483852_Police-Shooting-Missouri10The policy successes of the Civil Rights movement have given rise to the narrative that the worst of our racial and ethnic prejudices are behind us. Unfortunately, politics and policies show only one side of the story.

The truth is, we are still a country divided.

White Americans who look back on the 1950’s and 1960’s with the nostalgia of Mayberry may be surprised to discover how radically different their black friends and neighbors interpret the past, and the present.

The Trayvon Martin shooting was a good example. In general, blacks saw that event as an outrageous display of unjust violence. Whites tended to see Martin’s death as an isolated incident, an unfortunate tragedy that should have been avoided, but, in any case, doesn’t tell us much about society or injustice on a larger scale.

Ferguson, Missouri is worse.

This time, it is a police officer killing a teenager who, according to witnesses, had dropped to his knees with his hands in the air. This is not a neighborhood watchman with a hero complex; it’s an officer invested with trust and authority. And though not all of the details of the altercation are clear (and we shouldn’t confuse rushing to judgment with enacting justice), the protests and calls for transparency are certainly understandable.

That’s why the unfolding situation in Ferguson is disturbing on a number of levels: the militarized police in the streets of Ferguson, the arrests of journalists, the overreach of authorities charged with maintaining the peace during these protests, not shutting them down.

The events of Ferguson are heartbreaking and harrowing. Heartbreaking because the pain of this community is palpable. Harrowing because the response of the authorities seems so utterly out of proportion that one can’t help but wonder, Who’s next?

Ferguson is ripping the bandages off the racial wounds we thought were healing but instead are full of infection.

It is exposing the scabs of our failure to live up to the ideals put forth in our Declaration of Independence.

It is exposing the ongoing, deeply rooted structures of society that continue to feed and reinforce our prejudices.

It is exposing how, decades after desegregation, we we have self-segregated into neighborhoods and suburbs. Economic stagnation, family breakdown, and a drug culture are three strands of a noose with strangling force, suppressing people on the margins as the rest of society moves forward, blithely unaware of the realities faced by their fellow citizens across town.

Too many of us think: If we can just contain the problem, our way of life won’t be affected. Self-preservation and the support for our own way of life closes our ears to the cries around us.

But make no mistake. Privilege is real, and so is oppression. We live in the same country, in different worlds. The town of Ferguson is speaking up; this is the time to listen, and pray for justice.

Print Friendly
View Comments

Comments:


77 thoughts on “Ferguson is Ripping the Bandages off our Racial Wounds”

  1. What I saw last night via live streaming was awful. Why were the police blocking the road? Why were they running everyone out of McDonald’s, which I assume was behind the police barricade? What would have happened if they had just stood down and carried on normal police activities without posturing and yelling at people to turn off their cameras? Nothing happened before the police trying to make something happen, and a woman on camera (KARG feed) said the same thing happened when the QT burned. Everything was peaceful until the police tried to force submission. It’s abuse of power. I assume the police (maybe all civil authorities there) believe they must show how tough they are so the bad guys will go away. I believe they are creating bad guys instead.

  2. Duane Warren says:

    It is a horrific and sad situation in Ferguson. And when you put this along with all the other senseless acts of violence that occurred throughout the world on that day one gets a vivid picture of what the Bible calls lawlessness. And we know as the days become closer to the end of days, lawlessness will be as never before seen in this world. It is easy to get swept up in the emotional tidal wave surrounding this tragic event. It is easy to say our society is unraveling at the seems when it comes to racism. But it was never stable to begin with. These wounds are the wounds of sin and without EVERYBODY from all races coming to God for the answers and healing, it never will heal. And, knowing what Scripture tells us about the end days, it is unrealistic to believe a sinful world is going to exact any kind of godly justice when the fallen world is ungodly by nature. I’m troubled by our narrow American near sightedness. The whole world is unraveling as God begins to remove the restraints that have held evil and lawlessness back. I believe as Christians, we need to see the whole world, daily. Women are being stoned to death, men are getting their heads cut off, rape is occurring daily, young girls are being mutilated daily. Injustice is happening throughout the whole world. Every single day. And what is the focus of so many churches today? Homosexuality in the church. Are we as Christians going to point our fingers at the police? Are we going to blame gun laws? Are we going to blame the black young man, or white young man? Who are we going to hold accountable? Who is God going to hold accountable?

  3. Andy says:

    My son is going to be a cop. Not that, that has anything to do with anything I guess but, man, what an awful situation this is. So now we’ve got a bunch of guys, with guns, who if they don’t already really believe, now are really thinking they might not make it home to the wife and kids tonight. What an exceptionally dangerous situation to even get near to.

    Pretty interesting thread on this from a police forum:

    http://forums.officer.com/t195139/

    Pray for peace.

    1. Duane Warren says:

      Andy, I have a few friends who are police officers. It is an incredibly difficult profession in the times we are living in. The things they see and the the violence they have to confront routinely is completely lost on the general population. I understand that there are certainly some bad police officers out there, but for anyone who does not go to work everyday not knowing if they will return home, I think their “opinions” should be taken as salt. Even just pulling over someone for speeding is a potential dangerous situation today for a police officer. In so many situations, these men and women are instantly thrust in dangerous situations where reactions occur in the blink of an eye. I am grateful for and admire your son for entering this career. I will pray for peace along side you.

      1. Jonathan says:

        Duane, should we take the opinions of the veterans criticizing the Ferguson Police Department with a grain of salt as well?

        1. Phillip says:

          We should definitely pay attention when cops are criticizing other cops. That being said, I think their criticisms are fairly different from the general populace’s, who are depicting the Ferguson Police Department as murdering racists– if that’s a fair summary.

        2. Duane Warren says:

          Jonathan…..are you attempting to put words in my mouth. Quite frankly, and with no disrespect to the link you provided, absolutely. I work for the Department of Defense in Europe. I know the military speak, my friend. I did not say that everything was handled correctly. I know of men and women who serve and have served on the front lines of war. Ask them what their first week was like being shot at. Ask them how they reacted when they heard shots fired but did not know where it was coming from. There is a real world out there, Jonathan. With real people. Making great decisions at times, and making huge mistakes at times. I’m not sure what your point was in addressing me. But you can be assured, I speak from a military and civilian perspective. But, most importantly, from a Christian perspective.

          1. Cindy says:

            My complaint is that you can’t compare the “US Dept. of Defense” to ‘your’ place of employment, the “Dept of Defense in EUROPE” . Sorry, but that is NOT A FAIR comparison! I think majority of people would agree w/ me that the ‘living & lifestyles’, in the US are ALOT different then EUROPE!!

            1. Duane Warren says:

              I would be the first to agree with you, Cindy. I have been in Europe for 3 years. 48 years of my life were lived in the the great state of Michigan (Go Blue!). Whether serving in the U.S. Dept. of Defense in the United States, or serving for the U.S. Dept. of Defense in Europe, it is the same U.S. Dept. of Defense. So I will need to stand my ground with what my response was that you felt inclined to respond to. My decision to come to Europe was because I believe with my very being that this is where God has lead me to serve. To serve His Kingdom first and foremost. And to serve the military men and women of my great nation….The United States.

              1. Cindy says:

                well…? .. ? …. when you state it as a ‘military’ commitment rather then a ‘personal’ commitment I have ALOT more sympathy for you and a much broader view >:)’ Thank you Duane Sooo, how do you like Europe? My mother is from Holland :)

      2. buddyglass says:

        …for anyone who does not go to work everyday not knowing if they will return home…

        FYI, that’s all of us. I could get hit by a bus on the way to my office job.

        1. Duane Warren says:

          Be for real buddyglass.

        2. Andy says:

          “FYI, that’s all of us. I could get hit by a bus on the way to my office job.”

          Lol. Are you seriously comparing your harrowing journey to the office to the danger a police officer faces on daily basis?

          1. buddyglass says:

            Yes. In the sense that none of us knows how much time he’s given. The standard put forth was “going to work each day and not knowing if you’ll make it home.” Well, that’s me. And you. And all of us.

            For what it’s worth, law enforcement only barely cracks the top ten among deadliest professions in the U.S. Roofers, garbage men and long haul truckers have more hazardous jobs.

            1. Duane Warren says:

              There is quite a difference between an accidental death due to an occupational hazard and having someone shoot at you while trying to do your job. Buddyglass, the problem you seem to have is one of pride. The inability to concede. An unteachable spirit believing that you have all the answers. If only all of could be as enlightened as one such as yourself. I’ll be sure to recognize the heroics of our dedicated roofers, garbage men and long haul truckers as they go out each day to perform their jobs. At least this thread has kept you occupied.

              1. buddyglass says:

                If you’re dead you’re dead, whether by gunshot or from falling off a roof.

    2. Rory Tyer says:

      I encourage everyone reading this thread to go to that forum and slowly digest the very first post. If that doesn’t expose to you some of the issues here – a lack of empathy, an oversimplification of the events here, a lack of understanding of why some people are trying to draw attention to this, etc. – then you need to read it again, more slowly.

      Or, you could scroll down the thread a bit, and find another police officer who responds at length and makes some of these same points. Point is, yes, law enforcement is difficult, and yes, they should be able to defend themselves, and no, nobody not in law enforcement should assume they can do their job better; but THAT IS NOT WHAT THIS SITUATION IS ABOUT. This is about excessive force as a follow-up to a situation that was, regardless of what originally happened, very botched. No matter what happened just before Michael Brown was shot, somebody majorly screwed up and are continuing to screw up as long as they refuse to release details and evidence.

      1. Andy says:

        @Rory

        Yes. It’s really something to contrast that first post to a few others isn’t it? It’s absolutely wrong but I get that kind of jadedness.

        @Duane

        Thank you. It is such an incredibly difficult and complicated situation. We had an officer shot and killed in our area a few weeks on a simple traffic stop.

  4. John Doe says:

    This was a wonderful piece of white guilt. It’s amazing no one mentions the astronomical amount of black on white violence. Stick to the discussion on Reformed theology and leave the condescending white guilt to another site.

    1. My name is David Drake, I live in Wyoming Michigan…my phone number is 616.443.1215 and my email is [email protected].

      I tell you that so that you see that I unlike you am not an anonymous coward. Let me be clear, if what you see in the murder of a young man of color is “white guilt” and lack compassion there is probably a good reason. Its is because you are a racist and you are either convicted (should you actually have the Holy Spirit in you, or your unregenerate soul is angry at the truth…) Either way more theology will do you little good until you comprehend this: The character of God is Just and graceful, the Son of God is the only hope for all sinners (including a murder victim and a racist) and his plan is to make one people of many, but he did not apparently envision a colorless world (Rev 5:7) at this point you need to worry less about Trevin’s articles and grab your Bible, hit your knees and beg God to heal your heart. Rest assured I say that without judgement, I am just a hungry beggar telling you that Jesus in the bread and your comment revels you have not eaten lately.

      David

      1. Johl says:

        David S. Drake. You are the hero of today! Seriously.

        1. Duane Warren says:

          Is it any wonder the visible church is seen the way it is by the world today.

      2. Duane Warren says:

        David S. Drake. Are you really a Pastor? It is fruitless to attempt to disguise your judgement presented in your response to John Doe. Concluding your response with, “I am just a hungry beggar” is a failed attempt to present yourself as humble. If truth be told, it is likely that you are in need of a little “bread” yourself. Is this how you evangelize? Is this how you approach your neighbor who may think differently than you? I appeal to you as a fellow Christian, take captive every thought and make it obedient to God. Are you really a Pastor?

      3. Peter Mahoney says:

        Pastor David, from one pastor to another… thank you for speaking the truth in love and for pointing to Christ!!!

        1. Duane Warren says:

          I thank God that not all who profess to be Pastors truly are.

          1. buddyglass says:

            Seems like it would be grounds for thanking God if all who professed to be pastors actually were pastors. Not the reverse.

    2. David says:

      John Doe, our theology should shape how we view and then engage in what is happening around us. What we claim to be true about God, man and this broken world is useless if we don’t look at our broken world and hope for and work for something better. That should be the case no matter where you stand on the subject.

    3. Matthew Hodges says:

      Bold statement from someone who hides behind “John Doe”. It’s amazing no one mentions the astronomical amount of violence in the world since the fall. It’s amazing no one mentions the astronomical amount of arrogance that Reformed theology can produce in an individual. Trevin’s statement applies to the bold John Doe “Too many of us think: If we can just contain the problem, our way of life won’t be affected. Self-preservation and the support for our own way of life closes our ears to the cries around us.” Open your ears John Doe

    4. Mathew says:

      I agree with you (John Doe) but would like to add something else, leave Missouri alone we will clean our own house, we didn’t ask for your opinion and do not need it. If you have a real problem with it why don’t you pack your bags and go live there. Oh no your not going to leave your safe neighborhood with your wife and kids to live in a CRIME RIDDEN neighborhood. Too many are chair quaterbacks, expected a lot better from TGC.

  5. SharonB says:

    “It is exposing how, decades after desegregation, we we have self-segregated into neighborhoods and suburbs. Economic stagnation, family breakdown, and a drug culture are three strands of a noose with strangling force, suppressing people on the margins as the rest of society move forward, blithely unaware of the realities faced by their fellow citizens across town.”

    One area we often overlook is the segregation of our churches. I continue to believe that healing will not happen in society until we as believers begin to embrace one another as brothers and sister in Christ regardless of race, social or economic status.

  6. Jason says:

    It appears that The Gospel Coalition is, again, looking to pour emotive gasoline on an already horrific matter.

    It would be better to not lay innuendo on a matter that is anything but clear at this point. If the police officer was injured, then there is no way that they original narrative regarding the killing of Michael Brown is correct, that is, the catalyst for this entire event – which is assumed in the above piece – may only be a fabrication used by those who would wield Guy Fawkes masks.

    Many, many police actions all over the country have been tremendously over-reactive and unjust. And it is important that we point that out, from a biblical and civic standpoint. But participating in a convenient lie to make a point will make nothing better. Nothing.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2014/08/13/officer-in-ferguson-shooting-was-injured.html

    1. Rory Tyer says:

      The only thing convenient here is how smugly authoritative your comment seems, with its linked reference, until you click the reference and realize that The Daily Beast is simply repeating the official police story about what happened. This is interesting, because:
      – this story has yet to be officially verified
      – the police are still not releasing actual details, footage, audio, or investigation proceedings
      – this story is contradicted by multiple eyewitnesses, since this took place in broad daylight in front of a full apartment building, after which the man’s body lay in the street for several hours

      The only convenient lie here is the idea that articles like this are simply drumming up emotive gasoline. Keep the trolling via uninformed sources elsewhere.

      1. Jason says:

        I have no idea what that crabby response was about, but if unverified tesitmonies are at issue, then that should bite both ways. That appears to be none of your concern. Why?

        Verifying this will be easy, right? You would rather go with the testimony of those who want to inflame this matter and wreck the town? Why believe those people over the other?

        You don’t release details of an investigation until an investigation is completed. Do you not know this?

        The proto-anarchists and thieves would gladly kill the man if they could find him. Perhaps, allowing this to happen would show good faith, in your opinion?

        So, again, just so that I understand, the testimony of those who catalyzed the theft and destruction of a town is to be taken as absolute truth, but the police commissioner, who would be held accountable for lying and falsifying this report in light of the endlessly flammable nature of this matter, and the local television station are “uninformed sources”? In what universe – other than the one which wants to condemn before the facts are known – does that make any sense?

    2. Injuring a police officer which would be a terrible crime, does not necessitate the removal of due process and the carrying out of a death sentence without a trial. This is after all America, and even those who commit crimes have certain rights. This kid was shot eight times most of the shots to his back when his hands were raised.

    3. K says:

      Ignoring situations doesn’t make them go away and neither does addressing them (by the grace of God) feed a frenzy. What I read, didn’t point fingers to any side. They simply spoke of justice while admitting no allegiance to either the officer’s account or the witness accounts. Perhaps it was your own prejudices that you were hearing? I simply pose the question for that is surely not something I can answer. However, I do know how situations such as these tend to bring us face to face with our own imperfections and need for God and His love. In the past, these cases have done that for me so I am offering that in hopes that we can continue to see where we stand with this because this type of division is prevalent in the church as it is in the world.

    4. buddyglass says:

      Sustaining an injury doesn’t confer the right to gun down one’s attacker after he has been subdued. The rightness or wrongness of the officer’s actions hinge entirely on whose version of the story is accurate. If Brown was shot in the midst of a scuffle in which he was going for the officer’s gun then that’s one thing. If he was kneeling on the ground, unarmed, with his hands in the air, then that’s another.

  7. Heina says:

    I’m an atheist who came to this post by way of a Christian friend, and I must say that I agree with the sentiments behind this post and consider all those fighting for justice to be my allies, no matter what their spiritual views.

  8. Sara says:

    Trevin, I am a White mom of an adopted son of color and I deeply appreciate your story. Having a son of color rips the facade off of the notion that racism is part of the past. The place where we as a family have received the most love and support has been our local church. I cannot thank God enough for providing us with a body of believers who follow the Bible’s teaching on the dignity and worth of all. As a mom stories like Ferguson terrify me. I can teach my son how to appropriately speak to cops and others and far too often being polite and respectful does not protect our boys. If readers are not aware, take a quick look at the young Black man shot by cops in Walmart because he was holding a toy gun he was considering buying. Do I now need to teach my son to never purchase a toy gun out of fear he may be shot? These are the realities we face. As Christians we have the power of the Holy Spirit to pursue and lead in the area of racial reconciliation. Thank You Trevin & the Gospel Coalition for being part of shining a Gospel light on the realities faced by our children.

  9. Jess Jessup says:

    There are racial issues at work there, but you didn’t touch on them. Why are so quick to quote “witnesses” when so little is known and whatever investigating should be taking place has been overrun by race-baiting, looting and riot? Not your wisest contribution.

  10. Dave Blok says:

    Thanks Trevin. I am shocked and sickened by the negative response by fellow evangelicals to your expression of concern for this situation. Love of neighbor and its intersection with race is something we need to be talking about. Keep it up!

  11. Debora Braun says:

    “And though not all of the details of the altercation are clear (and we shouldn’t confuse rushing to judgment with enacting justice), the protests and calls for transparency are certainly understandable.”
    Are you seriously suggesting that the protests of looting, burning and going on a city wide rampage are understandable? The harm done to innocent people, business owners and law enforcement personnel is understandable; really!
    Why are you writing this inflammatory piece before any of the facts have been made clear? This is irresponsible journalism and as the mother of a LEO I find it not only unnecessary and untimely, but divisive and dangerous!
    I can’t believe this came out of The Gospel Coalition! I don’t have words to express how hurt and disappointed I am over this.
    If you had waited for more facts and found out that the LEO had in fact shot an innocent teenager then you absolutely should take a very strong stand against the abuse and call for a murder trial to be in order, but to write this, at this time, in this way is just sensational and fleshly. There was nothing said to promote the gospel or glorify Christ in this piece; only yourself.

    1. Again, even if he were not innocent he is entitled to due process… Looting is wrong, protesting is not…and they are not the same thing.

    2. Marcus Tyler says:

      A man is dead. An 18 year old man, with his life ahead of him, is dead. This is a very shady situation, and sorry but there has been a history of police aggression against black individuals. Look at Oscar Grant in 2009. Look at Eric Garner. Look at Ezell Ford.

      Rioting is wrong, absolutely, but that happened just a bit and has by and large ceased. But for you to post in such a way to lead one to believe that the *real* crime and tragedy is damaged property, and not the loss of life? Astounding.

      I’m not calling you an unbeliever, but this is a well-needed and beautiful post that Trevin made. Understand, these incidents *shatter* the communities they take place in. Families and friends of the victim are left torn apart, broken, devastated, but still here while their loved one isn’t. Those in the community at large feel anger, rage, bitterness – justified, yes, but it gives rise to dark seeds of hatred and bitterness that take SO long to get rid of. As believers that are *biblically mandated* to seek the good of our communities and betterment of our neighbours, we are OBLIGATED to speak out and intervene when injustice occurs. Trevin is absolutely right *and biblical* in posting this article, and I am so proud of The Gospel Coalition that it was posted. Thank you, Trevin.

      Also, you are a mother of a police officer: that’s fine. I admire the police, I do. I’ve, numerous times, stopped police officers on my daily errands to thank them for the work they do, and I’m not lying when I say that to them. But understand: the police are not the victims here. A man is dead, and his family is left to grieve. The mother of Michael, that worked so hard to get him through high school and on the road to a good path in life, a road that so many young black men do not make it to, is left to grieve with a giant hole in her heart for the rest of her life. Imagine if it was your son. Picture it, right now. Now, when you feel that gigantic stab of pain in your heart at the mere *thought* of it, understand that that is what Michael’s mother will be feeling every moment of every day until she dies. Have some empathy. Anyways, the police are not the victim. Even if in the WORST CASE SCENARIO, the officer involved in the shooting is fired, charged, convicted, spends time in prison, and lives the rest of his life with a criminal record, he will still be alive. He will get up in the morning. He will see the sun rise and the sun set. He will see his kids grow up and get married. He still gets all that. Michael doesn’t, it was stolen from him.

      I will not call you an unbeliever as I do not know the state of your heart. But I am so saddened by the coldness of your post and your seeming lack of sympathy for those that are hurting, seeming only to care that some pieces of property were damaged one night a few days ago – which, while absolutely being worthy of condemnation, is not anywhere close to the real issue here or a legitimate cause of outrage over and above what happened to Michael Brown.

      God bless you, and I will pray for God to bless you in your walk with Jesus and in your life and also your son’s life and journey.

      1. Marcus Tyler says:

        Forgot to mention – even if it turns out that the officer acted fully within the bounds of the law and has been unfairly vilified and his character has been damaged in the eyes of the public, he’s still not the ultimate victim here. The ultimate victim is the dead person and his family. Michael Brown is dead, the officer isn’t. These facts will not change.

        1. buddyglass says:

          I was with you until this addition. If the officer acted fully within the bounds of the law and ends up suffering for it then he’s a victim. Also, if he acted lawfully then Brown should probably not be considered a victim insofar as he was the agent of his own demise. If the cop’s version of events is true then Brown essentially committed “suicide by cop”. Brown’s family clearly suffers for his loss, and I’m in no way mitigating their grief, but if the cop’s version of events is accurate then they’re victims of Brown himself.

          1. Marcus Tyler says:

            Fair point of view. I’m willing to admit when I’m mistaken. I will definitely consider your post. Thanks for posting it :)

      2. Debora Braun says:

        Marcus where did I say that the real crime and tragedy is damaged property and not the loss of life? I was taking issue with the fact that Mr. Wax was putting his stamp of approval on the protests that were not peaceful but violent and did great harm to the victims of it. If you disagree with my post that’s fine, but you don’t have a right to twist my words into meaning something I never meant nor said. I do sympathize with the family of Michael Brown and with the people of Ferguson. I am grieved over the racial tensions in our country and horrified that there are abuses in our country.
        My post was in regards to what I feel is an untimely and inflammatory article that did nothing to promote the cause of Christ or, to bring unity in Ferguson or the country, but made many assumptions based on too little facts and credible information. Just look how it made you jump down my throat over things I never said or implied. My post was never meant to be my comprehensive opinion on what happened there or on race relations in our country. Just because I didn’t express my sorrow doesn’t mean I don’t feel any. I reserved my comments to be about the article and not the people involved or events, as I nor you or anyone at the time knew the facts, and I stand by every word I wrote.
        You so very conveniently forgot to mention my comments about the how I believed if the LEO was found to have shot Michael Brown without cause then he should be tried for murder.
        Your response to my post is very dishonest, as you pick and choose which parts to respond to and even those you try to make me say things I was not saying.
        And lastly I think it is self-righteous of you to question my faith because you disagree with my post. You don’t know me or anything about me but you wag your finger in my face because we disagree. God opposes the proud but grace to the humble.

        1. I did not seek to question your faith, I was pointing out that the tone and content of your post conveyed outrage over property damage and saying it’s “too soon” to post about this. Why is it too soon? And I never meant to misinterpret your words, and I say that honestly, and if that’s what I’ve done I apologize.

          But here’s the thing: please, in the future, be more aware of how your posts will come off and sound to those reading them.

          But I am very happy that you do feel grief and sympathy with Brown and his family. I will say this: I was absolutely mistaken in implying (either intentionally or unintentionally) that you felt no grief or sympathy. I am glad that you are grieving with those who grieve, and I do believe that that is absolutely Christlike of you.

          However, I also stand by my post too, minus the minor parts where I made statements or implications about your character or argument. There is a crisis where black men are disproportionately targeted and treated aggressively by police. The police are not the victims here, and property damage is the least of our concerns here.

          So basically, I hope this clears things up. I certainly didn’t mean to imply you were a nonbeliever, but that’s how it came off, and when I reread my post, it had already been posted and I wasn’t sure if I should post another one clarifying what I meant. Regardless, it’s my mistake.

          So let our exchange, I suppose, be proof that not *all* Internet comment threads have to end with people screaming at each other :P (as usually happens in lots of places on the Internet!)

          Grace and peace to you, Mrs. Braun.

          1. Also, because I reread it and realized it may not come off and should be outright stated: I’m sorry for being a jerk in implying things about your faith, character and argument. I should have been more levelheaded in addressing your post. While I do stand by the arguments made in my post that don’t involve your character, faith, or argument, I apologize for the bits that weren’t warranted.

  12. Melissa says:

    I have greatly enjoyed many of your articles, but I have to admit being disturbed by this one. As a member of a bi-racial family, I am greatly concerned about racial issues in America and am very much aware of the grievous history of racial injustice in this country. I lay awake last night thinking about the terrible strife in Ferguson and woke this morning with it heavy on my heart. With that being said, your article strikes me as lacking in wisdom in a time when wisdom is desperately needed.

    The reason I say that is because in reading your article, I felt that it strongly implied that you have made the assumption that the shooting took place because the officer was white and the young man was black. You seem to be connecting all the racial wrongs of the past with the decision the police officer made in this terrible situation. I think we can all agree that racism and bigotry are grievous sins that still occur on a regular basis, but we do not know that any of those issues were at play in this particular shooting. Could they be? Certainly, but the fact is that we do not yet know! You say we shouldn’t confuse rushing to judgment with enacting justice, but the tone of your article definitely sounds as though you have already concluded that the police are the ones in the wrong. What’s more, you have neglected even to mention the outrageous criminal activity taking place in Ferguson in response to the premature assumption of wrongdoing.

    I have great respect for our police and believe we are lavishly blessed to have such protection available in this country. You say the police response seems out of proportion, but I would be interested to know what form of protection you believe those police officers should do without in this particular scenario. Are you aware that a member of the New Black Panther Party has informed the protestors, “This is the hour all the greats promised. If you die, die like a warrior. I’ll see you on the ground.”? I shudder to think what would happen if the people on the streets took his advice. “Who’s next?” is certainly a fitting question to ask, but not in the way that you have posed it where you seem to be intimating that the police are the ones out to inflict violence on the innocent.

    I can’t imagine being in the shoes of these police officers trying to keep the peace night after night in such a violent atmosphere, nor can I imagine the fear that their family members are enduring. I am well aware that carrying a badge does not guarantee that someone is not a racist, but that officer’s willingness to put his life on the line on a daily basis should at least guarantee that we give him the benefit of the doubt until the facts prove otherwise.
    The flames of controversy regarding this issue are already burning out of control across the nation, and I simply cannot see how your article benefits anyone. You can write pieces all day long about the importance of Christians tearing down the walls of segregation, repenting of racism, pursuing justice, etc., and I’ll be the first to applaud and share your thoughts. But because your article clearly implies that racism and oppression are the causes of this particular tragedy in Ferguson, a charge which does not yet have evidence to support it, I must voice my disapproval and ask you to prayerfully consider revising it to avoid these errors.

    1. Debora Braun says:

      Thank you Melissa for such a through and thoughtful response. You said exactly what I have been thinking since reading this piece. My youngest son is a police officer and he is so dedicated to serving his community. It hurts me to see such disdain for LEOs everywhere. I know there are some bad ones out there but most of them love their families and their communities and want their kids to grow up in a safe neighborhood. Thank you!

    2. Brenda says:

      Well said Melissa.

    3. May Brian says:

      I agree with you, Melissa. Have you considered becoming a journalist? We could use a blogger like you in this universe. As a “white” I don’t think racism is dead. I don’t think the Trayvon Martin case was isolated. If I naively thought it was something of the past, the election of Barack Obama has cleared this up for me. Yes, we elected him, but I have never seen a president so vilified by his opponents. There is jealousy on both sides of the black/white issue. We need to get rid of the jealousy and bigotry and then maybe we can make a change.

  13. Duane Warren says:

    This conversation has certainly taken a lot of twists and turns. I would suggest that if have not yet prayed about this situation – and you all know whether truthfully you have or not, perhaps you should. There are horrendous crimes committed against black men and women by white men and women, and there are horrendous crimes committed against white men and women by black men and women. Spewing thoughts without first seeking the counsel of God, without first examining your own heart is nothing but noise. There is enough noise out there. What are you doing to heal racism in your community? The senseless violence we see everywhere in the world is not going to get better. It has already been spoken of by Jesus himself. What we can do is pray for our police officers, pray for our neighborhoods, pray for peace, but most of all reach out to all of them. Love our neighbors. God didn’t say Love them only if they do everything right. Love them only if they are the same color as you. Love them only if they think like you do. He says to love them. So love them. And stop giving a meaningless lip service to prayer. Pray fervently…..painfully…..with everything in you. Then, maybe we just might see a glimmer of hope in the darkness of lawlessness.

  14. Jeremy says:

    All the stereotypes, institutional racism, fear, etc. that you say exists now on blacks was just as bad on Asians in this country 100 years ago. But that fear and the stereotypes went away. Why did they go away? Because over time, they were proven not to be true. The stereotypes and fear simply will not last very long in the face of obvious facts to the contrary.

    Why are people still afraid of blacks? Simply put: because they should be. The stereotypes persist because they are true. The black community is 100% in control of its fate. Let them get their violence in-line with the rest of society for a decade or so, and THEN I might listen to a complaint. But as long as there are 40 dead whites (at the hand of blacks), for every single black killed by whites, then all their hollering will fall on deaf ears.

    1. John Doe says:

      David S Drake going to let you have it. Be ready.

      1. Jeremy says:

        That’s okay. He has the luxury of not being anonymous, because he won’t lose his job or church for following the established narrative.

        I’m more than willing to lose those things for the sake of speaking truth to power, but not over a post on the internet. If I’m going to lose something, it would have to be something that really counted.

    2. Brenda says:

      There is much truth to what you say Jeremy. The looting, rioting, and burning testify to why our fear of the black community persists.

  15. Y. Solomon says:

    Thank you for writing this.

  16. Josh H says:

    I do not disagree with anything in this post, but I would say this… Please keep in mind the larger context. What happened last night was after four nights of looting, burning (a convenience store to the ground), and random shooting. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the officer who shot the young man was taken to the hospital with injuries to his face, presumably incurred from the young man who was killed. Even the police actions of last night, while excessive, were not unprovoked. To call it a “peaceful protest” (as many have) is being very generous. Also, the right to assemble in this country does not include the right to block public streets. The police have a duty to clear the streets. I say all that to say this, there is plenty of fault to go around. Please be wary of those in the media who present only one side of the story.

  17. Will says:

    Let us pray for all involved. Let us also not draw conclusions about facts that none of us really know. I am deeply saddened by the tone of this article already condemning the officer. If what the police narrative is correct, then the officer had the right to defend himself. Officers are taught to shoot if their lives are in danger. If the officer shot an innocent man, then he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
    Let us be sure not to make judgements based off of the news accounts. They are often wrong.

    However, the article is correct about how racial issues have continued. My prayer for my brothers and sisters in Christ in the black community is that they can lead men back to their homes, that drugs would disappear from their communities, and we as a people in God would be fully united like we will be in heaven.

    1. buddyglass says:

      Let us be sure not to make judgements based off of the news accounts. They are often wrong.

      As are the first-hand accounts of those guilty of having committed crimes. I’m not saying the officer is guilty or that his version of events isn’t the truth. I’m saying that if the alternate version were true, in which the officer committed murder, I wouldn’t expect him to admit to it. I’d expect him to invent a scenario in which his weapon was fired justifiably in self-defense.

      Bottom line: we just don’t know what happened. Unfortunately, we may never know what happened unless either the officer confesses or more eye witnesses are found that corroborate one man’s story over the other.

  18. Alan Davis says:

    If you loot and steal and destroy private property you are a criminal not a protester. Some people are only looking for a reason to loot and steal their neighbors stuff, its called sin. Do not justify the criminals doing this in anyway. Also Trevon you may not have your facts straight or have many facts at all yet.

    1. buddyglass says:

      Where did the author excuse looting?

  19. Debbie Brandenburg says:

    This article and the “peaceful protest” shown last night, are not the whole story. I know, because I live in St Louis, and have lived closed to that area of Ferguson for 28 years. Compare the St LouisPost Dispatch story with the “reddit.com live feed” since Sunday, and the interactive map of rioting, and you will see an entirely different scenerio. There was a reason the Ferguson police were in riot gear. And some of the “stories” of arrest were purposely staged to get publicity. Not saying that everything the police did was right, but before you buy the public media’s version of the story, do some fact checking (it is kindof like how Christians have been maligned in the media)

    Praying for healing and forgiveness for our community. We NEED Christ.

  20. Earl says:

    Get ready for more of this. Because of liberal social and economic policies, America is becoming a third-world country. All the looting and destruction we’ve seen on TV will become more and more a part of our lives. The “entitlement” society has little moral responsibility for anything. Think twice before you criticize the “thin blue line” that is protecting us from these hoodlums. It’s probably safer in Gaza than in many American cities—especially the ones run by Al Sharpton’s cronies.

    1. buddyglass says:

      America is becoming a third-world country.

      Have data to back that up?

      It’s probably safer in Gaza than in many American cities

      Nope. Murder rate in Detroit, the worst in the U.S., is about 55 per year per 100k population. So far in 2014 there have been around 1500 deaths in Gaza out of a population of 1.8 million, which comes out to about 83 per 100k. That doesn’t count Gazan on Gazan crime. Note too that I’m using Detroit, which is the absolute worst among American cities. Los Angeles has a murder rate of 7.8 per year per 100k.

      1. Duane Warren says:

        You are clueless buddyglass. You speak from such a narrow view of the world. Stroll down the streets of Gaza, any street, and I can assure you that your heart will be exceedingly glad when you get out of there. Send your wife and children, if you have them, down the streets of Gaza. See if you ever see them again. You have never walked and breathed a witnessed evil….real evil. Your perspective of this world is grossly skewed by your inability to seek understanding beyond your own limited abilities. Your comments would be comical if they weren’t so insulting to those who suffer every single day.

        1. buddyglass says:

          I think you misunderstood what I wrote. Earl suggested it’s probably safer in Gaza than in “many American cities”. I chose the least safe American city, Detroit, and produced stats that suggest it is still significantly safer than Gaza. At least, safer than Gaza when Israel is bombing it. So (at the moment) I agree with you that Gaza is extremely un-safe.

  21. Jeremy says:

    Here is the poor, defenseless, unarmed child (who happens to be 6’4 and just finished roughing up a store manager before attacking a cop)
    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/crime/michael-brown-strong-arm-robbery-657032

    1. buddyglass says:

      Nobody said he was a poor, defenseless, unarmed child. Though he apparently was unarmed. If Johnson’s version of events is accurate (which seems unlikely) then he was also in a defenseless position when he was shot.

  22. Earl says:

    Yes, the truth has come out. Brown is just another hoodlum who robbed a store of cigars, which are commonly used as drug paraphernalia. His accomplice who has been stirring up protests now has no credibility as a witness. Just like Travon Martin, this kid (criminal) is no angel. Of course, the left has gone beserk now that this information has come out. The NAACP will use this incident to stir up racism and incite blacks to commit more crimes. This is all the NAACP is good for. They are just a tool of the left wing Democrat Party, always opposing good, conservative Christian candidates for office.

  23. Earl says:

    Buddyglass, you need to get your head out of the sand and recognize reality. Obama’s policies are turning America into a crime-ridden third world country. Civilized society will erventually have to live in locked, gated communities protected by police. It is no longer safe to be in any large city, and even in rural areas where there are a lot of minorities. The crime statistics bear this out. The police understand this from first hand experience. You can’t argue with facts.

    1. buddyglass says:

      The crime statistics bear this out. […] You can’t argue with facts.

      The facts don’t support your narrative. The rate at which violent crimes are being committed has dropped every year Obama has been in office. Even if it had increased the rate would still be significantly lower than when Reagan was in office.

      http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/crime-in-the-u.s.-2012/tables/1tabledatadecoverviewpdf/table_1_crime_in_the_united_states_by_volume_and_rate_per_100000_inhabitants_1993-2012.xls

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Trevin Wax


​Trevin Wax is managing editor of The Gospel Project at LifeWay Christian Resources, husband to Corina, father to Timothy, Julia, and David. You can follow him on Twitter. Click here for Trevin’s full bio.

Trevin Wax's Books