Charles Howard, in an opinion piece at the Huffington Post, writes:
This weekend, thousands of houses of worship will gather to sing to, pray to, read about and preach about God — a God Whom I am most certain cares about Trayvon and the culture around him. And yet, in so many of the sermons and the prayers that will go up, any mention of Trayvon, of gun violence, racism and profiling, will be absent. Silence. Nothing. No condemnation of an atrocity that is inconsistent with the teachings and spirit of the faith. No pastoral outreach. Just a silence that will make many congregations “look suspicious.”
The bullets of silence hurt just as much as the bullets that took Trayvon’s life.
I am Trayvon Martin. And there is a Trayvon in every congregation. Even the affluent suburban ones. Perhaps it is in those places that this story needs to be told most.
I recognize the hesitancy in many preachers to “get political” in their pulpits. Fine. No need for strong condemnations about gun laws (unless you feel so led). But a boy died. A boy who was not committing a crime. He died because black men walking in certain neighborhoods, perhaps like the neighborhood your church is in, look suspicious. For people of faith to be silent seems to be inconsistent and a poor witness. If you don’t want to bring it up in the sermon, perhaps make it one of the items you all pray for. Or at least reach out to someone you think might be grieving because of this case. Or perhaps have a small group or an after service discussion about gun violence in your city.
I am Trayvon Martin. This name should be spoken, at least whispered in your service. Care. Your God certainly does.
Bring Skittles and iced tea to your church on Sunday. Wear your hoodie. Do it even though this happened far away from you–and yet know that it’s happening in your town too.