Pass The Mic

Pass The Mic: Kill The Culture Wars

Comments (5)
  1. Paul N Larsen says:

    FYI, I didn’t expect a response.

    Check this out: Is There Anyone Who Didn’t Know?
    Posted: 13 Oct 2017 03:58 PM PDT
    Back in 2015 when Wikileaks revealed the contents of the Sony email hack (apparently performed by the North Koreans?), there was a minor scandal about that fact that the producers of the PBS series “Finding Your Roots” had edited out the fact that Ben Affleck had lobbied to have removed from the documentary that he is descended from slaveowners. Ironic now that Affleck is being swept up in the back eddies of the Weinstein scandal.
    Because it turns out that in the crucial email thread between PBS series honcho Henry Louis Gates and Sony executive Michael Lynton, the subject of Weinstein came up in a revealing way. Here’s the whole thread, rearranged and cleaned up a bit from the original and with the best parts highlighted, with the Affleck stuff transitioning in the middle:
    On Jul 22, 2014, at 7:19 AM, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. wrote:
    Would you consider coming to cambridge to present Harvey Weinstein with the Du Bois Medal on September 30th? Meryl is receiving one, Steve Mc Queen, Shonda Rhimes, Maya Angelou, and Valerie Jarrett. Maybe Poitier.
    From: Lynton, Michael
    Sent: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 10:24 AM
    To: Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
    Subject: Re:
    I would do many things for you, almost anything, but not that.
    On Jul 22, 2014, at 7:38 AM, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. wrote:
    Sorry, bro! After he received this huge award from the black film makers, he was unanimously selected–though after considerable discussion about his personality.
    On Jul 22, 2014, at 11:04 AM, “Lynton, Michael” wrote:
    no worries, just not on my watch.
    On Jul 22, 2014, at 8:47 AM, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. wrote:
    I know. I’ve had my moments with Harvey, too, believe me.
    On Jul 22, 2014, at 11:50 AM, “Lynton, Michael” wrote:
    not like mine, maybe i should step down from the board.
    On Jul 22, 2014, at 8:50 AM, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. wrote:
    OH, NO! Please don’t do that, Michael. I would be devastated.
    On Jul 22, 2014, at 11:55 AM, “Lynton, Michael” wrote:
    ok, will stay quiet on the subject.
    On Jul 22, 2014, at 9:01 AM, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. wrote:
    As long as you stay on the board, you are free to say this is crazy! I hardly know Harvey; you are my friend. I really would be devastated if you left. By the way, I need your advice: I’m on a flight to L.A. for the TCA Press Tour. We launch season two of Finding Your Roots tomorrow at noon, and four celebrities, including Nas, are showing up. Here’s my dilemma: confidentially, for the first time, one of our guests has asked us to edit out something about one of his ancestors–the fact that he owned slaves. Now, four or five of our guests this season descend from slave owners, including Ken Burns. We’ve never had anyone ever try to censor or edit what we found. He’s a megastar. What do we do?
    On Jul 22, 2014, at 12:09 PM, “Lynton, Michael” wrote:
    Of course I will stay on the board if you want me to. On the doc the big question is who knows that the material is in the doc and is being taken out. I would take it out if no one knows, but if it gets out that you are editing the material based on this kind of sensitivity then it gets tricky. Again, all things being equal I would definitely take it out.
    On Jul 22, 2014, at 9:11 AM, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. wrote:
    Good; relieved. As for the doc: all my producers would know; his PR agency the same as mine, and everyone there has been involved trying to resolve this; my agent at CAA knows. And PBS would know. To do this would be a violation of PBS rules, actually, even for Batman.
    On Jul 22, 2014, at 11:28 AM, “Lynton, Michael” wrote:
    then it is tricky because it may get out that you made the change and it comes down to editorial integrity. We can talk when you land.
    On Jul 22, 2014, at 9:30 AM, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. wrote:
    Will call. It would embarrass him and compromise our integrity. I think he is getting very bad advice. I’ve offered to fly to Detroit, where he is filming, to talk it through.
    On Jul 22, 2014, at 12:28 PM, “Lynton, Michael” wrote:
    yeah,, the past is the past…..
    On Jul 22, 2014, at 10:30 AM, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. wrote:
    And he wasn’t even a bad guy. We don’t demonize him at all. Now Anderson Cooper’s ancestor was a real s.o.b.; one of his slaves actually murdered him. Of course, the slave was promptly hanged. And Anderson didn’t miss a beat about that. Once we open the door to censorship, we lose control of the brand.

  2. Paul N Larsen says:

    I’m a white person who regularly listens to Pass the Mike, in an effort to appreciate non-white perspectives. I agree with much of the sentiment about killing the culture wars and the blind spots in most of the majority culture. But I, too, thought that Mr. James was (greatly) mistaken in his pro-life comments, absolutely short-changing those tireless, selfless Crisis Pregnancy Centers, which are almost exclusively established by the majority culture in underprivileged areas for the purpose of helping – and loving -mothers as well as unborn babies. Just sayin’. But other than that error of commission, James was potently erudite.

  3. Earon,

    Thank you for that gracious response. I want to hone in on this portion here;

    “What the culture wars (left and right) confine people to harmful and false dichotomies. They breed fear and hatred.”

    I think we are in agreement here. But my concern is that in advocating for killing the culture wars (which I wholeheartedly agree) that it’s not done on creating the kind of false dichotomies that produce “us” vs “them” mentality you all are repudiating. I understand that you all were responding to some unfortunate attacks. But at the same time, the listener is not privy to what goes on behind the scenes, only what is being stated in the podcast. It just struck me as I listened, that is what was being done. I’m also mindful of some articles that could be construed as doing the same thing. For instance, I recall an article that Jemar wrote after the election about being afraid to go into a white church. How does this not create the same kind of “other-izing” that you all are seeking to resolve? My point here is not to pick apart or discredit but to hopefully bring attention to some inconsistent ways addressing this important topic can be construed.

    Again, I look forward to hearing the next segment. My heart in this is just as you say, that the church of Jesus Christ should know no such wars.

  4. Greetings brothers,

    It was good hearing your voices and expressing concerns about cultural phenomenon that detrimentally impacts the body of Christ. I’m also glad to hear that another segment is planned that will address the other side of the aisle when it comes to cultural captivity of the gospel and the church. It did seem very one sided but it’s good to know another side will be address. With that said, I hope you don’t mind if I challenge some of the assumptions made in your presentation.

    First let me say, I did find quite a bit of agreement with your points. Like you, I have been chagrined at the inconsistencies displayed within evangelicalism concerning the moral requirements of those we endorse as political leaders. I am also saddened that the 2016 general election presented us with such dismal choices. Though I do lean conservative and would have loved to vote for one of the other GOP candidates (I was quite partial to Rubio), I could not bring myself to pull the lever for Trump. But I also appreciate the concern and repudiation for a Clinton presidency. I think that’s something to keep in mind while describing the 81%. And here is where I want to present something I’m hearing in your message.

    I especially appreciated your call towards the end of the podcast to humanize those we disagree with and not demonize them unless they check every single approval box. You are right, this does describe some conservative folks who seem to be more wedded to the GOP than the GOSpel. It breaks my heart to see such idolatry. However, as I listened to your presentation I could not help but ask if you all are doing the same thing with political conservatives that you are charging them with.

    Yes, 81% of white evangelicals who voted pulled the trigger for Trump. But that does not mean that 81% of white evangelicals are in favor of Trump. In my own circles, I know more conservatives who lament that was the choice we’ve been given than those who are supportive of him (sadly I know those too). But I also heard a caricature of conservatives: fight for abortion, don’t care for the mother, dehumanizes the other, advocates for policies against black and brown people. This ignores a number of factors, primarily that people who identify as conservatives aren’t necessarily against “the other” but against too much government involvement. Sometimes that is the case because of political idolatry and a lack of compassion. But what is ignored in this broad brushing are the private efforts that are taken to care for concerns of the marginalized whether it be individually, through church or through private organizations. Again, I raise this because I thought it was a bit hypocritical to levy charges at a whole group, which can have the impact on your hearers of demonizing anyone who claims the conservative label. I only see this as creating more division within the body of Christ.

    While I get that you are challenging the short-sightedness of pro-life issues being confined to abortion, I’ll be honest that it comes across as belittling this concern. You do realize that the largest segment of abortions are performed on young, black women, right? There are good and valid reasons for caring about this particular issue as people of God who must value all of life. I don’t know that it’s helpful to castigate Christians who care about this very important issue.

    Finally, I had a hard time reconciling how the culture wars you presented in this podcast segment translated into death for others. It sounded more like an emotive sound bite than something grounded in reality of police interaction with all the dynamics in play concerning these instances. Like you, I grieve over every instance of unjust shootings of what we’ve seen displayed through the media. And though assessments might vary, I think it’s a bit of a stretch to say culture wars from conservatives are the cause. Again, this is another broad brush stroke that I think demonizes the other and does nothing but generate hostilities not to mention create the same kinds of checkboxes you indicated was a problem.

    Anyway, I know this was a long comment. My concern is not to defend conservatives but for the peace and purity of the church. I appreciate you all and look forward to the next segment.

    1. Earon James says:

      Hi Lisa,

      I appreciate you taking the time to communicate your concerns and soliciting a response. I don’t want to be presumptuous in speaking for Jemar and Tyler, but I also know these brothers and their hearts. They are godly men.

      The goal of the conversation was to show the danger in embracing an ideology that is “us vs. them”. I am fully aware that abortion has a disproportionate effect on black women. In some cities more black children are aborted than are born. This is heartbreaking and is what I consider to be a modern-day genocide. Most importantly it is sin against the Creator of heaven and earth.

      I partner with and contribute to local pregnancy resource centers and adoption agencies in my community. I have witnessed the good that these private organizations do firsthand. My intention was not to take away from efforts such as these. It was a call to embrace a holistic view of life rooted in the truth of Scripture not castigate other Christians. I know far too many professing believers whose pro-life stance ends at the birth of the child and/or the lives of only certain types of children.

      What the culture wars (left and right) confine people to harmful and false dichotomies. They breed fear and hatred. I also believe that the tensions created from the false dichotomies have resulted in injury and loss of life. If I’m not mistaken, Tyler even mentioned that even though out focus was a critique of the right there is also more than enough room for a critique of the left. The Church shouldn’t be beholden to either.

      We were not levying charges against a whole group of people. Everyone on the podcast has meaningful relationships and friendships with people who voted for Donald Trump. We sought to target the ideology not to put cross hairs on the backs of people.

      I don’t expect every believer to see every situation the same way. We commanded by God to love one another, speak the truth in love, be forbearing with one another, and forgive one another even as God in Christ has forgiven us. I too share your passion for the purity of the church.

      I need to be challenged because I am a finite and I don’t even know what I don’t know. Comments such as these force me to go back and reevaluate my stances and my words. I welcome your positive feedback and your critique.

      A final thought…My brothers, Jemar and Tyler, have had to endure sharp and unfair critiques to the genuineness of their faith, the orthodoxy of their theology, and sinful assaults on their character. This has taken place through sub-tweets, Facebook posts, blogs, and podcasts. I want to take the time to vouch for the character of these men. This vitriol has come from the so-called conservatives. What makes it even worse is that very few in those circles if any have come to their defense to speak on their behalf. I have seen the fruit of the faith they profess in Christ as men, husbands, fathers, church leaders, and servants to the community.

      Thank you for reaching out.

      In Christ,
      Earon

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