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Lead with Empathy, Love Your Neighbor, Let the Truth Come Out — A Response to Ferguson

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From a modified transcript of today’s edition of The Briefing:

I first addressed the situation in Ferguson back on August 12th, which was then the first opportunity I had to speak to the issue. Since then I have not addressed the question because I wanted to stand by what I said back on August 12th. We should not speak to the facts on the ground until we know what those facts are. The facts we know now are pretty much the facts we knew then—that there was an 18-year old African American young man who was shot 6 times, twice in the head and four times in the forearm by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. We know that also there was an immediate backlash in terms of controversy, cries of racism, and then moral protest that led to over 10 days of successive riots and protests—some of them breaking out into violence, some of them to which police responded with military tactics. We also know that now the Attorney General of the United States and the FBI are involved in an independent investigation to find out what exactly took place. We also know that yesterday in Clayton, Missouri—a suburb in the west of Saint Louis—a local grand jury was convened with the very same aim, to try to determine exactly what happened.

The one thing that Christians committed to a biblical worldview have to understand is that the facts never cease to be important. We simply cannot move to judgment until we know exactly what took place and why. Thus we have to resist the very real temptation to say too much. And that is what has worried me in terms of my own responsibility on “The Briefing.” Actually, my point here was very well made by President Obama himself—because in statements made earlier this week responding to the situation in Ferguson, the President said, “I have to be very careful about not prejudging these events before investigations are completed.” The President continued, “I’ve got to make sure I don’t look like I’m putting my thumb on the scales one way or the other.” That’s a very good and important statement from the President of the United States. And quite frankly, it’s a statement all of us should take to heart.
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