*Warning – This is another off topic post but something that has been on my mind. Actually, I do a lot of thinking while doing cardio so I suppose it’s related, albeit distantly, to my workouts.
Racism exists in this world. That’s an indisputable fact. America has waged a long and reasonably successful struggle against institutional racism but if you look you will be able to find instances where you can rightly point to someone who has been treated badly solely because of their race. If those cases come to your attention, you can throw your energy behind peaceful efforts to see that the wrongs are righted and to help prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.
That’s correct action. That’s working in the right direction and it’s doing what our Christian faith asks of us. We are to be defenders of innocents who can’t defend themselves.
Michael Brown was no such innocent. What happened to Michael Brown in Ferguson Missouri happened because he was engaging in violent criminal behavior. He set a chain of events in motion that resulted in his own death. He got high, he and his friend committed a strong-arm robbery, then proceeded to walk down the middle of the street. He attacked a police officer through the window of his police car and in that attack put his hands on the officer’s firearm. Once the police officer was out of the car (after Michael Brown tried to keep him from exiting the vehicle by attempting to close the door on his leg) he refused to follow the police officer’s verbal commands which would have de-escalated the situation. Instead, he chose not to comply, rushed toward the officer and ended up paying for his terrible judgement and reckless behavior with his life.
A sad end, a waste of human potential but hardly an instance where hatred for Michael Brown’s race was the origin of the problem.
The facts in this case have been presented, and yet we have people all over the country who continue to try to use this unfortunate incident as a flash point for societal change (and the truly unhinged for “retribution”). All facts be damned, they cling to this particular case as a springboard for protests, demonstrations of solidarity, discussions, task forces, panels, round tables and meetings to address what they believe to be rampant racism in this country. Others, purporting to be especially aggrieved are purposefully stoking unrest and discord…all over a narrative of a racially motivated event that wasn’t…and therein lies the danger.
Nothing good can come of this. If, at the base of your best argument, there rests a glaring falsehood, if you’ve hung your hat on a twisted representation of the truth, your efforts at redress cannot enjoy success (assuming true improvement in society is your goal). You will, however, water the seeds of hatred in the hearts of your countrymen, you will create more violence and you will divide that which you say you wish to bring together….all because your underlying, motivating story is untrue.
…and who most loves that which is untrue? Who do we know as the Father of Lies, as the Great Deceiver? Who loves to rend asunder, to sow discord, to pervert the truth?
The world can be seen as a battleground between good and evil. Those of us who want to do what’s right, who want to do good work, must be discerning. We have to pay attention and move carefully. Indeed, we are charged with defending the innocent but we need to be mindful that our actions are built on a foundation of truth.
…And when we see the work of the Deciever being done in the name of righteousness, of justice, of equality and of fairness, we have an obligation to say so.