How Religion Became a Destructive — and Redemptive — Force for ‘Black Lives Matter’

Bill Graham, right, and son Franklin Graham in 1994. (Paul M. Walsh/CC BY-SA 2.0)
Rev. Franklin Graham (left) and his father, Billy Graham in 1994. (Paul M. Walsh/CC BY-SA 2.0)



(The Washington Post) — Religious leaders have proven to be powerful voices within a larger conversation about “Black Lives Matter,” a conversation that opened up once again this week after the death of a man in South Carolina.

On Saturday, April 4, Walter L. Scott, 50, was shot five times in the back and killed during a routine traffic stop by officer Michael Slager, 33, in West Ashley, S.C. According to a statement issued by Slager’s attorney on Monday, Scott grabbed Slager’s Taser, an electronic stun gun, and tried to use it against him. But, a widely-circulated video appeared to contradict the officer’s account, showing that he tried to plant evidence on Scott.

Slager was charged with murder after the video surfaced on Tuesday.

Shortly before news of the murder charge broke, I was on a Christian radio program responding to questions regarding An Open Letter to Franklin Graham that I co-wrote in response to incendiary remarks that Graham had posted on Facebook one month before. In his post, he told “Blacks, Whites, Latinos, and everybody else” to “Listen up.” Then, in one paragraph, the son of Billy Graham, who serves as president and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, presumed to understand the issue better than everyone else. Graham said the reason so many police killings are happening is “simple.” It can be reduced to two key factors: 1) people need to learn to “OBEY” authority and 2) bad parenting.

Our Open Letter responded: “It is not that simple.”





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