Protest in Your Contests

Lynching is the extrajudicial killing of a person, without a trial or due process.   

An examination of more than 100 lynchings by the Southern Poverty Law Center reveals these common traits:

  1. The people doing the lynchings were in fear of their lives by the persons being executed.
  2. The persons being lynched were unarmed.
  3. Lynchings occur when the alleged transgressors fail to comply with the orders of those in authority.
  4. Lynchings were public affairs seen by many people.
  5. The bodies of the lynched victims were left at the scene of the killings for many hours.
  6. Those who performed these extrajudicial killings were rarely arrested, or charged for their actions.

An analysis of police shootings of unarmed Black Men reveals these common traits:

  1. The officers firing the fatal shots claimed to be in fear of their lives.
  2. The persons shot were unarmed.
  3. The second most common reason given by officers for the shootings were the fact that the alleged transgressors failed to comply with the orders given by the officers.
  4. Often the shootings happened in public, were captured by video, and were later seen by many people.
  5. The bodies of the shooting victims were often left at the scene of the killings for many hours.
  6. Those who performed these extrajudicial killings were rarely arrested, or charged for their actions.

Am I saying that lynchings, and the shootings of unarmed Black Males are the same thing?  I will let you be the judge. 

Lynchings, which were widespread in the United States, especially in the south, did not stop because of the passage of a federal law.  In fact, to this day there is no federal law against lynchings.  

Rather, lynchings stopped when the potential victims of lynchings protested by convincing Whites – who knew all along that lynchings were murder –  to summon the courage to stop it!

Jesus was the ultimate protester:

Jesus protested when he stormed the temple overturning the tables of the money changers while proclaiming, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!”  (John 2:16, New Living Translation)

Jesus exercised a non-violent protest when the disciples deserted and betrayed Him. He exercised a non-violent protest when the officials arrested Him, when the soldiers mocked, spit on, and beat Him.  He exercised a non-violent protest when He hung on the cross from the sixth to the ninth hour, and died.  Jesus became a victorious protester when He arose again three days later.

Jesus is a protester, and He is calling on you and me to also protest.

Acts 5:27-32 is about the Apostles becoming protesters for Christ.

Peter and the other apostles had been hauled before the religious leaders of the day. The high priest, leading the inquisition, reminds Peter that he and the others were given strict orders for the Apostles not to preach the Gospel.  Their teachings had exposed the religious leaders’ extrajudicial killing of the unarmed Jesus on the cross.

To these charges Peter replies in verse 29, “We must obey God rather than any human authority.”  He went on to explain how they were witnesses to Jesus’s death on the cross and His being raised from the dead.  Because of this witness, the Holy Spirit required them to speak about it.

Jesus is a protester, and He is calling on you and me to also be a protester.

If you believe that the shootings of these unarmed Black Men by the police is wrong, then you and I as Christians have a duty, as displayed by Colin Kaepernick, to protest in our contests.

The historical perspective of this nation reveals that change does not happen without protest, and the protests that are most effective are economic in nature.

  • The Boston Tea Party was an economic protest
  • The Montgomery Bus Boycott was an economic protest
  • The Lunch Counter Sit-Ins were economic protests

Nothing is bigger in America than the National Football League (NFL).  According to the Sports Nation’s Website, the league earned $7.24 billion in revenue in 2015, with each of the 32 teams receiving $226.4 million as part of the split.

More Than 2/3 (68 percent) of NFL Players are African-American.  From age 21 to 37, these young Black Males are the same ages as many of the unarmed Black Men who succumb to the extrajudicial killings by police.

If Black Lives truly matter, then the positive economic impact that those lives influence, such as: the salaries that they can earn, the goods that they can buy, and the money that others make because of them, also matters!

Sadly, many people see Black Men only as thugs, useless, and dangerous.

Make no mistake, policing is difficult, demanding and dangerous.  I am getting reports while I write this post, that two officers have been killed in Palm Springs, California.   

Make no mistake, police in this country or smart, resourceful and professional.  Just a few weeks ago, police in New York arrested suspects within 24 hours after a bombing in the city.

Make no mistake, the shootings of unarmed Black Men must end!  I am confident that our police with their experience and expertise can change.

However, that change will not happen without protest – economic protest!     

Therefore, I propose we protest in the following way.  Yes, an economic protest in each of our contests.

Thursday, November 17th is the start of week 11 in the NFL.  The action starts with the Saints playing the Panthers at the Mercedes- Benz Superdome, in New Orleans.

I propose that all Black NFL Players, in a show of economic protest, refuse to play that weekend.

Think of what could happen; it has the potential to shut the league down! Do you think that would force people to pay attention?  Would it lead to pressure from citizens, businesses, and the public for the police to change?

However, in a show of support, those of us who are not NFL Players must also protest in our various contests.  Therefore, those of us who can do it –  without getting fired, or jeopardizing the health and safety of the public – should use a vacation day, and not report to work on Wednesday, November 16, 2016.

We should use that day to be in service to the community, similar to what is done in many communities in observance of the Martin Luther King Holiday. At noon on that day, we should gather in public – standing with a raised fist, or bowing on one knee – in solidarity as the Star Spangled Banner, the anthem of our movement plays.

If we are truly serious about the power of protest, now is the time to show our collective agency.  Then we can take our place in the next chapter in truly making America, “the land of the free and the home of the Brave.”   

My fellow faith blogger, Steven Mattson put it best when he wrote, “Christianity isn’t political power, military might, safety, wealth, control, fame, or comfort — it’s about emulating Jesus.”

Jesus protested for causes that were just, for people who had been wronged, and for the world the way it should be.  Jesus’ earthly life left us an example of what He wants us to do until He comes again.

Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (KJV).

Jesus illustrated the power of protest, and in order to live a life pleasing to Christ we are sometimes called to protest in our contests.

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