One of the great ironies of our time is the more liberals demand acceptance and diversity, the more they ridicule and ostracize those who do not share their perspectives. Meet Patrick Hampton.
Patrick was born and raised in Chattanooga, where he attended Woodmore Elementary and Tyner Middle and High schools. He followed his father into the ministry, attending Covington Seminary and becoming a youth minister.
His work with youth gave him a firsthand look at the problems inside the black community. While his father and mother loved him, disciplined him, and offered him a moral compass through the teachings of Jesus Christ, almost three-fourths of the children he worked with had no such role models.
Patrick realized another major difference. He believed Christianity focused on repentance, forgiveness and salvation, while many in the church were indifferent to the gospel. Formerly, the black community church offered children a moral foundation, social values, responsibility, respect and discipline. However, Patrick points out in the mid-1960s during the civil rights movement most of the leaders were black ministers, and organizational meetings took place in black churches. The teachings of Christ were combined with calls for social justice, but, eventually, the focus on promoting black culture preempted the message of salvation through Christ.
Yet Patrick remained faithful to the church and the culture that supported it until the first Obama administration. In addition to his job as youth minister, Patrick was a spokesman for a program initiated by the Bush administration to prevent unwanted pregnancies through abstinence. He saw abstinence as not only biblical but a practical method of correcting a huge social problem. The Obama administration stopped funding abstinence education and instead focused on preventing unwanted pregnancies through other means.
Patrick was incredulous. How could America's first black president be so ignorant of moral problems within the black community? He realized that race had nothing to do with it. It was about politics, and the politics of the left advocated there was nothing wrong with sex out of wedlock despite the obvious problems manifested by unintended pregnancies.
He began to study other issues: education, housing, work programs and welfare. He realized that Lyndon Johnson and liberal Democrats ushered in the "Great Society" movement to help the black community (and secure black votes). Instead, those programs wound up breaking down the community. Some programs made it too easy to have babies without support of the fathers but with the support of government. Generation after generation bought into the program, and they dutifully voted for Democrats.
Patrick had to do something to break the trend, so he decided to run for the Hamilton County Board of Education District 5 seat — as a conservative. He did well in the race, despite the odds against him. He won 1,200 votes, but it was 200 votes too few.
However, the personal impact was worse than losing the election. Because he dared challenge the orthodoxy of black political ethos, he was somewhat ostracized by some members of his family and the black community.
But he steadfastly adhered to his convictions. He worked four jobs (one was mopping floors at a dialysis clinic) so he and his wife could send their four sons to private schools to avoid the failing schools in their neighborhood. He wrote, lectured, tweeted and spread the truth any way he could. Today, he is vice-president of a conservative think tank called Hamilton Flourishing, and his position gives him a broad pulpit to proclaim his message.
I'm thankful for courageous men like Patrick. Perhaps some day he will once again be invited to Thanksgiving dinner with his family and former friends who refuse to accept his diverse views.
Roger Smith, a local author, is a frequent contributor to the Times Free Press.