Columnist: Leonard Pitts

Apr. 07, 2014 @ 11:11 AM

Again, Christianity the last to get it right

Eleven years ago, Richard Stearns went to Washington.

Stearns -- president of World Vision, the billion-dollar Christian relief organization -- joined other faith leaders in lobbying Congress to spend $15 billion combating AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean. He acknowledged he and his fellow evangelicals were late to the fight against this pandemic and explained their tardiness with remarkable candor.


Apr. 04, 2014 @ 01:32 PM

The real face of poverty

"We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work." 

-- Rep. Paul Ryan

 

Mar. 31, 2014 @ 11:56 AM

Hobby Lobby case a slippery slope

Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.

That bit of live-and-let-live wisdom, usually attributed -- some say misattributed -- to Oliver Wendell Holmes, provides a useful framework for considering a high profile case argued before the Supreme Court last week.


Mar. 29, 2014 @ 06:21 AM

Waiting for excuses for the inexcusable

What excuses will they make this time?

Meaning that cadre of letters-to-the-editor writers and conservative pundits who so reliably say such stupid things whenever the subject is race. Indeed, race is the third rail of American conscience; to touch it is to be zapped by rationalizations, justifications and lies that defy reason, but that some must embrace to preserve for themselves the fiction of liberty and justice for all. Otherwise, they'd have to face the fact that advantage and disadvantage, health and sickness, wealth and poverty, life and death, are still parceled out according to melanin content of skin.


Mar. 24, 2014 @ 03:10 PM

The wasted life of Fred Phelps

And what shall we say now that the monster has died?

His estranged sons Mark and Nate told the world just a few days ago that their 84-year old father, Fred Phelps, was in the care of a hospice and "on the edge of death." Thursday morning, he went over the edge.


Mar. 21, 2014 @ 10:51 AM

Who speaks for the voiceless?

Who speaks for Ghanson Debrosse?

Before he was born, many people did. Anti-abortion groups did. Churches did. Protesters did. And lawmakers did. Florida, for instance, requires that a woman undergo an ultrasound before getting an abortion, and the provider must offer her the option of viewing the image.


Mar. 17, 2014 @ 08:38 AM

Justin Bieber is a jerk, and it's your fault

It's your fault Justin Bieber is a jerk.

That's the contention of attorney Roy Black, who is defending the 20-year-old singer on a DUI charge stemming from a Jan. 23 arrest in Miami Beach.


Mar. 14, 2014 @ 12:17 PM

A pointed comment on guns

A few words about Nathan Entingh's hand gun.

Meaning, you should understand, not a gun you hold in your hand, but rather, the hand itself, thumb cocked and index finger extended to resemble a pistol. One afternoon late last month, Entingh, who goes to school in Columbus, Ohio, was goofing off in science class when he raised such a "hand gun," pointed it at another kid's head, and said, "Boom." Not a good thing to do and Entingh, who is 10, should certainly have been reprimanded. Instead, he was suspended for three days. His father, Paul, says he's been told that if it happens again, the next suspension may be permanent.


Mar. 10, 2014 @ 11:43 AM

Laughter and grief belong together

Eighty-three-year old Ron Kilmartin was in a hospice, dying of lung cancer. His daughter was at his bedside, cracking jokes about it. Here's one:

"Last week, Dad coughed and said, 'choking.' I tried to give him water but he just wanted me to turn off the men's Olympic hockey game."


Mar. 07, 2014 @ 03:48 PM

Healing starts with '12 Years a Slave'

A plea for about a dozen people who know who they are: Will you see “12 Years a Slave” now?

It just won the Oscar for Best Picture. It just came out on DVD. Please see it. I'll even spring for the popcorn.


Mar. 03, 2014 @ 10:21 AM

Welcome to the new normal

President Clinton?

Maybe, if Democratic voters have their way. While the Republican faithful are split among a number of contenders and not particularly enthusiastic about any of them, a new poll finds Democrats overwhelmingly united behind a Hillary Clinton candidacy for 2016.


Feb. 24, 2014 @ 12:18 PM

More silliness from Kansas

"Discrimination," he said, "is horrible. It's hurtful. It has no place in civilized society..."
You would think that statement, delivered recently in the Kansas legislature, a noble sentiment no right-thinking person could argue with. But we are gathered here today to argue with it.
Because it turns out that when Republican legislator Charles Macheers said "discrimination," he didn't mean, well ... discrimination. Macheers sponsored a bill -- passed overwhelmingly by the Kansas House but killed last week by the Senate in an attack of common sense -- that sought to exempt any business or government employee from providing "any services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges" related to any "marriage, domestic partnership, civil union or similar arrangement" if doing so would conflict with the employee's "sincerely held religious beliefs."


Feb. 21, 2014 @ 09:30 AM

White fear trumps black life

"You can get killed just for living in your American skin." -- Bruce Springsteen


On Aug. 7, 1930, two young black men were lynched in Marion, Ind.
A photographer named Lawrence Beitler had a studio across the street from the lynching tree. He came out and snapped what became an iconic photo, which he made into a postcard and sold. It shows Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith hanging dead and their executioners, faces clearly visible, milling about as if at a picnic. Though authorities possessed this damning photographic evidence, they never arrested anyone for the crime. It was officially attributed to "persons unknown."


Feb. 17, 2014 @ 12:17 PM

Sometimes, making a mistake is just being human

I used to get blamed all the time for stuff Bob Steinback said.

To be fair, it wasn't always blame -- sometimes it was credit -- and it went both ways. Sometimes, he had to explain to people that it was not he who had written a certain thing, but me.


Feb. 14, 2014 @ 11:22 AM

Pitts: A few more thoughts on 'thug'

"I hate that thug music."

This, according to Rhonda Rouer's testimony last week, is what her fiance, Michael Dunn, said when they pulled into a Jacksonville, Fla., gas station next to an SUV full of black kids who had the stereo up high, pumping some obnoxious, bass-heavy rap.
Rouer was inside the convenience store when she heard the shots. Dunn, who is white, had gotten into an argument with the young men about their music, had gone into his glove box for his pistol and started shooting. As the SUV tried to get away, he fired still more rounds. At least one of those rounds fatally struck 17-year-old Jordan Davis.