Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Would Most Pastors Pass A Background Check

Should a Pastor have to submit to the same type of scrutiny that you go though to get a job?

Many companies require you to submit to a background check, criminal record check and credit check. You probably will have to go through a drug screen before you can begin working at your new job. Do most preachers go through this?

This question is being raised because of numerous high profile incidents that have brought negative attention to pastors and their churches. There was the ultra high profile gay sex scandal blowup at New Birth Missionary Baptist church near Atlanta, GA where Bishop Eddie Long was accused of have sexual relations with young men in his congregation by the alleged victims. That matter is now in private negotiations for settlement. More detail on the Eddie Long situation can be found here in an article by Morris W. O’Kelly in the Huffington Post published on December 6, 2010.

Another incident came up when a pastor grabbed headlines when he asked his followers to refrain from Facebook because it could lead to infidelity. Then he admitted that he and his wife had participated in multiple partner sexual escapades with an assistant and his wife. An article on Foxnews.com November 20, 2010, details the story.

One of latest incidents that truly will truly boggle the mind is the instance of the pastor that was arrested and charged with breaking into a church member's home and burglarizing it on Christmas Eve 2010. The Dallas police arrived and caught Pastor Sandra McGriff loading coats and purses from the member’s home into her car. The pastor had a lengthy criminal history. The full story of this Christmas Eve caper can be found on the KDFW channel 4 website in an article written by Pat Daut on Sunday December 26, 2010.

These are just some of the latest example of preachers gone astray. From Robert Tilton's downfall in the 1980s, that was recalled in an article by Scott K. Parks in the Dallas Morning News May 28, 2009, to now, there have been transgressions of all types perpetuated by those in the pulpit. These are not perfect individuals, but the screening that is require to hire a retail store clerk could screen out someone with prior problems. The question is how is a preacher brought into a church today? Many founded the churches that they are leading and grew it as the years passed. In that instance the pastor is the power figure in the church and was there before anyone else, in effect member are joining his church. In other situations a preacher comes in on reputation, recommendation or recruitment.

If pastors had to go through the same screening as a new employee has to get a job, how many would be rejected before ever getting in the pulpit.

Friday, December 24, 2010

If You Need A Christmas Miracle Every Day

I went to a department store today on Christmas Eve.  I was getting something for two small children, not my own, and I could see the desperation in the eyes of the last minute shoppers. They knew that the clock was ticking down on their chance to get that last minute gift.

It was 39 degrees and raining outside and I knew someone out there was not worried about picking up a last minute gift. Someone was thinking about when they had their last meal. Someone else was trying to remain warm and dry.

An article by Donna Leinwand published in USA TODAY on 12-14-2010 relates a story about children asking Santa for basics such as socks. One woman even sent St. Nick a copy of an electricity cut off notice from her power company.

I recall viewing a recent news story about shoppers storming stores at malls so they could buy pairs of newly released $180 Nike Air Jordan sneakers. Those days are still with us. Just two years ago someone was trampled to death as shoppers stormed into a Wal-Mart store on the day after Thanksgiving. As the man was lying on the floor people continued to shop around him.

When you celebrate tomorrow with family, friends or alone, think of those that need a Christmas miracle everyday.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Do We Need A National Black Intervention

This not just another shower of negativity about African Americans, but with a 62% high school graduation rate, 4% of black men in prison and 15.4% unemployment rate, do we need a national black intervention?

It is said that we don’t manufacture anything in this country anymore, but I beg to differ. I feel we are manufacturing and assembly line of failure conditions for African Americans in general and for young blacks in particular.

Drop Out Rate

A Time magazine article by Andrew J. Rotherham on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010 indicated that only 62% of African American students graduated high school in 2008. You can say this is the beginning of feeding the raw material into the assembly line. In a world where even a 4-year college degree does not guarantee someone the security of being employable, having less than a high school diploma is a recipe for constant struggle.

The lack of a high school diploma does not mean someone is automatically on the road to prison or unemployment, but the conditions that existed for someone in that situation to be successful have greatly diminished. An economy based upon an abundance of industrial, construction and agricultural jobs is a distant memory. The options are few for the unskilled and uneducated.

Prison The Human Warehouse

An article published on ABCnews.go.com by Pierre Thomas and Jason Ryan on
June 6, 2008 stated that, “Four percent of U.S. black males were in jail or prison last year, compared to 1.7 percent of Hispanic males and .7 percent of white males. In other words, black males were locked up at almost six times the rate of their white counterparts.”

Now some will say the prison rate and dropout rate can’t be necessarily connected, but the conditions for someone with limited options to become swept up in activity that may lead them to incarceration is logically higher. The inequity of drug sentencing laws are a factor, but being involved in activity for the laws to become a factor has more impact.


Next we have the issue of the unemployment rate in the black community. Being at 15.7% for the month of November 2010 compared to 8.4% for whites according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. That rate for black unemployment is 86% higher than whites and that is getting very close to double. An article by William Alden that was published on 09-30-10 in the Huffington Post indicated that those in prison don’t count in the unemployment rate. Can you imagine the unemployment rate if the African Americans in prison were counted in the statistics.

This seems to be a crisis by normal definitions and some other issues have not even been included here. The question is what can be done to stop the movement in these negative directions. There is not a group to march against, sit down to stage or organization to boycott. It is us. We need an intervention with ourselves. How do we do it, I’m open to suggestions.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Is For Giving

The Christmas of 2010 is just around the corner and some may be having a rough time this year. Joblessness has visited many households this year and it could be tough to think that your traditional gift giving may not take place. I think we need a 12-step program to break our addiction to a material driven holiday season. Every year we see images of people camped out in the parking lot of retail stores so they can be first in line to get the hot new toy or electronic item to place under the Christmas tree. If that is out of the question this year, so be it.

Put a bow around the day itself. Break out an old game that everyone can participate in. Find a neighbor or friend and swap some prior gifts and give them to each others children because they will be new to them. Be thankful for whatever you have because a safe place to stay, warm meal to eat and a family that is together are the best gifts of all.

If you are fortunate enough to be safe, well and employed, then give extra thanks because you have the greatest gift of all, peace of mind.

D T Pollard