The two largest Pentecostal denominations in the U.S. have called with one voice for Christians worldwide to affirm on Sunday, Dec. 14 that indeed "Black Lives Matter," and, as admonished in Scripture, to "mourn with those who mourn" — in this case, with black Americans who feel the justice system has failed in two recent cases involving the death of black males at the hands of white police officers.
"The lives of all people are precious to God, of course, but at the present moment, many of our black brothers and sisters in COGIC and the AG feel that their lives are not highly valued by many in white America," says Assemblies of God General Superintendent Dr. George O. Wood in a statement made public Thursday. "As examples, they point to the recent controversial decisions of grand juries in St. Louis County, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York, not to return bills of indictment against white police officers in the deaths of two black males, Michael Brown and Eric Garner."
"Whatever your opinion of those controversial decisions, can we stand with our brothers and sisters and affirm the value of black lives generally and of their lives specifically?" Wood adds. "Scripture teaches that God does not take pleasure in the death of people, not even the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11). If so, then whatever the circumstances, we can be certain that God did not take pleasure in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Therefore, neither should we." more >>
"In order to impact our society, we need to first model unity in the church," says Dr. Tony Evans, pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, in a recent video filmed at the site where civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr. was gunned down nearly 50 years ago.
The megachurch pastor and bestselling author believes U.S. society is still reeling from the effects of historical racial injuries and prejudices because Christian churches have yet to coalesce as one body under God to tackle those issues.
Speaking at the Lorraine Hotel (the National Civil Rights Museum) at 450 Mulberry in Memphis, Tennessee, Dr. Evans reflects on watching as a child a television broadcast of King's "I Have a Dream" speech, saying he got goosebumps seeing so many Americans joined together for a single cause. more >>
WASHINGTON —The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty announced on Tuesday the launch of a new coalition uniting human rights organizations, religious groups, and pro-liberty advocacy groups to pressure state governments to put an end to capital punishment.
The coalition, which has up to 15 national partnering organizations, is named the "90 Million Strong" campaign, which signifies the 33 percent of Americans, according to Gallup polls, who say they oppose the death penalty.
With only 28 states and the District of Columbia not currently using the death penalty, and seven states carrying out the death penalty in 2014, the coalition aims to fully mobilize the "90 million" Americans to lobby state-by-state to get the other states that still actively use the death penalty to halt what they claim are "unfair" and immoral practices. more >>
The mother of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old Cleveland boy who was shot dead by a police officer while holding a toy gun, revealed that her 14-year-old daughter was also tackled to the ground by police in the incident, handcuffed and put in the back seat of a police car.
"I asked the police to let my daughter go and they wouldn't at that time and I asked them, 'What's going on?' But they wasn't telling me anything, just saying, 'Calm down, calm down,'" Samaria Rice said at a news conference on Monday, according to ABC News.
"I knew she was crying for me but I couldn't see her hands," Rice said of her daughter, who was inside the recreational center at the time of the shooting. The mother noted that she had to decide whether to stay with her injured son or arrested daughter, but decided to go with Tamir. more >>
A second video showing the immediate aftermath of the choking of Staten Island, New York father of six, Eric Garner, by NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo, shortly before he was pronounced dead over the summer, has been drawing renewed interest in the wake of last week's grand jury decision to not criminally indict the officer for Garner's death.
The video, first posted to Facebook on July 18 by Taisha Allen and later added to YouTube, has been viewed more than 2 million times and shared nearly 57,000 times on Facebook.
In hindsight, some critics, like New York Daily News writer Harry Siegel, believe this second video is more disturbing than the first in which Garner is heard begging for his life saying repeatedly, "I can't breathe. I can't breathe." more >>
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed in an interview on Sunday that he has taught his biracial son to not "move suddenly" or "reach for [his] cell phone" when near police officers, adding that the reality is different for white children. A police union chief responded by slamming the comments as "moronic," and said that they do not help ease the racial tensions in the city.
When asked by ABC News on Sunday whether he believes his son, Dante, is at risk from the police department, de Blasio, who is married to an African-American woman, said:
"It's different for a white child. That's just the reality in this country." more >>