Thursday, June 4, 2020

A Few Thoughts on Floyd's Death and Recent Protests

George Floyd's death at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis has justly gained a lot of attention recently. In this video, recorded on May 29th, I bring up a few things to think about as we reflect on these events.

Since the time that video was recorded, it has been sad to see St. Louis suffer much from violence and looting – a total of about 100 businesses broken into, four officers shot, and a former policeman killed. These actions have been unjust and have unfortunately obscured the message of the protests. I am thankful that the protests in St. Charles County have been peaceful, and have even seen the police join the protests against police brutality (one in O’Fallon and two in St. Charles). Two more are scheduled to take place in Wentzville (today and Saturday) and I pray they remain peaceful. While I don’t agree with all the proposed solutions, I do think these protests are an expression of real (albeit complex) problems which especially impact black communities.

For some people it is tempting to see the destruction caused by the more violent element of these protests and respond with anger and dismiss the protests wholesale, just as it is tempting for others to see the sometimes heavy-handed police response to these situations and respond with anger and dismiss concerns about the rioting and looting. While a zeal for justice and order is good, may we also remember the exhortation to “let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19–20). May we listen to each other with compassion rather than dismissal. It is important for crime to be restrained, for policemen to be both respected and held accountable, for careful reform to happen where needed, and for people of all classes and races to be respected as made in the image of God.

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