Following the full acquittal of countless officers killing unarmed, innocent, or mentally ill Black people nationwide visibly for the last few years, I tend to go through emotional phases. Sometimes I am angry, dejected, depressed, contemplative, confused, frustrated, and even moved to action. However, since I’ve been getting deeper into my Bible, I’ve struggled with something.
Note: All of the bible verses are taken from the NIV (New International Version)
This post was inspired by Brittany Packnett and her Twitter thread about the intersectionality of Christianity that emphasizes a God that loves Justice and the inherent flawed nature of our judicial system following the acquittal of the officer in the murder of Philando Castile.
“When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.” – Proverbs 21:15
The Bible talks in-depth about Justice. God is continuously characterized as a “God of Justice” the “loves Justice and hates wrongdoing”. The question here is how do we end up in a place in history where we can watch a man bleed out in front of his fiancé and child, then have no repercussions? We’ve seen hundreds of brown and black bodies pile up through police brutality, the most recent being a pregnant Charleena Lyles that called the police because of an attempted robbery on her home and was killed in front of her children.
Now, this may be a moment where I am told, the officers feared for their lives, but I want to dig deeper into that. Charleena Lyles had a knife to protect herself. She also was documented to have a mental health issue. The police even declared that they weren’t going to shoot her before entering her home (caught on camera) but still lost her life. Compare her to 16-year-old Eliza Wasni.
Wasni stole a machete and knife from Wal-Mart. Called a Uber, stabbed and hacked the driver, who eventually escaped, she drove off with his car, crashed it, and ran off topless and hid behind a nearby building. When the police found her, she refused to drop the weapons and was tasered. She was eventually taken into custody safely and the driver died later that evening.
Another extreme example is Austin Harrouff.
Harrouff beat and stabbed to death a couple and was found eating the male victim’s face while howling and growling. A neighbor found him and was stabbed. The police arrived and unleashed canines and multiple tasers to subdue Harrouff. He was later taken to the hospital, has appeared on Dr. Phil, and is awaiting further trial.
These incidences show a clear distinction between the treatment that Black bodies receive nationwide compared to situations with obviously more dangerous scenarios where white people can be taken into custody safely. Dylan Roof versus Philando Castile or the Bundy Brothers versus Alton Sterling. White Privilege is being able to kill and threaten people while still being given a chance to hear a motive. Alternative methods are used for homicidal whites while black death is considered reasonable for a bench warrant.
The frustrating portion of this is seeing how the system makes officers a protected class without any consequences. We can watch men die on camera and it becomes “no one’s fault”. That is the problem. I am not blaming all officers or saying that there are not reasonable moments to fear for your safety, but when you literally can see a man eating another person and take him into custody without issue, why can’t you do the same for a man reaching for his permit? When the system has proven time after time that these lives can be taken without losing a job or even being brought to trial (not even talking about conviction), something is flawed here.
So then I look to my Bible to renew my faith and feel hollow. Partisan politics has created an environment where Christianity is weaponized but the true messages are lost. People focus more on the five passages against homosexuality but ignore the entire books talking about supporting the oppressed?!
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. – Isaiah 1:17
The Bible talks extensively about feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, clothing the cold, taking care of the infirm, and freeing the oppressed yet the “Christian conservative” right has continuously gone to extensive lengths to do the exact opposite. This also does not leave the “progressive” left free from all accountability, we have seen consistent exclusionary practices counter towards their “values”. Truthfully, the more I read my Bible, the more frustrated I get with the people we’ve entrusted with power to decide and protect us.
“This is what the LORD Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. – Zechariah 7:9
All I really look for is love. I want to be treated like a human being with value. I am tired of fearing for my life from the people I was taught to look up towards. Tomorrow, I am going to talk about my personal experiences with the police. They were not that bad, but I’ve been blessed. I’ve had bad interactions and good ones, but the hardest concept to process is that I was lucky in comparison to kids that grew up on the same streets as me.
I look at my brothers and sisters and cry because many of them have given up. Many have seen the system work counter to what it was told to us to be. I can name at least three stories of black people who have called the police that ended getting harassed, beaten, or killed by the people that we were looking for help from. Where is the Justice here? How does God feel about the continuous pain we endure? Why do we have to live under fear?
Looking for the Light in these difficult times
Turn the Brightness Up!
*If you would like to have dialog about this, please be respectful. I hold no ill-will towards the police. I am commenting on implicit bias and a breakdown in the justice system only, not specifically the people.