02 Jun Off The Cufflink: Special Edition: Race, Riots, and Refuge
Like many of you, the events of the last week have been disturbing, horrifying, and depressing to me. The actions of this Minnesota cop, arrested for murder quite quickly after the incident itself, are simply unfathomable. My prayer is for justice to be served there, and for comfort to those who have lost a family member and friend.
I speak on the podcast from the vantage point of a man of faith, because that is what I am. I have a standard for ethics, for community living, and for being a faithful witness (in times of distress and times of peace), and that standard does not add to the complexity of the moment – rather, it provides simplicity in its blueprint. There is simply no tension between condemning the acts of this cop and condemning the acts of violence, looting, and mayhem we have watched the last few days. The creation of such tension is rooted in the tribalism of the day, the need to find a side, and the lack of moral clarity that results when one is divorced from the standards of God, in whose image we are made.
Those stirring civil unrest right now do so with no regard for the sanctity of life and freedom. Those who cannot condemn police brutality and excess do so with no regard for the sanctity of life and freedom.
This is the least binary thing I can imagine.
What is needed now is not sanctimonious tokenism and trivial drivel – posting “muted” to social media and other such nonsense (I do assume it is not lost on you that feeling the need to tell the world you are “muted” is, ummmm, talking). What is needed is empathy. Love for community. Thinking God’s thoughts after Him. And an earnest search for moral clarity.
If you cannot condemn the rioting taking place in our society, then you have no basis for bemoaning the violence against George Floyd. And if you cannot condemn the violence against George Floyd, you have no basis for condemning the rioting.
The rioting must be put down by any steps necessary to preserve law and order. Those who discount the need for law and order have forfeited the moral authority to seek peace and justice in society. And when these riots and acts of barbarism are inevitably put down, it behooves all men and women of faith to value their witness – their integrity – and their testimony. Loving one’s neighbor means calling out injustice, and it means loving our neighborhoods. It’s a lot simpler than we make it.