "small world" and not exposed to the rest of the world, but a whole state founded on one religion and ethnic group of people is not."

Israel is a country founded on providing a SAFE home for a religion whose extinction was ordered and almost carried out. Honestly devout Christians are a breath of relief to me; however, those who think Christians are targeted in the US AND compare that to another country founded on other principles is borderline silly. Apples and knishes.

But the silliest part of what you wrote was dragging Israel into a discussion of a Greensboro mayor who knowingly opened a can of worms that will cost taxpayers money and engender vitriolic disagreement among the citizens.

Spag

But Ed, what if a significant portion of his constituency agreed with him? Couldn't his inaction be interpreted by them as being representative of a limited worldview? You seem to be unfairly pinning him into the position of catering to one group of people (who don't approve of prayer at government meetings) or being accused of a small worldview. In other words, if you don't subscribe to my beliefs and values, you must have a limited worldview.

Sue, I'm not sure what you evidence you base your conclusions about the Mayor on. Are you saying that by involving religious beliefs in government, the Mayor is necessarily incapable of seeing things as others might or respecting diversity?

Personally, I am not offended by anyone's prayer from any religion (except maybe Scientology...) at a government meeting nor am I offended by having no prayers at government meetings. Maybe that's my "small worldview" - that I just don't understand the fuss either way over something that seems so benign. If it means something to people, great. If it doesn't, that's okay too.

Spag

"Israel is a country founded on providing a SAFE home for a religion whose extinction was ordered and almost carried out."

Zionism predates the Third Reich. Are you saying that Jews in the rest of the world, including the United States aren't "safe"? Does Israel have to be a "Jewish" state to provide safety? Couldn't that principle be applied to other states as well, and if so, what would you think about those states?

The point I am making is that it seems to me that many objections to mixing religion with state in the U.S. aren't merely predicated on whether it is Constitutional; rather they seem to be based on some inherent danger in a state mixing policy with religious identity. Yet, Israel was created with exactly that premise. The same is true of Islamic Republics.

Andrew Brod

I think Sue didn't close her italics. There--I just did it... I think. (We'll see how this looks when I post it.)

Sue, the mayor's public prayers probably won't cost GSO taxpayers anything, assuming they're non-sectarian as he's said they will be. If so, then a legal challenge is unlikely, and unlikely to succeed.

As for Spag, he's really missing the point here. No one's said that someone who disagrees with Ed (or me or Sue or anyone else) has a limited worldview. The point is that the mayor's actions make one wonder about his awareness of diversity in the community he's leading. A lack of such awareness is reasonably characterized as a limited worldview, and Spag's false equivalences can't change that.

Finally, on Spag's still-unsuccessful attempt to understand Israel and Zionism: Nothing that's been said implies that Jews aren't safe in the U.S. Nothing that's been said implies that what applies to Israel should apply elsewhere. And comparing Israel to Islamic Republics just shows how clueless he is.

Andrew Brod

I should have said "...what works for Israel should work elsewhere."

cheripickr

I think someone needs to tell John Hammer he needs to include more blacks in his "beautiful people" photo galleries of the bars of Greenboro, no?

Terry

actually his photo galleries tend to over represent Presbyterians and under represent Baptists, while Catholics though 21% of beautiful people pictured are in fact only 11% of the beautiful people in Greensboro, not that I am counting

Spag

Brod, let me put it to you this way. Do you think that a Palestinian in Israel might have the same kind of fears/concerns about religion and official state policy in Israel as a Jew or other non-Christian might have about Christian prayers at government meetings in the United States? Perhaps the same kind of unease about being an outsider ?

Then you say "Nothing that's been said implies that what applies to Israel should apply elsewhere." Maybe you meant to right "should not". If you didn't, then you kind of prove my point. Your values/concerns about the role of religion and official state policy would be relative and hypocritical. Mixing religion and state is bad, harmful, discriminatory, exclusionary, etc - except for Israel.

I'm sorry but this does bring to the forefront the question we discussed the other day about whether liberal American Jews who express great concerns about such things as Christian prayers in governmental meetings in the U.S. disregard those concerns about religious infiltration in secular matters when it comes to Israel.

I have yet to hear a rational argument reconciling the two. I'm not saying one doesn't exist, but it certainly hasn't been adequately explained here.

Spag

CP, how does it feel to be one of the beautiful people? John Lennon once asked the same question.

Spag

"right" (sic)

Andrew Brod

I agree with Spag: He's yet to hear the rational arguments that have been put to him.

Spag

You don't answer questions, Brod. Probably because you don't want to.

Andrew Brod

Duh. Yes, if I don't do something, it's probably because I don't want to.

I actually answer plenty of questions, but in this case, I don't want to because you'd misinterpret the answer and we'd be back where we started, at best. So forgive me--I don't want to keep playing on that merry-go-round.

And it's off-topic anyway.

Sue

I am guilty of not closing the italics tag - emailed Ed last night to ask if he could fix it. Dr. Brod wrote, "The point is that the mayor's actions make one wonder about his awareness of diversity in the community he's leading. A lack of such awareness is reasonably characterized as a limited worldview, and Spag's false equivalences can't change that."

That's pretty much all of it. Thanks, Andrew.

Jack Hart

Does EVERYTHING in Greensboro HAVE to be about race?
I thought he was honoring veterans.
Does he have to have whatever percent of blacks in every photo, every meeting, etc?
If that is the case, I think there were Italians, Jews, Pole's, etc in the war, do we have to have them represented too?
Give me a break, get off the race crap!

Mick

No it doesnt. And I agree to a certain extent. But, when Ed, DBS and Hammer agree on something ................

That was a layup and he blew it. It is not like the populace is going nuts over the misq though.

He is not a politician... and it shows. Good sometimes... not so good others.

cheripickr

Yay-men, Jack Hart. But don't hold your breath, because unfortunately the answer to your question is yes.

But how bout those veterans, huh? I believe there is a day in their honor coming up soon, for which I would like to offer:

It is the VETERAN,not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the VETERAN,not the reporter,who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the VETERAN,not the poet who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the VETERAN, not the campus organizer,who has given us freedom to assemble.


Ed Cone

Veterans have helped defend those rights, but they are enumerated in the Constitution. We should honor those who serve, but they guard freedoms, they do not author them or grant them.

And the veterans who did their duty with honor didn't all look like Bill Knight.

Spag

It's not off topic, Brod. It's actually a pretty good corollary to the post Ed made the other day about liberal American Jews and Zionism. Besides, don't blame me, Sue brought religion into the discussion. All I am commenting on is the typical kind of reaction in some quarters that was discussed on the other thread.

Ed Cone

American Jews choose to live in the United States, not Israel. One reason may be a preference for the secular laws of this country. How that preference supposedly precludes some affinity for Israel is beyond me.

But as it happens, the article was about American Jews applying their values to Israel, so I don't even see the inconsistency there.

I found that article's use of "Zionism" to be of limited use, in that it seemed mean support for the policies of the state of Israel.

FWIW, I don't like the religious component of Israeli law any more than I'd like it here.

cheripickr

When did there become a requirement that an honoree had to look like his or her honorer? I'm glad I don't feel so constrained in expressing my gratitude. Exceedingly bizarre comment.


Ed Cone

To be clear, it wasn't an honoree, CP, it was over a dozen honorees, chosen to represent all the veterans of Greensboro.

Knight obviously didn't perceive that as a problem. Nor do you.

But now a pretty wide range of people have come forward to say why they do see it as a problem.

Do you listen to them, and try to weigh their perspective, or do you just dismiss their concerns out of hand?

Spag

So Ed, you would be fine with Israel not being a "Jewish state" anymore? The question is the rationale for the "preference for the secular laws of this country". We hear all kinds of dire consequences if we didn't have them- often from the same people who have no qualms about the mix of religion with state in Israel.

So are mixing the two bad or just bad in the United States? In other words, is the concern purely about the Constitution or is there a real fear of bad things happening Constitution or not when a state is based on a religious belief or gives preference to one religion over another?

Do you think that a Palestinian in Israel has as much to fear about the official state position of Israel towards him as a non-Christian does when a Mayor decides to have prayer before a meeting?

cheripickr

No, I don't dismiss theirs or yours. I just thought your last comment was strange. I might understand your perspective better if you or anyone else in the know would share with us the selection criteria for choosing the 15 attendees, as you understood them.

Ed Cone

I don't think any country, including Israel, should privilege any religion over others. I'm a big believer in the values of my own country and its entirely secular Constitution.

But other countries do all kinds of stuff I would not want my country to do.

That doesn't mean I don't want other countries as allies or strategic partners, or that I don't feel some connection to their people.

Brandon Burgess

Homerun CP. How would the public feel if the conversation went something like this:

Knight: Cool, we got some vets, lets take some pics. Wait!!! Get a black guy in here so we don't look racist.

I know, I just don't get it. I really wish I did. I don't want to enable racists or discrimination and I think all veterans deserve to be recognized. I just don't get it. Someone help me.

Spag

That's a fair and consistent position, Ed.

Jack Hart

Right on Brandon!

Ed Cone

BB, it's not just the politically-driven desire to avoid looking bad, it's something positive -- the vision and will to do what seems right and inclusive to a big chunk of the city you lead.

cheripickr

I just don't get it either BB. If you ever do, let me know.

Ed Cone

I tried to explain it in my 3:36 PM comment in terms of a positive vision, not a negative one.

John Hammer tried to explain it in terms of diversity and inclusion.

Are these goals you see as unworthy, and concerns you see as insignificant?

Spag

Just remember the standards that are in play. I don't know why Knight didn't have any black veterans present. Hammer suggests it is political tone deafness. However, remember this standard for the next mayor.

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