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Beer Summit Theology

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. concluded the Beer Summit on a far more gracious, even presidential, note than President Obama.  Gates had the courtesy to acknowledge, however belatedly, that “police officers put their lives at risk to protect us every day.”  Obama said nothing about the police, even though he had previously fit the Gates incident into the ACLU’s master narrative about a national epidemic of biased policing.  In his post-summit official statement, however, he pretended that the controversy could be deflated back to a matter between two individuals and disposed of with nearly meaningless platitudes.   His silence about anything policing-related carefully let stand his previous allegation that “blacks and Hispanics are picked up more frequently and often time for no cause.”    Obama’s embrace of activist-generated misinformation about the police, which I contest here, here, and here, will be the most damaging consequence of Gates-gate, one with the potential to erode the public safety gains in minority neighborhoods achieved over the last fifteen years. 

I was struck nevertheless by the sudden infusion of God talk in Gates’ post-beer statement: 

Let me say that I thank God that I live in a country in which police officers put their lives at risk to protect us every day . . . .

Thank God we live in a country where speech is protected, a country which guarantees and defends my right to speak out when I believe my rights have been violated . . . .

And thank God that we have a President who can rise above the fray, bridge age-old differences and transform events such as this into a moment in the evolution of our society’s attitudes about race and difference. President Obama is a man who understands tolerance and forgiveness, and our country is blessed to have such a leader. (more…)

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