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Pastors, evangelical leaders condemn Ahmaud Arbery killing, issue call for justice

Pastors, evangelical leaders condemn Ahmaud Arbery killing, issue call for justice

Ahmaud Arbery was fatally shot while running in a neighborhood after a former police officer and his son chased down the 25-year-old man. | YouTube/Screengrab

Hip-hop artist Lecrae posted an initial response on Twitter Tuesday, saying, "God be with the family of #AhmadArbery

In a Facebook post on Thursday accompanied by an artistic rendering of Arbery, he added:  

"Genesis 1:27, 'God created man in his own image...' This does not mean that God is in human form, but that humans are in the image of God in their moral, spiritual, and intellectual essence. We reflect God's divine nature. These unique qualities make humans different than all other creatures: rational understanding, creative liberty, the capacity for self-actualization, and the potential for self-transcendence. When we limit people to objects, stereotypes, or past behaviors we strip them of being Image bearers. #AhmaudArbery was made in the image of God. Remember him. Cry for his family. Plead with God and fight for truth to prevail."

In a lengthy op-ed, Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the public-policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, said that “under any Christian vision of justice, there is no situation in which the mob murder of a person can be morally right, nor grounds for a person to be chased down and shot by private citizens.”

Moore called on Christians to fight the tendency to “avert our eyes” from the incident, offering the reminder that “the Bible tells us, from the beginning, that murder is not just an assault on the person killed but on the God whose image he or she bears.”

“Jesus said, ‘Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed or hidden that will not be known’ (Luke 12:2),” Moore wrote. “Whatever is ruled in this case, we know that the blood cries from the ground in countless matters of violence and bloodshed. And God sees and knows. That’s a word of promise for those weary in seeing justice done. And it’s a word of warning for those who would avert their eyes.”

In an op-ed, David French, evangelical author and editor of The Dispatch, said Arbery’s killers should be arrested and tried for murder. 

“Their vigilante action looks less like the heroic actions of armed citizens upholding the law and more like an old-time posse, executing a vile form of street justice on a young, unarmed black man,” he wrote. “It’s also worth remembering that the long and evil history of American lynchings features countless examples of young black men hunted and killed by white gangs who claimed their victims had committed crimes,” French added.

“While we don’t yet know the full details about the McMichaels’ motives, their actions speak loudly enough. When white men grab guns and mount up to pursue and seize an unarmed black man in the street, they stand in the shoes of lynch mobs past." 

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