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How Christians should respond to the Zimmerman verdict: An interview with Leroy Barber

Leroy Barber, author and Executive Director of Word Made Flesh, reacts to the Zimmerman verdict.
Leroy Barber, author and Executive Director of Word Made Flesh, reacts to the Zimmerman verdict.

Leroy Barber, author and Executive Director of Word Made Flesh, reacts to the Zimmerman verdict.

Reactions to the George Zimmerman “not guilty” verdict from American Christians have been as diverse as the community itself.

Some Christian pastors used their pulpits on Sunday to express outrage, including T.D. Jakes who expressed his shock over the verdict. Pastor Greg Surratt concluded, “Our justice system worked,” Charisma Magazine urged Christians to pray, and Anthea Butler of Religion Dispatches lamented, “God ain’t good all the time. In fact, sometimes God is not for us.”

I especially resonated with the approach taken by LifeWay’s Ed Stetzer who posted a series of interviews, including two from minority leaders, on “Privilege, Blame, and Injustice.” This is a time where Christians–particularly conservative white ones–need to listen. We need to listen to our brothers and sisters who have been affected by racial injustice and seek to understand why they have been so deeply impacted by the Zimmerman trial.

That’s why I decided to chat with Leroy Barber, Global Executive Director of Word Made Flesh, an international organization that works among the most vulnerable of the world’s poor. He is the author of several books, including the forthcoming Red, Yellow, Black, and White: Who’s More Precious in His Sight? Leroy is a longtime friend of mine, and someone I lean on to help me understand and navigate matters of race. Here we talk about the Zimmerman verdict and what Christians can learn from it.

JM: Where were you when you heard about the George Zimmerman verdict, and what was your personal reaction to it?

LB: I was sitting in front of the television waiting for the verdict. And, as it was read, I was numb. I could not believe that was the verdict. I just couldn’t. It was shocking. It was numbing. It was just like somebody had just given you such a blow that you can’t respond. You can just lay there.

JM: In your opinion, how have churches responded to the open racial wounds in our country? Do you think it’s different for predominately black churches and predominately white churches?

LB: I think what I’m seeing in the black church is not an apathy, but more or less, “White people are going to be this way and we need to take care of ourselves. We need to have our own churches and have our own businesses.” Inherently, there’s nothing bad with that, but I wonder if a lot of that response hinders us getting to a place where we can tackle these problems.

And then, on the white side, I think of the constant not talking about it, or not really just coming out and saying, “Yes, this was racist.”

That is just an entry point to conversation. I don’t think a lot of white Christians understand that. I am not trying to nail anybody to a fence around race. We’re trying to enter conversation, to get to one simple truth and understanding.

JM: Leroy, I know you have three sons. How have they experienced race in America?

LB: I think my 20-year-old son is disappointed by the verdict, and it makes him doubt the goodness of the world we live in. He’s grown up his entire life in a multicultural setting. He’s never been in settings where it’s just black people or just white people. He may have been in minority settings where there were very few black people, or where we were the only black people, but his life has been inundated with multiculturalism because of my work. And I think he has had a relationship with white folks that goes beyond the surface. I think the verdict really disappointed him.

JM: There’s disappointment, but I sense among many, there’s also anger. What do you do with your anger? Where does it go?

Two places. One, I understand completely that I don’t have the luxury, as an African-American man, to be extremely angry. Because there is a stereotype: the mad black man is dangerous. And so, I know I can’t do that. I don’t have the freedom to do that, even if I wanted to. I won’t be heard. And so, I channel it through writing, through speaking, and through helping other people process events like these. I also have a few select friends with whom I really let it all go. I can just say anything. Because I know I can’t do that publically. It’s just not an option.

JM: In the wake of all this, what does the white Christian community need to hear? What do we need to learn from this?

LB: I think they need to hear their leaders lament. And I think mainstream white leaders need to lead that lament. There’s scriptural basis for that. In Hosea, and these places where God wasn’t pleased, he said to the priests, “You have a problem. You, first of all, need to repent. You need to lead the people in repentance and lament for what has gone on.” And I think that’s really important.

And then, they need to listen. I’ll say it again: please. If you have an African-American friend–or even if they’re not a friend and they’re just an acquaintance–give them space to talk and just listen. Ask them what they thought about the verdict and then listen and try to understand. If white Christians could just do that one thing, it would have a huge impact.

We need to listen, learn, and lament.

About the author

Jonathan Merritt

Jonathan Merritt is senior columnist for Religion News Service and a contributing writer for The Atlantic. He has published more than 2500 articles in outlets like USA Today, The Week, Buzzfeed and National Journal. Jonathan is author of "Jesus is Better Than You Imagined" and "A Faith of Our Own: Following Jesus Beyond the Culture Wars." He resides in Brooklyn, NY.


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  • I understand this was a tragedy. But it was not a tragedy that happened because of racism. It was a tragedy that happened because of bad judgment and misbehavior on both sides. Making it about race only alienates us from one another.

    I support the verdict because it was the appropriate verdict under the law. Even if you think Zimmerman was wrong, if you are a reasonable person you must realize that reasonable doubt remains as to whether he was in danger, whether he acted in self defense. In the presence of reasonable doubt, our legal system demands acquittal. If you object to that, you do so at the peril of your own protection under the law.

    We can all mourn the tragedy, but we must not ascribe racist motives to jurors who acted appropriately under the law.

    I encourage EveryOne to use your imagination and decide – honestly – how you would feel about the whole thing if the racial roles were reversed. If you would feel differently, then you might want to examine your own racial biases.

  • But the racial roles were not reversed, so that’s not helpful. And simply saying there was no racial element to this doesn’t make it so. You’ve said you feel that way but you offer nothing to support your view.

  • You take his reversal suggestion out of context.
    Will beating up whites really cause an awakening? Or stop the high rates of black crime?
    Have you thought that maybe the awful job the black community is doing regarding its youth and parenting is in fact INHIBITING their white brothers from doing more, or speaking out, or giving up ‘privilege’?!?
    If race must be imbued, then let us discuss the above. THEN we can help; it takes two, baby…

  • Until the black community works on the intrinsic problems in their community (single parents, crime, violence, trying to instill fear in people through their dress and behavior) there is nothing any other community can do to help. I’d love to help but this is clearly a problem that needs to be addressed within their community first. They should listen to Bill Cosby..,

  • Is seems to be a foregone conclusion here that Zimmerman was guilty of murder, motivated by racism, and cleared by a racist jury. While following the trial, it did not seem to me that there was enough evidence to support Zimmerman’s guilt. But as a white Christian, I am supposed to ignore the evidence and “lament” the racist outcome of the trial because somebody else didn’t like it? I get the impression that many of the people who are angry about this are actually quite ignorant of the facts of the trial, and have assumed Zimmerman’s guilt from the beginning.

    *If* Zimmerman is guilty of murder, then both Martin’s death and the verdict of this trial are both tragic. If Zimmerman was acting in self-defense and only preventing his own murder, then Martin’s death is still tragic, but the outcome of this trial is a tribute to our justice system. But sorting through all of those facts and evidence is difficult and time consuming. The truth of what happened is maybe not so clear. It’s much easier to presume guilt and bring out the pitchforks in self-righteous anger.

  • Ironic that those who claim Zimmerman profiled Martin and the same ones who have profiled Zimmerman as a racist. Will the insanity ever stop?

  • Brilliantly stated Ben Franklin. Having watched the whole trial, it would have been shocking if he had been convicted. The forensic evidence supported Zimmerman’s claims. The prosecutorial evidence just wasn’t there. The media did a lot to fuel this fire of it being about race. A lot of the outrage is based on speculation of what happened, inspired by the sound bites people heard in the media and not on the actual evidence. It is a tragedy that this young man’s life was taken. But articles like this…and the media seem hell bent on keeping the race wars raging. If only that same amount of focus and energy was spent on addressing violence in general, regardless of race. And it’s difficult to understand why people aren’t outraged about the number of black people killed by other blacks. That phenomenon needs serious attention.

  • I am a white woman raising a black son and an Asian son. If my Asian son had attacked Zimmerman he would have been shot as well as any color person attacking someone. I have taught both of my sons (1) keep your hands off of other persons and stay out of their personal space, and (2) show respect for the American legal system even when you don’t agree with it.

  • In response to all of these arrogant comments: And this is exactly why there can be no real reconciliation because the average white evangelical christian will not listen. First of all race is a social construct not rooted in a biological reality…”do your research” and if it is then a social construct then that means racism is about institutional power. No people of color have ever controlled the power structure in this country. Thank you Jonathan for fostering this conversation but my heart aches that the average white christian responds this very same way. And for the record white on white crime and black on black crime statistics are virtually identical so that again reeks of racism because why not state all the facts. That really reveals how asleep most are anyway. Seek to understand brothers and sisters not merely to be understood. I plead with you to understand the adverse effects that slavery, jim crow and underfunded predominately african american schools have had on our communities at the hands of political officials who had racist views. I’m 41 and I remember in 8th that my History of South Carolina book read, “The South Carolina plantation owners gave their african slaves a better way of life……This was in the 80’s people, the 80’s! Until we’re willing to sit down and really talk this is not gonna change. And please don’t say I didn’t do it or that was a long time ago. That’s exactly the kind of response that stalls the progress of this kind of conversation. It’s like keeping someone hostage, raping, beating and terrorizing them for thirty 30 years and then deciding to let them go and saying why can’t you just get over it…..really. So this whole thing is really about race whether you can embrace it or not. My opinion honestly, George Zimmerman should have just stayed in his truck but maybe he was being ruled by the spirit of fear because he made an assumption based on prior happenings and maybe Trayvon Martin attacked because he felt threatened, fear again. So maybe at the center of this all was a spirit of fear which is a demonic spirit that sucks the life out of people. So maybe just maybe if the “church” got together instead of fighting. Maybe we could bind the spirit of fear and overwhelm it with “LOVE”.

  • Several months ago, a black youth shot and killed a white child in a stroller….point blank in the face….trying to rob the mother….on a street corner….and his family even went to great lengths to lie for him and dispose of the gun for him…..there has not been very much media coverage or citizen outrage over this crime…..why is this so….was this a racist crime?

  • Just curious, how are you spreading “LOVE” by immediately labeling the comments of others are “arrogant”? Why not “Seek to understand brothers and sisters not merely to be understood.” as you yourself stated?

  • Thank you for publishing the interview.

    I write as an African American Christian and retired pastor. I am sobered by the gap of understanding in our conversation about race in America, and how under developed our listening skills are. I hear Jon and Leroy appealing to readers to make a new kind of effort to understand the source and cause of the anger and anguish voiced in the black community rather than to dismiss it as unfounded, or that it only comes from playing the race card. It is a challenge to ask readers to stop and ask more deeply into the humanity of Trayvon Martin, who by the work of the defense attorney was redefined as a victim to be imagined as a scheming assailant. In the silence of the grave all kinds of motives have been attributed to one who is not here to speak for himself. Wouldn’t anyone really like to know what was going on in his mind for the sake of complete understanding?

    What happens when you try to adopt Trayvon’s perspective when faced with an unknown person who is challenging his right of movement? Why would he need to be stopped on his way home after running a personal errand at the nearby store? When he is unrelentingly pursued by someone who bears no recognizable credential of authority to detain his freedom of movement, what conclusion is he to draw about that person’s motives? Likely not being naive about the nervousness of non-blacks to his persona as a young black male, why would he not be on alert and wary about defending both his own dignity and personal safety? Don’t we need to allow Trayvon the right to stand his own ground and not back down from this invasion of his personal space and this effort to hinder his freedom of movement? What are we willing to grant Trayvon by way of sensitivity to his own need to feel safe that might help us sense how threatened he might have felt by Zimmerman? Why are we not discussing the need to protect Trayvon’s dignity, credit him with standing his own ground to do what he needed to do to get out of the situation safely? How else do we expect a 17-year old visitor on someone else’s turf to read his situation?

    So it seems to me that Jon and Leroy are simply asking us to exercise a part of our humanity with a humility to know the fullness of truth. It seems like an invitation not to defend ourselves from hearing the pain of those who we do not easily relate to, and who seem to be defended against us for their part.

  • The preacher wants whites to say “Yes this was racist.” Well sorry it wasn’t. Play your race card elsewhere. What baffles me is that you could probably find several much worse examples, than the Trayvon Martin case, of blacks getting burned by the justice system every week . I guess the legend of the “Old white man hunting then gunning down the poor black boy in the street and then getting away with it” was just too perfect for the race baiters. They still wont give that story up. The trial proved why Zimmerman wasn’t charged in the first place. If you don’t like the law that allows people to carry guns then change it. In the meantime I would advise you not break the noses of people following you and then bang their heads on the sidewalk because they might tragically and legally shoot you.

  • Point made by Marty’s comment…..God Help Us and thank you Ron Spann for your informed intelligent response

  • “Play your race card elsewhere”… Sorry to say that you’re the one commenting on this article that happens to be addressing the very mindset you’re showcasing. You are in error, Marty.

  • And simply saying there WAS a racial element to this doesn’t make it so. You’ve said you feel that way but you offer nothing to support your view.

  • I don’t think we should be forced to react a certain way. Everybody is different. This kind of stuff happens every day. We should not milk the media machine that sensationalized it in the first place.

  • Thank you Allen…comments on many site sadden me, especially on this site. I have no words just sad sad sad…I posted this blog to many non-Christians before reading the comments and it was a totally defamation of the Character of Christ. Jesus needs new PR! I work as a children’s director and would be embarrassed for any of my children to read some of these comments.

  • If you are black and you ally yourself with the Republican party and the type of white evangelicals allied with the Republican party, then you are being played for a fool. They might make you feel special and trot you out as an example of their inclusiveness, but you are not one of them. Look at the previous comments. The BEST you can hope from this crowd is a call to lament. Well, that means a whole lot of nothing substantive, that I can guarantee. The GOP and their white evangelical base are happy with the verdict, but they’ll “lament” so as not to rub it in.

  • Reading through all the comments carefully I noticed a theme that is becoming more common among right-leaning whites. Whenever an injustice is brought to light that is even suggested to be motivated by racist elements, certain key phrases are trotted out that are intended to take the emotive power away from the injustice, racial or not. Marty highlighted these phrases most excellently in his eloquent rant– “race-baiting” and “playing the race card.” Once an event has been characterized publicly with one of these phrases, it gives the racists the cover they need to continue to be more or less openly racist.

  • Pastor Ron, you bring an interesting perspective that helps me understand Trayvon’s behavior a little differently.

    All of your points remain valid, regardless of Zimmerman’s ethnicity. However, I’m confused why this case became “white vs black” when Zimmerman is hispanic?

    My family is mixed, which shouldn’t impact how readers perceive my question even though it will. I just want to stress that i’m unbiased and simply looking for answers.

    Jonathon, if Pastor Ron does not reply I’d be curious to hear your thoughts as well.

  • First off I agree wholeheartedly that fear is one of the most powerful tools used by the enemy. And the greatest “weapon” we have as true followers of Christ, is Love.

    Where are the true followers of Christ? We spend too much time “protesting” (I use this word lightly because it is mostly done via social media where it is “easy”) instead of solving the problems.

    We want to have politicians solve the abortion problem, empower them with money and political ammo instead of volunteering at pregnancy centers that are cash strapped and reaching out to these troubled women in an effort to solve the problem not put a lid on it.

    We want politicians to solve the racial divide in this country with affirmative action and welfare policies that don’t solve problems but instead keep people from stretching and making better choices in their life. And in turn we want the black community to solve their own problems without reaching out and saying – how can we help solve the problem. And FYI – it’s not with more money in schools, it’s about love and support with time not money.

    If you believe that God created us all and sent His son to walk this Earth, die and rise again, then you must believe that there is an enemy that has the sole intention to steal, kill and destroy. What team are you fighting for, Christians? Are you “protesting” in a way that plays into the enemy’s hand or are you solving problems with love. Love without pride of being right or wrong, love that does not judge, and love that is unconditional.

    For the sake of Christ – lets quit playing into the hands of politicians that attain money and power from divisiveness and start solving problems with our time and actions!

  • Christian communication is not about being right but about reconciling. It is our goal to communicate in a way that brings people into deeper relationship with God and each other. If I have an enemy or someone in my life that I believe has fallen into a lie or doesn’t understand the truth, it is my job to love them in such a way that they can seek the truth. I am to facilate a loving, safe environment where people can experience the love and truth of God. Sadly much of our conversation is not reconciling or Christian.

  • So many red herrings, ad hominem attacks, and straw man arguments, so little time. I’m not going to even try to address all of those.

    I will however, remind us that the Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:18 that God has given us the ministry of reconciliation. This does not just apply to blacks or just to whites, but to ALL OF US who profess to be Christians reconciled to God! What have YOU done to be an agent of reconciliation?

    Constantly spouting the party line or what cable news networks have told you will not lead to reconciliation. Refusing to see anyone else’s point will not lead to reconciliation. Humbly admitting that none of us knows everything about everything and therefore should actually make the effort to learn from others is a good start to reconciliation. However, based on most of the comments here, I see that’s not really the goal. Oh well, I still have hope!

  • Dave, just saw your comment and question. Why does this incident trigger our anxieties about race? I think for the simple reason that we are not at a place in our history where the balance of justice has been consistently level for a long enough time for our reflex response to violent incidents between people of differing ethnicities to first look not in terms of their ethnicity but in terms of their basic humanity. When we get to that point – God willing – we’ll hear news about such a tragedy and try to explain it to ourselves by courageously facing every possible dimension of truth to the situation. We would be able to assess the incident without flinching when we see elements of racial hostility at work in it and think creatively about how to assign responsibility to the persons involved for what has happened. How could George Zimmerman have been more responsible? How could Trayvon have been more responsible? What options were available to the two of them when confronted with hostile gestures by the other?

    The Florida courts of law exalt and justify actions based on fear. The Gospel of Jesus Christ commands that we not be afraid and addresses the inseparable way that fear is part of our moral and spiritual bondage. Both the adult Zimmerman and the youth Martin took actions based in fear that escalated tragically out of control. So how do we respond?

    Christians have a wealth of resources for being able to understand the roots of ethnic hostility and for reasons and ways to overcome it. It is certainly there from our very beginnings, so deeply that St. Paul addresses the entire 2nd chapter of his letter to the Ephesians to it and issues related to it. We also know from our tradition of how quickly truth becomes a casualty when pride and violence swing into play, and how important it is to burrow for truth in order to leverage the freedom it brings into our circumstances. When we know the truth, what it real, we get set free.

    But since America has not required of itself to pursue the truth of our racial history, very few of us even begin to have freedom to look into the troubled side of it without defensiveness or denial. Guilt, fear, resentment and rage are the demons that have to be exposed and cast out if we are to get clothed and in our right minds for that conversation to happen and be fruitful, in my opinion. What’s yours?

  • This conversation is a very sad commentary, beginning with the interview up front.
    First, too many Christians are believing the lies spewed by our own government and the media. The reason the verdict was unbelievable was NOT that it was wrong, but that the media have not been telling the truth. Do just a little bit of your own research to learn this. Just one example: Mr Martin was NOT just a nice kid on his way home from an errand. He spent almost an HOUR walking half a mile, trespassing on people’s property. And when he saw that Mr Zimmerman was calling him in… he ran home. And THEN came back to go after Zimmerman. That’s all captured on video, on audio. But you believe the lies.
    And… so many here are quick to accuse Zimmerman as a racist guy, and cannot believe that a black kid could be racist. Yet again, the facts disagree with you. WHY are you unwilling to learn more about Zimmerman? He has been a friend to blacks for a long long time.
    IF ANYTHING, we should be learning from a guy like ZImmerman how to treat others as Christ would.
    IF ANYTHING, we should be learning from this case how to listen to the Lord, and walk with humility and in peace, rather than getting up in arms over how our justice system functions.

    I am very saddened by the interaction here.

  • I agree with you about the need to learn the facts of this case, something I have not actually weighed in on. But given all of the unknowns in this case, your comment about needing to learn from Zimmerman about how to act in a Christlike manner borders on the ridiculous.

  • Jonathan, I found your site as I searched for solace after this extremely disturbing outcome. I am black scientist and my husband is an attorney. We went to some of the nation’s best universities yet experience racism often. Once on a return trip from Europe, a white cab driver denied to take us home from the airport. He was in the queue for the next fare and never heard where we were headed, but he took one look at our skin and made a decision about our worthiness. I have seen women and men literally run when my husband walks down the street, doors locked and purses clutched. We live(own a home) in an affluent neighborhood yet my husband can’t walk freely through his community without fear of being wrongly accused. A few years back Bryant Gumbel’s son was wrongly arrested for being a purse snacker because he was the closest black man in the very wealthy(and white) New York’s East Side. As a mother it greatly saddens me to hear so many of you angrily deny the existence of this continued sinful behavior or opine that socio-economic status eliminates the danger of being black in America. I pray that God will remove the scales from your eyes.

  • Raq,

    Thanks for the comment. You had me until the last line. I have never denied that racism is still alive and well in America. And my goal with this article was to bring another voice–an African-American one–into this space to share his perspective. Perhaps you misread this or somehow got the wrong idea about my position on race in general…

  • When someone is killed and no one is found guilty, where is justice as God expects? He says thou shall not kill……Many of our laws have been so minced by legal case history and lack of common sense in interpreting the law that they provide no justice.

  • Jon, I think you need to read the last two sentences together – Raq is speaking to a plural group – those who angrily deny the existence of “this continued sinful behavior” and need to lose the scales from their eyes…

  • Watch your words!

    I have heard so much stuff about Martin vs. Zimmerman case from one extreme to the other. I’m sure that many are tired of hearing it all, but please bear with me for a moment and you’ll see this is certainly NOT a typical comment. I believe it clearly describes God’s truth on the matter.

    I have heard arguments and personal viewpoints on both sides and have heard a host of excuses and rationales for many of these viewpoints. Much of it has been heated. I’ve heard the support and threats from both sides. There’s even been brutality and violence over this at times. So many are trying to justify who’s right and who’s wrong and why, it can make a person’s head spin. But all the while hearing all these things from all these people, the Holy Spirit kept driving this one thing home with every comment; “What is the real issue here?” There is a world of people living and dying, some without Christ and some not even knowing the difference. There are countless people living with no self-control, having no balance in their lives many believing that they are right in what they think and say.

    No matter what the circumstances are in this case, regardless of the race of the victim or the shooter, in spite of all the flaws and failures of governments or law-givers, no matter what the verdict was, no matter what kind of profiling was or is being done or not done, when it comes right down to the ‘rock bottom’, we must look squarely in the face of God’s truth and see what He says.

    If you are a Christian, whether a minister behind the pulpit or a layperson in the pew, you have been given an absolute mandate from God to bring people to Christ. The Great Commission reaches across the board to every born again child of God. God’s Word is clear and we cannot excuse ourselves from its content.

    I want to speak very clearly to the Body of Christ, especially pastors and ministers because you hold the keys to this situation. Is church the place to debate or is it a place to DECLARE? We should declare the truth and teachings of CHRIST whom we represent? God’s Word is NOT up for debate! It is appalling to see the debates and ungodly profiling going on within the body of Christ over this issue.

    Are we called to examine the world’s morality, or our own? God clearly tells us what to expect in these last days. Why does that still shock so many in the body of Christ? Because too many are grappling with what to think or what to say, when they know already what God said. It really comes down to wrestling with whether to walk in the flesh or walk in the Spirit. We are to clearly direct people to Christ and His teachings. We are to edify and perfect the saints, Eph.4:11-13. We are to minister to the needs and clearly share His truths. Can you not see that you have played right into the devils trap? He is sitting back laughing, watching us bite and devour one another, Gal.5:15!

    This issue concerned a tragic death, ‘Someone lost their life!’ That is the fact and the issue at hand!

    Christians, ministers, when you insert your 10 cents worth of personal viewpoints, you are adding fuel to the fire the devil started, creating more strife, division and bitterness! God said to mark them that cause divisions, Rom.16:17. When you muddy the water with assumptions and presumptions, arguing and complaining, spouting your carnal thinking, YOU are creating fear and mistrust, distracting the hearts and minds of people, whether Christian or not, away from the teachings of Christ! Away from ‘the unconditional love of Christ’ ‘forgiveness’ ‘peace’, away from salvation and deliverance from bondages just like what’s happening! God WILL hold you accountable for it! Absolutely none of this noise is of God.

    Knowing that we are in the ‘last days’, we have all the more reason and urgency to keep our hearts and minds on Christ and to point people to Him! You’re not doing that with all this arguing and griping.

    Jesus said these things would happen in the last days, Mat.24:37-38, 2Tim.3:1-9.

    Let me ask you, are you actually praying for the very ones you are talking about?
    1Tim.2:1-4. This is a direct rebuke to those who are out ‘flappin their gums’, when you should be praying for the very ones you are complaining about! STOP it, in Jesus Name! If you think this is hard, it will be much harder to hear, “Depart from me…!” Mat.7:21-23

    Mat.7: 24 “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:”
    Be wise! Keep your focus on the right thing!

    For The Harvest,

  • Amazing. Wake up folks, the Zimmerman verdict was not about race. I’m saddened to hear that Leroy Barber was numb when the verdict was read. Why? The EVIDENCE pointed to self-defense in a court of law. Zimmerman wasn’t equally guilty of anything. I know, he followed when told not to. But, he did stop and went back to his car. Is that a crime? Nope. And, it certainly isn’t cause for anyone to go to him and pick a fight and smash his head into the ground. I’m numb that others are numb to that fact (eyewitness testimony). It’s not about race; its about the law. And, if you want to view the other evidence that counters the things noted here, see Pat Buchanan’s article “Black America’s Real Problem Isn’t White America” Or, maybe, if you dare, Thomas Sowell’s book “Black Rednecks and White Liberals”. If you’re going to talk about a myth of post-racial America, deal with real racism across the board and also realize its a sin issue and any skin color is not immune from its sickness. The Zimmerman trial wasn’t even close to being about race but was only to those who wanted it to be. And, poke your head in at Ann Coulter’s site where she addressed the context of the trial and the crimes being committed in that neighborhood months prior to the Zimmerman incident. But, Jonathan’s material seems to presuppose that racism is only being committed by whites. Sorry, Jonathan, reality isn’t on your side. Your approach is hardly balanced.

  • Amen to what you just stated. We need to concentrate on the coming of Christ and love our neighbors. Thanks and God Bless.

  • Thanks, Jonathan for your reply. First, I never said you claimed that Zimmerman was racially motivated. Yet, you seem to infer (if that’s the term) by your articles here at the site because your material focuses on race relations in relationship to the Zimmerman verdict. Even your interview with Mr. Barber notes his response as being “numb” to the verdict. Why would he be unless he thought there was racism going on? The interview and your article imply its because of race. Second, there is a difference between an alibi and eyewitness testimony. Yet, we have to go with what the evidence in court was, not what we think might have happened (like your other article here where you state you don’t know if Zimmerman threw the first punch). That is a fine thought, but the evidence does not suggest that. The police didn’t even question the alibi of Mr. Zimmerman. In their mind, this was a clear case of self-defense and now the courts have agreed. We can only go by the evidence. My point is that I’m appalled at the reaction of many because so many are not looking at the evidence in a court of law. I don’t care about the persons skin color. I care about the law, fairness and justice. If Trayvon is guilty its because he actually committed a crime not because of his skin color. I could care less of his skin color. Frankly, I don’t even bring to the table the trouble he had gotten into or the smoking of pot. I’m dealing strictly with that night and what happened by the evidence presented in a court of law. I do not see Trayvon’s skin color. I think that’s how its supposed to be whether one claims to be a Christian or not. How many are saying Zimmerman is equally guilty. Of what? He is not guilty of anything especially anything illegal or worthy of what happened to him. He was on a neighborhood watch team and there were recent crimes being committed by black youths in the neighborhood. That is clear. But, I digress a tad. I’m point to the law and common sense. It’s just common sense that you do not go up to somebody start a fight. And, that is what the evidence suggests. So, all in all, your reply does not answer my reply. I guess what I’m saying is that race exists but hard to pinpoint and it does exist amongst people of all races, not as you imply, the white community only. Your material suggests that we whites have a problem and you’re attaching it to the Zimmerman case (matter of fact, he’s Hispanic, not white Hispanic). Well, some whites probably do. As do blacks and Hispanics and Asians. Welcome to the human race. I’m not ignoring it, nor making any excuses but I will not be party to say that race is heavily white on blacks. I experienced it in a small, small way in North Carolina years ago with blacks towards me just because I was white. Matter of fact, I told a black professor of mine (who was totally opposed to my points of view on everything but we got along fine) of these events. I couldn’t believe he admitted in class what it was. He said it had to do with the “public stage.” I said, what? I didn’t understand. And, in our classroom, he explained that blacks will not seen being polite to a white person in public. Wow! What an admission. So, are blacks being taught this in their homes?? Me, I blow it off and don’t take it personally. My point, again, is that race happens and its not only whites on blacks/Hispanics. Thanks for reading and replying. I hope you understand that I’m not on your case as a person, but the position that you are taking (and hence, avoiding the claim of using an ad hominem on you).

  • AlI though I can do nothing but except the verdict it does not make it right nor just. Bottom line is if Z would had done what the dispatcher told him to do and remained in his truck this wouldn’t have taken place. The stand your ground law is not grounds for one to take police matters into ones own hand.

  • Was the meaning of the headline (“How Christians should respond to the Zimmerman verdict…”), chosen with care?

    It seems a poor choice to instruct people how they “should respond”. Hasn’t that been a significant problem with organized religions: giving people their marching orders?

  • Sam,
    I’m a born again, Bible believing Christian, a conservative, and a white woman. This incident happened in my city. I am sick over this tragedy, I’ve lost sleep over it, and it has consumed my thoughts. I don’t quite know how to move forward and effect change, but that is my prayer and my intent. I wish you wouldn’t paint with such a broad brush.

  • Help me out here. Can we grant that the eye witness testimony was truthful in that Trayvon Martin was hitting George Zimmerman’s head against the pavement? If so, if Zimmerman was without a pistol and was not otherwise able to defend himself, would the resulting head trauma (or worse) to Zimmerman have been justified? If so, why?

  • So why do I ask? Let’s assume that Martin thought Zimmerman was armed and that Martin acted in self-defense. If the resulting head trauma to Zimmerman happened to be fatal, I have no doubt the jury would have found Martin not guilty of any crime due to such self-defense. They might have both reacted in fear for their life or at least serious injury. But would there be public outcry of the probable outcome if Zimmerman had been unarmed. Apparantly in the view of many, there is a difference. Perhaps eventually I will understand. Enough said.

  • I’m a resident of Central Florida, watched the trial daily and, for the record, believing profiling is real and pervasive and there needs to be greater acknowledgement of it and action about it. And I believe that the stand your ground law should be reviewed and amended so that aggressors don’t have the right to assert it. But Rev. Spann, when was there any evidence produced that indicated Zimmerman stopped Martin?