On the Riots in Baltimore

cross of christ built into a brick wallI’ve just finished an article titled “The Rush to Judgement in Baltimore” by Marc Ambinder in The Week. In the article, he urges everyone not to rush to judgement about the events unfolding in Baltimore. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around what’s going on in Baltimore (and across the country). But at present, the most I can do is affirm a few general statements about what I believe.

I believe that, in a democracy, peaceful protest is an almost sacred right. I believe that violent rioting is wrong and counterproductive no matter what the provocation (I say this even though I agree with Martin Luther King’s insight that “a riot is the language of the unheard”). I believe that those most hurt by rioting are the already disadvantaged populations that live where riots tend to take place. I believe that being a cop is a hard job, but one with power. And I believe that power—if not held accountable—corrupts. I believe there are far more good cops, who are trying to “protect and serve,” than bad cops. But I believe that bad cops exist and that—as they often face few, if any, consequences for their bad behavior—they tarnish the reputation of good cops.

I believe that there is no chance that neither I nor anyone else besides God will ever be able to objectively untangle the entire situation in Baltimore. It’s a difficult and complicated set of circumstances that has reduced me to prayer, which should be my first response, but more often is my last resort. I’m looking to prayer to help me discern what I, as a Christian, can do to help address the deeper problems that lead to the abuse of state power and riots in the first place. But most of all, I’m praying that the Holy Spirit will be present and active in Baltimore.