Ferguson Decision

Christian leaders in Ferguson have urged protesters to stay peaceful and have opened their churches as sanctuaries after the Michael Brown decision.

The entire world has been watching with dismay as anger erupts in Ferguson. The recent announcement by the grand jury that Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed teenager Michael Brown in August of this year, will not be indicted has been met with sadness and anger. Riots have broken out since the Monday night announcement, and they extend beyond Ferguson into New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and all across the nation. However, key members of the community in Ferguson have been urging rioters to return home peacefully: the pastors of the Ferguson churches.

In Ferguson, a group called the Interfaith Partnership, which is made up of more than twenty faith traditions, has issued a joint statement, which urges “As we seek meaningful change and healing, we pray for understanding of the pain of others.” The Archbishop of St Louis, Robert Carlson, has been leading prayer meetings during the protests in Ferguson and has asked protesters to try to remain calm: “I implore each of you: Choose peace! Reject any false and empty hope that violence will solve problems. Violence only creates more violence. Let’s work for a better, stronger, more holy community – one founded upon respect for each other, respect for life, and our shared responsibility for the common good.

Many expected riots in Ferguson, regardless of the decision of the grand jury, but the fact that the police officer will not be charged seems to have exacerbated and intensified the riots across the country. Churches in Ferguson are now being declared safe houses and sanctuaries, so that those who wish to remain safe from the rioters have somewhere to go. Government and police officials are joining in the pastors’ calls for calm and peace.

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