Writing for the CNN Religion blog, Jeffrey Weiss of the late, great religion staff of the Dallas Morning News says predominantly white churches have been “uncommonly quiet” in the wake of the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin. He writes:
Several bishops, white and black, from the United Methodist Church rapidly offered their thoughts on the denomination’s website. That included the white bishop for the area that includes Sanford, Florida, where Zimmerman shot Martin.
But other organizations where reactions might have been expected still haven’t posted anything.
Where’s the response from the Union of Reform Judaism? Where’s a comment from the leaders of the Episcopal Church? What’s the position of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America?
Those, however, are religious groups that represent relatively few Americans. The largest claims fewer than 5 million members.
The most notable silence is from the American Catholic hierarchy, who head a church that claims to have nearly 70 million members.
This isn’t entirely fair to the Episcopal Church. Bishops Jeff Lee of Chicago and Wendell Gibbs of Detroit have both issued statements on the verdict. And Bishop Greg Brewer and the Rev. Charlie Holt have been in the thick of reconciliation efforts in Central Florida. Still, when I asked on the Cafe’s Facebook page on the night of the verdict whether preachers intended to change their sermons for the following morning, most of those who responded said no change was necessary because they were already speaking on the issue of showing mercy to one’s neighbor.
Are we being too quiet, folks? And if so, why?