The Missteps of the Clergy in Ferguson

A friend just forwarded me a terrific article from the St. Louis Post Dispatch, by Rev. Jeff Hood. ( Rev. Jeff has nailed it. Some people who really don’t know much about Christianity, or religion for that matter, always glom onto the idea that Christians are looking toward a world where everyone will get along. You know. The lion will lay down with the lamb, etc. So whenever there’s a real conflict, especially when the clear victim rises up to fight what’s being done to the, they counsel people to “stay calm.” They seem to think that change is most likely to come when NOBODY is actually fighting for it. Doesn’t that sound a little goofy? We see it in Furguson. We saw it in the civil rights struggle. We see it, very tragically, in Gaza. It’s always there, and church folks, especially clergy, are mobilized to be the enforcers. Call me stuck in the sixties, but that sounds like the clergy are working FOR the Police/White Mobs/Israel. It’s not ok.

I like the way Jeff (I now follow him now on Twitter, so I can call him by his first name) talks about nonviolence. “The work that I do is to ensure that acts of civil disobedience remain nonviolent not that they remain nonexistent.  We must not forget that civil disobedience is an unpeaceful act.” Nonviolence is a form of struggle, often for very high stakes. It’s powerful because it’s very disruptive and that also makes it dangerous. We hear the Sharptons and Jacksons using the word as though it means “Keep your nose clean” or “This is how you keep from getting hurt.” What they really want is for people not to make it difficult in any way for the system to keep on killing African American young men whenever they want.

So, People of Furguson: Please forgive the “leaders” of my faith community for allowing themselves to be used by the city/county/state/country to keep you from fighting back. They don’t know what they do.


REMINDER: Don’t forget to come back to this site on Sept 8, for the opening day of my new podcast. I’ll be announcing the details on the first episode pretty soon.  — Russ

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