Then, word comes back — “The Supreme Court Denies Davis Appeal.” Gosh! The scene on the television screen is way too reminiscent of the scenes from the 1960′s Civil Rights Movement. Some scenes and situations need not be repeated — this is one of them!
Davis is accused of murdering a police officer is 1989. The evidence has been weak to prove that he is guilty. Yet, he has found it difficult to prove his innocence. It is not surprising that Davis is African American. Researchers like University of Iowa law professor, the late David C. Baldus has proven that racism permeates the death penalty and has done so since it was re-instated in America.
I have no desire to protect the guilty at the expense of the violated. Yet, the death penalty is problematic on so many levels. I cannot address all of them here. However, I will say that research proves that the practice of the death penalty represents strands in American fabric that are racist at the core. There are similar racist strands that seem to weave through the educational system, job markets, Plan Parenthood’s abortion clinics, and more.
Building statues of Martin Luther King, jr in Washington DC reminds us of him and the powerful work that he did. But if we want to re-kindle his legacy, we must [re]-”hallow a spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now.” That hallowed spot must start in the pulpits of American Churches and move into society and the world! A multi-cultural, cross-cultural, trans-cultural church is not enough! The churches must become prophetic against racist sentiments and injustice that hides-out and preys on the vulnerable and weak of society. Statistical research by the Death Penalty Information Center is astounding and brings to mind so many statistics that point to racism that results in painful oppression among African Americans, particularly African American males.
In response to the Troy Davis’ case, Mary Ross, 37, who attended a somber news conference inside Ebenezer Baptist Church in the neighborhood where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. pastored said, “What am I supposed to tell my son? That we still live in a Jim Crow society?”
At present the N.A.A.C.P. continues the attacks on racism in American society. I argue that it is not a civic organizations’ responsibility to lead in a prophetic charge, however. God gives this charge to the Church! Martin Luther King, Jr supported the N.A.A.C.P because of the important work that they do. Yet, King was a pastor who believed that the work that he did on behalf of justice was part of a divine call for the Church of Jesus Christ.
Don’t be bamboozled. The Church as extension of Christ in the World must be prophetic like Christ. One observes that churches (even the Black Churches) turn to superstition, naming and claiming, sowing and reaping that is limited to money, turning around three times and claiming blessings. Today, more clergy (African Americans in particular) claim the title of a “prophet” than during the Civil Rights Era. These “prophets” often host conferences, raise millions of dollars, wear expensive clothes and drive the best cars. They often acquire their wealth at the expense of the vulnerable minds who believe them. In doing so, the true meaning of “being a Prophetic Church in the World” is hijacked by individuals in search of fame, name and money in the name of God.
To quote from King’s “Letters from the Birmingham Jail” in 1963 — a quote that is relevant today: “There was a time when the church was very powerful–in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed.” Why is it that American Churches do not find something to fight for in society? When will we go back to fighting for justice — true justice? I do not mean pseudo-justice often espoused by politicians, but justice defined by biblical principles.
It is clear in the research that the dealth penalty is full of injustice just like abortion. Too many seemingly innocent young African Americans, mentally challenged, unborn (largely African American) people’s blood is crying out.
Martin Luther King, Jr. often said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere!” It is in this spirit that I join with hundreds of other citizens who are declaring, “I am Troy Davis.”
Besides the moral discussion pertaining to the death penalty, according to the reports, the evidence is too questionable to execute Troy Davis. One wonders, how can Casey Anthony or even O. J. Simpson be acquitted but Troy Davis be executed? It is because of this that I stand with the pope, the FBI Director, the former president Jimmy Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu against this execution.
What should a prophetic church do about this? Troy Davis’ execution seems simply preposterous!
Tags: abortion, church, David C. Baldus, death penalty, evil, injustice, Jim Crow, justice, legal system, Martin Luther King, Martin Luther King Jr., preachers, prophecy, prophesying, prophet, racism, Sermons, Theology, Troy Davis, unjust