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Christian groups launch justice initiative

by Rachel Lynn Aldrich
Posted 8/19/20, 05:12 pm

A coalition of organizations—including Prison Fellowship, World Relief, the National Day of Prayer Task Force, and the National Association of Evangelicals—announced Wednesday an initiative to promote “racial justice and nonpartisan police reform.” Prison Fellowship’s Heather Rice-Minus said the Prayer and Action Initiative gives the church a chance to show “unity and clarity in conviction” amid divisiveness. “Our desire is to be an instrument of peace in our communities and a reckoning force for change in the halls of government,” she added.

What will the initiative do? The group’s goals include transparency in the criminal justice system, proportional sentencing, accountability for police misconduct, and reentry support for former prisoners. The coalition plans to hold prayer gatherings and peaceful protests advocating for policy changes. The initiative grew out of an effort earlier this year to support churches at risk of closing for good during the coronavirus pandemic, particularly in minority communities.

Dig deeper: Read Marvin Olasky’s analysis of what it would mean to reform the police.

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Rachel Lynn Aldrich

Rachel is an assistant editor for WORLD Digital. She is a Patrick Henry College and World Journalism Institute graduate. Rachel resides with her husband in Wheaton, Ill.

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  • Cyborg3's picture
    Posted: Thu, 08/20/2020 01:12 am

    It seems clear to me that the Christian groups have lost their way. Jumping on the bandwagon crying racial justice when the system was already just to begin with is a betrayal of the truth. There existed minor issues that needed dealt with but overall justice has been served. The police in most cities have been fair and just and disinformation about police targeting black men unjustly is a lie if you look at the reports studying it. It is true that there have occasionally been bad apples within the police departments, but this number is very small compared to the large number of police.

    If we are serious about racial unity then we need to stand up to the lies and racism of BLM and AntiFa otherwise this is an excercise in futility.  Allowing the victimhood mentality that persists in many black communities to continue will only hurt racial unity. Allowing racism to continue in the pockets where it does exist, does not promote unity. The pushing of the notion of white privilege doesn't promote racial unity and only breads racism and dependence on others. The push to eliminate the police and ice is an assault on justice and liberty that actually hurts those who are minorities. 

    It is time real Christians stand up to the lies propagated by the left and Christians minipulated by the left. I will not give any funding to the groups that are involved in these efforts because they are dishonest at heart and WILL only serve the cause of the deceiver!  I encourage other Christians to do the same! 

  • not silent
    Posted: Thu, 08/20/2020 10:00 am

    Respectfully, it seems to me that, rather than "jumping on the bandwagon," Christian groups are "late to the party."  Let me be clear: I do NOT support the aims of groups which promote Marxism, "defunding police," or violent action; but one does not have to support those groups to recognize the need for change. I get that the term "white privilege" seems "loaded," and I don't necessarily agree with all interpretations of what it means; but I DO acknowledge that we as a nation have not always acted fairly or righteously to all its members.  (I grew up in Mississppi during the Civil Rights Movement; and, although much has changed for the better, I have begun to realize that for some people it was a superficial change instead of a change of heart.) 

    It may seem to you that "the system is already just" and that recent incidents are "minor issues," but those who experienced those issues may feel differently.  I'm just one person; but someone very close to me was sexually harrassed by police while being taken for treatment for a psychiatric issue, and I have other friends who were harrassed because of race. I love my country and I believe in many of its values, but it's imperfect and doesn't always live up to those values. Just because a problem doesn't affect everyone does not mean it doesn't exist or doesn't matter.  Christians, of all people, should be willing to seek justice for others even if they are not directly affected. 

    You seem to have made this a very binary choice: that we either believe the system is just as is and that no changes are necessary or we automatically support the dismantling of the whole system, "defunding" the police, and violent action.  But it's not that simple, Cyborg.  Our nation was set up so that it could grow and change because our founding fathers realized we were not perfect.  I think this is an area where we NEED to grow and change, but it is possible to make changes without embracing violence or radicalism.  I think these Christian groups are trying to present an ALTERNATIVE to the more radical groups; and, since I see the need for change, but don't embrace the more radical versions of change, I welcome having an alternative.

  • gndgirl
    Posted: Thu, 08/20/2020 11:32 am

    Not Silent, thanks for your comment. There is too much all-or-nothing discussion on this topic, as well as every other issue in our world. It's much harder to approach issues with nuance, but it will have to be done if we want to effect change.

  •  Deb O's picture
    Deb O
    Posted: Thu, 08/20/2020 05:06 pm

    Yes, not silent, I heartily agree with you and welcome this alternative voice.

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Posted: Mon, 08/24/2020 08:47 am

    It is not an issue of all or nothing but what is the truth! Is there systemic racism in the police departments? Is the problems with the police departments so great that they should be destroyed or fundamentally changed? The change that these Christians are advocating is based on a lie, which the Christians are falling for.  Loving actions can not be based on a lie.
    Not Silent, does the fact that your friend describes what she felt was sexual harassment mean that 99.9% of all police are sexual harassers? How about 95%? 90%? 75%? 50%? 25? 5%?  What percentage of the police would you say are sexual harassers based on your data point? How should we evaluate the police departments? 

  • not silent
    Posted: Mon, 08/24/2020 08:44 pm

    I will do my best to answer your questions, Cyborg.  Is there systemic racism in the police departments?  That is a complicated question, so forgive me if I don't answer with a simple yes or no. I think there is SOME racism in SOME police departments, and it seems significant enough to make me feel it might be wise to take a look at how police are used in the community and consider whether or not there might be better ways to utilize their skills and training.  Please note, I did NOT say I wanted to "destroy" police; but I think it's a mistake to assume that everything is fine and dismiss the issue of examining them altogether. The Bible is full of scriptures that tell us to seek justice, and it clearly doesn't mean only to seek justice when the problem affects us.   

    Re my friends, I'm afraid I haven't asked them for an exact percentage of police they believe are actual "harrassers"; but the fact that I personally know of several incidents in different areas (i.e., they did not all involve the same officer or even the same police department) and that none of the officers were ever held accountable should be enough to show that there is a problem that warrants some attention.  If you feel percentages are important, may I ask exactly what percentage of police YOU think would need to be "harrassers" for the issue to merit consideration?  Suppose the percentage is the smallest one you provided: 5 %.  I checked several websites; and, apparently there are somewhere between 300,000 and 600,000 police in the US (depending on whether you count part time officers, etc.)  5 percent of  300,000 would be 15,000 police officers!  Is that enough to justify looking at police and figuring out if changes are necessary, Cyborg?

    I said in my previous comment that a problem doesn't have to affect EVERY SINGLE PERSON to be important. According to Guttmacher Institute, 25 % of women in the US will undergo abortion in their lifetime. What percentage of women need to have abortions for the issue to be important? I personally think they are ALL important because each one is a human life.  I doubt any of my friends feels that all or even most police are bad, but it only took ONE to cause pain for THEM.

    How should we evaluate police departments? Ideally, I think there should be a way to evaluate things like this BEFORE any incidents of harrassment (or unnecessary deaths) occur.  But, until we figure out how to do that, I guess we must examine the them case by case.