The world has been protesting since a smartphone video taken by a courageous black teenager became public about the horrific and brutal death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, at the hands, knees and omissions of four Minneapolis, Minnesota, police officers.
People in and beyond Minneapolis from all backgrounds soon began to insist not only that the four police officers be fired – they were – but that they be arrested and charged with killing Mr. Floyd.
That angry yet peaceful protest was disregarded until Friday, May 29, when Derek Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder for holding his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes until Floyd died.
Justice-loving people in and beyond Minneapolis and Minnesota continued to protest until the governor of Minnesota appointed Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison to handle the criminal investigation and prosecution surrounding the murder of Floyd.
They protested until Attorney General Ellison amended the charge against Chauvin to second-degree murder and charged the other three former Minneapolis officers with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
Peaceful protests about abusive and homicidal law enforcement behavior against black and brown persons have continued throughout the United States despite attempts to stifle and suppress them by local and state elected officials, law enforcement agencies and National Guard soldiers.
Despite unwarranted, unjust and brutal actions by police officers and despite the curfews imposed by local authorities and despite the deceitfulness of villains who used peaceful protests as cover to riot, pillage and plunder, prophetic people continued to protest throughout the United States, much to the displeasure of President Donald Trump.
On June 1, the belligerent Trump announced from the White House Rose Garden that he was “your law and order president” and threatened to use active duty military personnel to suppress peaceful protesters.
Then federal agents, acting at the behest of U.S. Attorney General William Barr, violently attacked peaceful protesters in Lafayette Park across from the White House and drove them from their lawful location before Trump walked to the front of St. John’s Episcopal Church across from the White House.
There, Trump posed for photographs while holding a Bible aloft, as if to suggest he was acting in God’s name.
Despite Trump’s bellicose threats to “dominate” peaceful protesters and his blasphemous appropriation of the Holy Bible and the sacred space of St. John’s Episcopal Church, people have continued to protest racist, abusive and homicidal behavior by law enforcement officers.
Despite Trump’s unconstitutional assault on the right of peaceful people to assemble, speak and demonstrate their opposition to vicious law enforcement practices toward black and brown people, people across the United States and around the world are protesting by the thousands.
Despite Trump’s deployment of active duty military and National Guard soldiers in Washington, D.C., without the request of and over objections from Mayor Muriel Bowser, the democratically elected mayor of the nation’s capital city, Bowser and her constituents continue to protest.
At the mayor’s direction, the area of 16th Street NW near St. John’s Church where peaceful protesters were attacked by federal officers on June 1 has been renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza and the words BLACK LIVES MATTER have been painted on the street so large they are plainly visible from aircraft flying over the area.
Bowser lifted a curfew and has formally notified Trump she wants military forces removed from her city.
To quote Marvin Gaye, “What’s going on?”
Dr. Samuel DeWitt Proctor – president of North Carolina A&T University when Rev. Jesse Jackson was an undergraduate, dean of Virginia Union Theological Seminary when Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. was a seminary student, senior pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City after Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when King was completing his doctoral studies at Boston University – often reminded others that the Bible contains numerous passages that show how the Spirit on God moves in and on people so things “come to pass.”
Protesting and prophetic people are expressing to the world – much to the consternation of Trump, Barr, “warrior cop” police agencies, white supremacists and religious nationalists, and their enablers and sycophants – a truth as old as the biblical account in Exodus about Moses, imperial tyranny, oppressed people and the Red Sea.
The Spirit of God is moving against fascism, militarism and abusive and homicidal law enforcement conduct. None of us can predict the outcome of this “kairos” moment.
But the Bible that Trump posed with in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church contains a recurring message that Trump and his allies cannot overcome or escape.
“And it came to pass…”
Wendell Griffen is pastor at New Millennium Church in Little Rock, Arkansas, and a circuit court judge in Arkansas. He served previously on the Baptist Center for Ethics / EthicsDaily.com board of directors.