Pastors and Christian Leaders Condemn Killing of Ahmaud Arbery and Issue Call for Justice

Ahmaud Arbery was fatally shot while running in a neighborhood after a former police officer and his son chased down the 25-year-old man. | YouTube/Screengrab

Prominent pastors and evangelical leaders are calling for justice in the case of Ahmaud Arbery, a black man who was gunned down by a white former police officer and his son in a south Georgia neighborhood.

Russell Moore, J.D. Greear, Priscilla Shirer, and Beth Moore are among the Christian leaders who’ve publicly condemned the killing of 25-year-old Arbery, who was gunned down in February while jogging along the outskirts of Brunswick, Georgia, after being chased by two armed men.

The men, identified as Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, told police Arbery looked like a suspect in a spate of recent break-ins.

News of Arbery’s killing made headlines Tuesday after Lee Merritt, the family’s attorney, shared a graphic video of the shooting.

In the video filmed by a witness, Arbery is being chased by both men in a white Ford pickup truck as he runs through a neighborhood. As the witness gets closer, Arbery briefly disappears off camera and a gunshot rings out. The elder McMichael appears to stand in the pickup truck bed, holding a shotgun. Two more shots ring out as Arbery appears back in the frame before falling to the ground.

Arbery was unarmed and dead when police arrived at the scene.

No arrests have been made but on Tuesday, district attorney Tom Durden said in a statement that the case should be presented to a grand jury for consideration of criminal charges, The Associated Press reported. 

S. Lee Merritt, an attorney for the Arbery family, says the two men “must be taken into custody pending their indictment,” and Gov. Brian Kemp tweeted that “Georgians deserve answers” and pledged to send resources to the investigation.

Here are 11 responses from Christian and evangelical leaders who’ve publicly condemned Arbery’s killing and issued a call for justice.

Hip-hop artist Lecrae posted an initial response on Twitter Tuesday, saying, “God be with the family of #AhmadArbery

In a Thursday Facebook post accompanied by an artistic rendering of Arbery, he added:

Genesis 1:27, “God created man in his own image…” This does not mean that God is in human form, but that humans are in the image of God in their moral, spiritual, and intellectual essence. We reflect God’s divine nature. These unique qualities make humans different than all other creatures: rational understanding, creative liberty, the capacity for self-actualization, and the potential for self-transcendence. When we limit people to objects, stereotypes, or past behaviors we strip them of being Image bearers. #AhmaudArbery was made in the image of God. Remember him. Cry for his family. Plead with God and fight for truth to prevail.

In a lengthy op-ed, Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the public-policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, said that “under any Christian vision of justice, there is no situation in which the mob murder of a person can be morally right, nor grounds for a person to be chased down and shot by private citizens.”

Moore called on Christians to fight the tendency to “avert our eyes” from the incident, offering the reminder that “the Bible tells us, from the beginning, that murder is not just an assault on the person killed but on the God whose image he or she bears.”

“Jesus said, ‘Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed or hidden that will not be known’ (Luke 12:2),” Moore wrote. “Whatever is ruled in this case, we know that the blood cries from the ground in countless matters of violence and bloodshed. And God sees and knows. That’s a word of promise for those weary in seeing justice done. And it’s a word of warning for those who would avert their eyes.”

In an op-ed, David French, evangelical author and editor of The Dispatch, said Arbery’s killers should be arrested and tried for murder.

“Their vigilante action looks less like the heroic actions of armed citizens upholding the law and more like an old-time posse, executing a vile form of street justice on a young, unarmed black man,” he wrote. “It’s also worth remembering that the long and evil history of American lynchings features countless examples of young black men hunted and killed by white gangs who claimed their victims had committed crimes,” French added.

“While we don’t yet know the full details about the McMichaels’ motives, their actions speak loudly enough. When white men grab guns and mount up to pursue and seize an unarmed black man in the street, they stand in the shoes of lynch mobs past.

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Source: Christian Post