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“A different kind of division”

Pastor Rasheed Baaith

Pastor Rasheed Baaith

“A different kind of division”

“… Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls.” 

  (Luke 11:17)

By Rasheed Baaith

It is a reality that almost refuses description. Death seems to be everywhere we look in America and the deaths are violent, sudden and horrific. Even more remarkable is the fact that the deaths have divided America in a way never before seen.

America had gotten used to seeing African Americans die violently. Especially at the hands of other African Americans or in the custody of police or under other questionable circumstances. But America has never seen police officers die so violently, so unexpectedly and in such numbers as we have seen in the last two weeks. The tragedies that should have united us in a period of unbiased mourning only divided us more.

We cannot see the common humanity because of looking at skin color or the wearing of a uniform. There are those who feel no matter what the circumstances, the killing of an African American by the police is always justified or even warranted. The people who think like that never believe a mistake can be made by anyone wearing a badge and never consider that someone wearing a badge should never have been allowed to wear it in the first place. They believe that the person killed in such a manner deserved to be killed.

Somehow we believe the person has no family, won’t be mourned, did not feel pain or had a last thought. How lamentable to have that kind of mind set. Even worse, there are those who believe that such shootings or deaths should not be questioned. That to do so is somehow un-American or is agitating an already extremely volatile situation. I think that the most fearful of thinking. It is that kind of thinking that has contributed greatly to what we are presently seeing.

But it’s the same on the other side of the table. There are those who believe that because of wearing a uniform, the person who wears it deserves to be robbed of life. That a target is rightfully placed on their backs.  We believe that all cops carry blame.

We place so many different types of blame on those in uniform. We place historical blame, educational blame, societal blame, economic blame, and more. We do the same to those in uniform we complain about others doing to us: Blaming all of us for the actions of a few of us.  It happens so often we cringe when something happens that is particularly heinous or dreadful. We think to ourselves, “Lord, don’t let them be Black.” I think some police officers may be starting to feel the same way. I’m sure every time they hear of a police shooting, they wonder what led to it and was the shooting truly justified.

So what now?  Can America find some common ground? Can the country finally see sameness in each other?  It will be hard. Particularly in light of the Presidential election.  On one hand we have Trump and the Republicans with their trickle down racism mentality and on the other we have President Obama and the Democrats with a philosophy of let’s talk once there’s been an explosion. Neither will help heal or close the divide.

Finally there’s this: all of these problems stem from a certain kind of moral behavior or the lack there of. I think Tony Evans said it best, “Gone must be the days of only pointing fingers at others to fix what they may never fix. Our nation’s ills are not merely the result of corruption or racism, although these are evil. Our troubles can also be traced directly to ineffective Christians. One of the real tragedies today is that the church as a whole has failed to advance God’s kingdom, light, equity, love and principles in our land in order to be a positive influence and impact for good in the midst of darkness, fear and hate.”

Think about it.

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