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An Open Letter to Frances Rice and the National Black Republican Association

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Message Richard Mathis
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Dear Sister Frances Rice and esteemed brethren of the National Black Republican Association:

Thank you, sister, for your generous and considered response to my article on the greatest American of the 20th century, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The good Lord does work in wonderful and mysterious ways. Without your timely and learned response, I may have not discovered the inspiring words of the Rev. Eric M. Wallace, chairman of the African American Republican Council of Illinois. Rev. Wallace wrote that "I am a Christian first, a father second, a minister and scholar third, and a black man fourth, and then a Republican. Heaven help me if I ever get these out of order."

Hallelujah, brother Wallace, I can amen those sentiments. The only thing I can't agree with is party affiliation. I don't serve the Republican, Democrat or any other political party. Let me say it again as I did in my first piece: "There is no unbroken line of consistency on civil rights by either major political party and it is outrageous to assert that either party has an exclusive claim to having been the champion of civil rights." Truth is far more important to me than partisan politics as I believe was the case with Dr. King. Nor do I serve any race other than the human. After all, Jesus served Jews and Gentiles, and Dr. King's truth is for all.

Rev. Wallace sure sounds like someone I could break bread and discuss doing the Lord's will here on earth as it is done in heaven. He sounds like the kind of fellow who would agree with Jesus that you cannot serve God and Mammon. He doesn't sound like the kind of fellow who has a "what's-in-it-for-me" attitude as many self-serving Mammonites do these days. Mercy, there's all kind of shameless opportunists who will say or do anything to personally get ahead. The good reverend appears to be someone who doesn't need to add anything to his word but knows to let his yeses mean yes and his no's mean no, like the Good Shepherd told us to do. Yes, Mam, I'd be willing to venture that the good preacher Wallace can spot in a heartbeat a wolf trying to pass as a sheep. Not only that, but I do sense that the good Reverend Wallace won't associate for long with someone trying to pass as belonging to the Lord when they really belong to Mammon.

Please allow me, sister Frances, to suggest that the National Black Republican Association make the Rev. Wallace one of your prominent spokesmen. The brother is good and appears to be doing his best to follow the will of the Lord. Moreover, I agree that there needs to be more black Republicans as well as more minority members in general. I think that no one political party should have a monopoly on any race or gender, including the GOP being able to count on the block white vote in the south. I think Dr. King was wise not to openly engage in partisan politics but to look at both parties to see who was offering the best deal. I know that's what I do when I go to the ballot box. Furthermore, as I hold that there must be more balance in both parties, I believe the Rev. Wallace makes an excellent choice as a speaker for black Republicans. And if you want to get in touch with him, all you got to do, according to his letter to you, is that "If you guys [NBRA] decide to formulate another organization based on actually helping our people, let me know. If you choose people with a servant's heart, then I am in. I serve because of my relationship with my Savior."

Yes, colonel Rice, I know the good brother is a follower of Jesus who knows that whoever shall exalt himself, shall be humbled. Look at Dr. King. Despite all the personal attacks on him, Dr. King didn't resort to name calling. Nor did he resort to playing pitiful and pathetic. He didn't demonize his critics and dismiss them with a sweeping generalization. When he spoke of unfair treatment, unlike one certain person who shamelessly claims his legacy, Rev. King didn't do it to promote his personal agenda but did so on the behalf of a larger good. No, sister Frances, I can't believe Rev. Wallace would be the type of Christian who would engage in the type of demagoguery known as killing the messenger. No good Christian is even going to do symbolically to others what was literally done to Jesus and Dr. King.

While you're contacting Rev. Wallace, maybe you could get back in touch with Christopher R. Arps. He's another one of six of your ten board members of the NBRA who resigned in protest over your leadership last year, sister Frances. Maybe you remember reading about it in the conservative Washington Times in a piece entitled "God before GOP" by the conservative writer John McCaslin on September 13, 2005. Brother Arps wrote that "The organization and its current leadership is heading down a much different direction than was envisioned by myself and the other board members."

McCaslin's article stated that three board members resigned because they did not want to sign a "statement of commitment" sent to them by you, sister Frances. You remember the statement read that "My failure to sign this statement confirms that I am not a member in good standing of the NBRA and am not eligible to be an officer in the NBRA or a member of the NBRA Board of Directors."

One member, Bill Calhoun, wrote you that: "Regarding your request for me to sign a letter of commitment, is this being requested of all board members? This appears discriminatory."

Then there was discontent among the disgruntled board members about you apparently not getting proper approval to have issued a news release highly praising how President Bush handled Hurricane Katrina. Namely, there appears to have some concern among your board members about you having publically proclaimed that "President Bush is to be commended for deploying all of the resources of the federal government to help the refugees."

And to think that I might not have known all this if you hadn't taken the time on the first year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina to write me that I was trying to violate your civil rights because you are a black woman veteran. I do apologize for my conspiratorial racism on my part. What gave me away? Was it me refuting your unfounded claims about Dr. King? Did you not like me quoting Dr. King and pointing out such remarks are why the likes of Jesse Helms thought Dr. King was a communist? Was it me questioning your suspect scholarship that made extravagant claims without offering any references? What was it that prompted you to proclaim that you are being picked on because you are a veteran and lawyer? Was that what all these mean NBRA board members were doing when they questioned your leadership and resigned in protest? Were they part of a liberal conspiracy?

Anyway, you as a lawyer openly and publically charged me with trying to deny you "a black woman veteran, my right to freedom of speech." Well, just let me know in which federal court house you are going to seek a federal indictment for my felonious behavior and I'll turn myself in without incident. With the best of Christian spirit, I will patiently listen in the courtroom as you introduce all your facts under conservative rules of evidence. I will calmly wait for the judge to rule on the merits of your witness as whether it is true or false and then accept whatever ruling the judge hands down.

Of course, in that I try to be a good Christian and classical liberal, I will do my best to defend your rights of free speech and expression to call all the names you want, to play victim as often as you please and to throw all the temper tantrums you can muster. I will also vigorously deny knowing anything about you being part of a liberal conspiracy to plant a provocateur to spew knee-jerk politically correct rhetoric among Republicans in order to make them look like two-faced hypocrites for putting up with the likes of you when they have avaliable someone like the Rev. Wallace.


Richard Mathis

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B. 1952, GA, USA. D. To Be Determined. Beloved husband, father, grandfather, lover, confidant and friend of many from bikers to Zen masters; American writer and speaker, known for his criticism of Mammon's unholy trinity of big business, big (more...)
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