Tag Archives: justice for all

Mourning Brooklyn Police Officers


Throughout  history, there have been those reckless individuals who perpetrated hideous crimes beneath some nobler cause or symbol.  Klansmen burned crosses, a sacred symbol to Christians, and carried out lynchings in the name of God.  Taliban madmen shot to death more than one hundred innocent children in Pakistan last week.  They did so in the name of God.  Today we mourn the cowardly executions of policemen in Brooklyn by a deranged individual who apparently decided to cover up his hideous assassinations by appealing to the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.  How awful. How wicked and misguided.

We pray for the families of these slain officers. We pray for police everywhere who do their best to protect us and live up to the highest standards of their communities and of our country.  But do not be misled by those on the right or left who would lay this at the feet of a movement righteously asking for accountability.

Revenge is not the answer—Christ rejected it outright.  The cycle of violence must end.  A non-violent movement dedicated to justice rejects violence as a resolution to violence.  May all of us hear the better angels of our natures calling out to us in this Christmas season.  As the Fellowship of Reconciliation would say, There is no way to peace–Peace is the way.  Peter, put away your gun.


Until Peace and Justice Walk Hand-in-Hand


The brassy patriots who disparage those who protested across cities in the United States this past Saturday reveal a constitutional ineptitude that defies their self-proclaimed patriot fervor.  When we protest we are patriotic.  When we demand that those who govern us do so justly and without discrimination but as equals before the law, we are patriotic.  The First Amendment is a beautiful, powerful and empowering right in the Bill of Rights. Those who stepped into the streets on Saturday, December 13th in protest of the failure of prosecutors and grand juries to protect unarmed, African-American civilians were living up to the constitutional vision of a citizenry empowered and protected from tyranny.  Here is the amendment:  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Look at that last clause.  By the tens of thousands, Americans did exactly that when they demanded justice for the victims of police officers who, charged with protecting citizens, instead within seconds pulled a trigger and ended a life.  As religious persons and patriots, Riverside Church congregants took to the streets and marched for justice and equal protection under the law.  I am proud to pastor a church that puts feet to its words, that acts in the highest sense of patriotism and the deepest religious values of human dignity.  We pray, we sing, we march in the light of God.  We are not asking our beloved country to endorse a religion. We are asking that our politicians, officers of the court and police and military who protect us to do so out of a devotion to the constitution and bill of rights.  Anything less will not do. Holding to account those who violate those sacred documents is a patriotic act.  May peace and justice one day walk down our streets hand-in-hand. Until that day, we will continue to march and pray.