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The Zimmerman aftermath in Central Florida and elsewhere

The Zimmerman aftermath in Central Florida and elsewhere

The Rev. Charlie Holt, rector of St. Peter’s Church, Lake Mary, in Seminole County, Florida where George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin. He is helping to lead the effort to strengthen relationships through prayer. USA Today has the story:

The Sanford Pastors Connecting, an alliance of Seminole County churches formed after the shooting, said it is sponsoring the noon prayers Monday to promote peace and unity in the community.

“Our call is to pray for our community for the long-term unity, peace and strength of relationships,” said the Rev. Charlie Holt of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Lake Mary. “Our churches welcome any and all to come and offer prayer to the Lord for ourselves, for all involved and for our community.”

Holt said his church was delighted to participate in the community effort. “Prayer is what it takes to continue to move forward in our ever-changing society,” Holt said.

The Rev. Benedict Varnum, an occasional contributor to the Cafe who leads a church in the Diocese of Kansas, wrote on his blog that the Zimmerman jury reached the right verdict because our society has not outlawed racism. He wrote:

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve made some steps. And really, how could we possibly make racism illegal? Who would be charged under such a law? Children who grow up in racist homes? Communities who believe their own ethnicity is threatened by another’s? It’s absurd. We couldn’t possibly implement so abstract a law. Not to mention the difficulty of enforcement: if persons or communities are racist, why not police officers, judges, juries?

And what IS racism anyway? If we want to work against it, we have to define it. The definition I work with most often, which I came to believe in through an anti-racism training that was part of my ordination preparation, is this:

Racism = race prejudice + power

I like the definition, in part, because it seems to work in ways that are almost mathematical. Add the word “systemic” before each word, and it holds. Change “race” to “sex” or “gender” and the definition holds. Take out “power,” and racism doesn’t seem to “happen” . . . but we’d all agree that “prejudice” is still present.

The Rev. Patrick Hall of the Diocese of Texas preached a provocative sermon urging Christians to avoid angry debates about current issues to focus on selfless love for those around them. The podcast is here.

Jason Evans, young adult missioner in the Diocese of Washington, wrote a brief essay about what stood out for him as he was preparing to preach yesterday. It included the following tips:

Get personal. To begin, when Jesus is challenged to define what a neighbor is he describes a man that is willing to become intimate with “the other,” the person in need on the side of the road.

Count the cost. Jesus describes a neighbor that is willing to pay the cost required by getting involved in the life of the other.

It takes a community. The neighbor in Jesus story gets others involved. He couldn’t have continued to help this individual without getting the innkeeper involved.

Meanwhile, another black teen has been shot and killed in Florida.


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The poverty is the true root. In an economically-equal society, we couldn’t afford such divisions, because we would be daily in contact. Believe me, poverty is the crime in this country, far before race is.

Mark Brunson

John B. Chilton

I work at a downtown university. Universities are required under federal law to report assaults on and near campus. Email after email says assailant, black man, wearing dark hoodie. What am I to conclude? If I meet a black man on campus at night wearing a hoodie I should be more cautious. Yes, I use the information to stereotype.

Observation one: Black men as a group are victimized by a minority who create the stereotype. But you don’t hear that talked about.

Observation two: The racism is another level up. We have to ask ourselves why we have created a society where violent crime emanates from poor, segregated neighborhoods — the ultimate cause of the stereotype. And what are we doing about it?


“We are not in a rational discourse here at all about these issues and will not be so long as powers in society inflame racial animosities and significant portions of our society allow themselves to be inflamed.”

Some might say that it is society ITSELF (which, let’s face it, is still structurally white supremacist) which inflames racial animosities. Those who benefit from those structures can just afford to ignore those animosities…most of the time.

JC Fisher

Michael Russell

The Prosecution simply did not make its case. And as I followed the trial, it seemed they made the defense case about 40% of the time they were trying their’s. Allowing Zimmermann to essentially testify on his own behalf through the Fox news and other video clips certainly seemed an insane choice. In effect they let him make his appeal without the option of cross examination.

Racism does indeed continue to flourish. I believe it is the sole causal reason our President has been treated as he has been, and is the root of the hysteria about securing the border rather than acknowledging that our standard of living is built on the labor of immigrants who, particularly, harvest our crops.

We are not in a rational discourse here at all about these issues and will not be so long as powers in society inflame racial animosities and significant portions of our society allow themselves to be inflamed.

Lauren R. Stanley

See the link below for the latest on the “another black teen” shot and killed in Florida, which took place in November 2012. The trial has just changed judges again.

I am confident there have been many other shootings since then. One of the larger papers did an extensive review of Stand Your Ground rulings in Florida, which showed that it is implemented and understand in wildly varying ways.

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