On Fox News Monday night, Juan Williams faulted the "black church" for not doing more to rescue African-Americans from cycles of violence and poverty. While he didn't make the connection, I will. Too many "reverends" have traded eternal truths for temporal power. While not ignoring slavery and discrimination, most once preached messages about righteousness, sin and redemption, which brought changes in behavior. Too many modern "reverends" have made their bed with the Democratic Party, which has delivered their people from nothing, and has mostly kept the poor mired not just in economic poverty, but a poverty of spirit.
There may be no answer for this generation of angry, violent youth, but there may be an answer for younger children. It begins with school choice so children in failing schools can get the kind of education that is their only ticket out of poverty. Putting men back in their families where they would be married to the mothers of their children would also produce positive cultural benefits, but that is an area where government has less influence than the church.
Chicago is not alone in its problems with urban violence. The American Thinker magazine chronicled the chaos that swept many cities last Memorial Day weekend, from Cincinnati, to Miami Beach (where 300,000 people, mostly black, gathered for Urban Beach Week, an annual hip-hop festival, that brought "violence, robbery, shootings, carjackings, vandalism, mayhem, noise and trash").
The fault for this lies in many places. The solution is not external, but internal. No one can respect another person's life and property until he respects himself. And that respect comes only through a spiritual awakening, which no politician has the power to create.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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