Author Topic: Pondering "justice" and the death of George Floyd.......  (Read 39190 times)

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Pondering "justice" and the death of George Floyd.......
« Reply #150 on: June 01, 2020, 03:50:47 PM »
"George Floyd family enlists Dr. Michael Baden to perform second autopsy"

https://www.foxnews.com/us/george-floyd-family-enlists-dr-michael-baden-to-perform-second-autopsy


Attorneys for George Floyd's family released the results of an independent autopsy report Monday showing that Floyd's death was caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain.

https://www.foxnews.com/us/results-of-george-floyd-independent-autopsy-expected-today
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Re: Pondering "justice" and the death of George Floyd.......
« Reply #151 on: June 01, 2020, 03:56:16 PM »
A priest friend of mine finally got me to read a reflection by another priest friend of mine, who came from Milwaukee but now teaches in the Bronx at Fordham, Fr. Bryan Massingale:
https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/assumptions-white-privilege-and-what-we-can-do-about-it
It's a longish essay, but it addresses many of the questions and concerns that have been raised on this Forum as well as in the media. He speaks to what people can do--including the churches, especially the RCC--and includes the essential role of prayer.
     Here is a sample from early in the essay: "First, understand the difference between being uncomfortable and being threatened. There is no way to tell the truth about race in this country without white people becoming uncomfortable. Because the plain truth is that if it were up to people of color, racism would have been resolved, over and done, a long time ago. The only reason for racism's persistence is that white people continue to benefit from it.

"Repeat that last sentence. Make it your mantra. Because until the country accepts that truth, we will never move beyond superficial words and ineffective half-measures."

Peace,
Michael

On a personal note thank you for posting this, Father Slusser.  To say that the year 2020 has been disastrous is an understatement.  But for me this murder of an innocent man in such a horrific manner goes beyond anything we've seen.  I read this thread each day, I want to contribute, but not only do I have a lack of wisdom, I have become devoid of emotion.  I am so agitated since this killing that I cannot have trouble focusing on anything.  And yet I have no words.  This essay allowed me to feel and while the feelings are very painful I am relieved. I am relieved to feel pain and relieved to feel anger.  It will be difficult to grow into these feelings as the days progress but it will place me in fervent prayer for George Floyd, his family, and those who suffer injustice.  Thank you.

On a more practical point, it is a time for a president to meet with the nation - come into our homes in a presidential speech rather than a COVID rant.  But that would only be true had we had a president that was not a megalomaniac.  At a time such as this, do we really want to risk having a wild-card 'calm the nation' speech?  Some argue Trump is racist others argue he's not.  I won't take a side except to say that he has allowed racism to proliferate with his words and actions.  Rather than calm I fear he would incite.  A man lies dead, killed by an officer of the law in a horrific manner, and his answer is for governors to  use aggressive force on protestors is the last thing we need to hear at this point in time. 


peter_speckhard

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Re: Pondering "justice" and the death of George Floyd.......
« Reply #152 on: June 01, 2020, 04:04:51 PM »
A priest friend of mine finally got me to read a reflection by another priest friend of mine, who came from Milwaukee but now teaches in the Bronx at Fordham, Fr. Bryan Massingale:
https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/assumptions-white-privilege-and-what-we-can-do-about-it
It's a longish essay, but it addresses many of the questions and concerns that have been raised on this Forum as well as in the media. He speaks to what people can do--including the churches, especially the RCC--and includes the essential role of prayer.
     Here is a sample from early in the essay: "First, understand the difference between being uncomfortable and being threatened. There is no way to tell the truth about race in this country without white people becoming uncomfortable. Because the plain truth is that if it were up to people of color, racism would have been resolved, over and done, a long time ago. The only reason for racism's persistence is that white people continue to benefit from it.

"Repeat that last sentence. Make it your mantra. Because until the country accepts that truth, we will never move beyond superficial words and ineffective half-measures."

Peace,
Michael
The part you excerpt here strikes me as theologically inept, the result of subtly replacing theological thought with sociological categories, which makes it sound very theologically plausible and thus pernicious; it is operating in an entirely different framework, but co-opting Christian language.

As Solzhenitzyn wrote, the line between good and evil runs right through every human heart. To say that anything sinful like racism exists due to a socio-political arrangement that only benefits white people is simply not to understand the nature sin or evil but to treat is as something curable politically or economically. If that it true then my question is simply this: if people of color were emperor for a day, what would they collectively decree that would solve racism? What laws would change? How would white people stop benefiting from racism (assuming we stipulate that such a proposition is even true)?

I think the real problem with the fiction of racial identity is the expectation of racial solidarity. I have none, and I am repulsed by anyone who thinks I should have some sense of solidarity with white people generally. The idea of anyone being a "race-traitor" is despicable, as though the races were at war with each other or that I somehow owe special loyalty to people with my same skin color. I understand that in a system of formal, legal oppression based on skin color, racial solidarity was a necessary survival mechanism. Minority groups, most notably African-Americans, had to hang together to avoid hanging separately.
But in the absence of formal, legal oppression, the idea of racial solidarity actually perpetuates racism. Racial solidarity means every individual person comes to be seen as the nose of a huge camel in the tent of someone of another race-- take me, take everyone who looks like me, even if they are terrible people. C.S. Lewis describes this in the section on Friendship in the Four Loves-- that mutual suffering creates solidarity that is good, but can become destructive when that group loyalty starts to supersede other, more important loyalties. If police officers must have solidarity with every police officer, even the evil, criminal ones, then people are right to fear every police officer as a force for badness. In that case, the police fraternity or sense of solidarity police officers rightfully have with one another to a certain degree would have become overgrown, out of proportion, and therefore poisonous to the larger society. And it is poisonous for white people and people of color to think of themselves as having solidarity with people with people of the same skin color, even the criminals. That solidarity becomes a force for racism.

The only way toward any lasting resolution is to dissolve racial identity such that skin color comes to matter no more than hair color. That will never happen as long as people are boxed into racial categories. So, in this case: the Floyd case could be seen as an example of a white power structure unjustly killing a black person. It could also be told as an out of control police officer killing a citizen. In either case, a horrible injustice occurred that should outrage all Americans. And both tellings oversimplify the truth. But in broad terms, using the white-on-black narrative ensures that twenty years from now there will still be simmering race hatred out there. After all, every eight year old black kid will be 28 some day with this on his mind. But using the bad cop-on-citizen helps dissolve other solidarities into a unity against agents of injustice generally, meaning twenty years from now racism would be less of a problem. Black and white citizens would have solidarity with each other and with good police officers against those who abuse their power, which is how law and order is supposed to work.

That's why I asked earlier for evidence that race was somehow a motivating factor or involved in the crime rather than this being an instance of police brutality that just happened to involve a white officer and a black suspect. If it can plausibly be told in term of the latter, future generations will be much better off. If we insist on making it about race based on mere assumptions, we're perpetuating those assumptions, and future generations will still be trying to get out from under them.     

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Pondering "justice" and the death of George Floyd.......
« Reply #153 on: June 01, 2020, 04:05:54 PM »
A man lies dead, killed by an officer of the law in a horrific manner, and his answer is for governors to  use aggressive force on protestors is the last thing we need to hear at this point in time.

I respectively disagree, Ms. Smith. Why weren't these rioters arrested? Mayor Guliani once had 700 rioters arrested to stop a riot on the Brooklyn Bridge. He would have stopped the riot in one day, not let it go on for six days.

The Mpls mayor actually enabled the rioters in Mpls and all over the country in giving up the 3rd Precinct and allowing it to be burned down, sending the message that the rioters and looters can dominate the police and simply walk over them and other authorities.
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Re: Pondering "justice" and the death of George Floyd.......
« Reply #154 on: June 01, 2020, 04:28:50 PM »
A priest friend of mine finally got me to read a reflection by another priest friend of mine, who came from Milwaukee but now teaches in the Bronx at Fordham, Fr. Bryan Massingale:
https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/assumptions-white-privilege-and-what-we-can-do-about-it
It's a longish essay, but it addresses many of the questions and concerns that have been raised on this Forum as well as in the media. He speaks to what people can do--including the churches, especially the RCC--and includes the essential role of prayer.
     Here is a sample from early in the essay: "First, understand the difference between being uncomfortable and being threatened. There is no way to tell the truth about race in this country without white people becoming uncomfortable. Because the plain truth is that if it were up to people of color, racism would have been resolved, over and done, a long time ago. The only reason for racism's persistence is that white people continue to benefit from it.

"Repeat that last sentence. Make it your mantra. Because until the country accepts that truth, we will never move beyond superficial words and ineffective half-measures."

Peace,
Michael

On a personal note thank you for posting this, Father Slusser.  To say that the year 2020 has been disastrous is an understatement.  But for me this murder of an innocent man in such a horrific manner goes beyond anything we've seen.  I read this thread each day, I want to contribute, but not only do I have a lack of wisdom, I have become devoid of emotion.  I am so agitated since this killing that I cannot have trouble focusing on anything.  And yet I have no words.  This essay allowed me to feel and while the feelings are very painful I am relieved. I am relieved to feel pain and relieved to feel anger.  It will be difficult to grow into these feelings as the days progress but it will place me in fervent prayer for George Floyd, his family, and those who suffer injustice.  Thank you.

On a more practical point, it is a time for a president to meet with the nation - come into our homes in a presidential speech rather than a COVID rant.  But that would only be true had we had a president that was not a megalomaniac.  At a time such as this, do we really want to risk having a wild-card 'calm the nation' speech?  Some argue Trump is racist others argue he's not.  I won't take a side except to say that he has allowed racism to proliferate with his words and actions.  Rather than calm I fear he would incite.  A man lies dead, killed by an officer of the law in a horrific manner, and his answer is for governors to  use aggressive force on protestors is the last thing we need to hear at this point in time.

Do you really think he's in favor of using aggressive force against peaceful protestors?  I listened to the WH press briefing today, and best I can tell, that's not at all what he's calling for.

I'm no Trump fan, and I think I've made that clear, but these days the disclaimer always seems needed.  Having said that, you cannot allow looting and destruction and violence to continue in the streets.  I heard the president say from his own mouth Saturday that he supports peaceful protests and is horrified by what happened to George Floyd.  I also heard him say he thinks (and I think he is right) the violence is being organized apart from the peaceful protests, to use the occasion of peaceful protest to gin up chaos and disorder.  As I see it, the best way to proceed with peaceful protests is to stop the violence so they can proceed unimpeded.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

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Re: Pondering "justice" and the death of George Floyd.......
« Reply #155 on: June 01, 2020, 04:31:40 PM »

     Here is a sample from early in the essay: "First, understand the difference between being uncomfortable and being threatened. There is no way to tell the truth about race in this country without white people becoming uncomfortable. Because the plain truth is that if it were up to people of color, racism would have been resolved, over and done, a long time ago. The only reason for racism's persistence is that white people continue to benefit from it.

"Repeat that last sentence. Make it your mantra. Because until the country accepts that truth, we will never move beyond superficial words and ineffective half-measures."

The part you excerpt here strikes me as theologically inept, the result of subtly replacing theological thought with sociological categories, which makes it sound very theologically plausible and thus pernicious; it is operating in an entirely different framework, but co-opting Christian language.

The real test of whether Fr. Massingale's words should be dismissed as "theologically inept" is the truth test: are his words true? If they are true, then they're as theologically ept as they need to be.

Peace,
Michael

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peter_speckhard

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Re: Pondering "justice" and the death of George Floyd.......
« Reply #156 on: June 01, 2020, 04:57:15 PM »

     Here is a sample from early in the essay: "First, understand the difference between being uncomfortable and being threatened. There is no way to tell the truth about race in this country without white people becoming uncomfortable. Because the plain truth is that if it were up to people of color, racism would have been resolved, over and done, a long time ago. The only reason for racism's persistence is that white people continue to benefit from it.

"Repeat that last sentence. Make it your mantra. Because until the country accepts that truth, we will never move beyond superficial words and ineffective half-measures."

The part you excerpt here strikes me as theologically inept, the result of subtly replacing theological thought with sociological categories, which makes it sound very theologically plausible and thus pernicious; it is operating in an entirely different framework, but co-opting Christian language.

The real test of whether Fr. Massingale's words should be dismissed as "theologically inept" is the truth test: are his words true? If they are true, then they're as theologically ept as they need to be.

Peace,
Michael
Granted, words like “racism” tend to have a variety of technical definitions in various academic settings. But in the most basic terms, I would say the statement is false on the surface of it.

Robert Johnson

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Re: Pondering "justice" and the death of George Floyd.......
« Reply #157 on: June 01, 2020, 04:57:38 PM »
A man lies dead, killed by an officer of the law in a horrific manner, and his answer is for governors to  use aggressive force on protestors is the last thing we need to hear at this point in time.

The protesters are being taken advantage of by the Antifa rioters, who are piggybacking on legitimate protests, and the seemingly inevitable looting that follows.  Antifa is mostly white (though I have seen video where a white Antifa organizer pays young black men to cause mayhem). As a first approximation, looters empty stores; then it is Antifa who are setting the empty stores and other buildings on fire.

A dark joke that's circulating today: if you want to go to church and not be arrested, dress like a rioter.

Charles Austin

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Re: Pondering "justice" and the death of George Floyd.......
« Reply #158 on: June 01, 2020, 05:08:02 PM »
Amen, Fr. Slusser!
“Truth” does not alway conform to theological categories or analysis. The officer should not be convicted of “racism,” but of murder.
And what may or may not provoke or support the evil of racism is a Somewhat separate concern.
It is statistically true that black man, particularly young black men, are more likely to die in police custody than young white men. Heady discussions of “racial identity” won’t do. They detract from facing the reality, dare I say “truth“, of what people are feeling and experiencing.
Darn! There’s that matter of “feeling” and “experience” again! ::)
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Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Pondering "justice" and the death of George Floyd.......
« Reply #159 on: June 01, 2020, 05:17:14 PM »
Bemidji had an 8 pm curfew Sat and Sunday night. My office is about a block from the law enforcement center. Sat afternoon there was a protest there with over 1000 participants. I had gone in late afternoon  to retrieve a locked up handgun, turn off the encrypted server, etc in the event of a break in or worse.

I'm glad the City was proactive! After I left the office Sat evening, my friend John said that the authorities found broken boards in a couple of dumpsters behind us, a couple of blocks from LEC, soaked in fuel, and some Molotov cocktails.

As I left, I drove around a bit, and the police presence was amazing. I never knew they had so many suv "squads" in Bemidji and Beltrami County! Also, there were "strangers" on many street corners, dressed in matching "Black Lives Matter" t-shirts, all with earbuds in their ear, just standing and waiting. As I drove past LEC, they were boarding up the windows with plywood.

This is small city Bemidji! It was spooky!
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Re: Pondering "justice" and the death of George Floyd.......
« Reply #160 on: June 01, 2020, 05:17:45 PM »
Amen, Fr. Slusser!
“Truth” does not alway conform to theological categories or analysis. The officer should not be convicted of “racism,” but of murder.
And what may or may not provoke or support the evil of racism is a Somewhat separate concern.
It is statistically true that black man, particularly young black men, are more likely to die in police custody than young white men. Heady discussions of “racial identity” won’t do. They detract from facing the reality, dare I say “truth“, of what people are feeling and experiencing.
Darn! There’s that matter of “feeling” and “experience” again! ::)
Actually, all "Truth" (there go your scare quotes) always by definition conforms to theological analysis, since "Truth" has a Creator. And yes, the officer should be tried (premature to say convicted before the trial, lest we fall prey to mob justice) for murder, not racism. And just because something doesn't put wind into the sails of what people are feeling doesn't mean it doesn't need to be said. Sometimes mass movements and mobs, with genuine experiences and feelings, are nevertheless counter-productive.

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Re: Pondering "justice" and the death of George Floyd.......
« Reply #161 on: June 01, 2020, 05:32:37 PM »
Bemidji had an 8 pm curfew Sat and Sunday night. My office is about a block from the law enforcement center. Sat afternoon there was a protest there with over 1000 participants. I had gone in late afternoon  to retrieve a locked up handgun, turn off the encrypted server, etc in the event of a break in or worse.

I'm glad the City was proactive! After I left the office Sat evening, my friend John said that the authorities found broken boards in a couple of dumpsters behind us, a couple of blocks from LEC, soaked in fuel, and some Molotov cocktails.

As I left, I drove around a bit, and the police presence was amazing. I never knew they had so many suv "squads" in Bemidji and Beltrami County! Also, there were "strangers" on many street corners, dressed in matching "Black Lives Matter" t-shirts, all with earbuds in their ear, just standing and waiting. As I drove past LEC, they were boarding up the windows with plywood.

This is small city Bemidji! It was spooky!

Sometimes I wish I lived in a more populated area for the sake of certain conveniences.  But right now I'm really happy to be out here in open farm country, quite distant from any large metro area.  I see it played out on my TV, but no sign of any of this unrest around here in this sparsely populated area.  My daughter is a student at CUC, and we had to make a trip to Chicago around the middle of May.  Glad I got in and out and don't have to return until fall.  Also glad that my daughter and son-in-law, who both have jobs connected with the Twin Cities, are working remotely from home. 
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Re: Pondering "justice" and the death of George Floyd.......
« Reply #162 on: June 01, 2020, 06:08:26 PM »
A man lies dead, killed by an officer of the law in a horrific manner, and his answer is for governors to  use aggressive force on protestors is the last thing we need to hear at this point in time.

I respectively disagree, Ms. Smith. Why weren't these rioters arrested? Mayor Guliani once had 700 rioters arrested to stop a riot on the Brooklyn Bridge. He would have stopped the riot in one day, not let it go on for six days.

The Mpls mayor actually enabled the rioters in Mpls and all over the country in giving up the 3rd Precinct and allowing it to be burned down, sending the message that the rioters and looters can dominate the police and simply walk over them and other authorities.


So it would have been better for the police to shoot and kill those trying to destroy their building? How would that help the complaint against police brutality? Sometimes it's better to loose a battle so that one might win the war.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

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Re: Pondering "justice" and the death of George Floyd.......
« Reply #163 on: June 01, 2020, 06:31:17 PM »
A glimmer of hope in a series of otherwise disheartening days...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyezyOrBEXk

Michael Slusser

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Re: Pondering "justice" and the death of George Floyd.......
« Reply #164 on: June 01, 2020, 06:58:54 PM »
A glimmer of hope in a series of otherwise disheartening days...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyezyOrBEXk
Thanks, Mj4.
I'm still finding hope in the video posted last Friday by Pastor Don Kirchner: https://www.facebook.com/ingrid.c.rasmussen/videos/10222939128729650/UzpfSTEwMDAwMDM0NTU0MzA2NDozMjE2NzEyOTExNjgzNTI5/


Peace,
Michael
« Last Edit: June 01, 2020, 07:19:14 PM by Michael Slusser »
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