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Racism, Riots, and a Catholic Response

Source: Trent Horn on Catholic Answers via catholic.com
Republished with permission.

In this episode Trent discussed the death of George Floyd as well as the protests and violence that have broken out in several major cities as a result. He also talks about how we as Catholics should keep the Gospel at the center of our response to racism, police brutality, and other unjustifiable violence.

Welcome to The Council of Trent podcast, a production of Catholic Answers.

Trent Horn:
How was your weekend? Mine was a tad bit stressful. You see, there was a riot less than a mile away from my home. The banks were set on fire, the grocery store was looted. There were police out in riot gear, teargas, pepper spray helicopters circling overhead. It was chaos and pandemonium. You might have experienced some of this chaos yourself if you live in a major city, you might have even been placed under curfew. At the very least, I’m sure you heard about this on the news and how all this can be traced back to the death of George Floyd on May 25th in Minneapolis. So that’s the only way to talk about today here on The Council of Trent podcast. I’m your host, Catholic Answers apologist and speaker, Trent Horn. And before we get deeper into the subject of our podcast today, I want to give a big thanks and shout out to our subscribers at trendhornpodcast.com. For as little as $5 a month, you get access to bonus content.

You can comment on the episodes, message me with ideas for episodes, submit questions to be answered in our open mail bags, get sneak peeks of my new books, new audio talks, new videos that are coming out, especially courses from our new School of Apologetics. So lots of great things. For as little as $5 a month, you get access to that, and you make the podcast possible and you allow me to do things like our YouTube rebuttal videos. I’m actually working now. I should have it finished very soon, if not today, a video rebutting a video by Servus Christi called The Catholic Church: Masterpiece of Deception. So I love making those rebuttal videos, I love doing these episodes. If you want to help me make more of them, go to trenthornpodcast.com and consider becoming a premium subscriber. Or leave a review on the iTunes app or Google Play for The Council of Trent podcast. Your reviews help people see the podcast. If we have over 1,000 reviews and it helps to boost us in search algorithms. Like when people search “Catholic podcast”, we’re more likely to come up.

So I’m really grateful for everyone who supported the podcast with reviews or subscription to premium content, it’s really what makes this all possible. So last night I was sitting out in my living room, the kids had gone to bed, my wife had gone to bed. It was 11 o’clock at night and the real serious looting and violence started to erupt. I was watching it all be livestreamed. A reporter from the local news channel was … I was looking out my window seeing this is all happening right across the freeway from me. And there’s a reporter there and he’s just aiming his cell phone cameras, seeing people running into stores, breaking windows. And I was thinking about all of this and thinking about also the act of police brutality that led to the death of George Floyd, and led to many people being righteously outraged about this overreach, this abuse, and these actions that killed in an innocent man. So I understood the anger, but I also felt angry about what people were doing in my neighborhood.

So I just compose this tweet and Facebook posts, which actually got shared a lot because I think it really struck to the core of what is going on right now. Here’s what I wrote, “Both the killing of George Floyd and the awful riots happening now, including one near me in La Mesa reveal the same truth about our sinful nature. We will hurt others to get what we want if we think there won’t be consequences for our actions. Jesus have mercy on us.” And if you think about that, that’s the root problem of sin. If you look at the dark elements of human nature, our fallen nature, what do we end up doing? How do we act? We will hurt others to get what we want if we think there won’t be consequences for our actions. That’s what it boils down to. You have cops who will hurt people if they think there won’t be consequences, and people will back them and nothing will come of it.

You have people who will loot stores, who will go to family-owned businesses and destroy them and destroy people’s livelihoods because they’ve disappeared into the mob and they think they won’t be held accountable. And we do it all the time, you and I do that. When we sin, we sin because we have a lapse in judgment or somehow we think we can escape the judgment of God and so we hurt other people. We hurt people we love, we hurt people we care about because we don’t think there’ll be consequences or we don’t focus on the consequences. And that’s something that we have to do to understand, there is a consequence for our actions. The consequence is death. Maybe not at this very moment, but Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but we have eternal life in God.” And that is what matters most and that is what we need to be able to share with people. So I’m going to touch on that a little bit more later in the episode, but I also want to talk about what was going on with this story here in the news.

How should we as Catholics respond with principles of faith and reason to the death of George Floyd and the demonstrations coming from it? Let’s get the facts out of the way and go … Let’s get the facts on the ground and understand what’s going on. On May 25th, 2020, George Floyd, an African-American man died in Powderhorn, a neighborhood south of downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. While Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down on a city street during an arrest, Derek Chauvin or Chauvin … Chauvin … I’ve read this more than heard about it in the news stories. This article is the Wikipedia article, uses the term “European American” instead of White. I don’t know if that’s their new style guide or not. A White Minneapolis police officer kept his knee on the right side of Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, according to the criminal complaint against Chauvin. Two minutes and 53 seconds of that time occurred after Floyd became unresponsive.

Now, there was a later autopsy that was done that said that George Floyd’s death was due to a combination of factors like preexisting medical conditions, and I think possibly the presence of intoxicants in his system. But it was also definitely stress caused during his arrest, including when Chauvin kept his knee on the guy’s neck for nearly nine minutes. A later independent autopsy done by the family of George Floyd said that the cause of death was primarily this fixation. I mean, this officer kept his knee on Floyd’s neck while he’s laying down on the ground. He’s handcuffed, by the way. He’s handcuffed. Whose hands are cuffed, he’s not going to be … What’s he going to do? Roll around on the ground. He’s not really that much of a threat. He was a big guy for sure, but they had him subdued. But this went above and beyond. The guy put a knee on the guy’s neck and still had the knee on his net compressing him. And what in a lot of cases you’re taught the neck’s a dangerous thing to put a choke hold on.

A lot of places for police departments, choke holds are illegal because you can compress the carotid arteries and prevent oxygen from getting to the brain, and you can kill someone pretty quickly that way. And he still did it even three minutes after the guy became unresponsive, so there’s rightful outrage related to this. And also people have brought up the issue of race. This is a White police officer, African-American suspect. And so how should we respond to that? And to me, there’s two extremes. The one extreme says racism is not a problem in the United States, or it’s overblown, or there’s really no racism. Look, there’s 330 million people in this country and there’s still a lot of pockets of racism throughout this country. It doesn’t surprise me if the scene of racism is more rampant than we think. But the other extreme for me is to look at every interaction between a White authority figure and African-American and say that racism is involved, or to say that we’re all racist or that America is a racist country. That’s not the case.

I mean, look what happened in central park with a woman in central park who called police and she said, “There’s an African-American man threatening me.” Our culture as a whole when that video went online sided with the African-American birdwatcher who was being threatened by this, Karen, I guess. I guess that’s the new meme now. If you’re being whiny and always complaining about minor infractions of rules, you’re a Karen. And I do admit to using the word “Karen” a lot, though I really don’t think I should. There are Karen’s that I know in my life that are really nice people. So I’d hate if there was something that happened out there and there was some jerk named Trent that was behind it, and everyone’s saying, “Oh, don’t be such a Trent.” I’d be like, “I’m a Trent. That’s not very nice.” So let’s go back then to the issue related to Floyd’s killing. Was this something due to racism or is it due to police brutality? Now, we need a lot more of an investigation to see if this were a particular act of racism.

But I want to look at the data as a whole, when it comes to interactions between White police officers and minorities. And actually there was a study published by Michigan State University. The article can be found at phys.org, P-H-Y-S .org. This is just a general science website. So it’s not a political website by any means, it’s just a website. It talks about physics, nanotech, astronomy, and they cover all kinds of different science. So they checked out this social science research from Michigan State University and this is what they found. They author of the study at MSU said, “Until now, there’s never been a systematic nationwide study to determine the characteristics of police involved in fatal officer involved shootings.” So the findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences or PNAS based on an independent database that this team researched and catalog each police shooting from 2015. So they contacted every department, got the stats that were involved and this is what they said. This is an interview of what they said about their findings.

This is a 2000 … Oh sorry. This is a 2019 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Joseph’s Cesario a professor at MSU was one of the researchers in the study. He said, “We found that the race of the officer doesn’t matter when it comes to predicting whether Black or White citizens are shot.” He said, “If anything, Black officers are more likely to shoot Black citizens. But this is because Black officers are drawn from the same population that they police. So the more Black citizens in the community, the more Black police officers. There are many people ask whether Black or White citizens are more likely to be shot and why. We found that crime rates are the driving force behind fatal shootings. Our data show that the rate of crime by each racial group predicts the likelihood of citizens from that racial group being shot. If you live in a county that has a lot of White people committing crimes, White people are more likely to be shot. If you live in a county that has a lot of Black people committing crimes, Black people are more likely to be shot.

It is the best predictor we have of fatal police shootings.” So does this tie into racism? So some people say, “Oh, see right there, it shows racism has nothing to do with it.” Well, I don’t believe in that either because we also have generational effects of racism. I mean, we had slavery in this country for centuries. We had Jim Crow laws that racially segregated the South and prevented African-Americans from being able to access better paying jobs, having access to public accommodations, getting fair trials, being able to own businesses. I mean, 100 years ago, about almost exactly 100 years ago in Tulsa, there was one of the largest race riots in history and a group … A White mob burned down what was called Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma. These are a bunch of successful Black businesses that were destroyed by an angry racist White mob. So when you have things like this that have happened for centuries, there are going to be generational effects from that evil. You can’t just say, “Okay, well we passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and now everything’s fine.”

Well, there’s going to be lingering effects from this, and one of those is if the lingering effect of this racism is that it creates poverty in particular minority areas. And then that poverty leads to increased crime. Then you have situations where racism can lead to minorities having more interactions with police that can lead to even more fatal interactions. So the way I would look at is this, look, there’s never going to be a simple black or white answer so just avoid very simplistic narratives and try to get all the dots connected. That’s what I would try to connect. So yeah, I’m not going to go to the all or none, racism is not a problem anymore, which is one extreme. And then the other extreme is everybody’s racist, or the entire country is systematically racist, or cops are out killing African-Americans with impunity. Because actually that’s not what the data shows when you do a research of all these shootings. And I’ll link to the particular study that I’m talking about here. And sometimes the narratives are just wrong when you will put forward the slogans related to this.

Probably the most common one is this, “Hands up. Don’t shoot.” If you were watching any of the protests over the internet or watching some of these things happening, all the time people would go to the police officers, they put their hands up and they would say, “Hands up, don’t shoot.” What is that from? Well, that is from the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson. You probably remember Ferguson and the protests and riots that emerged from Ferguson related to that police shooting. So on August 9, 2014, Michael Brown Jr., an 18 year old black man was fatally shot by 28 year old White Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson, in the city of Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of st. Louis. Brown was accompanied by his 22 year old friend, Dorian Johnson. Wilson said that an altercation ensued when Brown attacked Wilson in his police vehicle for control of Wilson’s gun until it was fired. Keep in mind, everyone agrees that Brown was being apprehended by Wilson because he had just robbed a convenience store and he had stolen some cigars or cigarillos from this convenience store.

And then Wilson previously responded to a baby or a child that had trouble breathing, then got a call about the store being robbed, went to confront Brown. Wilson said that Brown went for his gun, but Johnson said that Wilson initiated the confrontation by grabbing Brown by the neck through his car window, and then chased after him. So it was claimed in popular media that Michael Brown put up his hands and said, “Don’t shoot.” And then Wilson shot him, which would be murder in cold blood. But when you look at all of the FBI evidence, all the evidence has come forward, that did not happen. There’s actually a good local story that was produced by WKBN 27 that covers this, that was published after the FBI’s report came out, which was many months later that said this narrative was actually not true. So let me play this clip from the story, and they also talk about the FBI report.

Speaker 3:
Federal and local authorities say the evidence shows, “Hands up, don’t shoot.” Didn’t happen. The final Department of Justice report concludes Michael Brown’s hands were not up in surrender when he was shot and killed by officer Wilson. So where did it come from? Brown’s friend, the day of the shooting.

Dorian Johnson:
I know exactly what I saw. I was there the whole time and I definitely saw my friend stop and put his hands up.

Speaker 3:
Federal and local authorities say he’s wrong. There are still plenty in the protest movement who are convinced Brown had his hands up, but few have read the nearly 100 page report. We did. Here’s what the witnesses closest to the incident who spoke to federal investigators and the grand jury say. Witness 102, a biracial male, “For sure that Brown’s hands were not above his head.” Witness 103, a black male reluctant to meet with FBI agent stating snitches get stitches eventually did talk. He had one of the best views of the shooting and says he did not see Brown’s hands up and witnessed Brown moving fast towards Wilson. Witness 104, a biracial female with a clear view of the scene says she heard the shots fired inside Wilson’s car that hit Brown in the hand, she then saw Wilson hop out of the car and yell, “Stop. Stop. Stop.” Brown ran then turned around and for a second began to raise his hands as though he considered surrendering, but then quickly balled up his fist and charged at Wilson.

In a stunning admission, she told investigators, Wilson waited a long time to fire his gun, adding she would have fired sooner.

Trent Horn:
So I don’t like it. When people protest injustice based on falsehoods or misinformation, we should always stick to the truth and use that when we protest wrongdoing. And police brutality is wrongdoing, especially when it is motivated by racism towards vulnerable communities. So if that’s the case here in the killing of George Floyd, then that makes it extra heinous what happened if he was targeted because he was African-American. But even if he wasn’t targeted because of his race, police brutality, what happened to him is still a heinous crime just as it would be a heinous crime if it happened to anyone else. And police brutality is something we all should take a stand against. We should support good law enforcement officers who are working their butts off to keep us safe from criminals who would kill you in a second to take your property, take your life. There are very, very bad people out there and I am glad that there are members of law enforcement who are protecting me from those very bad people. But very bad people come in all shapes and sizes and classes and occupations, including law enforcement unfortunately.

To give you another example of that, when it comes to police brutality, one that made my blood absolutely boil when it first came out back in 2016 was the killing of Daniel Shaver. Daniel shaver was … This was in Mesa, actually where I used to live in Phoenix, Arizona. He was at La Quinta Inn and he was in a hotel room and somebody thought they saw him with a gun. And I think he had a gun, but it was a pellet gun. He was a pest control guy. He was in a hotel room with a friend, he had been drinking. So he’s a little inebriated. He had his gun and then police showed up there, ordered him … Ordered his associate out of the hotel room, then ordered him into the hallway of the hotel room. He eventually was shot by police officers. Specifically, he was shot by Phillip Brailsford and an internal investigation report revealed that earlier Brailsford had violated department weapon policy. He had engraved his patrol rifle with the phrases, “You’re effed.” And not effed, he put the expletive on there.

“You’re effed.” And, “[foreign language 00:17:35]”, which is a Greek expression meaning come and take them. He’d already been previously investigated for body slamming a teenager. And he was yelling at Shaver who was inebriated, and he’s a little bit confused. And he’s telling him, “If you make mistake, you will be killed.” I mean, even if you’re sober-minded, your heart would be beating fast. You’d be worried about, “Oh, where do I put my hands? What do I do?” And he tells him to crawl towards him and then Shaver slips and reaches his hand behind him and he ended up being shot five times. I’m going to play a portion of the video. I’m not going to play the portion where Shaver is shot because I think even just hearing … I mean, watching it is graphic enough. I don’t want you to have to hear that. But I’m going to play it with you to see what this interaction was like.

And Brailsford, he was acquitted. He ended up being acquitted, but I feel like his interaction here, his recklessness and his demeanor ultimately contributed to Shaver’s death and it’s just appalling. I’m going to play a bit, you can see what officer Brailsford was like when he was arresting Shaver.

Brailsford:
Okay. Young man, listen to my instructions and do not make a mistake. You are to keep your legs crossed. Do you understand me?

Shaver :
Yes, sir.

Brailsford:
You are to put both of your hands, palm down straight out in front of you. Put yourself up to a kneeling position. I said keep your legs crossed. I didn’t say that this is a conversation. [inaudible 00:18:59]. Hands up in the air. You do that again, we’re shooting you. Do you understand?

Shaver :
No. Please do not shoot me. [crosstalk 00:19:07].

Brailsford:
Then listen to my instruction.

Shaver :
Okay, I’m trying to just do what you say.

Brailsford:
Don’t talk, listen. Hands straight up in the air. Do not put your hands down for any reason. You think you’re going to fall, you better fall on your face. Your hands go back in the small of your back or down, we are going to shoot you. Do you understand me?

Shaver :
Yes, sir.

Brailsford:
Crawl towards me. Crawl towards me.

Shaver :
Yes, sir.

Trent Horn:
I can’t deal with it. This guy is an absolute piece of work. All he had to do was go over there. The guy was already lying down on the ground with his hands forward, just cuff him right there and wait for backup. Instead, he tells him to put his hands up, cross his legs, and then to crawl towards the officer. To crawl towards him like a dog on the ground or something like that. And you can see the agitation in my voice, and I’m not going to play the rest of it because then he starts to stumble a bit and he gets five bullets put in him and Brailsford was later acquitted. It absolutely boils my blood, ladies and gentlemen, to watch. You want to watch it yourself, go right ahead if you have a strong enough stomach for it. A body cam video of Daniel Shaver shooting. I’ll link to it at trenthornpodcast.com. So I get it. I understand when you … And the reason I got really mad was when he was acquitted.

That’s why people rioted in LA back in 1992 over the Rodney King verdict, that you had four police officers from Simi Valley nearly beat Rodney King to death and they all got off. So people rioted because they felt like, “Look, we tried the justice system, we’ve tried everything and it just didn’t work.” So I say the same, I can understand. I can understand how someone could get so mad and think that they want to go and commit violence because they feel like the system has failed them. I understand that. But we cannot as human beings, as human beings made in the image of God with rational minds and immortal souls, we cannot give into the darkness inside of our hearts when we see injustice. That is why Jesus … The most difficult teaching Jesus ever gave us is this, love your enemy as yourself. I love how Jesus puts it, He says, “Who cares if you love …” This is the dynamic Trent Horn translation paraphrased, “Who cares if you love your friends, even sinners, even evil people love their friends, love their family.

But to love one’s enemy, that is truly the sign of a grace-filled life.” So the problem here is that this is not merely an institutional problem. This is not merely a problem of fixing certain things on a public policy level, or increasing diversity training in police officers. I mean, there are practical things you can do to train police officers to better respond to situations, to better psychologically screen to remove police officers that have a troubled behavior, and to prevent a culture of secrecy that protects the bad apples so to speak. There’s things you can do. But ultimately, this is a problem with sin. This is a sinful problem in all of our hearts, whether it comes to the sin of racism, the sin of brutality, the sin of violence, the sin of theft. All these sins that have been on display recently, those are sins that spring from the darkness of our hearts infected with original sin, and it is only through the grace of God that we can ultimately purify them.

That is why we need to promote and share the love of God, and not fall into the temptation of having hateful vengeful attitudes towards police officers in general. Or having hateful, racist attitudes towards members of minority communities. That is what the devil wants, that is what the father of lies wants. That is what we do not want because that is what Christ does not want. A few other thoughts that have come up from me seeing this, one is I cannot stand it when people justify the looting with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. So Martin Luther King Jr. said that riots are the language of the unheard. So they just quote that one part and say that Martin Luther King Jr., he would understand. Or they quote that to try to alleviate any criticism of the looting that happened this weekend. I’m all in favor of peaceful protests saying that police brutality has to end, especially when they say police brutality against any individuals. But especially obviously racism is wrong, police brutality motivated by racism is wrong. I’m all in favor of peaceful protest. I’m a first amendment person.

The first amendment applies to everybody. But I am not okay saying that, “Oh, go ahead and loot and destroy stores, and set buildings on fire.” When I watched that livestream as it was all happening less than a mile away from me, I saw the giddiness in people’s faces, their laughter. People saying, “Yeah, man, free stuff. Yeah, man, free stuff.” And there were people of all races going into these stores, it was a free for all. This was not done to vindicate the memory of George Floyd, those actions were not done because people were aggrieved about racism. They were the actions of degenerates who … Remember what I said before is that people will hurt others … We will hurt others to get what we want if we think there won’t be consequences for our actions. That explains Derek Chauvin’s putting his neck to George Floyd’s knee, and explains people engaged in rioting and looting, which are completely unacceptable. And it was unacceptable for Martin Luther King Jr.

He did say a riot is the language of the unheard, but he was completely against violence. He only said that because he understood where people were coming from. He could understand why they would turn to rioting, but he believed that it was immoral and impractical. Here is a clip from his interview with Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes. This was back in 1966, where he was asked about this, about riots and violence. And here was his answer.

Martin Luther King Jr.:
I think for the Negro to turn to violence would be both impractical and immoral.

Mike Wallace :
There is an increasingly vocal minority who disagree totally with your tactics, Dr. King.

Martin Luther King Jr.:
There’s no doubt about that. I will agree that there is a group in the Negro community advocating violence now. I happen to feel that this group represents a numerical minority. Surveys have revealed this. The vast majority of Negroes still feel that the best way to deal with the dilemma that we face in this country is through nonviolent resistance, and I don’t think this vocal group will be able to make a real dent in the Negro community in terms of swaying 22 million Negroes to this particular point of view. And I contend that the cry of Black power is at bottom a reaction to the reluctance of White power to make the kind of changes necessary to make justice a reality for the Negro. I think we’ve got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard, and what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the economic plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years.

Trent Horn:
So Martin Luther King Jr., he understood why people would turn to violence, but he was completely opposed to violence because it was both impractical and immoral. And what I saw last night was not even … And I wouldn’t have agreed with this anyways. If it had even focused on the police station, of course that would still be wrong. Now, what happened in La Mesa was that there was a police officer who was being investigated because for physically assaulting an African-American teenager. That’s why it was worse here in La Mesa, California than maybe in other cities. So even if the protesters, even if the violent people had focused on the police station, I still would have thought that that was wrong, but I would have understood it a little bit more. But when they turn their sights on Round Table Pizza, where there was, I think he’s an Iraqi immigrant who had started and run it for over two decades and now his business has been ruined. You can’t justify that.

If you riot because powerful people are oppressing and hurting weaker innocent people, my friend, that is what you’re doing when you break into a store and loot it and steal. People have to pay for that. There’s this idea like, “Oh, it’ll get paid for by somebody else.” Someone has to pay for that. The store owner has to. He’ll lose money if he can’t get up and running soon, especially with the pandemic hitting everything. They were just barely getting back on their feet. We could barely. We just started getting people back into stores a second ago, and you went and ruined that. You are acting like the very villains you contend that you’re protesting against when you devolve into this kind of degeneracy and this kind of violence towards innocent people and their property. Speaking of the pandemic, by the way, the other thought I was having is I thought we were in the middle of a pandemic, right?

Whatever happened to that, if you go … Why aren’t people saying on the news about all of these demonstrations, why aren’t they saying something like, “These people who are protesting the death of George Floyd, don’t they know they might kill someone’s grandmother today because they’re going to go out and breathe on someone and that disease is going to get to a nursing home.” No one’s saying that. I mean, Matt Walsh on his Twitter page did a great lineup where he showed previous coverage of the lockdown protests. And there were people in the Washington Post who were saying that if you went out and you marched and protested against the lockdown, they compared you to Typhoid Mary, as if you were purposely spreading a disease and you were reckless and you’re going to go out and get people killed. But you don’t see that criticism right now for these protests related to police brutality. And here’s my thing. I agree, we should protest the lockdowns and protest police brutality. I just think they should be both be treated equal and not let the media … And some of the media have actually said this on Twitter.

They said, “The George Floyd protests are okay because we agree with the content of those protests. We agree with the message. We disagree with the message of the anti lockdown protesters, so they’re irresponsible.” And that’s the sole reason Robby Soave at … I think it’s Soave or Soave at reason.com has a wonderful article about this, I’ll link to it in the description of trenthornpodcast.com. The article says, “Protesting police violence is critical, but why are the social distance shamers suddenly so quiet?” So he says, “We are not seeing widespread condemnation of the protestors …”The George Floyd protesters, “… on what might’ve been the most obvious point of criticism. They are manifestly violating the social distancing orders. Again, if we are to believe the earlier dire warnings from public health officials about what would happen if lockdowns were relaxed too quickly, people who fail to practice aggressive social distancing will spread the disease and get others killed. By the logic of lockdown supporters, even the protesters who are practicing strict nonviolence have a lot of blood on their hands.

Media and government experts who fail to consistently call out social distancing violations, risk giving the impression that their commitment to zealous enforcement of public health measures wasn’t as absolute as they claimed. It turns out they are willing to make exceptions for their preferred causes. Perhaps those who previously went overboard on the social distance shaming should admit this was a mistake. The current silence of the Karens is deafening.” And finally, I admit when I was watching all of this, I was getting angry seeing the way people were acting and I was letting hatred build up my heart a little bit. My father is a private security guard at a mall. He and the other private security guards, they had to flee as the looting got really bad because they’re not armed. They’re not meant to handle looters. They fled for their own safety. And to think that my father was put in danger from this, knowing that I had packed up my car for my family waiting in case if a house caught fire in our neighborhood, we were going to bust out the car and drive and get away as fast as we could.

And I was angry seeing this and I let anger get into my heart. But thankfully, as I was staying up and watching the livestream, the reporter, he saw what looked like a Catholic priest praying the rosary. He turned out to actually be a Lutheran pastor and the reporter went over to talk to him and it completely broke my heart open to see how I should be feeling about this. His name was Pastor Travis. I can’t remember his last name. He’s the pastor of Christ Lutheran Church here across the street from the grocery store that ended up getting looted. And he was just there. People were running in, they were breaking windows, stealing stuff, and he was just on his knees praying out in front. So I want to end our time together and play some of that interview because I think it was so … I mean, it almost brought me to tears as I watched it live happening on TV and it’s well worth hearing right now.

Travis:
I just want it to end because there’s a better way for it to end than this. There’s a better way. So I’m praying for these police officers, praying for the people on this side, praying for everyone to find that love of Christ in their hearts.

Speaker 10:
[inaudible 00:31:51].

Travis :
That’s what we need, is that love of Jesus Christ.

Speaker 10:
We saw you praying on the ground. What were you saying?

Travis:
I was saying, “Christ, have mercy. Bring racial reconciliation, bring peace.” And I think those two things have to go together. Racial reconciliation is not going to happen without love and peace involved. We’re talking past each other. I mean, for God’s sakes, we all watched the news, right? You have both political parties talking past each other, not working for a common goal. We need to work towards that common goal, that’s what we have to have. I mean, if anyone is watching this, that’s what I’m implore you to do is get on your knees right now and pray for that. Pray for that love to infect your heart so you share with other people, so that you can love other people better. Pray for all those whose hearts are filled with hate and animosity, that it may be changed by the power of the gospel. That’s the only thing that’s going to solve this.

Trent Horn:
Amen, reverend. Amen, Pastor Travis. This is something we’re always going to have, these sinful elements in society. And we always have to be sure, by the way, not to point the finger, “Look at this bad person. Look at that bad person.” Because Jesus said, the measure with which you measure shall be measured out to you. And how many times have we dwelt on hateful or evil thoughts in our own mind? We’ve been quick to have anger towards those … Even people who love us, that we want to strike back and hurt because we’re feeling hurt because of our own sins. Jesus Christ have mercy on us, have mercy on the whole world. That is where we need to put our trust. I hope that you will do that. And I’m grateful for all of you listening.

I’ll say a little prayer for you all during this difficult time, pandemic, violence, anger, and fear. I’ll say a prayer for you all when I’m done recording. I hope you’ll say a prayer for me and my family as well. I want to thank you all so much for listening and I just hope that you all have a really blessed [inaudible 00:33:49].

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