Ferguson reaction: ‘how far we have to go’
    November 25 2014 by Art Toalston & Diana Chandler, Baptist Press

    Philadelphia pastor K. Marshall Williams, in the hours prior to the grand jury report declining to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of an 18-year-old black, observed:
     
    “When it comes to issues of racial justice, this verdict will show us how far as a nation that we have come and how far we have to go,” said Williams, president of the National African American Fellowship within the Southern Baptist Convention.
     
    The entire tragedy in Ferguson, Mo. – from the Aug. 20 shooting to the grand jury report and a subsequent night of arson, violence and arrests in the St. Louis suburb – underscored the significance of Williams’ statement to Baptist Press.
     
    For Williams, however, a Christian view directs his outlook and advocacy.
     
    “I continue to implore all in the body of Christ to radical obedience to the Greatest Commandment, which will be a catalyst for unprecedented revival and spiritual awakening in our land,” the senior pastor of Nazarene Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Pa., said, citing 2 Chronicles 7:14 and Matthew 22:37-40.
     
    “We need to practice and proclaim the gospel, standing up and crying out against sin and injustice, ‘for our God is a God of love but He is also a God of justice,’” Williams said, citing Micah 6:8.
     
    Russell D. Moore, president of Southern Baptists’ Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, issued a statement shortly after the 8 p.m. Central announcement that Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted for killing the 18-year-old unarmed black, Michael Brown, in an intense scuffle.
     
    The country hasn’t yet “sorted through all the evidence the grand jury saw [to know] precisely what happened in this nightmarish incident,” Moore said. The Ferguson crisis, he said, “is one of several in just the past couple of years where white and black Americans have viewed a situation in starkly different terms.”
     
    “In the public arena, we ought to recognize that it is empirically true that African-American men are more likely, by virtually every measure, to be arrested, sentenced, executed, or murdered than their white peers,” Moore said. “We cannot shrug that off with apathy” but must have “consciences that are sensitive to the problem.”
     
    “But how can we get there when white people do not face the same experiences as do black people?” Moore asked in his statement. “… [W]e will need churches that are not divided up along carnal patterns of division – by skin color or ethnicity or economic status. We will need churches that reflect the manifold wisdom of God (Ephesians 3:10) in the joining together of those who may have nothing else in common but the image of God, the blood of Christ, and the unity of the Spirit. When we know one another as brothers and sisters, we will start to stand up and speak up for one another.”
     
    (EDITOR’S NOTE – Art Toalston is editor of Baptist Press, the news service of the Southern Baptist Convention. Diana Chandler is BP's general assignment writer/editor.)
     

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    11/25/2014 12:33:42 PM by Art Toalston & Diana Chandler, Baptist Press | with 3 comments
    Filed under: Ferguson, Michael Brown, racial equality




Comments
Dr. Shirley Lynn
Mr. James Horton "You Said It So Well" I could have never written anything any better.
We need to stop saying black and white we are to be one in Christ.
The Southern Baptist should not get involved in a such a battle.
We are here to teach and preach the Bible and Jesus Christ to all no matter color of skin.
11/26/2014 11:04:47 AM

Dr. Shirley Lynn
I pray for the family, and I do believe in our system and feel we have become black and white instead of people that should care and love each other, and we are placing too much on color.

Color of skin should not become a divide, and until lately it was not a divide. I read the police officer's statement to the Grand Jury and do believe he did not just deliberately kill him. There are murders every day and violence is wrong and nothing these people did after the verdict changed anything for good. They cannot judge when they have become the judge and destroy and show so much hate. How can they even look at the police officer without looking at their own actions. We are civilized people, not people of such hate. For God so loved the World. I will pray for us as Southern Baptists not to get involved in this type of black and white - we are one in Christ.
Mr. Horton thank you for the truth!
11/26/2014 10:55:30 AM

James Horton
I just wanted to extend my sympathy and prayers to the Brown family. It is tragic when any life is lost under any circumstances. What is troubling in any situation is individuals or groups using it as a platform for expression of personal bias. If we truly believe there is only one race, the human race, then we'll approach situations based on facts.

The Ferguson tragedy was not an innocent young black man walking down the street who was confronted by a white officer who dislikes African Americans. It was an officer looking for a suspect (Michael Brown) who had just robbed a convenient store verified by testimony and facts released by the prosecutor and Grand Jury, and was uncooperative when confronted to the point of physical altercation.

Yes we should mourn the loss of life but to spin this as a race initiated event is unacceptable. You could just as easily say that Brown reacted to the officer because he was white, which would be absurd. Racial prejudice is wrong and no one ethnic group owns it and all too often practices it.

Should every effort be made to develop police procedures to avoid deadly altercations? Most definitely! But having grown up in the sixties in the midst of school integration and civil rights I know it's time to stop promoting division. If the laws are inadequate, work to change them! But let's all stop making excuses for lawlessness because the outcome doesn't satisfy.

The champion of social justice, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., would speak against such unlawful activities exercised today as a vehicle of change. There are hundreds of young black and white people killed every day across America.

Until we put the highest premium on life in general teaching the individual to value it above self and self interests, we'll see little change! Let's pray for a true revival of the heart to true Christian principles!
11/26/2014 10:12:59 AM

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