Race, Gospel, and Justice, Part 4: Esau McCaulley on Protests and Riots

There needs to be a public and robust statement that the followers of Jesus are on the side of those who are being unjustly treated.

Ed: My family is from New York City. My grandfather was the first battalion chief for lower Manhattan, and my uncle was a New York City cop. As the city deterioted in those bad times, my parents moved us to a place called Levittown. It was the 1970s, and Levittown was struggling (as was our family).

I would later learn that black people weren't allowed to live in Levittown, and then discouraged to do so after it was legal. It was one of the founding realities of the town. As I kid, I’d wonder why it was all Irish and Italians, but there were no African Americans.

The reason is that structurally it was created so they wouldn't live there. We learn these things, and they undermine the narrative we first understood.

You've helped us to understand these different narratives to gain a better perspective on life from the perspective of African Americans. Now, let's talk about a perspective on protests.

We both agree: Protests are good. Riots are not. Unpack that for us from your context.

Esau: There is a cycle of what happens. There's a racial incident. African Americans protest. Some of those protests from people inside and outside the community turn violent. People say, "Hey, look at this. Why aren't the Christians who are speaking out against the racial injustice equally strong speaking about the riots?"

There are couple of things that I want to say about that. First, there is no real question as to where Christians stand on riots. There isn't a kind of evangelical pro-riot, black riot faction. Therefore, on one level there is not a need to condemn rioting as a form of social protest, because everybody's clear about this.

The problem is that the very people who are mad at us for not …

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