As discussed in a prior post, the grand jury decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson after the shooting death of Michael Brown has generated outrage and debate across the country. Several Religious Right figures have weighed in on the grand jury decision, and I'd like to highlight a few of their responses.
First, Cindy Jacobs, a New Apostolic Reformation preacher with a history of bizarre and racially awkward comments, posted a surprisingly sensitive commentary piece after the grand jury decision. In a November 26th post at the Generals International website, Cindy Jacobs claimed that members of the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders had several "dreams and visions" of riots in American cities, suggesting that they had supernatural premonitions of the Ferguson riots. Amidst her strange claims, however, was sympathy for all parties involved in the Brown case and a call for racial justice. "We are Americans and one nation under God, indivisible!" she wrote. "Every single American matters."
"As I reflect in prayer on the situation, my heart goes out to all the families involved in this tragedy. If I were the parents of Michael Brown, I would be in shock that my child left home one morning and was dead that same day. The grief from both the trauma and loss can only be borne through God's supernatural help.Alveda King, an anti-abortion activist and niece of the late Martin Luther King Jr., encouraged a peaceful response following the grand jury decision. In a column posted at the Priests for Life website, Alveda King condemned the Ferguson riots, calling for peace as the best way to honor Michael Brown's memory.
For the police officer who is now receiving death threats, I can only wonder how he is concerned for his pregnant wife and unborn child. The recent statistics that I looked up said that so far this year, 105 officers have lost their lives in the line of duty. (1) In the midst of the pain of Ferguson, we need to be grateful for our first-responders and pray for them--particularly for their safety.
I believe that we need to cry out to The Lord to heal the pain of racial injustice in our nation. Evidentially, there is a lot that still remains! Racism needs to be rooted out wherever it exists, in whatever community it wants to rear its ugly, hate-filled head."
"America, we are truly better than this. Michael’s memory deserves better than this. Michael stole cigarettes. This was a crime. Yet, we have elected at least two presidents who admitted to smoking illegal marijuana in their youth. A crime is a crime. How do we know how Michael’s life may have turned out? Tragically we will never know.I was disappointed, however, that Alveda King lumped racial tension and violence together with abortion and "sexual immorality".
America, we are at a crossed road. Will we settle for burned out cities or will we pray for an arising of hope?
Michael Brown’s parents are calling for peace and justice. We can best honor Michael by agreeing with his parents."
"Not only are we still grappling with racial strife; what Uncle [Martin Luther King Jr.] aptly described as “man’s inhumanity to man” has escalated in Century 21 to mirror “the days of Noah;” with abortion, sexual immorality, unholy war, greed, violence, much assault on God’s people running rampant."Bishop Harry Jackson, founder of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, noted the relationship between racism and Ferguson. In an interview with the Daily Signal, Harry Jackson discussed racism in America, describing the response in Ferguson in terms of black frustration.
"I think what I'm seeing here is a lot of black frustration. Certainly last night is not just a response to a verdict. In my opinion, it is a response to a lifetime of anxiety, problems, and frustrations."Other Religious Right figures responded to the grand jury decision and the ensuing riots with much harsher language. During the November 26th edition of The 700 Club, Pat Robertson demanded that those who are upset with the grand jury decision "just cool it", arguing that the Michael Brown case was not about social justice. (Hat tip to Right Wing Watch.)
"African Americans in this society for decades have been subject to discrimination. There's no question about it. And there has been police brutality in various cities. There's no question about that. But right now, we live in what amounts to a pretty much even-tempered type of society. Police are very careful in dealing with people. They're trained to be careful with minorities. The abuses of the past [are] pretty much a thing of the past.
But this young man in Ferguson ... He went into a convenience store and picked up some cigars, didn't pay for them, walked out. There's a video of him talking to the clerk and ignoring him and busting out right past him with this stolen property ... When this police officer tried to apprehend him, he charged the police officer, charged into his car and began beating on him.
Now, what kind of thing is that? He resists arrest, he attacks a police officer, he robs a store. That doesn't make him a hero! That doesn't make him a martyr! ... It's certainly no excuse to burn a town apart, to overturn police cars, bring in the Al Sharptons of the world and other racial agitators to have them ... talk about social justice. This isn't a case dealing with social justice."