Police Shootings, Racial Justice, and the Church

Russell Moore | July 8, 2016


Many Americans awoke from their Independence Day weekend to read that yet another African-American man had been shot and killed by police. On Tuesday, Alton Sterling was confronted by police while selling music CDs outside a convenience store in Baton Rogue, Louisiana. A video posted to social media shows Sterling apparently pinned to the ground by two police officers, before gunshots ring out and Sterling is killed.

Most of us had scarcely caught up with the news when another grisly video went viral. The footage, first posted to Facebook, shows a young black man, Philando Castile, wearing a blood-soaked shirt in his car while his girlfriend tells the camera he was shot by an officer after reaching for his concealed-carry permit. Videos of the deaths of these two men have been viewed by millions of Americans on social media, and have provoked cries of anger, grief, and frustration.

Perilous Crisis 

What we should understand, first, is that this crisis isn’t new. Many white evangelicals will point to specific cases, and argue the particulars are more complex in those situations than initial news reports might show. But how can anyone deny, after seeing the sheer number of cases and after seeing those…


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