What Paul and Silas might have said about George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor and and and …
For many of us, anger, sadness, frustration, and fatigue are not episodic responses but chronic conditions. In recent days we’ve all seen, heard, and read of the lynching of Ahmaud Arbery, the shooting of Breonna Taylor, the use of the police by a white woman to threaten Christian Cooper, Minneapolis police officers executing George Floyd, and of the fact that COVID-19 disproportionately harms black and brown people. I have been a pastor in Minneapolis, and my heart is heavy as people have taken to the streets to demonstrate against injustice. The videos have helped some white people to see a bit of what many black and brown people know: White America has long had its knee on our necks. I am sure that some who just read that sentence are saying, “Not all of white America.” But that’s the problem. It’s hard for people of color to feel that white America is with us and not against us. White America has not demonstrated the collective resolve to repent, rebuke, and reorient itself against racial injustice. That includes Christians. White Christians can opt out of outrage over racial injustice. The status quo works for them.
Consider, for example, the tenacious support many evangelicals give to President Donald Trump, who told police on Long Island, New York, in 2017 to “not be too nice” with suspects. He appeared to encourage heavy-handedness, if not outright brutality. His then press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, had to walk back the president’s comments, saying he was joking. Police brutality is not a laughing matter. White Christians are watching the screens, maybe shaking their heads, but largely immobile. Rather than justice overflowing (Amos 5:24), it trickles down, ...
A call to fight for justice when injustice is all around us.
While lying here in my confined home, I came across your current statements suggesting that our present actions are impatient and unwise, encouraging us to “let the legal system run its course.”
Having heard these words before, I rarely take time to deconstruct the misdirected nature of the comments of others. This is especially true of those uninvolved or disconnected from the reality of men and women of color’s lived experience.
If I were to answer every criticism volleyed in my direction, then I would find little time to serve my family, my church, and, most importantly, the people of Brunswick, Georgia well in seeking justice.
I think I should give the reason for my April decision to join the fight for justice for Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, since you are swayed by the argument of “outsiders coming in.” I was born in Glynn-Brunswick Memorial Hospital on November 21, 1978. I stumbled down Glynn County’s marshes and golden beaches as a toddler and walked across the stage at Brunswick High School as a graduating senior.
I turned my tassel that night, but I never turned my gaze from my home town. To this day, I still have cravings for burgers from Willie’s, breakfast buffets from Grandy’s, and cupcakes from Holloway’s Bakery. I left Brunswick after eighteen years, but Brunswick never left me.
More than that, though, I am fighting with my hometown because injustice is there. Just like the prophet Jeremiah grew weary of holding in the fire “shut up” in his bones, the fire of righteous indignation burns unquenched in my wearied soul.
The weight of years of hashtagged brothers and sisters compels me. Just as Jesus entered the temple and disrupted the systems that hindered ...
California restricting churches to 25% capacity or less than 100 worshipers “appear[s] consistent” with First Amendment, wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in 5–4 decision.
A divided US Supreme Court on Friday rejected an emergency appeal by a California church that challenged state limits on attendance at worship services that have been imposed to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.
Over the dissent of the four more conservative justices, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four liberals in turning away a request from the South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista, California, in the San Diego area.
The church argued that limits on how many people can attend its services violate constitutional guarantees of religious freedom and had been seeking an order in time for services on Sunday. The church said it has crowds of 200 to 300 people for its services.
Roberts wrote in a brief opinion that the restrictions allowing churches to reopen at 25 percent of their capacity, with no more than 100 worshipers at a time, “appear consistent" with the First Amendment. Roberts said similar or more severe limits apply to concerts, movies, and sporting events “where large groups of people gather in close proximity for extended periods of time.”
Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote in dissent that the restriction “discriminates against places of worship and in favor of comparable secular businesses. Such discrimination violates the First Amendment.” He pointed to supermarkets, restaurants, hair salons, cannabis dispensaries, and other businesses that are not subject to the same restrictions.
Lower courts in California had previously turned down the churches' requests.
"I wish the Supreme Court had acted to bring more constitutional clarity to this pressing question,” stated Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s ...