While protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, fill the streets in the name of justice, local churches are filling pews in order to restore peace to a city divided by the fatal police shooting of an unarmed teenager.
Church leaders are working behind the scenes to create a dialogue between government officials and community members, clean up looted store fronts and restore a sense of calm so that the real change can begin.
F. Willis Johnson Jr., senior pastor of Wellspring Church in Ferguson, told The Christian Post that he considers the protests and street rallies to be "their expression of their emotion, of their frustration of their hurt, of their sense of insecurity or even in some cases, fear of continuation of not only this event but what seems to be a reoccurring practice or a set of instances where people feel vulnerable or susceptible to being victims and victimized." more >>
The father of two Amish girls kidnapped and reportedly abused by a couple in New York last week says he feels sorry for the couple.
"It's sad," the father said. "They must have ruined their whole life," Mose Miller told The Watertown Daily Times.
"We feel relieved we have them. It's still not like it was," his wife, Barbara Miller said. more >>
As the eyes of the nation and the world continue to focus on the St. Louis County suburb of Ferguson, where unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed by a police officer, Christians continue engaging the many issues raised by the controversial case in attempts to bring clarification, understanding and open dialogue.
The Christian Post previously highlighted tweets from Christians commenting on the ongoing protests in Ferguson. Below is a roundup of diverse reflections regarding Ferguson from some members of the Christian community.
Pastor Leonce Crump, leader of Renovation Church in Atlanta, was featured as a guest on the Georgia radio program, "All Things Considered." He was first asked: What is the role of the faith community in what's happening in Ferguson? more >>
Much has been written about the impact of Michael Brown's death and the protests that followed. As I watched the story unfold, I just felt overwhelmed and unable to write. I really didn't have much to say. My embers of anger didn't stand a chance against the rising waters of numbness. It is my MO to go numb when things get too emotional, too hot-tempered, too violent. Sometimes this trait serves me well. My delayed reaction to the emotion in a room is often what makes me a great peacemaker- not because I am so special but because my emotions are often delayed in the moment. My grief, anger, and yes sometimes even the good emotions like joy come later. And so was the case this week. While article after article popped up explaining our hurt, giving voice to injustice, calling officials to action, teaching, prodding, crying, organizing- I was trying desperately to determine what I feel.
Many of you know that smaller stories unfolded even in the midst of the larger narrative. White Christians slow to respond (if at all) + the word "Christian" being used to define all Christians when in reality only referring to white ones + genuine calls for increased diversity and commitment to multi-ethnic churches... My TL was filled with branches stemming from the events in Ferguson. I've read some good stuff. I've read pieces that I'm jealous I didn't write and pieces I'm incredibly grateful folks put into words when I couldn't find any. But the one article that has stayed with me- clanging in my soul was an article posted by @feministajones, with a link to Playboys interview of MLK. There are a great many gems in this interview, and we all would do well to read it from beginning to end, but what I found most intriguing is MLK's response to the question about his mistakes as a civil rights leader. His reply: "Well, the most pervasive mistake I have made was in believing that because our cause was just, we could be sure that the white ministers of the South, once their Christian consciences were challenged, would rise to our aid. I felt that white ministers would take our cause to the white power structures. I ended up, of course, chastened and disillusioned."
At this moment in time, I cannot confess to the same shock, disappoint or hurt feelings that MLK describes. I've read too much, been at this too long to sincerely claim that I expected the white church to finally get it right in this present moment of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, John Crawford and Michael Brown. The white church doesn't have a great track record on racial justice, and what's worse, displays very little shame on the matter. (As a quick caveat I will say that I am grateful for the friends of all races, including white who sent messages, wrote posts, shared in the outrage and amplified the voices of black folks- I just wish there were many, many more of you). On the whole the story of Michael Brown and the assault on Ferguson didn't gather the same level of attention of ISIS or Driscoll. Many of the white Christians who changed their profile pictures to stand in solidarity with Christians on the other side of the world, were absolutely silent while black Christians right here in America were in turmoil. more >>
The militarization of the police in Ferguson, Missouri, has contributed, some say, to an inappropriate use of force against peaceful protestors. How did the police acquire all that military gear?
Some of the military equipment used by police came from the Department of Defense's 1033 program, which provides law enforcement with used military equipment. The program initially began in 1990 and was intended for use in the war on drugs.
After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, local law enforcement authorities began applying for and receiving grants to purchase military hardware that was ostensibly to be used to fight terrorists. According to The Wall Street Journal, those grants have been worth $35 billion in total, $500 million in 2011 alone, with most of that money going to purchase military gear. more >>
Police in Ferguson, MO arrested two journalists for covering the protests over their fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager six. Officers shoved Wesley Lowery, of The Washington Post, into a soda machine for taping them, before he was cuffed in plastic binds. A Ferguson officer rammed Ryan Grim's head against glass. The reporter for The Huffington Post wasn't packing up his reporting gear quickly enough. Both journalists' respective papers released statements condemning the Ferguson police, but the decline of free press reaches further than one town in Missouri.
Unfortunately state suppression of the press is hardly isolated to Ferguson. The problem goes all the way up to the White House, where the Obama Administration is preventing journalists from accurately reporting on policy.
According to The Society of Professional Journalists, the Obama Administration has engaged in "excessive message management and preventing journalists from getting information on behalf of citizens." The grievances were also supported by 37 other journalism and open government groups. The report details the use of "Public Information Officers," whose roles are to filter reports before they're available for mass consumption. Stories coming from the White House are trimmed and primed to perfection before the public can even get access to the latest information. more >>