“Weep with those who weep” – Romans 12:15
We evangelicals love social media and we loves causes. We use social media to raise awareness, stand in solidarity, comfort the grieving, and call others to prayer. In recent days, the evangelical blogosphere has taken up the cause of Iraqi children on the other side of the globe, the plight of refugees at the Mexican border, and the victims of mental illness who have taken their own lives. When it comes to another equally significant tragedy, however, we hear nothing. A deafening silence. A national news story, an unarmed young black man has been gunned down by police, a community is in mourning, and the evangelical world doesn’t seem to notice. My African-American friends are posting, blogging, tweeting, and calling for prayer for the community. Not one of my white friends has even mentioned the incident. No articles being forwarded. It’s all over the news, but nowhere on the evangelical blogosphere. Where are the calls to stand with our African-American brothers? To pray for Ferguson? For peace in our inner cities? For justice? This post will probably sound like a rant, but these are honest questions that trouble my heart.
This situation is not new. We white evangelicals largely ignore such tragedies in the black community. To the extent that we do pay attention, our reaction is usually predictable along color lines. White people approach such a story analytically. African American people empathize with the victim and their shared experience. White people read the news and our immediate reaction is, what part of the story are we missing? There MUST have been a reason. What did he (the victim) do to provoke the police? Why is this being made into a race issue? African Americans read the story and sit their children down to have “the talk” about the realities of what it means to be black in America. We experience such tragedies differently.
But set that aside for a moment. Even if we do see things differently, even if our assessment of such situations is clouded by our white worldview, even if we are largely clueless about the black experience, even if we do not understand the real effects of institutional racism, even if we don’t understand the racial component of such a tragedy, even if you disagree with every implication I just made, ask yourself this question: Why don’t we care about this tragedy in the same way we care about everything else? When it comes to Iraqi children we weep with those who weep. When it comes to this tragedy, we remain largely unmoved. Ask yourself why we are we not standing with the the people of Ferguson? Why are we not calling for prayer? Why are we are not using social media and our blogs to support a grieving community? Why do we weep for Iraqi Christians, weep for immigrant children, weep for NASCAR drivers, weep for Robin Williams, while our African-American brothers weep alone?