This action reminded me of a piece I wrote not too long ago but never got to share. Like those demonstrators I too wonder why many congregants of Black churches have been silent on the issue of police brutality, especially considering the parrellels that can be drawn between the cross, the lynching tree, and police brutality as it exists today. It would seem that the revolutionary life that Jesus lived and the history of activism that exists within many Black church traditions would be enough to garner support across denominations. However, this has not been the case and many young people involved in the nationwide movement to change the culture of police and bring justice to the victims of state sponsored violence have felt abandoned by their local churches.
The questions being raised and the pressure being put on the church can bring nothing but positive change. As more churches respond to the criticism from protesters the more likely it will become that the church will be an even better transformative force in society.
Historically, the church, especially the Black church, has been credited with being at the heart of the fight for liberation, justice, and equality here in the United States of America. Throughout this history many great prophetic leaders haven emerged from the Black church such as Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Fannie Lou Hamer, and Martin Luther King Jr. These leaders, and others like them, were not only critical of American society but were also critical of the very religious tradition that was the foundation of their activism. If the church is to live out Jesus’s radical call for justice and love and have relevancy in the current social movement in the continued fight against racism and police brutality, it must maintain this prophetic tradition and also recapture a theology that both articulates the present struggle of Black Americans and reflects the needs of the community it has been called to serve.