Author Topic: ELCA PB weighs in on Trayvon Martin case  (Read 52094 times)

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: ELCA PB weighs in on Trayvon Martin case
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2012, 09:24:16 PM »
A rather interesting perspective is found in "The 'Hoodie Experiment'" -- published last week in The Final Call, which some of you will recognize as "the official communications organ of the Nation of Islam."

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Re: ELCA PB weighs in on Trayvon Martin case
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2012, 11:35:47 PM »
The tragic situation is being obviously manipulated by the mainstream press.  The race mongers are out in full force.  The situation is being used in Minnesota to bash conceal and carry gun laws.  Others are comparing the alleged racism of the shooter as akin to not voting for President Obama because of his race.  Given this background, it is my opinion that Bishop Hanson wants to  add his voice to the cacophony.

The tragic situation is a law enforcement situation.   Like the list of names in Chicago who were recently murdered, we have our own situations in Minneapolis.  There is a child shot dead in his house by stray gunfire.  It's not the first time it has happened.  A week ago a cab driver was shot in the neighborhood I work in.  Cab drivers are now refusing to drive in that neighborhood.  There are lots of situations the presiding bishop might address.  Why this one?  My humble opinion is that it is for partisan political gain.

Brian J. Bergs
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« Last Edit: March 28, 2012, 07:42:16 AM by Bergs »
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Re: ELCA PB weighs in on Trayvon Martin case
« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2012, 12:15:30 AM »
Here is a link to the full statement by the Florida Council of Churches: http://floridachurches.org/advocacy/20-public-policy/108-martin-statement

Early on I shared concern over the handling of the investigation by law enforcement, as well as the concern about racial profiling.  I remember an incident over a decade ago when a Japanese boy was shot and killed in Baton Rouge when he went to the wrong house.  Having Japanese family members, that really hit home.  I remember a professor of mine talking about how he had to raise his two sons, one black and one white, differently, because the black son would be perceived differently by police and by others.  Behavior that might be considered merely obnoxious if done by his white brother might be considered dangerous and threatening if done by the black brother, to the degree that arrest or use of force might ensue.  I think he is correct about that. 

More recently, I am concerned about the protesters demanding the arrest of Zimmerman.  I agree with demands for transparency, impartiality, and justice.  I think it was wise for the governor of Florida to appoint a state prosecutor to take over the case.  I think it appropriate for the Justice Department to look into the case.  But the idea that a person might be arrested, without due process, because a group of protesters demands it is as disturbing as the initial incident. 
« Last Edit: March 28, 2012, 12:34:00 AM by DCharlton »
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Rev. Matthew Uttenreither

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Re: ELCA PB weighs in on Trayvon Martin case
« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2012, 12:33:24 AM »
Where is the outrage over this:  http://www.freep.com/article/20120221/NEWS01/202210408/Detroit-baby-killed-in-a-spray-of-gunshots

Why hasn't the President spoken to this (or the PB of the ELCA)?  I think I know the answer.


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Re: ELCA PB weighs in on Trayvon Martin case
« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2012, 04:05:00 AM »
Pastor Uttenreither writes:
Why hasn't the President spoken to this (or the PB of the ELCA)?  I think I know the answer.

I comment:
Must be nice to have such a clear path into the mind of another, neither of whom you have met and both of whom you have already denounced on several matters. Your "I think I know the answer" is arrogant and detracts from the matter at hand, where we should be dealing with what we actually know and the information from people on the scene rather than partisan speculation.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2012, 09:46:54 AM by Richard Johnson »

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Re: ELCA PB weighs in on Trayvon Martin case
« Reply #20 on: March 28, 2012, 08:41:24 AM »
Calling up any other incident in the country with "why-is-nothing-said-here?" rhetoric is absurd and meaningless. We are not discussing every incident in every place.


Why is it not valid? The person who started this discussion said they wanted to discuss the PB's comments and the merits of the PB's comments. Since the PB would no doubt have us believe that this letter is intended to address the issue of racial justice and harmony then bringing up similar incidents and asking why he didn't comment on them is perfectly valid.
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Re: ELCA PB weighs in on Trayvon Martin case
« Reply #21 on: March 28, 2012, 08:48:47 AM »
  I do not find the lack of reference to George Zimmerman by name to be as disturbing as some others here; I felt that the sentence referencing "the sorrow and anger surrounding Trayvon's death" included the rage that has been directed against Mr. Zimmerman.


I respectfully disagree. I believe given the knee-jerk rush to judgement that has been directed toward Mr Zimmerman; including a bounty placed upon him by the new Black Panther Party and Spike Lee tweeting Mr Zimmerman's address; mentioning Mr Zimmerman by name along with a call toward remembering the 8th commandment would have not only been warranted but I would say necessary and the PB's failure to do so speaks at least to a certain short-sightedness on the PB's part.
Pastor Steven M. Bliss LCMC and NALC-  St Olaf Lutheran Church, Bode, Iowa

New quote, got tired of questions about Dante quote...

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edoughty

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Re: ELCA PB weighs in on Trayvon Martin case
« Reply #22 on: March 28, 2012, 08:56:09 AM »
We cannot discuss every case.  That would absurd.  We would barely have time to read the list of names, much less learn the facts and comment upon them.

I think that while we grieve the violence in our thoughts, words, deeds, and in what we have left undone, it is appropriate that we do discuss and ponder at least *some* of what happens in the news and in our communities.  Which, I would say, is what the Presiding Bishop has done, in connecting our appropriate response to the social statements approved by the Churchwide Assembly. 

We should all reflect and repent, in my opinion.  Which is a LOT harder to do than to type.  And no, we don't know all the facts (we probably never will).  But a kid is dead and death is not God's will.  God's will is that we turn from our sin (including, but by no means limited to, violence) and live, yes?  "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another."

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Re: ELCA PB weighs in on Trayvon Martin case
« Reply #23 on: March 28, 2012, 09:48:48 AM »
The tragic situation is being obviously manipulated by the mainstream press.  The race mongers are out in full force.  The situation is being used in Minnesota to bash conceal and carry gun laws.  Others are comparing the alleged racism of the shooter as akin to not voting for President Obama because of his race.  Given this background, it is my opinion that Bishop Hanson wants to  add his voice to the cacophony.

The tragic situation is a law enforcement situation.   Like the list of names in Chicago who were recently murdered, we have our own situations in Minneapolis.  There is a child shot dead in his house by stray gunfire.  It's not the first time it has happened.  A week ago a cab driver was shot in the neighborhood I work in.  Cab drivers are now refusing to drive in that neighborhood.  There are lots of situations the presiding bishop might address.  Why this one?  My humble opinion is that it is for partisan political gain.

Brian J. Bergs
Minneapolis, MN

I resonate with what you say here. And then, I am troubled by doing so. I guess it is because I, like everyone else, have become accustomed to the "personal interest story" so popular with the media that puts out an individual and their tragic story and then wants to make a morality play out of it. That is harmless enough when it is stories of heroic survival. But the method, which is, I am guessing, all about putting a human face on a problem or situation, has gotten out of hand when it became a common way to argue points. Everything has to have  poster child these days. I ask myself a sad question: Do we honestly, honestly, think that putting young Mr. Martin's face on posters is going to solve whatever ill currents infect the heart of men and women so profoundly that death on the streets is a clear and present danger?

Our track record as a society suggests "no." The problem is the problem. We do ourselves no favor by creating poster children. We do the poster children no favor either. WHen the light is shed on their lives personal destruction usually follows. This young man's life is now under close scrutiny. That process will be destructive as, instead of arguing the content of the problem and the merit of solutions, we will engage on the content of the life, personal apparel, and character of the poster child. Instead of arguing what is at the heart of the problem - and Bp Hanson did call the root of it sin which needed to happen - we will over focus on the worthiness of the poster child. I hate this method of a arguing and campaigning and have hated it for years. It leads nowhere good. I pray we will stop it and the church could be  a leader in doing just that.

The current debate du jour really does not ask us for input. It assumes our's and either considered us allies or decries that we are not sufficiently on board and therefore enemies. Bp. Hanson's statement really is not all that bad. It makes liberal use of various social statements which is probably a good example on how they were meant to be used. One of those statements is now 20 years old and, as I read the quote from it, in need to rework. It needs rework because we seem to have drifted into a way of living in America that looks a lot more like the Balkan states where we were at war at the time the statement was written. America is a tribal place these days. It probably is not actually, but it is on display as such in the media and is in danger of being led into becoming tribal. Balkanization sells airtime which sells advertising bucks.

If I was to fault the statement of our bishop I would note that its language and content sounds no different than any statement made in the early 90's by the ELCA concerning racism. So we have said the same thing, more or less, for 20 years and things have not gotten better? Is a course correction in order?

BTW: The cynic in me is asking, do we really need to redeem and mainstream the "hoodie?" If that is what will become the outcome of the matter than we are exposed as a society of teenagers. There is nothing more tribal than a group of teenagers.
Peter Kruse

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peter_speckhard

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Re: ELCA PB weighs in on Trayvon Martin case
« Reply #24 on: March 28, 2012, 10:35:31 AM »
A racially mixed man in a racially mixed neighborhood is as likely as not, if he gets into some kind of altercation, to be crossing racial lines somehow. If there had been a series of crimes and he was out doing neighborhood watch, fine, but the proper equipment for that is a cell phone. I was a security guard at the old Cleveland Stadium and we had radios to contact the police if anything happened, not weapons. Apparently Mr. Zimmerman did that and the police told him not to pursue the "suspect" and he did anyway, which was foolish. But I'm a little concerned about the "soft bigotry of low expectations" at work among some who seem to think that a hoodie in no way makes a person suspicious. Really? I suppose if someone walks into a bank wearing a ski mask we should all just assume he is into skiing or has an embarrassing skin condition or something. This is the problem, and it is not just a black problem, with fashion trends that glorify gang culture. Criminals dress a certain way for a reason-- baggy clothes, hoods, certain colors, even the whole pants down/underwear showing thing started off as a signal about prison experience-- and then regular, non-gang-involved people deliberately imitate them and then get outraged when people look at them like they might be criminals.

So the neighborhoos watch guy should have behaved differenty. But so should Trayvon have. If I, or my son, or anyone of whom I had an expectation of common sense and decency, were to be confronted by a neighborhood watch guy, no matter how unjustly, I would not expect the person whom I held to basic standards of civilized behavior to respond by breaking the watchman's nose or otherwise getting into a physical altercation. The tragedy and injustice of this situation pervades and indicts our wider culture; it is not simply a matter of another instance of racism.


Scott6

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Re: ELCA PB weighs in on Trayvon Martin case
« Reply #25 on: March 28, 2012, 10:40:30 AM »
Oh dear. This is really getting crazy.  Spike Lee apparently tweeted what he thought was the address of George Zimmerman but is actually the address of William George Zimmerman's -- a different person entirely -- parents (ages 70 & 72; William apparently lived there in 1995 and used the address for registering various things like his cars), none of whom were involved in any way with the incident.  Now the elderly couple has to live in a hotel and are receiving death threats.

Here's the story.

And another.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2012, 10:44:15 AM by Scott Yakimow »

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Re: ELCA PB weighs in on Trayvon Martin case
« Reply #26 on: March 28, 2012, 10:57:01 AM »
We cannot discuss every case.  That would absurd.  We would barely have time to read the list of names, much less learn the facts and comment upon them.


Never said we should discuss every case. But there is a difference between discussing every case and simply asking what makes this case different.
Pastor Steven M. Bliss LCMC and NALC-  St Olaf Lutheran Church, Bode, Iowa

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Re: ELCA PB weighs in on Trayvon Martin case
« Reply #27 on: March 28, 2012, 11:01:53 AM »
Oh dear. This is really getting crazy.  Spike Lee apparently tweeted what he thought was the address of George Zimmerman but is actually the address of William George Zimmerman's -- a different person entirely -- parents (ages 70 & 72; William apparently lived there in 1995 and used the address for registering various things like his cars), none of whom were involved in any way with the incident.  Now the elderly couple has to live in a hotel and are receiving death threats.

Here's the story.

And another.



The truly disturbing part of this story is this..

"When William Zimmerman pleaded with the man who tweeted the address, the man responded, 'Black power all day. No justice, no peace' along with an obscenity."

This again is an example of why I think the PB was incredibly short-sighted in not even mentioning Zimmerman.

.
Pastor Steven M. Bliss LCMC and NALC-  St Olaf Lutheran Church, Bode, Iowa

New quote, got tired of questions about Dante quote...

"Doin stuff is overrated. Like Hitler did a lot of stuff but don't we all wish he would have just sat around all day and got stoned?"-Dex from the Tao of Steve

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Re: ELCA PB weighs in on Trayvon Martin case
« Reply #28 on: March 28, 2012, 01:13:18 PM »
Here is the Presiding Bishop's words on the subject:

Hanson's text remains in italics. My comments are in plain text.
 
In  the wake of Trayvon Martin's tragic death, I call upon members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to join in public lament and to ask searching questions as we renew our commitment to act courageously and to work tirelessly for racial justice.
 
So, what is "racial justice"? Is it, "the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments", based on someones race? Is it, "the administration of law; especially : the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity"? by returning the days of "separate but equal" when there were different laws based on peoples' race? If he is calling on us to work "tirelessly for racial justice", then what exactly is it we're working for?

With all who mourn Trayvon's death we cry, "Lord, have mercy." For all who suffer the wounds that racism and violence infect we pray, "Christ, have mercy." For our turning God's gift of diversity into cause for distrust and division we plead, "Lord, have mercy." Who is more equipped to lament such agony, rather than deny it, than a people of the cross who trust that ultimately the power of God's love will reign?

While Martin's death was a tragedy, all deaths are tragedies. What makes this one worth special attention, aside from the usual gaggle of exploiters like Sharpton, Jackson, Lee and others seeing an opportunity to exploit this tragedy for their own personal enrichment?

May the sorrow and anger surrounding Trayvon's death move us to ask searching questions. How much longer shall any young person live in fear (and be feared) because of the color of their skin? Are we who are white ready to confront and lay down our power and privilege for the sake of a more just and inclusive society? Are we as a nation ready to reform our criminal justice system which "the cumulative effects of bias in the system as a whole have led to intolerably harmful effects on minority communities" ("ELCA Draft Social Statement on Criminal Justice").

Martin was shot by an Hispanic. Under normal circumstances, Zimmerman would be the beneficiary of special consideration because of his "race". But, in this situation, his membership in the Hispanic racial minority is set aside, and he's accorded full status as a Caucasian. Why? Also note that once again, he is calling for a return to the evil practices of the past of having separate laws for people of different races, which is the very antithesis of any sort of racial equality. A true system of justice (using that word in it's real, original sense) would be totally and absolutely color blind. It cannot include special laws for members of one group but not for another.

Trayvon's death has emboldened the movement for racial justice. It calls for commitment from us. Now is the time for us as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to live up to the commitments we made in the social statement, "Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity and Culture" (1993). We said we will "model an honest engagement with issues of race, ethnicity and culture, by being a community of mutual conversation, mutual correction, and mutual consolation" and further that we will "participate in identifying the demands of justice, and work with others who would have justice for all."

And what does he mean by "social justice"? How can he speak of claiming that the ELCA will "participate in identifying the demands of justice, and work with others who would have justice for all." when he aligns himself with people who are the enemies of true justice, like Sharpton, Jackson, and Lee?

Trayvon's death calls us to act courageously and to work tirelessly for racial justice. Such courage comes from the confidence of faith trusting that "he [Christ Jesus] is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us" (Ephesians 2:14 NRSV).

So, doesn't that mean that we should "act courageously and to work tirelessly" to see to it that Zimmerman gets a fair and impartial trial, and is only judged on whether he is guilty or innocent of committing murder, no more and no less, with Zimmerman's race and/or ethnicity ignored? Where is the call for "justice" and "equality" in judging Zimmerman?

Let us together courageously engage in Godís work of restoring and reconciling communities. Let us together pursue justice and work for peace no matter how long the journey or wide the chasm. Let us tear down the walls we erect to divide us and turn those walls into tables of conversation and reconciliation.

 
Where does this come from? One person killed another person. The killer should not have killed. The victim should not have been the victim. That's a sin that goes back to Cain and Abel. What makes this a matter of "community"? No one other than Zimmerman killed anyone in this particular case. No one other than Martin died in this particular case. It's about two people, a perpetrator and a victim. Instead of empty platitudes about tearing down walls, why doesn't he start by actually taking down a few bricks by addressing this as an issue of one person harming another, and toning down the divisive rhetoric this statement is so full of?

In this season of Lent, let us repent and be turned by God toward our neighbor. Let us humbly confess that racism, both blatant and subtle, denies the reconciling work of the cross. Let us trust in Godís promise of forgiveness that frees us from the enslavement of racism. Let us live in the power and promise of Christís resurrection.

And let us not forget that attempting to cloud this issue with the misapplied principal of "racism" is itself an encouragement to continue to see each other as faceless members of different groups instead of seeing each and every person as a unique individual. Maybe he should start by confessing that his statement is loaded with racism of the subtle kind he refers to in his second sentence. Let him heed his own words, and repent of this racist and divisive statement.
 
(corrected to remove confusing, errant italics)

 
« Last Edit: March 28, 2012, 03:49:59 PM by George Erdner »

grabau

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Re: ELCA PB weighs in on Trayvon Martin case
« Reply #29 on: March 28, 2012, 01:49:27 PM »
Should people with poor judgment carry guns?  grabau