It’s Time for Churches In America to Step Forward and Heal National Wounds

Police officers from New York City and Boston stand outside of Prestonwood Baptist Church as they attend the funeral of slain  Dallas Police Department Senior Corporal Lorne B. Ahrens in Plano, Texas, on July 13, 2016. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Rex Curry
Police officers from New York City and Boston stand outside of Prestonwood Baptist Church as they attend the funeral of slain Dallas Police Department Senior Corporal Lorne B. Ahrens in Plano, Texas, on July 13, 2016. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Rex Curry

Brian Williams is an African-American trauma surgeon at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital. He was in charge of Parkland’s emergency room July 7 when seven officers arrived.

He choked back tears as he described to the Washington Post how three officers died at the hospital: “I think about it every day—that I was unable to save those cops when they came here that night.”

But there’s more to his story. Williams told the Associated Press he has been stopped by police over the years and lives in fear he could be killed each time. At a traffic stop, he ended up “spread-eagle” on the hood of a cruiser. A few years ago, he was stopped by an officer and questioned as he stood outside his apartment complex waiting for a ride to the airport.

After describing his grief over the officers who died, Williams said: “I want the Dallas Police Department to see I support you. I defend you. I will care for you. That does not mean I will not fear you.”

It doesn’t have to be this way.

In the aftermath of the events in Dallas and other tragic events in Louisiana and Minnesota, Christians can take steps to help our nation become the “United” States our founders envisioned.

Step 1: Admit our problem

Seventy percent of Americans say race relations are bad in our country. Six in 10 believe race relations are growing worse, up from 38 percent a year ago. These facts prove racism persists in America:

A black man is three times more likely to be searched at a traffic stop and six times more likely to go to jail than a white man.

Blacks serve up to 20 percent more time in prison than white people for the same crimes.

Blacks are 38 percent more likely to be sentenced to death than white people for the same crimes.

Racism persists in America’s churches as well:

Only 32 percent of white pastors strongly agree that “my church is involved with racial reconciliation at the local level.” Fifty-three percent of African-American pastors strongly agree with this statement.

Only 56 percent of evangelicals believe “people of color are often put at a social disadvantage because of their race.” Eighty-four percent of blacks agree with this statement.

• A recent study showed 86 percent of America’s churches are composed of one predominant racial group.

Martin Luther King Jr. was right: Sunday morning at 11 o’clock still is the most segregated hour in America.

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SOURCE: The Baptist Standard
Jim Denison