We Christians are a people who never sing about justice in our worship but sure talk about it in our society. Perhaps this neglect is the reason we are so confused. Yet, there comes a moment of realization for an evangelical when a lay Catholic blogger who drinks liquor and a guy who stands crooked have clearer and more solid truth to say than the collective of balanced-and-careful leading Christian evangelicals.
One might ask if they have merely read the court’s decision: “Physical evidence does not change due to public pressure or personal agenda. Physical evidence does not look away as events unfold, nor does it block out or add to memory. Physical evidence remains constant, and the foundation on which cases are built.”
But that is not the issue – Justice, due process, the courts, evidence, forensics, testimony, unanimous decision.
What is the issue? “Racial reconciliation”, “sorrow”, “justice”, sympathy, empathy, and just plain ole pathy, as well as other basic Jesus-gospel middle-road bargains that sound more political and nuanced than trustworthy and informed.
First, the articles presume a verdict before one has been reached and essentially claim to know information without actually having it.
The presumption is that Office Wilson was racist, social injustice has been committed, and murder taken place. (Indeed, we are all racist, social injustice is a daily norm, and blacks in Ferguson do not account for 80% of homicides.)
The knowledge claims reach into the starry details of the event, the psychological motivations of the criminal and the cop, and all the inner proceedings of the court – all of which were just released following the court’s public statement.
For instance, Thabiti assumed from the first instance of the event that Office Wilson committed murder and that the justice system will have failed if it didn’t declare so (see also here, here, here, and here for similar statments). Everything he says is in light of this presumptive verdict. “Lady Justice miscarried…lost the baby in the first trimester.” Because he has all the facts, understands all the motives, even those of the jury and prosecutors. He, along with all the Ferguson rioters and liberal media five minutes after the event.
As another said of Thabiti’s article, “Rhetorically polished race baiting. This article reflects a basic denial of all the facts we have. The low bar that “wasn’t met” wasn’t met because there was no evidence to suggest Wilson did anything wrong and plenty to suggest he acted in self defense and well within the bounds of his duty as an officer. Anyabwile made his decision and continues to do so in spite of the facts. I for one am tired of the asking for the head of, by all facts we have, an innocent cop being wrapped up in gospel centered justice language. It’s a joke and brings shame upon true justice. And TGCs continued willingness to give Anyabwile this platform is becoming more and more problematic for me. Indicting an innocent person to satisfy the mob would not be justice. It would be a gross miscarriage of justice. This is basically what Anyabwile wants and it’s sad.”
After condemning all Americans, the court system, and Obama, Thabiti then turns to sort of mention that the protestors are kind of wrong, but mostly right. “A just cause may be destroyed by the use of unjust means.” Remember, because “justice” means Wilson is guilty and Brown is innocent.
Which brings us to another issue. Justice is being redefined. You see, it does not mean law and righteousness – because God’s law is not our standard. Rather it means adhering to a certain narrative – in this instance, it is an oppression and entitlement narrative that requires all non-oppressed peoples (read: whites) to assume they are always in the wrong, never understand anyone else, and must therefore lavish apologetical reparations on the aggrieved party. And surprisingly, in Thabiti’s case, that narrative not only means black culture has no connection to this but that all the problems of blacks come from outside of themselves, most notably a failure of Government help.
Yes, Thabiti’s solutions for the pandemic of white people killing blacks is to create various government programs and procedures that will ensure proper justice. These include:
A National Campaign to Protect Citizens and Police Officers
It is called due process – which those along with Thabiti are unwilling to give Officer Wilson before they render a verdict.
Forming a National Commission for Reviewing the Use of Deadly Force by Police Authorities.
Because this commission will be neutral, unbiased, indifferent, and totally non-manipulated by the government and manipulatory of the citizenry.
Federal Requirement and Funding of Police Body Cameras
This is actually a great idea. But it would not have stopped the real problem which is not white cops killing innoecnt black kids but black culture producing kids who steal things, attack cops, and get shot – just like it produces whole towns (Ferguson) who steal things, attack cops, and get shot at. The assumption here is that something, anything other than Michael Brown and the disproportional number of black murders are committed by other blacks.
Creation of a Mechanism for Appointing Prosecutors
It is noted by another police officer who “followed Ferguson as closely as anyone, (that) Thabiti, like many others, seems not to know what Grand Juries are, how they function, how they typically play out in Officer Involved Shootings, how American law enforcement are trained and operate, etc. There is so much presumption in this article. “[M]ost legal experts found a dereliction of duty” on the part of the prosecutor? Like Lisa Bloom? C’mon… We need to stop and think how we would act and speak if Darren Wilson or Robert McCulloch were a brother in Christ. What if Wilson or McCulloch were members at Thabiti’s church? Would he speak with the same presumption? Some have admittedly reacted and spoken coldly of Michael Brown and his family, and that’s wrong. It is just as wrong to presume to know what did and did not happen on August 9 and condemn a man who has already lost his job (and probably career) for doing what now appears to have been exactly what he was trained to do.”
John Piper wants cops to hire more minorities and research better non-lethal procedures. Bro, do you even LEO? Does he not think there is a whole world of tactical research, development, theory and training? And what is this warmed-over Affirmative Action business? Has it not occurred that the reason for disproportionate numbers is because of communal and worldview factors? No. Because EQUALITY means laboratory sterile sameness across the board. No other factors considered.
But one must ask where is the condemnation of thievery? Of attacking cops? Of destroying Man A’s business because of anger at Man B? Where is the talk of black culture as the or at least a cause in black deaths? Where is talk of black-on-black crimes? And where is talk of how the government creates this entire situation by stifling blacks from flourishing by subsidizing their lives? Where are evangelical leaders who will actually stand up to crimes we can visibly see, call them for what they are, and then call people to repent? Where are men with backbones?
What pushes me away from mainstream evangelicalism is its inability to call a spade a spade, to say anything concrete at all in any way whatsoever about reality and practical issues such as real, hard justice. This is the case for many issues, whether it be parenting, modesty, race, justice, war, politics, education, sexuality, etc.
See here also for a great review of a critique of evangelical leadership amidst Ferguson.
Others are relating the Ferguson riots to the Boston Tea Party and the founding of this nation. This is wholly ignorant of history and current events. The founding of this nation was preceded with much deliberation, petition, redress, meetings, committees, and even a Congress and draft of resolutions. The Ferguson riots are presumptive-reactionary, rage-driven mob violence and anarchy. The Founders were trying to establish just order; the Ferguson rioters are trying to destroy any semblance of it. The rioters are destroying there own towns prior to anyone “fighting” them. No one is trying to take their homes or tax them. The rioters have no Declaration of Anything that appeals to history and established law and proper procedures. The Founders on the other hand:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed
Calm, serene, lucid, clear, profound. It is not this. The Founders, again, mark their difference by listing the grievances suffered patiently and then conclude:
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury…We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States…And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Petition. Redress. Humble terms. Repeated. Supreme Judge. Rectitude. Solemnly. Pledge each others lives, fortunes, and honor. Honor!
All this to say that the over-all soft-ball, squirmy, reparations apologetical approach to this situation from evangelical leaders has pushed me further away from its cultus.