Editorial: Ferguson

Editorial: Ferguson

Earlier this week, about 75 members of the Calvin community walked from the Chapel to commons lawn and stood in solidarity as part of a challenge to all CCCU schools across the country over the violence in Ferguson.

In our coverage of this event, I was surprised to discover just how strongly people feel toward the happenings in Ferguson. Let me stop and clarify “strongly.” In the comment section of our Facebook album of the walk, one man called anyone who held a certain position a “conspiracy theorist.” Another called our coverage of the event “a disgrace to a Christian journalistic student organization.” Further comments called people on both sides ignorant, distasteful and told them they were totally missing the point. One comment questioned people’s Christianity.

I have personally encountered death only a few times in my life. In this limited experience, I have found that in good circumstances, death brings people together. When someone dies, the Christian community rallies around us. Family members of the deceased receive cards, flowers and casseroles to provide comfort and to let them know they are not alone.

The death of Michael Brown, however, tore us apart. His death caused not only our country, but also our small Christian community, to choose a side and argue for that side in person, in classes, in writing and even on things like a photo album on Facebook.

The facts of what happened between Michael Brown and officer Darren Wilson on August 9, 2014 may always be disputed. We can spend hours debating whether Brown’s hands were up or down, how many hours he was lying in the street or how innocent he was in the first place.

It seems to me, the clearest fact is that somewhere down the line, a young man lost his life and once again we questioned the “justice” of our justice system.

This caused pain for a lot of people. It touched on the old hurts of some and the present fears of others. Most importantly, instead of providing comfort and letting people know they are not alone, people who are using this event to start arguments and draw lines between groups have somehow made people feel defensive.

My thoughts and prayers go out to those who feel that they have to defend their beliefs, their fears, or their identity. My prayer is that the Christian community can come together to support each other and to foster healthy dialogue that will comfort those affected (regardless of “sides”) and to let them know they are not alone.