Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Should the Church and Faith Communities Stand Down A Little on The George Zimmerman / Trayvon Martin Case

I noticed several things in the social media the last few days especially on the Twitter that goes like this "Why is the Catholic Church Protesting Birth Control and not giving Sermons on the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case."

Let me submit that is perhaps one sign that leaders of Faith Communities at this stage might stand back and observe for a while.

I am not talking about the Al Sharpton's of the world who will do what they do, but everyone else.

I thought Outside the Beltway had a good post on this that was balanced. He did not address the Faith Community issue but I think the observations are apt to it. See George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin, And Rushing To Judgment

He says in part :
For nearly a month, of course, the legal system wasn’t working for Trayvon Martin’s parents, which is why sometimes it is necessary to raise a protest in order to get action to be taken. But, we’re at the point now where action is being taken. The Justice Department is investigating, there’s a Grand Jury being convened. And until there’s a trial and a jury reaches a verdict, George Zimmerman is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Shouldn’t we all just back off on judging the guilt or innocence of George Zimmerman based on incomplete evidence and let the system do its job?

I largely agree with that. We are also in a situation where people that just happened to be around , the witnesses, are on the edge of having their lives exposed in a very public way.

There is some evidence of Witness accounts that seem to give credence to Zimmerman's side here. Other witness's may not. There is just a lot we don't know. But that being said we need the system to work here . Reading Revolution 21 post yesterday as to this makes me think some calm and perspective needs to be restored.

There has been a lot of talk the past months about Separation of Church and State.

That is the proper role of the Church commenting and influencing the public square. Strangely this discussion never seems to be brought up when dealing with criminal matters like this. In fact if history is a guide the Church has been a force of good here , and well not such a good thing.

To be clear I think the "Church" has a proper role in shining light on this incident. In fact I think legally it can go out ,and urge the arrest of George Zimmerman if they wish.

However Faith Leaders concerned about justice in our system should also be aware of the awesome power they have to influence here. I have to admit I have a tad discomfort in seeing religious fevor being used in what seems like a presumption of guilt before the investigation is complete.

It is not a popular stand. I also realize that I have a tendency at a certain state in criminal cases to play the role of Defense Lawyer. That is before you take the serious step of charging a crime do it right. Make sure the "I" 's are dotted and the "T" 's are crossed. At the very least get probable cause.

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