November 28, 2006

Imagine This....

You have met the man of your dreams - your soulmate. He has been a part of your life all along. As a matter of fact, he was your high school sweetheart who fathered two children with you. You weathered the storm and stuck it out with him. Over the years, the two of you have worked through your conflict, your indifference, and your growth. Finally, God has touched your hearts and opened you both up to the blessing of commiting your lives to one another. The wedding date is set; the invitations have gone out. The church and reception hall have been rented. The caterer and the photographer have been hired. The two of you have been anticipating this day - your day - for what seems like an eternity. And on the morning of your wedding - just hours before the big event - you receive a phone call and learn of the unthinkable....

NYPD cops fired 50 bullets at a car full of unarmed men -- killing your husband to be -- as he and three friends left his bachelor's party at a local strip club in New York. You learn that the car driven by your husband to be was hit 21 times by a spray of bullets supposedly after your husband had rammed his car into an undercover officer, and then an unmarked police minivan. You learn that your friends, Joseph Guzman, 31, was reportedly shot up to 17 times by the police and is in critical condition and that Trent Benefield, 23, was shot three times. You are in utter shock.

You listen with deaf ears as Police chief Raymond Kelly explain how the five officers who killed the love of your life were at the Kalua Cabaret club to "document illicit activity". You wonder how a night of fun for a young, soon to be married father could turn into a night of death and despair. How could this happen? Why did this happen? Who is responsible?

Unfortunately, this horrid tale is not one of my short stories in the making; it is not fiction. Sadly enough, it is reality - a bad reality for too many young and old black men in America. This travesty actually happened. How do you respond to something like this?

I am so thankful for the family and friends of the late Sean Bell, aged 23, who had the courage and stamina to take action with community activists and lead a series of peaceful vigils and protests against the New York Police Department (NYPD). It is important that we hold NYPD accountable for their actions.

I encourage you to pray for the families involved on both sides. Pray for Nicole Paultrie, the late Sean Bell's fiancee. Pray that she find the strength and courage to move on with her life to raise her children. Pray for total healing for Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield. Pray for the children who are now fatherless. Pray that the police officers take responsibility for their misguided actions and that they find redemption and salvation. Pray for the city of New York and every inner city in America. Pray that we stay connected and involved in our communities and that we work diligently to ensure that we have systems in place that protect all Americans!

November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
- Psalm 100:4-5 (NIV)

We know that the true history behind holidays like Columbus and Thanksgiving do not fall in line with the Word of God. I choose not to celebrate these holidays for their original meanings, but I have found other more significant reasons to celebrate on these days.

Columbus Day is so close to my birthday that I normally use that day as another opportunity to celebrate the life that God gave me. On Thanksgiving, I really take the opportunity to spend time with family and friends for whom I have been unable to see throughout the year. It is an opportunity to reflect as a family unit on God's blessings in our lives!

I pray that you find meaning and purpose for your life on these and other holidays throughout the year. So often, holidays bring a spirit of depression, anxiety, and mayhem. I pray that God's love, mercy, and grace abound in your life and the lives of those who are the most important to you! I pray that you and those around you experience the peace of God in all its fullness. And on this Thanksgiving Day, I pray that you have a great and prosperous day!

November 21, 2006

Personalized Children's Books

This Christmas give a child in your life a personalized children's book!

Choose from a variety of book themes, including birthday, newborn, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Christian. Each book incorporates your child's name, age, hometown, and the name of three friends or family members into the story. Each book also includes a dedication page in the front of the book from you to the child.

Please email either or call 443-257-6752 to speak with Lynn about placing an order.

To obtain a complete list of titles, email or call 443-257-6752.

If you would like to use Paypal, a credit card, or debit card to cover the $12 donation, click on the donation button to the right of the webpage to begin the donation process.

Afterwards, be sure to email the following to
(1) The full name of the child;
(2) The child's age;
(3) The child's hometown;
(4) The names of three friends or family members of the child;
(5) Your full name;
(6) The mailing address where you want to send the book;
(7) The name of the person responsible for receiving your book at the mailing address:
(8) Your telephone number and email address; and
(9) Your dedication (i.e. With all my love)

In exchange for your $12 donation, you will receive a personalized children's book of your choice. Shipping and handling fees have already been calculated into the amount of your donation. Your donation will help support Internet Radio and help ensure that the TAKE ACTION! Network gets back on the air!

November 9, 2006

The Test of Black Power in Maryland

The test of black power in Maryland
By Sherrilyn A. Ifill
November 5, 2006

From Ohio to Maryland to Pennsylvania, political handicappers and pundits are focused on the impact the black vote will have on the outcome of key national and statewide races. Here in Maryland, the race to watch is for the Senate, where African-American Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele faces longtime Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin for an open seat.

Will black voter turnout be high? Or will they "vote with their feet" and stay home, as a show of their disillusionment with the Democratic Party's failure to support the Senate candidacy of former congressman and NAACP President Kweisi Mfume in the primary? Will the kinds of voting-related problems that all but wrecked primary Election Day keep the black vote down in Baltimore? More important, will black voters, who are overwhelmingly Democrats, put race ahead of party (and, some would say, ahead of their own best political interests) by supporting the engaging but hard-to-pin-down Mr. Steele?

The significance of the black vote to the outcome of races in Maryland this week will also reflect the effectiveness of black political power in a state where nearly one-third of the voters are black. Given the state's sizable black electorate, the strategic deployment of that vote should produce real and identifiable returns, reflected not only in the presence of black representatives but also in improved living conditions for African-Americans, in education, economic development, jobs or health.

So, what will Election Day tell us about the state of black political power in Maryland?

Although we tend to focus on Election Day outcomes, political power is developed, nurtured and wielded most effectively in the years between elections. This is when political constituencies have the opportunity to cultivate future candidates, to raise money and, crucially, to develop and agree on a platform of issues and initiatives that reflect the community's interests.

The importance of this kind of organizing for state races is increasingly urgent for African-Americans as black political power at the national level has all but evaporated amid hardened and uncompromising partisanship, the Democratic Leadership Council's influence on the Democratic Party, the almost exclusive focus of both parties on the war on terror to the exclusion of domestic concerns, and the ever-increasing role of big money in political campaigns.

But the power of the African-American vote in Maryland has yet to be developed in a way that could make it a force to be reckoned with in statewide politics. Although there had been rumblings for years that Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes would retire, African-Americans seemed unprepared to provide the kind of material support Mr. Mfume's run would require. Until Douglas M. Duncan's untimely withdrawal from the governor's race several months before the primary, leaving his lieutenant governor pick, Stuart O. Simms, in the lurch, there was no black candidate for attorney general - although it had long been rumored that J. Joseph Curran Jr. would leave office this year, and the state is rife with qualified black lawyers who could have run.

We lament the failure of Kathleen Kennedy Townsend to select a black running mate in 2002, but we haven't yet answered why the many highly qualified African-American candidates who could have challenged her chose not to. (Several of them, from Prince George's County, last week endorsed Mr. Steele.) A strong primary challenge from a black candidate would have compelled Ms. Townsend to directly confront the question of race. And why should we have settled for lieutenant governor, anyway, when there were and are so many experienced, well-prepared African-American leaders who could serve as governor?

Maybe that's what made Mr. Mfume's run for the Senate so exciting. He was willing to do it without the support of the Democratic machine, he ran as a real and unashamed liberal, and he still garnered 41 percent of the primary vote. Might Mr. Mfume have won if he'd been armed with a war chest raised by black voters and organizations over the past four years for the express purpose of supporting a potential black Senate candidate who was willing to advance a progressive political, economic and social agenda?

Rather than confront these tough questions, however, black voters diminish our power by heeding calls to offer our votes to Republican candidates in the hope that they'll treat us better than the Democrats, or at least to show the Democratic Party we can't be taken for granted. It's a gamble unlikely to pay off. Without grass-roots organization, a real platform of policies designed to awaken the sleeping giant of working-class and poor black voters as a political force, and a consistent fundraising apparatus, both parties will continue to take us for granted. Worse, we offer the gift of our vote to Republicans at precisely the moment in history when the national Republican Party is at the nadir of its moral and legal legitimacy.

Rather than assume that we must run from one party to the other, we should seriously consider and debate the idea of black voters as a sizable bloc of independents who can offer our support (grass-roots organization, votes, war chest) to any candidate willing to advance our platform. These are options we need to discuss and implement in the years before an election.

On Tuesday, African-American voters must select the best candidate in a number of key races that will help decide the future of our state and of this country. But on Wednesday, we have to begin the work of amassing real political power that can translate into dynamic, effective representation for African-Americans - and, indeed, for everyone in the state of Maryland.

Sherrilyn A. Ifill is a civil rights lawyer, voting rights expert and professor of law at the University of Maryland School of Law.

Copyright © 2006, The Baltimore Sun | Get Sun home delivery
Link to the article:,0,7600233.story?coll=bal-oped-headlines

November 7, 2006

Election Day in Baltimore

Don't Believe the Hype: VOTE!

I've talked to so many people whom I love, admire, and trust about the upcoming elections. Many of them are adamant about the ambiguity of our vote. They say, "Why vote the lesser of two evils" They say, "Our vote doesn't really count....look at the Presidential elections!"

Yet, I watch the news on television and hear mostly white candidates talk openly about how they need "poor, Black voters" to make the difference in the polls this election. Who knew? Maybe who knows is the question I should be asking. Is this message really getting across to the people who need to hear it? Or are people benefiting off of the apathy of others? I mean if "poor Black voters" make up a significant block of votes in this election could it mean that their vote could be a possible wild card - guiding the votes in a direction that is contrary to the leading Democrats and/or the Republicans?

This Election Day is sure to be one that will go down in the history books! Will the White youthful "family man" with the charming Black man as his running mate beat out the older White "family man" with the visually impaired, White woman as his running mate? Will the unspoken statement of race matters beat out the unspoken statement of disabilities support or vice versa?

Will this election turn out the second Baltimore City Mayor in history to become the Governor of Maryland? Will this election result in another Black Lt. Governor or will it turn out the first woman - with a disability no less - to serve as Lt. Governor of MD? Will the current Lt. Governor become the first Black U.S. Senator in Maryland or will this election return our current U.S. Senator Ben Cardin to office? Will the Black middle class vote mirror the vote of low-income Blacks or will the vote of low-income Blacks override the vote of the Black middle-class and set the stage for change in this election?

As I prepare this morning to head out to the polls in my old neighborhood because the change of address form I submitted during the primary election was not turned in by election workers, I wonder what other small glitches will impact today's election results. I wonder how I could live in a country which spends billions of dollars annually to ensure that other people of the world have the right to vote, but our elections are in such a disarray. I wonder how many people are so disgusted with our election process that they make a conscious decision to stay away from the polls. I wonder who really benefits out of all of this, and I wonder at the end of this day which candidates will be the last ones standing.

November 5, 2006

Ted Haggard

November 05, 2006

Gayle Haggard's letter to New Life Church

Dear Woman of New Life Church,

I am so sorry for the circumstances that have led me to write this letter to you today. I know your hearts are broken; mine is as well. Yet my hope rests steadfastly in the Lord who is forever faithful.

What I want you to know is that I love my husband, Ted Haggard, with all my heart. I am committed to him until death "do us part". We started this journey together and with the grace of God, we will finish together.

If I were standing before you today, I would not change one iota of what I have been teaching the women of our church. For those of you who have been concerned that my marriage was so perfect I could not possibly relate to the women who are facing great difficulties, know that this will never again be the case. My test has begun; watch me. I will try to prove myself faithful. I love you all so much, especially you young women - you were my delight.

To all the church family of New Life Church - Ted and I are so proud of you. You are all we hoped you would be. In our minds, there is no greater church. As you try to make sense of these past few days, know that Ted believes with all his heart and soul everything he has ever taught you, those things you are putting into practice. He is now the visible and public evidence that every man (woman and child) needs a Savior.

We are grateful for your prayers for our family.

I hold you forever in my heart.

Gayle Haggard

Ted Haggard's letter to New Life Church

The following letter from Ted Haggard, former senior pastor of New Life Church, was read to the congregation this morning at the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. services.

To my New Life Church family:

I am so sorry. I am sorry for the disappointment, the betrayal, and the hurt. I am sorry for the horrible example I have set for you.

I have an overwhelming, all-consuming sadness in my heart for the pain that you and I and my family have experienced over the past few days. I am so sorry for the circumstances that have caused shame and embarrassment to all of you.

I asked that this note be read to you this morning so I could clarify my heart's condition to you. The last four days have been so difficult for me, my family and all of you, and I have further confused the situation with some of the things I've said during interviews with reporters who would catch me coming or going from my home. But I alone am responsible for the confusion caused by my inconsistent statements. The fact is, I am guilty of sexual immorality, and I take responsibility for the entire problem.

I am a deceiver and a liar. There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I've been warring against it all of my adult life. For extended periods of time, I would enjoy victory and rejoice in freedom. Then, from time to time, the dirt that I thought was gone would resurface, and I would find myself thinking thoughts and experiencing desires that were contrary to everything I believe and teach.

Through the years, I've sought assistance in a variety of ways, with none of them proving to be effective in me. Then, because of pride, I began deceiving those I love the most because I didn't want to hurt or disappoint them.

The public person I was wasn't a lie; it was just incomplete. When I stopped communicating about my problems, the darkness increased and finally dominated me. As a result, I did things that were contrary to everything I believe.

The accusations that have been leveled against me are not all true, but enough of them are true that I have been appropriately and lovingly removed from ministry. Our church's overseers have required me to submit to the oversight of Dr. James Dobson, Pastor Jack Hayford, and Pastor Tommy Barnett. Those men will perform a thorough analysis of my mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical life. They will guide me through a program with the goal of healing and restoration for my life, my marriage, and my family.

I created this entire situation. The things that I did opened the door for additional allegations . But I am responsible; I alone need to be disciplined and corrected. An example must be set.

It is important that you know how much I love and appreciate my wife, Gayle. What I did should never reflect in a negative way on her relationship with me. She has been and continues to be incredible. The problem is not with her, my children or any of you. It was created 100 percent by me.

I have been permanently removed from the office of Senior Pastor of New Life Church. Until a new senior pastor is chosen, our Associate Senior Pastor Ross Parsley will assume all of the the responsibilities of the office. On the day he accepted this new role, he and his wife, Aimee, had a new baby boy. A new life in the midst of this circumstance - I consider the confluence of events to be prophetic. Please commit to join with Pastor Ross and the others in church leadership to make their service to you easy and without burden. They are fine leaders. You are blessed.

I appreciate your loving and forgiving nature, and I humbly ask you to do a few things.

1.) Please stay faithful to God through service and giving.

2.) Please forgive me. I am so embarrassed and ashamed. I caused this and I have no excuse. I am a sinner. I have fallen. I desperately need to be forgiven and healed.

3.) Please forgive my accuser. He is revealing the deception and sensuality that was in my life. Those sins, and others, need to be dealt with harshly. So, forgive him and, actually, thank God for him. I am trusting that his action will make me, my wife and family, and ultimately all of you, stronger. He didn't violate you; I did.

4.) Please stay faithful to each other. Perform your functions well. Encourage each other and rejoice in God's faithfulness. Our church body is a beautiful body, and like every family, our strength is tested and proven in the midst of adversity. Because of the negative publicity I've created with my foolishness, we can now demonstrate to the world how our sick and wounded can be healed, and how even disappointed and betrayed church bodies can prosper and rejoice.

Gayle and I need to be gone for a while. We will never return to a leadership role at New Life Church. In our hearts, we will always be members of this body. We love you as our family. I know this situation will put you to the test. I'm sorry I've created the test, but please rise to this challenge and demonstate the incredible grace that is available to all of us.

Ted Haggard

November 4, 2006

New Life Church
Colorado Springs, Colorado

We, the Overseer Board of New Life Church, have concluded our deliberations
concerning the moral failings of Pastor Ted Haggard. Our investigation and Pastor Haggard’s public statements have proven without a doubt that he has committed sexually immoral conduct. The language of our church bylaws state that as Overseers we must decide in cases where the Senior Pastor has “demonstrated immoral conduct” whether we must “remove the pastor from his position or to discipline him in any way they deem necessary.” In consultation with leading evangelicals and experts familiar with the type of behavior Pastor Haggard has demonstrated, we have decided that the most positive and productive direction for our church is his dismissal and removal. In addition, the Overseers will continue to explore the depth of Pastor Haggard’s offense so that a plan of healing and restoration can begin.

Pastor Haggard and his wife have been informed of this decision. They have agreed as
well that he should be dismissed and that a new pastor for New Life Church should be selected according to the rules of replacement in the bylaws. That process will begin immediately in hopes that a new pastor can be confirmed by the end of the year 2006. In the interim, Ross Parsley will function as the leader of the church with full support of the Overseers. A letter of explanation and apology by Pastor Haggard as well as a word of encouragement from Gayle Haggard will be read in the 9:00 and 11:00 service of New Life Church.