I have not watched much of the coverage of the violence in Ferguson Missouri and other cities around the country. On Tuesday I waited for the announcement of the Grand Juries decision, and no I don’t believe there was some conspiracy to the time it was announced. I was not on the street on the night the events took place nor was I in the room with jurors who made the decision. I do not understand all of the legal stuff nor do I want too, so I really do not have an opinion on the decision itself. However, regardless of what side of the decision you are on violence is never the answer nor should it be accepted.
Protest is one of the fundamental aspects of the United States. When colonists had had enough of the perceived shenanigans of the British Parliament, and after all legal means were exhausted, they took to the streets. They protested, and yes sometimes those protests turned to violence, the civil war that the colonists waged against their government, as yes the British Parliament was our government, was an extreme act of violence. But that does not make it right.
As a military veteran and an American I support anyone’s right to protest regardless of the issue as long as it is done within the confines of the law and done without destruction to personal or public property. Again, protest is one of the fundamental rights we have as Americans, free speech and expression, but violence should not be part of that.
Peaceful protest is far more meaningful than a protest that turns violent and destructive and does nothing for the cause. Looting and burning of hard working people’s businesses only fuels the fires that turn against the protesters. Civil authority has the duty to protect life and property as well as seeing that other have the right of protest and when it turns violent or destructive civil authority will be called to quell the protest.
We live in a fallen world and we live in a country that has not come to grips with race relations. Part of the problem, as I see it, is that many have lost respect for human life at all levels. This lack of respect for God’s creation has a long standing and is so ingrained in American culture as well as a lack of respect for authority. All of this comes from our fallen nature and the fact that we need to turn back to God, not as a nation but as individuals.
Violence begets violence and love begets love!
In December of 1989 revolution broke out on the streets of the cities and towns of Romania. It has been called one of Europe’s bloodiest revolutions. The fighting raged on for days and I am not sure the real death toll is actually known. The images of tanks rolling down the streets and of protesters being shot are burned into my memory and I saw them on television I was not there. But along with those images of violence are images of love and peace. Women placing flowers in the barrels of the guns of soldiers and asking for them not to shoot.
Another example of this are the images of the priests standing between the two sides in the recent uprisings in Ukraine. They stood in the street, praying for an end to the violence, not with their own violence but with love and prayer.
My prayer today, and every day is for all of those involved, the protesters and those trying to keep the peace. My prayer is for the families of all involved on all sides of the issues and my prayer is for all of us, that we will turn from our hatred and turn towards respect for human life, all human life, back, white, brown, red, whatever color we are, that we turn from that hatred and that we turn towards love.