As recent events to Ferguson demonstrate, lawlessness dislocates everything in the system, up-and-down the entire line.
People are complicated, especially when they are in sin, and situations are complex. So when people make up their minds about a particular allegation based entirely on the color of the participants, they are establishing nothing other than their own disqualification for having anything whatever to do with the justice system, or anything whatever to say about the future of race relations in America.
There are more than enough confirmed instances of police misbehavior to have made it quite possible the Wilson/Brown incident could have been one of them. They are more than enough confirmed incidents of inner-city black thuggery to have made that a possibility as well. To be trapped in the kind of emotional blinders they can only accuse in one direction, and only defend in the other, is to be trapped in sin.
But the mob is omnivorous, ravenous, and blind. Rage doesn’t make sense – if it did, it wouldn’t be rage. And when frustration explodes, it never erupts in rational ways. The mob at Ephesus had no idea what they were doing there, or what the point actually was (Acts 19:32), But they were more than willing to yell enthusiastically for a couple of hours about it.
The one thing a sane society may not do is cater to the insanity, trying to split the difference. In this regard the behavior of the authorities in Missouri has been idiotic, and the actions of the Justice Department have been despicable. This is not because Wilson could not possibly have been guilty — it is because anybody who expects due process to run smoothly with a mob outside burning the place down is someone who specializes in grand inversions.
The mob is more than willing to ignore the camels and riot over the gnats. You want to show your displeasure over a white cop abusing (and killing) a black man, and you want to do this by abusing hundreds of black men and women? Suit yourself, but I don’t particularly care for your theories of social justice. Don’t tell us that “black lives matter” while showing your utter contempt for black lives. Anyone who turns matters of justice over to a mob of any color is an enemy of truth. And anyone who appeases such mobs is not fit for governance.
You have a complaint about the irregularities in the case that came before the grand jury? But is there any possibility that the anger of the mob was responsible for it? Making the prosecutor have to go through the motions of a grand jury in order to try to appease and acquit at the same time? A rioting mob that demands the “right answer” will get one of two things. Either it will get that right answer, and we have what is called a lynching, or it will be thwarted in that right answer. If it is thwarted, it will be done through a courageous response, which we did not have in Missouri, or a cowardly and convoluted one, which we did. When that happens, race relations are further corrupted and the cycle of sin continues.
A mob that can demand indictments is also a mob that can demand convictions. To take one compromised step in that direction is a very great cultural evil. It seems self-evident to me that every Christian really ought to hate it — in his bones — whenever a crowd takes up a chant with a crucifixion theme in it. And we even ought to hate it if the object of their hatred were named Barabbas.
One last thing. Those soft evangelicals who spent their energy in this unhappy business trying to empathize with the rage of the crowd were undercutting the only possibility of hope. What every sinner in this tangled affair needed, whether white or black, is a once-for-all sacrifice. Other victims, whether guilty or not, will be brought to the altar in vain.
The only proclamation that can successfully interrupt this downward spiral of racial animosity is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When in our blindness and folly we join the ultimate mob and cry out for His blood to be on us and on our children, God’s gracious response looked far beyond our putrefying hatreds. He does apply that blood to us, but not for condemnation. He applies that blood to us so that a white man and a black man might together put on the new man.
“And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye” (Col. 3:10–13).
And to be baptized into that body is to be taken completely out of the mob.
In this matter, the media has acted as it is wont to act and the mob has acted as it was incited to act. A very surprising and troublesome thing is have Evangelicals have acted. If being inclusive means embracing and enforcing grave error then let’s be less inclusive. The para-church organizations have gone completely off the deep end. Radical wanted to have the ever called for “discussion on race” but refused to link Voddie Baucham’s piece. TGC over the last few months has produced blog pieces on “rape culture”, “white privilege”, has praised black tribalism, and has scolded readers… Read more »
Don’t send your children to a college that you can’t fully endorse. Professors take their role of shaping their students very seriously. In a secular school, blasphemy is a rite of passage. In Liberal institutions, your daughters are not going to meet Mr. Right, and your sons’ heads will be filled with nonsense about women. College ought to be a time of personal growth and relationship-building, not a warzone of perpetual defensiveness.
Emotionalism has obvious weaknesses, and sooner or later, people are going to figure it out.
A lot of the people writing this stuff went to seminary.
I haven’t figured out why they made this convoluted event with Wilson/Brown the spotlight case when only a few days later there was another shooting that was way worse as far as injustice goes.
These guys shot and there is no way it was justified. The guy is walking around the two cans he stole and the cops just show up and automatically draw down on him. It’s ridiculous.
Sorry for the bad link. Here it is.
Ok I give up trying to use the link button.
you can copy and paste if you want to see it
My church is a member of the Gospel Coalition, and from what I can tell, a great deal of good comes from it, in terms of resources and teaching, but we ought to be skeptical of any religious organization that’s based out of Washington, DC. They could’ve picked any metro in the US with a hub airport and been no worse off. In some, they’d have been manifestly better off, because the rents would’ve been lower, enabling their ministry to do more with less. Why did they pick DC? Not for the cherry blossoms, I wouldn’t think. It only makes… Read more »
How do you figure this is worse? The guy sounded like he was suicidal. It is not uncommon for some people to threaten cops in order to be shot. Granted, he could have also been mentally ill, but I listened to the tapes and watched the video. Sad, but it happens, sometimes.
Perhaps I’m misunderstanding, but it doesn’t seem like there is a clear distinction between rioters and protesters. Maybe it just goes without saying; though we probably shouldn’t ask people not to make assumptions in one area, and then not do the same in another. It would seem rather unreasonable to demand that protestors try to stop the rioters, or that they change their slogans simply because they are being manipulated. I bet if it could be quantified, very few rioters would be among those chanting, “black lives matter,” since rioters have an utter disregard for life regardless of it’s color… Read more »
Robert, Of course he was suicidal. My point wasn’t that he didn’t ask for it. The point is that the dude was way to far away to be getting shot to death over a couple of stolen soda cans. He didn’t have a gun. Both his hands were in the air. Some reports say he had a knife, but either way if the only response to a crazy guy with a knife is to shoot him to death then we have problems. I’m just saying this was a much clearer case of police screwing up than the ferguson story and… Read more »
Here’s yet another example:
Is it the case that the presumption of guilt is disproportionately accorded to males of a darker hue in these tense police interactions that sometimes lead to split-second death decisions by a panel of one or two? Is there sin in the heart of the officer who, primarily based on a suspect’s skin tone, judges according to outward appearances rather than with righteous judgment? Who’s to say if these interactions would have ended differently given a suspect of another foremother?