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A Star is born

Books | Tough-minded Star Parker preaches what she practiced

Issue: "Beijing Marches On," March 15, 1997

"We have two economic systems working for America: capitalism for the rich and socialism for the poor. The problem with a government that lets both systems operate is that the middle class gets stuck working for the rich to support the poor." If you think that is brash and bold--and even right on target--just wait until you read the rest of the quips, sallies, and cultural retorts in a remarkable new book by Star Parker and Lorenzo Benet, Pimps, Whores, and Welfare Brats.

Mrs. Parker is an intelligent, articulate, beautiful, and outspoken pastor's wife, a black woman who makes Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich look like shrinking violets. Her conservative analysis of the cultural, economic, and political crisis we face is brimming over with fresh insight. The book shows vibrant faith, keen rhetorical instinct, and wry humor.

But Mrs. Parker has not always been a conservative. She has not always been a pastor's wife. Indeed, she has not always been much of a role model. For years she was a self-described "welfare queen." Like so many in America's societal war-zone today, she suffered through all the brutal hazards of drugs, debauchery, promiscuity, crime, illegitimacy, and abortion. Her life seemed to be little more than a rehearsal of a familiar litany of urban woes.

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A dramatic conversion to Christ changed all that, though. She got off welfare. She went back to school. She started a successful business. She got involved in ministry to others. She married a wonderful man. And she began to open her eyes.

After the Los Angeles riots, when she nearly lost everything, it began to dawn on her that the media, the traditional liberal politicians, and the urban and minority leaders were not actually representing the interests of America's poor, minorities, or disenfranchised. Indeed, she discovered, the anointed elites were actually working at cross-purposes with them--serving only their own ends. So, she began to speak out. And oh, how she began to speak out.

This book is the story of Mrs. Parker's transformation from a young black woman on the make to a conservative spokeswoman. It touches on everything from her pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps work ethic to the O.J. trial and the need for racial reconciliation to the tragic breakdown of the urban black family and the perverse breakdown of the white suburban church.

Hers is a remarkable story and an even more remarkable message. Be forewarned, though: Her message is not likely to make anyone feel terribly comfortable with the current political, spiritual, or cultural status quo--as the title makes so glaringly evident. You may find that you can only read it and weep. But by all means read it.

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