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An Open Letter to the Governor of Oklahoma
I am troubled about Oklahoma’s recent decision to reinstate the death penalty and to resume state executions. I know you are a Christian, governor. As a Christian minister myself, I believe that capital punishment should end.
But I am not writing to you today to debate policy; the occasion for my letter is much more urgent: The decision to kill Julius Jones or to spare his life rests in your hands.
Refusing to Erase the Tragedies of U.S. History
This week, we marked the 100th anniversary of one of the most horrific moments in American history: On May 31, 1921, white mobs burned to the ground the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Okla., an area commonly known as Black Wall Street. White neighbors killed Black residents in what became known as the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. That story — and many other accounts of Black success and self-determination confronted by malice, terrorism, and destruction — are hidden in the corners of history’s closet by a dominant culture that prefers silence over truth-telling.
‘Just Because Something Is Legal Doesn't Make It Right’
On the eve of the one-year anniversary of George Floyd's death, Sojourners' Terrance M. McKinley spoke with Benjamin Crump, a national civil rights leader who has served as the lead attorney for the families of Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Trayvon Martin, and other Black people wrongfully killed by police or vigilantes. They discussed the road ahead and whether proposed policy change at the federal level could lead to needed change in policing. —The editors
One Year After George Floyd's Murder, Has Anything Changed?
Many people in this country — and many others around the world — paid attention. We could not ignore the horror of Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes 29 seconds as Floyd cried, “I can’t breathe.” Some of us watched as Floyd lay dying and unresponsive. That horrific moment is forever etched in our memory — and we reached a breaking point. We decried the violence and declared, “enough is enough.”
Racism Infects Our Politics and Theology. God Calls Us To Change Them
Last week, jury selection began in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer who was arrested for the killing of George Floyd after kneeling on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds — a horrific killing that sparked a movement of racial reckoning. In part, this trial is about justice for the Floyd family, about whether a jury will find Chauvin guilty in the murder of George Floyd. However, this trial, this moment, is about far more. It is about us and the future we want to build.
Pastoring Through Many Dangers, Toils, and Snares
Early in the pandemic, during one of my “church check-ins” over Zoom, I opened the floor for our members to share any challenges they might be facing as a result of the shutdown so we could be more responsive and supportive. After a few responses, the call went surprisingly silent. I prodded the group and one of our wisest, most active retirees surprised me with her contribution: “We’ve been through challenging times before. We are resilient people. We are okay.”
It’s Time to Be the Conscience of American Politics
I believe fervently in the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said that “the church is not called to be the master or servant of the state, but to be the conscience of the state.” In that vein, we will be neither chaplain nor sycophant to our new political leaders. Instead, we seek to be a faithful conscience, serving as a bridge-builder and offering prophetic critique (and pressure) when necessary.
Poll Chaplains Report Intimidation Attempts, Stories of Hope
In Alabama, polling sites in low-income areas of Birmingham were relocated with no explanation and very little warning to residents – many of whom typically struggle to acquire a reliable means of transportation. Luckily, poll chaplain commissioner Sheila Tyson was there to galvanize the community and organize free rideshare services to get these voters safely to the polls and back home.
If Not Now, When?
On Sunday, Aug. 23 at Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by Kenosha, Wis., police in broad daylight in front of his three sons ages 3, 5, and 8. The bullets damaged Blake’s spinal cord and left him paralyzed. His brutal shooting has not only left his body broken but it has also affected the psyche of his young children — another generation gripped by fear of police.
Trump's Dangerous Election Rhetoric
This morning President Trump posted the following unconscionable tweet regarding our upcoming election that dishonors Congressman Lewis’ legacy and poses a direct threat to our democracy:
With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???
The Church's Apathy to the Earth Exposes the Gap in Discipleship
But during that conversation with Rev. Dr. Durley, I realized that there is one compelling reason that Christians should all care about the earth — generational legacy. We have to create a legacy of and a world that is safe for future generations to breathe in, live in, and thrive in