It’s Friday, 8 July 2016, and it’s been one hell of a week.
As I reflect on yet more Black men killed by police officers, I find myself thinking thoughts unbecoming of a Christian. Doubly-so for one who feels called to ordained Christian ministry. Why, in the Names of the Gods, was a gun drawn for a traffic stop? Why was the gun still drawn as the victim was bleeding to death? Why were the unarmed passenger and her child detained? Why was a person with no criminal record, who was licensed to carry a firearm, who declared the presence of that firearm, killed while retrieving his ID as the officer ordered?
Why would there ever be the need for a trial? Arrest and convict the officer of murder, child endangerment, and obstruction of justice. Since the killing officer discarded due process for Mr. Castile, why should due process be extended to the killer?
These are thoughts that don’t seem to line up with everything I’ve ever been taught and have come to believe regarding justice from a Christian point of view. These are thoughts that even take the concepts of due process and “presumed innocent until proven guilty” and cast them aside, just as these police officers do to Black persons.
I had been attending a seminary where social justice ministry was key to the curriculum. In the short time I was there (until it was made quite clear that I lacked the necessary class and financial privilege to be an ordained minister), I learned a great deal about how to use one’s ministry for social justice. And then I have these thoughts, that I want these officers in prison for the rest of their lives, and I can’t help but think that’s not restorative justice. But, who am I to say what would be justice from the points of view of the victims’ survivors?
Maybe the call to serve Christ isn’t for me after all. Maybe my call really is more adversarial than that. One might even suggest that my call could be rather Satanic in nature. At this point, I won’t deny that charge.
I have so many questions, and so few answers.