Trayvon Martin: Much More than Race

Outrage! Injustice! All words representing the case of the young African American teen gunned down by a wanna-be law enforcement officer.  It is sure cannon fodder for civil rights, community, and church leaders. Believe me, we understand injustice, we’ve seen it personally.  No doubt Sunday’s messages permeated Black-churches across the nation with references to the Martin case. Even we are addressing the event, but with a different perspective.

It does not excuse injustice, but African American teens fall in violence every day in urban America on the same streets as preachers who speak loud in protest.  Yet in many of their neighborhoods they drive their Bentleys’ passing crack houses, liquor stores, and violence only rivaled by campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.  It is not unusual that “many of them” are more devastating to the community than all the other social ills combined. No marches? No sermons against their colleagues involved in debauchery and scandalous behavior  (Matthew 18:36; Mark 9:42)?


Then, where’s the indignation of other communities and White church-leaders? Joe Scarborough of MSNBC Morning Joe gave the sociological truth.  If it were a White teen, and an African American security guard, the guard would be in jail. He was simply uttering facts based on endless studies and empirical reality. The wheels of justice are not so just for persons’ in minority communities and the economically disadvantaged.

The on-going anti-abortion and anti-gay campaigns of White evangelicals permeate the national discourse.  No national campaign on the number of after-birth minority teens and young-adults having their lives wiped out by injustice,  and disproportionate poverty with a direct-line to 200 years of grave-socialization?  Oh, you still hold that it is because they are descendants of Ham?  (It is an age old belief that Noah’s curse upon Ham’s descendants explain why the descendants typically on the African continent are slaves and impoverished. Genesis 9:25).

It was many years ago.  A friend and I had an incredible idea. We secured a map of a major city from the chamber of commerce, and we coded every kind of Christian church. The race, color, or denomination did not matter to us. We reasoned, “what would happen if every church in the city mobilized? What would happen if congregations of every kind hit the streets to share Jesus within a few blocks of their buildings?” We began with our pastor. He recommended more affluent pastors in the city.  We visited them all.  They handed us from one pastor to another.  We were naive 22 year old kids. How silly of us. We figured if churches joined forces on the one agreeable name, Jesus, any city could change the future.  It would have been great if we only battled issues concernig race.   There were more barriers than could be mentioned here. Recently, a History Channel documentary called the same city Little Iraq because of the violence. What if nearly 40 years ago someone would have accepted the vision of two 22 year old believers?

The many Trayvons of every race and creed who die across the nation are not only crying for a just nation.  Where’s the difference making local church?  There are local churches and ministries who are truly making a difference, but far too few.  If those representing the Church are clannish and dripping with greed, sexual promiscuity, racism, and bigotry the nation does not have a chance.  Those with piercing insight recognize the Martin case is about race alright, the peril of the human race.  We know the real need:

John’s words in Revelation reflect our need, “He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon!’ ‘Amen! Come, Lord Jesus’”(Revelation 22:20-21).


One Response to “Trayvon Martin: Much More than Race”

  1. Dr. Suzy Carroll March 29, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

    I completely agree with what you are saying and am glad that you took the initiative to speak. Injustice is horrible and it can drive us CrAzY! I am so glad that the Lord tells us that the battle belongs to Him and He will vindicate His children! It’s comforting to know that God has never lost a war nor will He ever! It’s sad to me that racism is still a problem in America, especially amongst people who claim to be Christian. Jesus wasn’t black or white. He was a combination of both with a touch of olive colored skin. I pray that racism will die or American will not be able to stand, because a house divided cannot stand. Also, as a white person, I sometimes get accused of having ancestors that were slave owners. To me, that’s ridiculous. My dad is of Indian descendent and my mother is just a second generation American from Sweden. We were not even around in the Civil War times minus my Indian ancestors and they were Indians! Racism exists on both sides of the “color scale” and I believe that it is straight from hell.

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