Prayers at Louisville, Kentucky Peaceably Gather Rally

Prayers at Louisville, Kentucky Peaceably Gather Rally

Proverbs 16:32 tells us to be slow to anger. Eventually, anger becomes quite overwhelming and we lose direction. Why are these references to Proverbs significant today as the nation and world mourns the senseless death of George Floyd on May 25? Change is necessary, but it is important not to allow our mission to become overshadowed by the devil (Ephesians 4:26-27).

In the week-plus since Floyd’s murder, looting and destruction have reared their ugly head and shifted our focus

(Proverbs 16:29; Titus 1:7). Those who do not understand the cause immediately attacked the legitimacy of the black community’s need for answers to police brutality. When I first witnessed the violence, my first reaction was this could not happen because the ruin results in long term damage to neighborhoods and businesses that are still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following days ushered in a new atmosphere, where we became united regardless of race and religion. Our congruent strength now resembles Jonah 4:4, when the Lord said, “Do you do well to be angry?” As the Floyd family prepares to lay their deceased to eternal rest, ask yourself if the misdirected anger make you feel better? Or, does it leave you with comfort as you progress on path toward change? The family of Floyd have asked time and time again for us as a nation to peacefully come together and encourage the hearts of all who do not understand (Mark 3:5).

Grelan Muse Sr. profile picture

Grelan Muse Sr.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards on June 1 commended Louisiana residents for peacefully protesting the “egregious” death of Floyd. He said in the press conference that is continued to encourage people “to not engage in violence or property damage, as it is better “to focus on the changes we need to bring in our society.”

Edwards is correct. You might remember that he was governor of the Louisiana during the riots and protests after Alton Sterling was killed by a Baton Rouge police officer in July 5, 2016.

The devil is here to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). As people of God, violence as an end to result to our problems will not satisfy Him. Spiritual soldiers are showing their peaceful call for justice in these ways:

  • The Rev. Robert Scott organized a rally in Baton Rouge June 5 at the Old Louisiana State Capitol for justice and a “prayer for peace” after Louisiana police officials announced “outside agitators” infiltrating peaceful demonstrations in the region to incite violence against police and local merchants.
  • A protest rally in Troy, Ohio, on June 1 became a symbol of what can happen when people are willing to listen to each other and pray together. About 150 mostly young people of all races gathered in the town square to show their solidarity for Floyd. Priests for Life Youth Outreach Director Bryan Kemper, a Troy resident, asked his colleague, Evangelist Alveda King, Director of Civil Rights for the Unborn for Priests for Life, to ask her to pray on speaker phone. The crowd hushed when they heard that the niece of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be addressing them. “Heavenly Father, I love these young people,” Evangelist King prayed. “I wish I could be there right among them. They have energy. They have enthusiasm. They want to make a difference. They know they were born for a purpose. … Help them to use their passion and their anger and even their confusion for Your good. Give them true answers, turn them around and let them win, win, win because they were born to be winners.”
  • PeaceablyGather.com, a growing national movement of leaders reclaiming the moral leadership of America’s pulpits, held a “Peaceably Gather Rally” in downtown Louisville, Ky. on June 2 led by pastors from black, white, and Latino congregations, and attended by Mayor Greg Fischer, police officers, and concerned citizens alike. In a stunning event in which many were on their knees, Pastor Brian Gibson announced a new PPP Plan—Prayer, Preaching, and Partnership—to end the riots and heal racial divisions.

Grelan A. Muse Sr. is founder of Inside The Pew. Responses to this column are accepted at pewnews@aol.com.

BELTSVILLE, Md. – Following the unjust death of George Floyd and a week of protests and violence, Vice President Mike Pence and Executive Director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council Scott Turner on June 5 joined Bishop Harry Jackson, senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Md., and author of the forthcoming book “A Manifesto: Christian America’s Contract with Minorities,” for a listening session with a

Bishop Harry Jackson and Vice President Mike Pence

Bishop Harry Jackson, left, and Vice President Mike Pence

select group of Black and minority leaders representing churches, businesses, educational institutions and nonprofit organizations.

Pence’s main goal is to ‘listen and learn’
The Vice President addressed attendees with brief opening remarks, noting his main goal during the event was to listen and learn.

“I couldn’t help but feel that as our nation reels from the tragic death of George Floyd, that a place to start a conversation is a place of worship. It’s the wellspring of our nation’s strength. It’s been the wellspring of our national unity and our steady march toward a more perfect union,” Pence said.

“It will not be enough for us just to heal our economy. We have to heal that which divides by breaking down the barriers to opportunity for African Americans and any American that’s been left behind, so I’m anxious to gain your insights.”

Jackson sees unity as a momentum builder
Jackson, who through The Reconciled Church movement has been actively engaged for many years in leading conversations and working with faith leaders to heal racial divides, equated the current climate following Floyd’s death to the events surrounding the 1955 death of Emmett Till, which led to the start of the civil rights movement.

“His death was almost prophetic and symbolic of a time and season that change had to come. Black and Whites came together to address the civil rights movement, and we found momentum. I think we will similarly find momentum during this time,” said Jackson.

Jackson noted that as a diverse nation, it is vital that every American feel loved and accepted. He stated this is not solely the role of government but requires all three sectors of our country – government, business, and church – uniting together.

“Minorities need to hear that they are valued and that the lives of people really matter,” Jackson said. “It’s not just George Floyd’s death alone. His death is representative of the nearly 400-year history of challenges we’ve had … This administration didn’t create this problem, but it has the opportunity to help us heal.

Reflection of voices; Pence’s reassurance

Following opening remarks, a select group offered personal reflections of their own experiences as minority leaders, fathers, educators, business owners and citizens as well as insight into a way forward. The representative voices provided input regarding numerous issues, including:

  • Ensuring Black youth feel heard and acknowledged;
  • Encouraging leaders of faith to use their platforms to address race;
  • Increasing funding and resources for Historically Black Colleges and Universities;
  • Tackling criminal justice reform; and
  • Providing more practical, hands-on training, evaluation, and accountability for police officers.

Pence assured those present the Administration is working with a commitment for equality in our nation, while mourning with those who mourn and grieving with those who grieve. He also expressed support for the right to peaceful protest, explaining that is why forces were mobilized to make space for peaceful demonstrations so voices can be heard.

“My prayer is that we as a nation have ears to hear, to listen to one another, with open hearts,” said Pence.