Lament of a White Father


Update: After posting this page, a clergy friend pointed out another very powerful response. Please also see THIS BLOG AND AUDIO CLIP by Rev. Nadia Bolz Weber in Denver.

NOTE: Below, we’ve posted an excerpt of a column by an outspoken Protestant leader and author named Jim Wallis. We aren’t asking you to agree with every word, but please consider the words.  Even if it is unintentional, there is too much prejudice, suspicion and fear directing social lives. That includes quiet areas such as Mansfield on the Mira Lagos (Grand Prairie) side of town.

East Broad Outreach Community is a multicultural, peacemaking community. If you don’t have a faith community to call home, please visit with us. ALL are welcome. And whatever your faith or non-faith background is, you also are welcome. Join us in working towards the common good of ALL!  –Shane Whisler, director and pastor at EBOC

Excerpt from: Lament of a White Father by Jim Wallis

What exactly happened between (George) Zimmerman and (Trayvon) Martin will never be known, because the boy is dead and the adult did not have to testify and be cross examined. How a black boy responded to a strange man who was following him, and what the stranger did with that, is a story we can never really know. But regardless of the verdict that rests on narrow definitions of self-defense and reasonable doubt, it is absolutely clear that racial profiling was present in this whole incident.

And racial profiling is a sin in the eyes of God. It should also be a crime in the eyes of our society, and the laws we enact to protect each other and our common good.

White parents should ask black parents what they were talking about with their children this weekend. It is a long-standing conversation between black dads and moms, especially with their boys, about how to carefully behave in the presence of police officers with guns. Now they must add any stranger who might have a gun and could claim they were fearful of a black man and had to shoot. The spread of legalized carried-and-concealed weapons and the generous self-defense laws that accompany the guns will lead to the death of more black men in particular…

This is one of those painful moments which reveal an utterly segregated society, in reality and perception alike. White people have almost no idea of what black people are thinking and feeling — even the parents of their children’s friends from school or sports teams who are black. Trust me: most white people over this past weekend, whether conservatives or liberals, had almost no idea of what was happening in virtually every black family in America.

Finally, there is a religious message here for all Christians. If there ever was a time that demonstrated why racially and culturally diverse congregations are needed — that time is now. The body of Christ is meant, instructed, and commanded by Christ to be racially inclusive. If white Christians stay in our mostly-white churches and talk mostly to each other we will never understand how our black brothers and sisters are feeling after a terrible weekend like this one. It was the conversation of every black church in America on this Sunday, but very few white Christians heard that discussion or felt that pain.

White Christians cannot and must not leave the sole responsibility of telling the truth about America, how it has failed Trayvon Martin and so many black Americans, solely to their African American brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s time for white Christians to listen to their black brothers and sisters, to learn their stories, and to speak out for racial justice and reconciliation. The country needs multi-racial communities of faith to show us how to live together.

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View the complete column here. (Tell us if this link is broken.)

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