Disclaimer: My thoughts on the following topic are not my most articulate. Please do not throw tomoatoes.
On New Year’s Day, a white BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) police officer fatally shot a black man after a fight had broken out. On Wednesday night, riots in Oakland destroyed the businesses of, ironically, black people.
The officer who shot the bullet resigned his position just before he was otherwise required to issue a statement. One of many theories is that he thought he was reaching for his gun-shaped tazer.
My heart breaks for everyone. The victims and the shooter. When I read that dozens of clergy were willing to meet with the officer, I thought, That is a step in the right direction. That guy needs some love.
Then I read that the clergy were outraged with him, “demanding answers”. At that point, they were no longer “clergy” to me. I could not distinguish them from “everybody else”.
One of my earthly heroes is Sister Helen Prejean. She came to speak at St. Mary’s College when I was a student there, and she revolutionized the way I think about our justice system. One idea she has shared is: “The only way I know what I really believe is by keeping watch over what I do.” She is beautifully and artfully able to entwine herself in complicated and tragic situations, loving the victims and the accused. In my heart, she has earned the title “clergy”. Clergy love.