“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” – Matthew 10:34 (NIV)
The lethal asphyxiation of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, is just the latest in a series of black fatalities brought about by overzealous policing, racial profiling, and white vigilantism. When peaceful protests of Black people against racial injustice turn violent, pastors and public officials are called upon to counsel Black people in the merits of nonviolence.
But we often fail to acknowledge the double standard that America holds for Black violence as compared to White violence.
Last month hundreds of angry White protesters, carrying guns, wearing MAGA hats and draped in American flags, stormed into the Michigan State Capital in protest of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Coronavirus stay-at-home order. Governor Whitmer received death threats, and Michigan state lawmakers were forced to adjourn their meetings.
Yet, not one pastor or public official was called to counsel angry white protesters to put down their weapons and protest peacefully.
A gun in the hand of a White American is a badge of freedom. A gun in the hand of a Black American is a license to kill or incarcerate. When are we going to condemn systemic racism with the same moral urgency that we condemn riots? When are we going to become as passionate about the endangerment of Black lives as we are about the protection of American capitalism?
We may try to limit the Prince of Peace to our conceptions of law and order … but God knows that where there is no justice, there will be no peace.
Lord help us to realize the peace that is not the absence of tension, but the presence of Justice. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.