Submitted Date 06/08/2020

My blood pressure is out of control this week.

When this last happened, I found the cure in social media and 24-hour news channels.

I turned them all off.

For several months, I threw myself into my charity work and fantasy sports writing.

This time, I don´t think that will work.

There is something happening that is too big to ignore.

Let me start by saying here, Black Lives Matter.


Acts 10- My Mother´s Book


Faith hasn´t always been in the forefront of my life.

There were many years spent in the wilderness.

But I don´t think I was ever a bad person.

My mother can take credit for that.

Her mantra throughout was, "We are all God´s children."

She taught us to treat everyone right regardless of reputation or appearance.

When I came back to Christ and started reading the Bible, I found Acts 10.

That is when God tells Peter not to call any creature He made dirty.

Then He sends him to the Roman centurion´s home where he converts non-Jews.

In short, God told Peter we are all God´s children.

My belief is that we are all made in His image.

Skin color and hair are a minuscule fraction of our DNA.

99.9 percent of us are identical to every other person on earth.

And we are meant to treat each other as brothers.


Can We Love Someone With a Knee On Their Neck?


Christian love is my go-to topic in prayer and preaching.

Love is the Answer.

God IS Love.

Spread the Word.

That is the basis of our ministry.

How easy it is to invoke the Word into the battle against racism.

"Love one another!" is the call.

"Treat one another as you would have the other treat you."

Rodney King´s passionate cry, "Can´t we all just get along?" resounds.

But Martin Luther King´s dream is still just that.

And sermons are not enough to make it a reality.


Love One Another is not the same as "All Lives Matter"


When the Black Lives Matter movement kicked off, my first thought was "All Lives Matter."

And that is true, as most BLM activists will tell you.

But sometimes someone needs a little more attention.

I have four grandchildren who I love equally.

But if one of them breaks an arm and is in a cast, he will need more love for a while.

It doesn´t discount the love I have for the other three.

It is a simple realization that the one in pain and restricted with a cast needs extra help.

Blacks and other minorities have been in a cast and in pain for a long time.

Finding your black friend or a conservative pundit who "made it" doesn´t change that.

Pointing out challenges of other segments of society doesn´t make this issue less important.

We can celebrate the prisoner of war who escaped, but we have to save the others, too.

Maybe I was a little slow on the uptake, equating "Love One Another" to "All Lives Matter."

Thank you to those who calmly explained why "Black Lives Matter" needs to be said.


Playing the Misdirection Game


Unfortunately, there are evil and misguided people who want racism and pain to continue.

There are financial advantages to oppressing people and controlling the narrative.

Liberal and conservative entertainment channels cover the issues very differently.

Political folks can spin matters any which way.

Or they can take the cowardly way out and shut up, as if they are unaware.

Just like us.

And just like the talking heads out there, we can spin our take, too.

I listened to a white preacher cry in grief over "poor George Floyd" after his death.

In the next sentence, she lamented how "every" peaceful protest turned violent.

And advised us to stand down, to consider the issues later, and in a calmer manner.

That is not a take I can agree with.

Millions of folks marched (and continue) in peace against police brutality and racism.

Thousands of rioters and looters showed up, some of whom were among the marchers for sure.

Hundreds of thousands of police officers stood by, often kneeling and dancing with marchers.

Thousands of police became confrontational, instigating violence with peaceful protesters.

But conflict and crime spark emotions and viewership… so that is what TV shows us.

Millions of people, including police, are interested in peaceful and meaningful change.

No one should ignore that or discount it because of some bad actors.


2020 is NOT 1968, Which Inspires Me


My parents raised me in a village of 14,000 with only one minority family.

But it didn´t take much life experience to recognize racism- systemic and blatant- exists.

It is how we got "ghettos" and concentrated minority neighborhoods.

It is how we got racial profiling, not just by some police, but by bankers, real estate agents, insurance companies, and others.

It is how we got disproportionate school funding and business investment.

It is probably why I never got arrested or abused despite some pretty nutty behavior and multiple police encounters.

There have been a lot of comparisons between the current marches and the protests of 1968.

But one look at the protesters reveals how different 2020 is.

In 1968, an occasional politician or preacher would contribute a white face to the crowd.

Even college campus protests were majority black and often found hostile white student groups waiting.

Dogs, hoses, batons, and even lynching were lamented by viewers in their living rooms.

But it wasn´t until the Ohio national guard shot white protesters that real action was recognized.

In contrast, this week´s marchers are often majority white and brown in support of our black friends and neighbors.

This country´s youngest generation is the most racially diverse in history.

And they are at the forefront of this movement.

Ironically, those who call protesters "rioters" don´t care if the police harm white or black citizens while suppressing the marches.

I guess that´s progress.


Positive Signs for Equal Rights and Humanitarian Movements


These protests mostly focus on police-related racism and brutality like George Floyd´s murder.

But they are also against racism and hatred in general, as in the Ahmaud Arbery lynching.

And please, don´t forget the rubber-stamp of an illegal no-knock warrant that led to EMT Breonna Taylor´s execution.

These are each representative of racist societal issues.

We have seen marches and protests for equality before.

But along with the size, duration, and demographics of this movement, there are other signs of hope.

For one example, look at the actions of bus driver unions and the AFL-CIO.

Labor unions traditionally back other unions at all costs, regardless of the matter.

It is a big deal that the New York bus drivers´ union refused to drive commandeered buses used to move prisoners.

Chicago union members are refusing to drive officers to protest sites, suing their leadership over the matter.

Minnesota´s AFL-CIO denounced the Minneapolis police union to "stand by their members."

And while most police unions are either FOP or PBA, the national AFL-CIO will address calls to oust several departments from that prominent group at their next convention.

There is a sad absence of major political figures on the frontlines of this battle.

But more and more are speaking out against threats that protesters could be met with military force.

And many local politicians seem ready to act on traditionally unpopular police reform programs.

All of this is unprecedented in the history of human rights, police, and equality movements.


Love One Another is a Call to Action


Jesus orders us to love one another, feed the poor, and care for the widow.

But sometimes, that means more than words, sentiments, and donations.

Don´t get me wrong, it is a fine time to donate to civil rights and social assistance groups.

It´s just that when Jesus calls us to a specific ideal, it usually involves some type of action.

Speak up, step out of your comfort zone, and fight for change.

These are common Biblical commands and they seem appropriate right now.

Don´t let detractors make false claims about the repercussions.

No one, for example, is calling for a police-less society.

They are looking for reform and demilitarization, which is consistent with US recommendations for all other nations.

Local leaders can take on police unions if they know the citizens are behind them.

Which brings us to the number one thing everyone has to do: Vote.

Help your local leaders out by pushing for referendums on reform and fairness.

As for those who think everything is fine the way it was before these protests,

Well, that is your prerogative.

But I encourage you to pray on it and investigate what protesters are talking about.

If I can figure it out, it must not be too hard.



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