Many Americans participated in peaceful protests in June to decry the senseless killing of George Floyd. Police brutality is wrong, and all forms of racial injustice should be denounced. Thankfully in this country we have the right to march in the streets and to give speeches to speak our minds.
Sadly, protests in some cities devolved into anarchy—especially after white "antifa" activists joined in. After rioters burned down or looted businesses in Minneapolis in June, violence spread to other cities. Chaos erupted in Portland, Seattle, New York and Chicago. Police officers and protesters alike have been wounded or killed (including Black cops), but in some cases mayors and governors didn't intervene to stop the violence.
Suddenly it became politically incorrect to defend the police. Instead, mobs began demanding that we defund them.
When militant activists took over six city blocks of Seattle in June, calling the area a "cop-free zone," Mayor Jenny Durkan defended the protesters in a CNN interview and called the whole situation a "summer of love"—as if people illegally occupying a police station is a good thing. A few weeks later, after a fatal shooting of a 19-year-old in the supposed love zone, Durkan apologized.
That was a contrast to what happened in Atlanta after George Floyd's murder. When protesters there became agitated and began looting, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a Black Democrat, scolded them harshly. "You are disgracing our city. You are disgracing the life of George Floyd and every other person who has been killed in this country," Bottoms said. "We are better than this. We are better than this as a city. We are better than this as a country. Go home."
Amid all the shattering glass, gunfire and shouting, I hear another noise. It's the sound of millions of average Americans, from every racial background and party affiliation, scratching their heads. We are asking, "What has possessed people to act so crazy?"
The truth is, most Americans want peace in their streets. The majority of Blacks in America reject rioting and violence. They want police protection—but they also want cops to respect them and to treat them and their loved ones fairly. But a vocal minority of radicals has grabbed the bullhorn, and they are shouting louder than everyone else.
You may have heard of Vicky Osterweil, a radicalized white author who just released a book titled In Defense of Looting. She says protesters have the right to break into stores to steal big-screen televisions and athletic shoes because "looting gets people what they need for free immediately, which means that they are capable of living and reproducing their lives without having to rely on jobs or a wage."
Seriously? Who would publish a book that is basically a field manual for rioters? The only reason I mention Osterweil's insane views here is that National Public Radio recently gave her a sympathetic interview. One of NPR's journalists promoted her idea that looting "is a powerful tool to bring about real, lasting change in society."
A growing number of Black Christian conservatives—including Brandon Tatum, Bevelyn Beatty, Leo Terrell, Terrence K. Williams, Anthony Brian Logan, Candace Owens, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, the Lucas Brothers, Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson—have huge followings on YouTube. But the mainstream media doesn't take them seriously because they don't promote the groupthink narrative about race.
Yet these Black conservatives deserve to be heard. They know that Black-owned businesses were torched in Minneapolis. They know that an 8-year-old girl, Secioriea Williamson, was shot and killed by protesters in Atlanta in July. They know that if we defund the police, more black lives will be snuffed out.
"Let's be clear—the police are needed," popular Black commentator Anthony Brian Logan said in July. "When you take the police away, when lawlessness becomes the norm, you are going to endanger those that you claim to be protecting."
We need to understand that not all African Americans support the Black Lives Matter organization. Why? Because the leaders of Black Lives Matter have adopted a radical agenda that doesn't represent mainstream American values. Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors has gone on record that she and her colleagues are "trained Marxists." Opal Tometi, the other co-founder, traveled to Venezuela in 2015 to attend a conference with Nicolas Maduro—one of the world's most brutal dictators. Tometi later hailed Venezuela's election system as "the best in the world."
Think again if you assume "all Black people" support Marxism. Think again if you think "all Black people" support defunding the police. It's actually racist to hold to such a generalization, since you are suggesting that Black Americans can't think for themselves.
In this crazy time when looting is promoted as an acceptable form of protest, let's return to common sense. Let's pray that peaceful protests will triumph over looting and arson, and that truth will triumph over insanity. Let's overcome injustice, improve our policing methods and preserve peace in our streets.
J. Lee Grady was editor of Charisma for 11 years before he launched into full-time ministry in 2010. Today he directs The Mordecai Project, a Christian charitable organization that is taking the healing of Jesus to women and girls who suffer abuse and cultural oppression. Author of several books including 10 Lies the Church Tells Women, he has just released his newest book, Set My Heart on Fire, from Charisma House. You can follow him on Twitter at @LeeGrady or go to his website, themordecaiproject.org.
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