When Terror, Not Just Fear, Is All You Can Feel (Theology in the Aftermath of the Death of Sandra Bland)

 

Shall we sit with these tweets for a moment

A 7-year-old is terrified that she won’t be able to save her mother in the situation of her mother having an encounter with the police. And in the reverse (what we usually talk about), her mother is terrified that she won’t be able to protect her daughter in the situation that the daughter having an encounter with the police (and after McKinney, that terror is even more present).

ok my liberal religious friends….what’s our theology that stands up in the face of continuing trauma and stress? [we might get to the “post” in PTSD, but that’s not happening anytime soon]

Don’t give me the usual platitudes. Tell me how you are dealing with those in your midst that are living this every day.

When talking about #BlackLivesMatter, how ofter do you mention the women whose lives have been taken by an agent of the state? [there’s a new name to that list…Ralkina Jones]

7-year-olds are worried about how to protect their mothers in encounters with police. Mothers are worried about how to keep their children alive in case they encounter the police.

Liberal religion better have a response to this otherwise it will irrelevant in the “new” religious landscape.

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#IfIDieInPoliceCustody

I’ve been trying to write what I feel about the case of Sandra Bland and in all honesty, I’m just exhausted. And mute.

There really are no words. (actually, there are a lot of words, but none of them are really appropriate for me to say until I am no longer pissed-off instead of just angry)

So…..if I die in police custody….there are 3 things I ask for….

1. Please make sure that my parents are ok–physically. And make sure they stay that way.

2. Stop Rosemary from killing somebody.

3. Know that whatever the police tell you about my mental state, it is only going to be part of the story. There is no way I would give law enforcement the satisfaction of taking my own life with them anywhere near around me.

 

Langston Hughes asked the question, “what happens to a dream deferred?” With all that’s happened in the past year, maybe the question be, “was there ever a dream?”

Taking Down the Confederate Flag and the ‘Charleston 9’ Families Forgiving That Racist Terrorist Are NOT the Same Types of Grace

Peter Boullata wrote an amazing post a few days ago about the families of the Charleston 9 and their act of forgiving the racist terrorist who killed their family members. Go. Read it. Now. But I’ve been very struck by how the conversation around taking down the Confederate flag and how South Carolina legislators are connecting these things.

Time and again, some South Carolina legislator (and the Governor) would say that the impetus for them to take the flag down and off of the capitol grounds was the families forgiving the racist terrorist; not the deaths of the Charleston 9 themselves (lest we forget that Rev. Pinckney’s casket had to process under that flag twice, and it–unlike the American and South Carolina state flags–was never lowered to half-staff) .

It makes me wonder what would have happened if the families of the Charleston 9 hadn’t forgiven the racist terrorist as fast as they did. Would the flag be coming down?

Taking down the Confederate flag is NOT the same type of grace that was shown by the families of the Charleston 9. And points to yet another example of African Americans being expected to show an extraordinary amount of compassion over outrageous acts and getting very little in return.

Don’t get me wrong…I am truly glad that the Confederate flag is coming down from the South Carolina capitol grounds. But let’s get this straight; it should have never been there in the first place. It was placed on the capitol dome as an act of defiance during the Civil Rights Movement of the late 1950s and 1960s. So to me this is not an act of grace. Or if it is, it is very cheap grace. And if you listened to the debate in the South Carolina House yesterday, it was gruelling and ugly.

At some point, the U.S. is going to have to recon with slavery the way that Germany has to (and continues to) recon with Nazism. Does it have the ability to do that? I don’t know.

I do know that what happened yesterday (and today) in South Carolina in no way compares to what the families of the Charleston 9 did. And that line of thinking needs to stop.

The Care and Feeding of Black Children’s Souls, pt. 2

In his keynote address during Ministry Days Rob Hardies said (I’m paraphrasing) “I want Unitarian Universalism to be as open to my son as it was to me.” [if the UUMA is smart, they would put that keynote up on YouTube]

I didn’t get the chance to talk to Rob afterwards, and what I would have told him would have been very much Debbie Downer-ish.

I think it’s time for Unitarian Universalism (and Unitarian Universalists) to face a uncomfortable truth. That, unlike with LGBTQ issues, UUism and UUs have no sense of urgency about race issues because, for the most part, black (and brown) children are not a part of most UU families. Most UUs don’t live in non-majority white communities and the number of truly integrated UU congregations can be counted on–maybe–both hands. [and please, no comments that I’m being hard on UUs. I did not say that UUs think that racial justice is not important, I said there was no sense of urgency about it; mainly because in the lives of most UUs racial justice is an esoteric exercise.]

I’ve been ruminating over President Obama’s eulogy of Rev. Clementa Pinckney since I heard it. Mostly I’ve been thinking about the part where he talks about the black church and what it does for black children. And it connects to something another UU minister said about his black son while at GA. He said that he wouldn’t want his son to come back to a UU church because it’s not safe for him (not exact words, but you get the point).

Can UU churches be safe places for black (and brown) children when most UU churches are disconnected from the places where most black people live/work/go to school/play? Is there a way to make UU churches more safe for black (and brown) children in the way that UU churches are more safe for LGBTQ children?