Jim Wallis has sunk to new depths, apparently deciding to channel Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and others who make their living dividing us on the basis of skin color.
I read this last night and could do nothing more than shake my head in disbelief:
It’s time for white people — especially white parents — to listen, to learn, and to speak out on the terribly painful loss of Trayvon Martin.
If my white 14-year-old son Luke had walked out that same night, in that same neighborhood, just to get a snack he would have come back to his dad unharmed — and would still be with me and Joy today. Everyone, being honest with ourselves, knows that is true. But when black 17-year-old Trayvon Martin went out that night, just to get a snack, he ended up dead — and is no longer with his dad and mom. Try to imagine how that feels, as his parents.
It was a political, legal, and moral mistake to not put race at the center of this trial because it was at the center from the beginning of this terrible case. Many are now saying, “There was a trial; the results must be accepted.” How well the case against George Zimmerman was prosecuted, how fair the tactics of the defense were, the size and selection of the jury, how narrowly their instructions were given — all will be the subject of legal discussions for a very long time.
But while the legal verdicts of this trial must be accepted, the larger social meaning of court cases and verdicts must be dealt with, especially as they impact the moral quality of our society.
This is not just about verdicts but also about values.
And the impact of race in and on this case, this trial, and the response to it around the country must now all be centrally addressed.
There is no doubt that this whole tragedy began with the racial profiling of Trayvon Martin. In George Zimmerman’s comments, rationales, and actions, the identity of Trayvon as a young black man was absolutely central. Both sides in the courtroom admitted that.
And when the defense put up as a witness a white woman who had been robbed by a black man as central to why Zimmerman picked out Trayvon Martin to follow and stalk — it really said it all. Was she robbed by Trayvon Martin? No. So why should he be suspect because of another black robber? That is racial profiling. Period.
As the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. said in his most famous “I Have a Dream” speech, whose 50th anniversary is coming up this August 24th:
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
King’s dream failed on February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Fla., when George Zimmerman decided to follow Trayvon Martin because of the color of his skin. This led to a confrontation in which a child was killed by an adult who got away with it, because of the way Florida laws were written and interpreted.
What exactly happened between Zimmerman and Martin will never be known, because the boy is dead and the adult did not have to testify and be cross examined. How a black boy responded to a strange man who was following him, and what the stranger did with that, is a story we can never really know. But regardless of the verdict that rests on narrow definitions of self-defense and reasonable doubt, it is absolutely clear that racial profiling was present in this whole incident.
And racial profiling is a sin in the eyes of God. It should also be a crime in the eyes of our society, and the laws we enact to protect each other and our common good.
Regular readers know I think little of what Jim Wallis thinks on just about any subject.
Today I think even less.
This is undoubtedly one of the most disgraceful things I've seen the man write.
He is fanning the flames that are already burning all while talking about how much the rest of us are sinning.
Mr. Wallis should spend more time navel gazing and less time pointing the bony finger of accusation at the rest of us.