December 4, 2014

After Ferguson and Eric Garner decisions, white Christians say it’s time to stand with blacks

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“There were white evangelicals in the room in Ferguson who were weeping when the Garner decision came down,” said the Rev. Jim Wallis, founder of the Washington-based social justice group, Sojourners. Religion News Service photo by Adelle M. Banks

“There were white evangelicals in the room in Ferguson who were weeping when the Garner decision came down,” said the Rev. Jim Wallis, founder of the Washington-based social justice group, Sojourners. Religion News Service photo by Adelle M. Banks

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WASHINGTON (RNS) “’Love your neighbor as yourself’ means you picture yourself being choked and surrounded by five men while you say, ‘I can't breathe,’” said Scott Slayton, a white Southern Baptist pastor in Chelsea, Ala.

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  • sara

    this is beautiful and helpful. Thank you.

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  • AD Wright

    This is a good start, but please forgive me if I’m not shouting for joy over people belatedly beginning to see something that has been painfully obvious for a long time. Also, anyone who fails to see this as a gospel issue needs to reexamine his/ her Christianity and stusy Paul’s response to the racial and ethnic divisions in the early church.

  • Maurice

    The point, my friend, is not, as your play’s title wishes to think, the arrest of black men (although there is PLENTY of evidence to prove that too. Have you even looked?). The point is the death of black men by law enforecement without consequence or accountability.

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  • Lonewolf

    Police brutality against blacks in general should never be tolerated, and homicide charges should be brought up against the Garner cop in New York.

    But Ferguson has nothing to do with this. Brown’s felonious behavior in Ferguson ended in his attacking a police officer.

  • Greg Hirshoren

    You are commanded, compelled & required to love “the other” in the same way that your G-D loves you, without condition, totally and completely.

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  • Nubia

    Do u remember how the Central Park 5 were coerced into making false statements. I have no doubt witnesses were forced to lie. The store tape is fake. The store clerk initially said mike didn’t steal the cigars and then the story changed. Hmmm. Do cops come in your neighborhood and tell ppl. To get the F out of the street? Do they stop and frisk white ppl. In their neighborhood? No. I have been in cars with white when police pull them over and I witnessed them talking in a belligerent manner to cops and nothing happens.
    I gather you have no understanding of how police treat us; therefore, you think Mike Brown deserved to be shot and killed multiple times. Apparently, you have never listened to how cops use coercion/scare tactics to force ppl. To testify in the way cops desire.

  • Doc Anthony

    “The store tape is fake?” Seriously?

    A non-white store clerk, an innocent store clerk, was bullied, assaulted, and robbed, and his humiliation has been broadcast for the entire nation to see. NOBODY, least of all Al Sharpton, Eric Holder, and the Brown family, has ever apologized to that clerk and his family.

    Black and minority small business owners have worked hard and saved family money just to own their own businesses in Ferguson, only to watch protesters steal and burn their life’s work. There are minority employees who are now OUT OF A JOB in Ferguson because of those stupid protesters looting and burning, and their families and kids don’t have a Christmas because Mommy or Daddy lost their job.

    Who is giving them ink? What preachers are standing up for them?

    Michael Brown tried to punch out a cop and reach for his gun. That’s why he is no longer here, and it’s not Darren Wilson’s fault. But meanwhile, it’s time to start saying “Small Business Owners Lives Matter”, and “Innocent Store Clerks Lives Matter.”

  • Jack

    The entire premise of the article is wrong — shamefully wrong.

    It looks at the fatal encounter between the NYPD and Garner as a racial incident. That in itself is racism, because it strips the interaction down to the difference in skin color between the police and Garner.

    It shows that these white southern evangelicals are just as race-obsessed as their racist ancestors.

    Shame on Russell Moore, who knows better.

  • Jack

    Nubia, I want you to go to Ferguson and tell that store clerk that the tape showing his being tossed around by Brown like a rag doll was fraudulent.

    He was in the tape. Go ask him.

  • Jack

    This article is taking truth and murdering it. There is not a shred of evidence that what happened to Garner had a thing to do with race. The knee-jerk presumption that it did is itself a racialist perspective. It casts both the police and Garner as stick-figure stereotypes in some liberal morality play of white vs. black.

    It treats skin color is the sole source of a human being’s identity — a supposition that is a grotesque betrayal of the civil rights goal of a truly color-blind society.

    And so long as people think this way, we will never have true reconciliation. Every time there is a tragedy involving different races, the pot will be stirred again.

    It is time to grow up and think beyond race.

  • Jack

    If Russell Moore is what evangelicals have become, then I am not an evangelical anymore. Part of standing on the Bible is to stand on truth no matter where it leads. It does not mean appeasing or accommodating lies which reduce human beings to their skin color alone and which analyze every human interaction on racial terms, as though our pigmentation trumps all else.

    The cops happened to be white-skinned. Garner happened to be black-skinned. It is sick and demented to reduce their tragic interaction to what their skin looked like.

    Note to Russell Moore: Maybe that’s the legacy of your state with its past racism. But don’t foist your own hang-ups on race on the NYPD, which has been integrated long before your parents or grandparents even knew what the word meant.

  • Jack

    Lonewolf, it looks like the Garner killing was a terrible mistake by NYPD officers, but why must you assume it was racially motivated? Just because the cops were white and Garner black? Isn’t that a racialist way of looking at the tragedy? Why must people be defined by race?

    The NYPD is probably the most professional big-city police force in the world. It has long been well-integrated, so it’s real smear on that force to assume racism without evidence.

  • Bruce

    “white Christians” and “black Christians”? What in the world? It seems the author is likely not a theology major. The big issue int he 1st century church was the “Jewish Christians” and “Greek (ir Gentile) Christians.” Paul makes it clear that Christians are NOT to be categorized this way.

    Galatians 3:27-28 English Standard Version (ESV)

    27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave[a] nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

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  • John Hutchinson

    Whereas I might concur that Ferguson situation is not a provable racial issue, but more of one of an incompetent and foolish lone cop provoking an unnecessary altercation because he didn’t get the respect he thought he deserved or because of the socks Brown wore; the man, who chokeheld Garner has had 3 civic suits, 1 settled, based on police misconduct. All were blacks involved. All charges were dismissed/sealed. The one that was settled involved doing a strip search on the two ‘suspects’ on the street, in front of other cops and whoever else was in attendance. (Naked from the waist down and the cop involved groping their genitals. My knowledge of history knows that this is a universal and ahistorical method to humiliate other males.

    Stop defending the indefensible.

  • DT

    How is the NY situation a racist one? The supervising sergeant is a black female. Her watch commander on duty is a black male. Do you believe that either one of them could be racist to one of the same ethnic background?

    I agree with others that the officer involved probably needed to be charged with at least involuntary manslaughter, as an outsider though my opinion means nought as I am not conversant with the fact pattern.

    Don’t you worry, Jack…he, his supervisor, and possibly the department will be raked over the coals in a civil suit if the usual immunity from prosecution of the department can be challenged. It’s darn near “double jeopardy” in the usual case, look at the result of the Rodney King case, or even the OJ Simpson case.
    The officer persisted in maintaining the carotid hold despite the vocal warnings by the deceased, and despite having three other officers pinning him to the ground – an egregious act to be sure.

  • Aristotle

    This is an issue which is greater than race or religious belief. If you believe in freedom, you need to respond.

    The United States has already become a Police State and is slowly be very steadily becoming a Totalitarian Regime. When it tips over the edge, freedom will be lost for a long time, probably more than a thousand years, if “We the people of the United States” allow it to happen.

    To stop it, the Citizens of the United States MUST peacefully but strongly use their political power to protect individual freedoms in our country versus the power of the government or we will become ruled by a very small dictatorial minority.

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