Below are two Christian responses to the violence in Minneapolis. First, I share the response of a black pastor and theologian, Dennis R. Edwards. Then I share the response of Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham. Two very different people. Both call for justice and peace. Let's all pray.
Edwards writes: 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.
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Graham writes: This makes me sick to my stomach. What took place yesterday on a Minneapolis street, by the Minneapolis Police Department should deeply concern each and every American. It’s inexcusable. To watch a police officer kill an unarmed black man—with no concern on his face, his hand in his pocket, indifferent to the bystanders begging for something to be done to help the man—is so disturbing. He and the other officers on the scene refused to listen and refused to respond. I hope they have deep regret and remorse for their actions. Police are not the judge and jury. These officers will have to stand before God and the authorities on this earth for what they have done.
Thankfully, this is not the story of every police department. Most men and women who work in law enforcement are tremendous servants who put their lives on the line every day to protect their communities. We need to pray that God will give them wisdom and grace to face the storms that they encounter.
I hope every police department will learn from this and make the changes needed to never let something like this happen again. Pray for George Floyd’s family, loved ones, and friends, that God will put His loving arms around them and comfort them during this tragedy.
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