Friday, July 8, 2016

Divided We Fall

Just after I posted yesterday about the police killings of two Black men, calling for people to pray, speak up for the oppressed, and listen to each other, four gunmen targeted, shot at least 12 uniformed police officers, and killed 5 of them. I am horrified. I am shaken. This morning my older daughter said, "It's like we're on the brink of a civil war!"

Civil. War.

That is what it feels like. And not just about this issue (police violence toward Black men), but across the board! The political scene is peopled by candidates that express only the very far Right and the very far Left positions. The statements being made by Donald Trump are hate-filled and inflammatory. Hilary Clinton supports late-term abortions, is being investigated by the State Department following an FBI investigation that brought evidence but no charges. And these are only a few of the objectionable characteristics that many people, even their supporters, find in each of these candidates. Social Media is filled with hateful statements on both sides of every issue. People aren't even civil in their disagreement... they don't even consider that the "other side" might have some truth in it.

Our nation is more divided than I have seen it in my lifetime. We can't even seem to agree on what the statistics are, let alone what the statistics say. Wealth is more concentrated than it has been for decades. (More information here.) Home ownership is down; rental rates are up. (More information here.)

So what?

Divided we fall.  That's what.

Abraham Lincoln and the book of Mark (3:25) agree on that. Divided we fall. Our country has stood strong for 240 years. The Civil War of 1861-1865 was fought to maintain unity, among other goals. We have joined the world fighting against oppression in two great wars. United we stand.

Divided we fall.

And so I risk angering people who support my stand against the oppression of minorities by calling the slaughter of police officers evil. I truly believe that the majority of Americans do not want violence of any kind. Not toward Blacks. Not toward Police Officers. Not toward the LGBT community. Not toward anyone.

It is morally outrageous for people to target the men and women in uniform who are doing their jobs. The Bible directs its followers to respect the authority of government (Romans 13:1). Some on the far Left would use Corrie ten Boom as an example of a time when it's appropriate to disrespect governing authority because it is immoral, but I believe that the institutional racism that has led to so many police shootings of Black men is not conscious. I truly cannot believe that it is stated government policy anywhere in the US to seek out Black men for assassination. Therefore, we must fight against racism, not against the police.

I believe in the American people's morality. If we can make the case that racism exists and is detrimental to persons of color in our society, the majority will support the change that is necessary. I understand this is slow and painstaking work, but I believe that it is essential.

If we rely on violence to "change things," all it will beget is more division... and...

Divided we fall.

I absolutely understand and share the anger of our citizens regarding violence toward Black men. I just as strongly and absolutely understand and share the anger of our citizens regarding violence toward Police Officers.
Americans, we are better than this. Let's UNITE against all forms of violence. Let's STAND for the oppressed, but without violence.

Again, I ask Christians to give serious consideration to the cause of American minorities. I ask you to pray for the victims of violence. I ask you to pray for the perpetrators of violence. I ask you to speak up in UNITY, not in DIVISION because

Divided we fall. All of us.

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