One Ask Behind

I have not done enough research to know if this is a stable trend but I notice an interesting coincidence regarding racial progress in this country, especially as it relates to African-Americans. When Black people make a substantive demand for civil rights or equality they never get what they are asking for. Instead, society gives them what they asked for in some previous demand for justice and equality. Exhibit A of this coincidence is the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. While the term “Defund the Police” has been (purposely) misconstrued, the principle behind it is simple. There is overwhelming evidence that racism infects the history and current culture of policing in this country and that the cost of that infestation is the lives of Black men and women. Simple reforms will not be enough to root out this scourge. Therefore, the solution being proposed is that the funds that go into policing people of color would be better spent providing the types of social services that would actually help to address the socially constructed problems in African-American communities that lead to the crime and violence that we all want to solve. Unfortunately there is very little progress being made to address this major concern. There is very little progress on improving educational opportunities for Black people to finally overcome the legacy of poor education in our communities. There is very little progress on addressing the economic concerns that are the aftermath of continuous and systematic efforts to prevent Black families from creating lasting wealth in this country.[1] While those conversations are occurring with the Black community at large, they are not gaining much traction on a societal level. But we accomplished some things. Many municipalities decided to remove confederate monuments. Streaming services, other entertainment outlets and even product companies removed programming and imaging that was racially insensitive. Black Lives Matter murals appeared all over the country. The Associated Press finally decided to uppercase “Black.” A Houston realty group even decided to stop using the term “master” in reference to the main bedroom and bathroom in a home. These are all good things to do and many of them are changes the Black community called for years ago. Which I think proves the point. Black people are not getting what they are asking for now – they’re getting what they asked for before.

Interestingly enough, the first place I saw this coincidence was in my study of race history in the Adventist Church. The Adventist Church followed this same pattern with regard to racial equality in our denomination. From the very beginning of the Adventist Church there were issues with racism. In 1889, in response to the segregation that was occurring, Charles Kinney requested that African-Americans be allowed to have their own conferences.[2] The Church refused to grant Kinney’s request because they did not think that Black Adventists could handle governing themselves. Although they did not want to give them their own conferences, they also denied them full membership in the denomination as well. After the Lucy Byard Incident in 1944, the National Association for the Advancement of Worldwide Work Among Colored Seventh-Day Adventists (NAAWW) drafted a document, not calling for segregated conferences, but demanding full integration of Black Adventists into the membership of the Adventist Church in a number of different areas. The Church denied those request and instead proposed giving Black Adventists their own conferences within the church structure. Joseph T. Dodson, who was chair of the NAAWW said, “They gave us our conferences instead of integration.” In others words, they gave them what they had asked for previously, instead of what they were asking for at that time.[3]

Racism and White supremacy are the original sins of our nation. This is tied into our societal DNA, infecting and affecting almost everything as a result. Therefore it is not surprising that racism infected our church as well. And much like original sin, it continues to infect and affect us, even though many of us have not done anything overt to perpetuate the sin itself, both societally and denominationally. And I think the same way we deal with original sin spiritually can give us guidance here, both in our church and in our nation. First we must admit that we were shaped in iniquity and conceived in sin.[4] (And by “we” I don’t just mean our founding, but also us, as we exist right now.) We should ask forgiveness from those who bear the legacy of being wronged and do our best to make them whole. And finally, we must turn away from the behaviors that perpetuate our sins.


[1] I like the way Jon Stewart said it. “While Black people were fighting for equality, White people were building equity.”

[2] At the time, Black Adventists could not attend church with White people or hold membership in White churches.

[3]Jacob Justiss, Angels in Ebony, (Holland, OH: Jet Printing Service, 1975), 61.

[4] Ps. 51:5.


Jason Hines is a former attorney with a doctorate in Religion, Politics, and Society from the J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies at Baylor University. He is also an assistant professor at AdventHealth University. He blogs about religious liberty and other issues at

Previous Spectrum columns by Jason Hines can be found at: 

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Jason, glad you’re back into the “fold.” I enjoy following your posts. Keep on posting…

The stable trend that I notice is that making concessions to black people is usually an easy thing to do because black people demand so little for themselves. It is Republican Racial Politics 101 to pacify black people, to agree to remove a statue, institute a national holiday, rename a football team, decree that police officers should not murder black people, etc., because so very little is given up in doing so. Why were there not thousands of black people marching in the streets protesting the tax bill that easily passed in the early days of Donald Trump’s administration? The tax cuts conferred upon billionaires at the expense of middle- and lower-class black people (and similar others) have been far more harmful, relatively speaking, than anything and everything blacks have recently protested against.

Are black people going to vote this year or are they going to abandon Joe Biden like they abandoned Hillary Clinton?

What changes and reforms do black Seventh-day Adventists want to see in the Seventh-day Adventist Church? We do not know the answer to this question. And therein lies the problem.


I find these two paragraphs hilarious. In the first one you state how black people failed Hilary Clinton (Dem. party) by not voting for her. Then without even battering an eyelid, your following paragraph asks, “What changes and reforms do black Seventh-day Adventists want to see in the Seventh-day Adventist Church?” I don’t know, how about white people no longer telling black people how to vote… now that’s a start.

I recall a number of weeks ago, a young black, popular YouTuber, while being interviewed said how he had a much harder time coming out as a conservative compared to when he came out as gay.


I am just making the point that certain black people should take more responsibility for their actions. You reap what you sow. We would not have a white nationalist president–(he’s not a conservative, by the way)–if more black people had bothered to vote.

We find similar complacency among certain black people in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In my conversations with many black Seventh-day Adventists, I have been shocked to discover that they are content with racial segregation of the conferences. “You worship there, we will worship over here” is a philosophy of racial segregation that many black Seventh-day Adventists embrace. What they fail to understand is that Separate but Equal is not a viable long-term approach to racial justice and equality.

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First I need to make it clear that even if I could I would not have voted for president Trump.

But lets not kid ourselves here, this has zero to do with Trump. Zero. I clearly recall how people referred to Bush as a racist, among other things. They also including mild-mannered-Mitt when the time came. That’s right even Spectrum had an article which the author claimed that Mitt Romney was a “white supremacist” - sound familiar? (the author came to this conclusion not because of anything Mitt had done, but because of his churches beliefs):

Ironically, the one [Romney] who may topple the current President [Obama] is one whose religion is built on the notion of White supremacy. In fact, I’m surprised that the media has not examined the doctrines and traditions of the Mormon Church more closely. Who knows if Romney’s religious formation is the reason why he feels comfortable articulating “birther” language and proposing policies that would mean the death of many Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)?

More sinister is the possibility that he may see himself as the fulfillment of the controversial “White Horse” prophecy that may not have originated with Joseph Smith, but has shaped Mormon’s understanding of their role in prophecy. According to this teaching, a time will come when the United States constitution will be “hanging on a thread,” and the United States will look to the Mormon Church for deliverance. Could Mr. Romney be the “exceedingly fair and delightsome” deliverer who replaces the one who bears the “curse” of a “skin of blackness” (for the context of the quotes see the Book of Mormon , 2 Nephi 5:21)?


I know I had previously announced that my columns for the next few months would feature obituaries, and this definitely does not fit the genre. However, in an uncanny way this column does speak about death—the death of reason. Some people are so blinded by their own bigotry that they are willing to make political choices that are detrimental to their own interests. This defies all standards of reasonable behavior and common sense.

I have no doubt that this willingness to be deceived is symptomatic of the times in which we live. Who knows? A Romney presidency could be a loud reminder that these are indeed the closing days of earth’s history. This could be the wake up call for God’s people to align themselves with the only political leader who always tells the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. This leader is none other than Jesus the Messiah who values citizens of “every nation, tribe, language and people” (Rev 14:6). He is a “one term” leader who will never be up for re-election (and was never up for election!) because his reign is “for ever and ever” (Rev 11:15). He is the one called “Faithful and True” who rides the white horse of eschatological justice (Rev 19:11).

As you reflect on this election in light of the eternal kingdom, always keep in mind that “a tree is known by its fruit.” (emphasis supplied)


So even if Trump turns out to be what you say; those whom you wish to reach no longer listen: “A Romney presidency could be a loud reminder that these are indeed the closing days of earth’s history.” They’ve heard it all before - over and over and over again, every time a Rep. runs for Pres.

No you’re not, you’re telling them how to vote. And yes, I totally agree: you reap what you sow… the irony…


And is it any wonder why people are sick of listening to such warnings. I mean look at the comment bellow mine. A grade a troll, who’s more concerned about himself and getting his kicks than sincerely wanting to warn people.

Maybe you want to tell that to Don Lemon. While mocking Trump mistakenly called rhino an elephant.


I hope they vote. We can’t take another four years with a “stable genius” in the WH.

By the way, The Trump University is back. After taking a Walter Reed-like cognitive test*, one can get a certificate:

“Simple Genius” Certificate: $10
“Stable Genius” Certificate: $15

*- If anyone is afraid of failing the test, a surrogate can be hired and take the test for the interested person. No questions asked. (Like that SAT that Trump took… :roll_eyes: :laughing: )

A sample of that test’s questions:

What animal is this? Is it an elephant, or is it an elephant?

Correct answer is: It is an elephant!
(If anyone flunks, they can still get a “Dumb Genius” Certificate, for as low as $3!!!.. :rofl::rofl::rofl: )

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I don’t know. Democrats have been running the school systems in the major black enclaves (big cities) for some 50 to 75 years now. Why are blacks not getting what they need there? I believe black parents are really in favor of school choice, but other Democrats (read unions) are not. Far be it from me to suggest that voting Republican (they do support choice) would solve some problems. Perhaps even better than toppling a statue.

That is one interpretation of it. Maybe your idea of racial justice and equality is different than theirs. It may be that the members of the black conferences like to be in charge of their own program. Could you allow for their thinking? Not only that, if a black wants to be part of a white conference, there is no impediment. I pastored a majority black church in a white conference when there were several regional churches close by. You see, they had a choice.

I have heard this discussion for years now. Whites want the blacks to integrate. Blacks do not want to. OK. I don’t think it is a problem of justice and equality, but desire to have something that is theirs. They are not rushing to dissolve them like guilty liberal whites would have them do. I understand the origins of them, but that is history. Perhaps dealing with present reality is a better policy.


Thanks, @JasonHines.

I enjoy your essays, and this brief one is full of insights.

I especially like the nuanced observation that you make, in your first paragraph, concerning the time dilation one experiences, between what Black people want, as a dependent class, and what white people are willing to grant, as the dominant group.

As I said to a colleague this week, racism is futuristic. In this present era of mutual agreement on many issues of justice—launched by George Floyd’s slaying—white people’s goals and Black people’s goals are still wildly out of sync. Black people are going to find this out in stages of grief and disappointment.

Drilling in a bit on the details of this, a recent Pew Research report affirms that the majority of Black Lives Matters protesters are white, young, suburban Democrats. I juxtapose this fact against another: That, as has been long and widely observed, white women benefit most from affirmative action — and are among its fiercest opponents.

If true, the questions these details raise in my mind include, “What are the implications of these facts for the current movement? Has it been empowered? Or has it been ‘Karen’d’?”

Your “One Ask Behind” model partially orients this disjunction, and it would be fascinating to see if it is historically continuous, beyond the SDA church. I suspect that it is.

The one place where I may disagree with your article is here:

Though I agree with the conclusion of your first sentence, above, I always argue that “racism” and “white supremacy” should be parsed with a virgule (/), not an ampersand (&) — i.e., racism/white supremacy — because, I say, racism is the same thing as white supremacy.

In other words, white supremacy is the only functional form of racism; the only one that does work; the only one with “oomph,” so to speak.

Further, you say this: “[Racism] continues to infect and affect us, even though many of us have not done anything overt to perpetuate the sin itself, both societally and denominationally.”

I think that this is a common, but hasty conclusion. Its truth, or falsity, really depends on a deeper inquiry.

For example, if racism continues to “infect and affect,” then what is the definition of a racist act?

I’d argue that, at the very least, it’s deeds that make infection and effect possible.

You qualify the perpetuation of racism with the word overt, which, according to Oxford, means “done or shown openly; plainly or readily apparent, not secret or hidden.”

But if racism is, for example, “thought, speech, and/or action that makes infection and effect possible,” that suggests racist acts, and racist people, can become racist by very simple actions, as well as by words and thoughts. Some of these may, in fact, be overt, if only because they may appear to be innocuous.

For example, a white person might become a racist by merely uttering the words, “Put those over there,” if doing so makes racist infection and effect possible.

I call this the refinement stage of racism: Practicing race in a manner that improves the methods which help make the practice of racism more efficient, and/or, more “acceptable” to the Victims.

Now, for the most part, this is not the definition of racism that white people are putting forward, or that they are typically organized to deflect.

It seems that they mostly associate the word “racism” with “atrocity”; e.g., slavery. This is why they are frequently quick to establish that they never owned slaves, nor did their ancestors, when racism is discussed.

What many might be surprised to learn, however, is that, to a great extent, white slaveowners did not consider themselves racists, either.

They typically considered themselves “protectors of the natural order,” or “caretakers of lesser beings”; i.e., ones who would, without their oversight, wither away and die. In other words, they weren’t racist, but beneficent.

It should occur to thinking people, then, that what’s obviously consistent, over centuries, is the white tendency to describe relations with Black people in self-approving, self-glorifying terms; e.g., “Some of my best friends are Black.”

Having noted that, one might then ask, “Why is that?”

I would say it’s because the place we’re in is overtly racist.


Thanks, @ajshep.

You said:

In response:

In 1950’s Requiem for a Nun, Southern novelist William Faulkner famously said that, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

So, writing off “history” over “present reality,” I’d argue, is to merely engineer a strange loop.

Per Wikipedia, this is “a cyclic structure that goes through several levels in a hierarchical system. It arises when, by moving only upwards or downwards through the system, one finds oneself back where one started.”

For example, a Lorenz attractor, below, is a strange loop:


You say:

Perhaps what you are underestimating is why Black people want something that is theirs.

Put another way, why do they expect that they couldn’t have something that is theirs, while “integrated” with white people?


Not to mention, out of the 20 trillion dollars targeted and spent ostensibly for affirmative actions and black empowerment (along many streams of revenue) it has been reported that the dem administrators of said programs siphoned off twice as much money as actually was spent on these programs intended to benefit blacks in these enclaves (whether said initiatives were even properly designed to be an empowering hand up, not just an enabling hand out)

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This seems elementary. If you have it, it is yours. They control it, they lead it. it is theirs.

If they integrate, they will have to contend with another group for control, or lead. The issue is not a racial one for the idea of ownership is the one at stake. Do whites own the non-regional conferences? Well, they are the majority, so would have a say, even a dominant one, but there are blacks among the white conferences, plenty of them, and they have a say. The NAD now has a black leader. So, there is openness to black leadership.

You will assert that the non-regional conferences are racist. No, they just are. They are a group of races all in one unit. The blacks have their own. OK. White guilt-ridden liberals feel this is a travesty, you know, against social justice and equality. My view would be that if they, the “owners” want to integrate, fine. If not, that’s fine too. But don’t tell me the non-regional conferences are racist. To integrate means to share leadership. Might be difficult. You won’t always get what you want.

There is another phrase: “Lets bury the hatchet.” I have noted that the more liberal never want to bury it, but like to bring it up. Just too useful and instrument. I had nothing to do with the formation of the regional conferences. And things have changed quite a bit since then (80 years?). The blacks thought they were the solution to the issue of racism. But maybe they have outlived there usefulness. It happens.

Faulkner had a point, but it should not be used as a means of constantly dwelling in the past.

You like to speak of Jim Crow, slavery, negor codes etc. I hope you realize these were all polices embraced by Democrats many of whom were members of the KKK. Biden said Trump was the first racist president to get himself elected. Leaving aside whether Trump is a racist, there were plenty of others. Wilson was an open racist, who thwarted any efforts by the Republican Rosevelt to integrate. He segregated the federal government.

I might add, I can do nothing about the past. So, you’ve got me. But you also lost me, as well, and you become gradually irrelevant. Speak to me rather than the dead ones.

With all the voting suppression executed by the Republicans, how can the blacks increase their votes?.. Well, if they promised to vote Rep, then maybe, just maybe, they would be encouraged to vote. Is this the way it works? It looks like, uh?

In Brazil, if anyone is caught trying to engage in voting suppression of any kind, they are sent to prison for a long time.
But, again, voting is mandatory in that country (a civilian obligation). And also, since it’s a Democracy, there is no Electoral College, and they don’t have to do redistricting tricks.

But I understand, the US is a Republic, therefore, Democracy doesn’t work here… Well…, I am not that sure that I really understand it… :roll_eyes:

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George voter Suppression is a hallmark of the Republicans without a doubt. Voter fraud is a hallmark of the Democrats. Both can not be excused or denied. Until and unless both party’s( voters) recognize and refuse to participate then we really can’t expect change. Term limits is the answer to both these parties.


I believe this “suppression” is asking for ID when you vote. I have never thought that was actually suppression. It is simple to get ID, and most people have it. I would have to show ID if I wanted to but liquor. I have to show ID to get on a plane. What is the problem with showing it to vote? Shenanigans result from no form of ID. It takes care of the Reps and the Dems problems.

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No voter ID is not the suppression I was referring too. I think voter ID should be a mandate.


well, what are you talking about then?

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Thanks, @ajshep.

I said:

You said:

In response:

O.K. But people do this sort of thing all the time.

For example, entities, of one kind or another, will pair up, in order to accomplish a good that they might not otherwise effect independently.

In like manner, Black SDAs could say, “Let’s do the same thing, for the same reason.”

So, if that is not being forwarded, discussed, or put on the table, why isn’t it, do you think?

You said:

In response:

It is racial. Anything involving white and non-white people is racial.

As for ownership, yes; Ownership by non-profit, tax-exempt entities in which no individual person can be a profit participant, certainly.

You said:

In response:

I understand.

You said:

In response:

CORRECTION: I suspect that there are white supremacists who pretend to be “Seventh-day Adventists.”

That is precisely what I would assert, and, in the regard you’ve stated, that only.

You said:

In response:

I understand.

You said:

In response:

Only white people can be racist; only white persons. Assigning racism to “groups of people,” in my opinion, “clouds” the issue of racism more than it clarifies it.

It’s akin to saying that a “street fair,” or a “parade,” “stole my wallet.” One will do better, getting to both the nature of the crime and to the wallet, by forensically narrowing one’s focus.

Now, this does not mean that many white people do not cooperate in the practice of race. Clearly, they do. One sees the effects of this.

But it merely means that, in order to minimize confusion, one should avoid accusing “groups,” “crowds,” “clusters,” “companies,” “countries,” “political parties,” “state conferences,” “denominations,” “congregations,” etc. of white supremacy (racism).

For non-white people, in my impression, doing otherwise tends to “backfire.”

You said:

In response:

So, to kind of wrap this up, my guess is that many Black people understand this, but the issue isn’t that one won’t always get what one wants.

The issue is, when this happens, will the reasons be racist, or not?

Black conferences were formed under racism; racist duress.

As “separate” units, the non-white people in them have enjoyed a limited kind of “freedom”; one, I’m certain, to which many Black “leaders,” and others, have become used.

There is nothing to affirm that, getting together with white people, in this proposed way, would not open the door to a series of insults akin to the very ones that started “regional conferences.”

Many white people who call themselves “SDAs” don’t even believe that racism is real, let alone that many white people practice it, doing so while pretending to be “SDAs.”

What would be the fate of Black SDAs, clasping hands with people so convinced?

Think of it this way: There are many people in the U.S. who, presently, do not believe that COVID-19 is real.

Few of them are nurses or doctors, however. That’s why, if you think you’re infected, you have at least a reasonable chance of being treated, if you go into a U.S. hospital.

However, if it was determined that 35-40% of medical staff did not believe in the coronavirus, medical services would utterly break down, especially if it was not clear who, exactly, these disbelieving staff were.

I think that, for Black people, this is the real issue, and the underlying reason to avoid the conference “re-pairing” that many seem to, from time to time, propose. (And, by saying it’s the underlying reason, I’m saying I’m not even sure that many Black people realize it.)

I don’t think it’s the matter of shared leadership. I think it’s the possibility of shared leadership with racists.

I said:

You said:

In response:

So, what’s interesting is this: We’ve all seen the past not even be the past, but none of us have even ever heard of anyone actually burying a hatchet.

In other words, it’s a nice metaphor. IRL, it sounds good. Until you need a hatchet. Then, you just go and unbury it.

You said:

In response:

I can’t speak for “liberals.”

However, in 1985’s The Evidence of Things Not Seen, James Baldwin said that, for Black people, the words “‘ancestral’ and ‘daily’ are synonyms.”

I consider James Baldwin credible on many matters regarding race.

You said:

In response:

a) Who did?

b) What’s your relationship to those who did?

You said:

In response:

That white people dominate non-white people in all areas of activity; e.g., economics, education, entertainment, labor, law, politics, religion, sex, and war—but the reverse is not true—has not changed.

You said:

In response:

That’s incorrect. White people thought this.

Did you not read @JasonHines’ essay, above?:

You said:

In response:

It does happen, but, for aforementioned reasons, I suspect it hasn’t.

You said:

In response:

So, for what should it be used?

You said:

In response:

I don’t like to speak about “Jim Crow,” “slavery,” “negro codes,” “Democrats,” or “the KKK,” and I also don’t tend to do so.

Like your oft-made, false charge that I claim “all white people are racists,” you’d be hard-pressed to find me even using the above terms in anything I’ve said.

What I do say is that racism is white supremacy, and that this is racism’s sole, functional form. I say this often. Yet, somehow, when you reference what I say, this is not what you quote.


You said:

In response:

I understand.

You said:

In response:

Well, if Faulkner is true, it’s fine that you can do nothing about the past, because it’s not even past.

You said:

In response:


Do you have any doubt that I’m speaking to you?


Oh Allen, I gave you a heart for that question. Would have given you many more, but the system does not allow it.
So you have no idea of what Chuck @2humBaby was talking about, uh? Well,… I believe you anyway! … :roll_eyes:

Me too!.. Yes, I do support voter ID as well. But this is not the issue here. I am sorry you have no clue about what we were referring to… Well, so be it!


Hogwash. Blacks browns yellows can all be racist. I saw it in Africa. It was called tribalism there. The Tutsis and the Hutu had a war that was based on race. So, it is not just whites.

  1. There are plenty of blacks in the white conference. I pastored a majority black church, with about 25% hispanic and maybe 20% white. The conference leadership never asked me about sending them to the regional conference. There was no discussion of race at all. It was just another church. The other church I pastored has become more and more black, with several black families joining. Again no discussion. There is even a former regional conference president who attends there. He preaches etc. why would he join a bunch of racists? Those that have joined there have several reasons for joining, the school, the services, the fellowship, etc. Racism is not a consideration.
  2. The church above have sent black representatives to the non-regional constituency meetings each 5 years.
  3. The NAD now has a black president.

Apparently there are blacks in the white conferences that do not see it as you do. You cannot seem to see beyond your own opinion.

Baldwin has an interesting take, but they are not synonyms.

I stand corrected.

And you have said that all whites are racists. Too hard to look up the quote. But I have quoted you before on this.