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The court of public opinion on race

In the latest USA Today poll, America’s support of the Black Lives Matter Movement has fallen while their faith in law enforcement has risen.

 Garland Hunt
Courtesy of Garland Hunt

Last June, 60% of the nation described the death of George Floyd as murder – due to the knee of Milwaukee Police Officer Dereck Chauvin firmly being planted on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes until he died on the street pavement. Now, according to the recent poll, only 36% believe it was murder.

What happened to change public opinion?

Based on the USA Today poll, the disparity of Black and White thoughts about Black Lives Matter and George Floyd is clearly widening. Blacks are still passionate about the incident of George Floyd’s death and absolutely believe it was murder by law enforcement.  Whites are less incensed about the police action with many even believing it was justifiable.

The jury selection related to the trial of Milwaukee police officer Chauvin has begun and the world is watching. And if the USA Today poll is any indication of public opinion, most Americans have increased their trust and preference for law enforcement versus how they felt at the height of the George Floyd/BLM protests during the summer of 2020.

Sadly, this latest poll shows the stark reality of the ever-present gulf between Black and White Americans regarding race relations.

The only way to resolve or heal the racial divide between Blacks and Whites in America is a transformative heart change.  The laws may change, the situations and factors may change, but racial separation will remain the same until people see God’s image in every person, no matter their skin color or ethnicity.

Impaired race relations run very deep in our country since slavery until present. The only way to heal the broken relationship between Black and White Americans is for Christians to lead the way in heart repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation, and healing. Christians, Black and White, must demonstrate the love of Christ toward each other.  And until the body of Christ steps to the plate and chooses to lead by example, rather than following the world’s narrative of racism, division, and blame, we will not see the healing that both people and our nation need so desperately.

As many have said, “Hurt people hurt people.” Until we allow the love of Christ to heal our wounds – the wounds are re-opened with every racial incident that is exposed on national media.

Even when the wound begins to scab over, there is always scar tissue that keeps the heart callous and hard toward each other.

If we are holding the other race captive to our hurt, pain and anger, we ourselves are in bondage to our emotions and unforgiveness. We, as Christians, must release each other of the past debt owed because of past actions and injustice toward each other.

Each race must be willing to take the first step toward reconciliation and healing. And as believers, we must heed the instructions of Matthew 5:23-24, “Leave your gift at the altar and be reconciled to your brother.”

Garland Hunt is the senior pastor of The Father's House in the Metro Atlanta area and co-founder of the OneRace Movement. A member of the Georgia Bar Association, Hunt is a long-time advocate of religious liberties and racial reconciliation. He recently authored the book, “ Crisis in America.” See https://crisisinamerica.us/

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