Merisa Davis on Bill Cosby, Religion, and African American Churches
Date: December 20th, 2010

Merisa Parson Davis joins Tony to discuss her new book Bill Cosby Is Right: But What Should the Church Be Doing About It?  Mrs. Davis is a former news reporter for WVIR-TV, an NBC affiliate in Charlottesville, VA and holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and Master’s degree in Theological Studies at Liberty University, where she is currently in assisting in the creation of a Black Worship Studies Program set to begin in winter 2011.  Our conversation focuses on Dr. Bill Cosby’s famous “Pound Cake Speech” that generated a great deal of discussion since 2004.  Given on the 50th anniversary of the Brown vs. Board of Education decision that helped to provide equal access to public schooling for African Americans, Bill Cosby challenged the Black community in general and Christian churches in particular to address some of the problems facing inner city youth, including high dropout rates in schools, unacceptable levels of incarceration for young Black men, and a general deterioration of family life.  Dr. Cosby’s remarks generated a great deal of criticism, prompting Merisa — Bill Cosby’s cousin — to write a book defending his comments, showing how Black churches have been involved in some of the solutions, and challenging all Christians to work harder in addressing these social ills.  We primarily discuss the problem of high dropout rates among African American students, focusing on how various programs such as Pastor Tony Evans’s Project Turn-Around have helped deal with this problem.  Our conversation also covers the issue of high incarceration rates among young Black men and how prison ministries have helped to turn lives around, while noting much more needs to be done.  Mrs. Davis weaves in a number of personal stories illustrating her argument for the need for greater action on the part of churches.  We finish with a few thoughts on what she is doing at Liberty University, assisting in the creation of an African American Worship Studies Program at Liberty University and why such a program is important.  Recorded: November 30, 2010.


Merisa Davis’s website (where you can order autographed copies of the book)

Bill Cosby Is Right: But What Should the Church Be Doing About It? by Merisa Parson Davis.

Project Turn-Around (Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, Pastor Tony Evans).

Pastor Charles Blake at West Angeles Church of God in Christ.

Liberty University.  (Link for the African American Worship Program coming soon.  Article mentioning that program is here.)

(Minor correction:  Early in the podcast, Tony reveals that three of his favorite shows growing up were Gilligan’s Island, Scooby Doo and The Cosby ShowThe Cosby Show did not air until the 1980s.  Although Tony did watch and enjoy The Cosby Show, he meant to say Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, a cartoon that aired from the early 1970s to the early 1980s, and one in which he had a devoted loyalty to.)

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