Both a vital and well written article by Jim Wallis of Sojourners Ministry
I was in Ferguson Wednesday when it happened: In a morally stunning decision, a Staten Island grand jury announced it would not bring criminal charges against a white police officer who choked a black man to death during a brutal incident last July. Stopped for allegedly selling some loose and therefore untaxed cigarettes, officer Daniel Pantaleo put a “chokehold” on Eric Garner, despite the fact that the move is against NYPD rules. Video of the incident shows Garner uttering his last words, “I can’t breathe.” New York’s medical examiner officially called this a “homicide,” but the grand jury said no charges will be made.
Of course, this comes just 10 days after the Ferguson grand jury decision not to indict another white police officer, Darren Wilson, for fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown on Aug. 9. Sojourners had convened a retreat in Ferguson for both national faith leaders and local pastors to look deeply at the historical and theological foundations of the Ferguson events and reflect upon how the church must respond.
I agree, America has a problem. What I don’t know is the answer, outside of the Gospel message, to this problem. I’m not even sure if the problem is relatively new, as in it had dissipated and has reared it’s ugly head again, or if it was always there, under the surface. Personally I believe in most areas of the country it’s a little of both: we’ve always had a minority of racists, but over the last 6-7 years that minority has grown substantially.
Last evening I was remembering back to days after the 2008 election. To a town meeting which ended up being televised nation-wide. Perhaps you recall it and the incident with the lady in attendance who was weeping. When the microphone was placed in front of her and she was asked, why all the tears, she wailed “I want my country back!!”.
I’ve never forgotten that. After Obama’s election there were many like this lady; people who believed because a ‘black man’ was going to be occupying the most important office in America, “they had lost their country”. That town hall clip went viral.
For me, that was the beginning. That lady represented the voices and/or thoughts of millions in this country that night. Since then it has only grown worse.
Yes, “we” have a problem. And if anyone believes that when our current president steps out of the office of President of the United States, and most-likely, another “white” man (or woman) steps in to take his place, things will improve, you are kidding yourself.
Pandora’s box was opened and the ghostly evils inside escaped into this nations atmosphere.
We can only pray the last item found at the bottom of this Pandora’s box, will be the same thing found at the bottom of the one depicted in the Greek myth: Hope.
There is much more I’d like to say, but…..