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I knew I needed to write a blog about this. But…how? I mean, what has not been said already? And what is controversial here? Who defends the practice of what happened to George Floyd? I think no one. And by “no one,” I realize there is some warped person who would try to defend it…but surely there cannot be many?
Still, the church needs to lead with moral clarity. While it is true that God has ordained the State to “carry the sword,” it is equally true that he judges all equally for violence and murder. The State does not have moral autonomy. It is accountable (to whom or Whom is the question). I think in moments like this we sense that this is true. Moral outrage has a way of challenging our areas of moral fuzziness. There will be prosecutions. There will be new procedures, new training processes. Hopefully there will be a new awareness.
But I think the rage or recent days is not really about procedure and training. What bothers us most is that we produce public servants who casually commit such acts. Additionally, we imagine reasons why individuals (who make up the system) justify such behavior in their minds. The fact is, the officer’s internal justification for his actions likely involved a complex of fallen, sinful ideas. One of those ideas we imagine is racism. We imagine this, not because we can possibly know the mind of the officer, but because of a pattern we can see in our society (if you can’t see it you can stop reading this article).
For the many ways this brief blog can go, I will just stop to articulate something that should be so basic it should never need to be mentioned: prejudice and Christianity are entirely incompatible. Jesus gravitated to those rejected by his own people. In time, Greeks came seeking him. His movement was crafted to be universal, cross cultural, and racially unifying. To hold a prejudicial thought about others is to slide from the template and model Jesus left for us. And if the world senses prejudice in us, the find reason to dismiss us and our Gospel as a relic of the unenlightened past.
In conversations we may have about recent events, let’s not immediately slide to a discussion about the violence at protests. Those events are irrelevant to the real issue, and changing the subject gives the impression that we as Christians are less than concerned about the black community. Instead, we should be glad that our culture is having a moment of moral clarity and seeing a moral imperative against prejudice. Anytime our culture affirms a moral absolute (as it seems to be doing now), they wander into the realm of the Gospel. The Gospel points mankind to the gracious lawgiver who best understands our deficiencies and needs. This is a moment to hurt with those pained by our sinful circumstances, and affirm for them the Christ whose Gospel alone will eliminate prejudice.