Hundreds of evangelicals, including Pastor David Platt, gathered in Washington, D.C., to protest against racism and police brutality on Sunday, singing hymns and holding up Bible verses.
The involvement of evangelicals in the protests was organized by a group known as Faith + Works DC, which was concerned that there weren’t enough explicitly Christian voices involved after the brutal police killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man in Minneapolis.
“We pray that you would forgive us for our history and our present,” Platt, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board, said as he marched, The Washington Post reported.
“We praise you in particular today, Jesus, as this group, for taking the judgment we deserve,” he continued.
Platt was introduced at the protests by Thabiti Anyabwile, pastor of Anacostia River Church and a black evangelical who is well-known for speaking out on issues of racism.
The group sang songs such as “This Little Light of Mine” and "Because He Lives" and prayed as they marched across the Anacostia River to head downtown in their stand for justice.
Anyabwile lamented how few of the marches for justice have come from the church.
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“This iteration of civil rights is not located in the church, so the church is playing catch-up when it was once the vanguard,” he said to The Washington Post. “One skill we don’t have as a country or a church is conversation. We’re unpracticed at that and so we’re wrestling with hope.”
Just before the march, Anyabwile preached virtually to his congregation, saying the blood of black bodies is crying out and that Christians can no longer ignore it.
"Blood spilled unrighteously cries into the very ears of an all powerful God. God hears it," he said, as he preached from Genesis 4 on the account of Cain and Abel. "This country is storing up wrath for the day of wrath."
"Indifference can no longer be the Christian response to what we’re seeing in the world," he stressed. "It is a lovelessness, it is more than a hatred, it is … an evil … to be indifferent in the face of such suffering and injustice."
He noted that some fundamentalist and evangelical Christians try to exonerate themselves "of all things racism" but that has resulted in indifference to the killings of black people.
"So many Christians … who pity themselves in the midst of conversations about blood flowing in the streets, … fragile white people can’t bear to have racism pointed out.
"We are where we are because this country and white evangelical Christians have twisted the theology of the body so that they can own black bodies and our blood flows in the street crying out to God and God answers to strike the conscience … to announce His judgment."
In his Radical podcast on Sunday, Platt offered up prayers for President Doald Trump and the nation’s political leaders as they navigate issues of justice.
“Today, amidst everything going on in my country and my city even, I want us to meditate and pray according to Micah 6:8 where the Bible says, ‘He has told you O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice. And to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God,’” he said.
“Amidst names like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery becoming common place in my country over the last few weeks in particular and not just in my country, far beyond the United States, and cries for justice and mercy, I am reminded in Micah 6:8 that this instinct for justice, this longing for justice and longing for mercy is built into our hearts by God,” Platt said. “And God has called us as his people to do justice and to love kindness. Not to turn a blind eye or deaf ear to justice but to work for justice.”