Christian Responses to #Ferguson Focus on Fear, Injustice and White Privilege

"What is so deceptive about white privilege is that it is different from blatant racism or bias. A privileged person's heart may be free from racist thoughts or biased attitudes, but may still fail to see how the very privilege afforded to him or her shapes how he or she interprets and understands the situations and circumstances of people without privilege."

Read more of Chandler:

Thabiti Anyabwile is assistant pastor for church planting at Capitol Hill Baptist Church and co-founder of He wrote of concerns he had for his son, Titus, in light of Mike Brown's death and in relation to his decision to move his family back to the U.S. after serving at a church in the Cayman Islands.

Get Our Latest News for FREE

Subscribe to get daily/weekly email with the top stories (plus special offers!) from The Christian Post. Be the first to know.

"So I'm watching Ferguson and I'm thinking about Titus. And I'm thinking about the long list of African-American men shot to death for no good reason. And I'm mad as hell. And I'm scared to death. For my son. For me. For the possibility that my son could witness this happen to me," writes Anyabwile.

"I don't care about the color of the hands that pull the trigger. They could be pink, brown, sandy. What I care about is the value of my son's life. What I care about is the dignity and life-destroying devaluing of his life because in this country he is 'black.' And the absurdity of it all is that he's not 'black' in every country. Only his own. In Cayman, he was Titus. In Cayman, he was free to be Titus. In the States, he's 'a little black boy' long before he's 'Titus.' And that calculation, the 'racial' attribution that happens at the speed of sight, is deadly. It's deadly.

"Deadlier still are the many persons who seem not to recognize it. Who carry on without pause, who empathize with the shooter rather than the shot, who express concern for the family of the living but little to no regard for the family of the deceased, who talk of obeying lawful authority while witnessing the unlawful use of authority, who keep resetting the conversation to call into question the teenage victim while granting the benefit of the doubt to the grown up perpetrator."

Read more of Anyabwile: and

Rachel Held Evans, author of A Year of Biblical Womanhood, drew numerous responses to her blog post, titled "On Race, the Benefit of the Doubt, and Complicity."

"What has perhaps struck me the most in the six days since Michael Brown was shot is the difference in my social media feeds. Among my white friends and followers, things pretty much carried on as usual up until Wednesday afternoon when I began to see more tweets and Facebook statues [sic] about the events in Ferguson. But among my friends and followers of color, this story elicited a passionate, focused response, right from the start," says Evans.

"This is not to say white people don't care, or that delayed responses should be chastised as 'too little too late.' Not at all. We're all learning here, and we all communicate our concern in different ways. I just wonder if it simply reflects the painful reality that one group's 'let's wait and see' is another group's 'not again!' Perhaps if we, the privileged, were in a better habit of listening, the response would have been more universally shared. Rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep happens more naturally among those who have listened long enough to know the depth of one another's stories, and to know their context."

Read more from Evans:

Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, shares his thoughts in a post titled "Ferguson and the Quest for Racial Justice."

"As Christians, we ought to weep for the loss of life in this situation, and we ought to pray for peace in the streets of Ferguson and for justice to be done in this case. The mandate from God to the state in Romans 13 is to wield the sword with impartiality and with justice. As citizens, all of us ought to seek to ensure that this is the case, across the board," says Moore.

"We ought to be reminded though that in a racially divided world, the church of Jesus Christ ought not simply to advocate for racial reconciliation; we ought to embody it. We ought to speak to the structures of society about principles of morality and righteousness, but we also ought to model those principles in our congregations. The quest for racial reconciliation comes not just through proclamation but through demonstration.

"That's because racial and ethnic division and bigotry are not merely historical vestiges still existing in the United States, or in the often even more violent scenes we see elsewhere in the world. These divisions and hatred are older than America, and are rooted in a satanic deception that tells us we ought to idolize "the flesh." The gospel doesn't just call us individually to repentance, but also congregationalizes that reconciliation in local bodies of persons who may have nothing else in common but the image of God, repentance of sin, and the redemption found in Jesus Christ."

Read more of Moore:

D.A. Horton is executive director of ReachLife Ministries and national coordinator for Urban Students at the North American Mission Board. He wrote an essay for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention titled "Michael Brown is your neighbor."

"It's hard not to weep as I watch the continual coverage of events unfold in Ferguson, Mo. Once again, a life was taken by an authority figure. The eyes of our nation turn in one of two directions: toward the injustice or away from it. In the ocean of social media, I've noticed waves of Palestinians providing American citizens with counsel on dealing with tear gas while droves of Protestants remain serene and silent," writes Horton.

"It's in these exact moments, when ethnic minority evangelicals are looking for support from other minorities and majority culture brothers and sisters, that we need to come together and minister to the hurting souls in our community. But we often find that many of our brothers and sisters are sitting on the sidelines paralyzed by the fear of not knowing how to engage."

Read Horton's suggestion of five principles Christians should consider when engaging discussions about Michael Brown and Ferguson:

Joshua Waulk, a Florida pastor, Christian counselor and a 17-year law enforcement official, writes that "The #Ferguson case is complicated." He shares his perspective as a former police officer as well as a pastor.

"I have unashamedly called for PO Wilson to not be tried in the media. I have called on Christian leaders to stop using language that is unduly sympathetic to the pro-Brown narrative, without regard for the potential innocence of PO Wilson, such as repeatedly calling Brown an 'unarmed teenager.' As I have already pointed out, you can find yourself subject to deadly force by a PO, even though you're otherwise 'unarmed,' and more important than Brown's age, was his apparent imposing physical size," writes Waulk.

"If you've never attempted to take a male of any race into custody, much less one who is physically large, who'd otherwise prefer to not go to jail at that particular time, then you can only imagine what that might entail. At the end of the day, that Brown died at 18 is tragic, but while we're sifting through the details at this point, I can only see it as an attempt to garner undue sympathy, and to portray him as a little child, which he most certainly was not. This much I know: POs have been killed by children younger than 18."

Waulk adds later in his essay: "Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ is sufficient to change human hearts, to turn seeming enemies toward one another in love, and to bring real, true, lasting hope and change. It seems cliche, but truer words have never been spoken: No Jesus. No Peace. Know Jesus. Know Peace. Man's efforts always have, and always will fall woefully short. Anyone who has hope for true, soul-level resolve coming from a verdict in either direction is grossly mistaken. Our legal system is nothing more than a salve on our broken hearts to prevent anarchy until the return of Christ."

Read more of Waulk:

Erna Hackett, on staff with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, questions on her blog "The Unacceptable Silence of Asian American Christians in Response to Ferguson."

"Why are we so painfully silent as debate and tragedy and grief are raging around us? Will any of our churches take time to pray for grieving families on Sunday — not only (Michael) Brown's family, but the family of John Crawford, a man that was shot in Walmart for holding a toy gun. Or Eric Garner, the father of 6 that was killed through the use of an illegal choke hold by police in New York," writes Hackett.

"My mind turned back to last summer where I led a group of Christian college students into responding to the Trayvon Martin verdict. I took a group of mainly Asian American and White students through a journey where they could have compassion and grieve over what had happened. We taught them to care about what the Black community was saying, instead of ignoring it by saying 'that's a Black people problem.'

Read more of Hackett:

In addition to personal essays from Christian leaders on Michael Brown's death, some platforms have been highlighting certain aspects of events unfolding in Ferguson. For example, Christ & Pop Culture has pointed to the work that local churches in Ferguson were doing to keep the peace and support demonstrators, while the Assemblies of God took a similar route, highlighting in an article on the responses and involvement of member churches in St. Louis County that have been impacted by the Ferguson protests.

Was this article helpful?

Help keep The Christian Post free for everyone.

By making a recurring donation or a one-time donation of any amount, you're helping to keep CP's articles free and accessible for everyone.

We’re sorry to hear that.

Hope you’ll give us another try and check out some other articles. Return to homepage.