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Lamentation From A Tulsa Highway: A Statement On The Sanctity Of Black Lives

As people of faith and leaders of faith-based organizations focused on justice and equality for all of God’s children, we mourn the death of Terrance Crutcher, who died a violent death on Friday, September 16, 2016, 

Terrence Crutcher was an unarmed black man who was shot dead by a police officer on a two-lane road in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Seconds before he was killed, police dash cam and helicopter video footage show him walking to his car with his hands over his head as a police officer walked behind him with her gun raised. In a recording from the police helicopter, an officer is heard saying, “Looks like that’s a bad dude”.

"After watching the video and seeing what actually happened," said Tiffany Crutcher, Terence's twin sister, "we're truly devastated. The entire family is devastated.”

My soul is deprived of peace,
  I have forgotten what happiness is,
I tell myself my future is lost,
  all that I hoped for from the Lord
Remembering it over and over 
  leaves my soul downcast within me.

Lamentations 3:17-20

Tiffany Crutcher then went on to tell the media gathered in Tulsa, "You all want to know who that big 'bad dude' was. That big 'bad dude' was my twin brother. That big 'bad dude' was a father. That big 'bad dude' was a son. That big 'bad dude' was enrolled at Tulsa Community College, just wanting to make us proud.

"That big 'bad dude' loved God; that big 'bad dude' was at church singing, with all his flaws, every week. That's who he was."

But I will call this to mind,
 as my reason to have hope:
The favors of the Lord are not exhausted,
 his mercies are not spent;
They are renewed each morning,
 so great is his faithfulness.
My portion is the Lord, says my soul;
therefore will I hope in him.

Lamentations 3:21-24

We pray for the family of Terrance Crutcher that they may experience God’s healing strength as they deal with the pain and loss of their loved one. 

We pray for peace and compassion for the Tulsa community and all of the communities across this nation that have been devastated and wrenched asunder by these acts of awful violence.

We pray for justice, true and unfettered, that it may heal the wounds that this tragedy - and others like it across the land - has inflicted on our strained and fragile social structure.

Today, as we hear and read unfolding news from North Carolina of yet another fatal confrontation between police and black men, we know that prayer – while powerful in its own right – is not enough. We look to our various religious traditions and denominational cultures to find ways to engage people of faith in effective, non-violent and constructive efforts to bridge the chasms of fear and mistrust that separate us as a community, as a nation.

May God bless us all in this troubled time, Amen.

Signed,

Rev. Rodney McKenzie, Jr.
Director, Academy for Leadership and Action, National LGBTQ Task Force

Aubrey Thonvold
Executive Director, ReconcilingWorks: Lutherans for Full Participation

Alex McNeill
Executive Director, More Light Presbyterians

Bridget Cabrera
Deputy Director, Reconciling Ministries Network

Carol Wise
Executive Director, Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests

Marilyn Paarlberg
Executive Director, Room for All (Reformed Church in America)

Rev. Mark C. Johnston, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Open & Affirming Ministry Program, Gay Lesbian and Affirming Disciples Alliance

The Believe Out Loud Team

Phil Porter, President & Andy Lang, Executive Director
Open and Affirming Coalition of the United Church of Christ

Rev. Michael Schuenemeyer
Executive for Health and Wholeness Advocacy, United Church of Christ

Rev. Marie Alford-Harkey
President and CEO of the Religious Institute

JOIN US: Click here to proclaim—"My Faith Affirms the Sanctity of Black Lives"

Photo via Fellowship of Reconciliation

Comments (2)

Many people from the Rochester, NY area are with you in solidarity and sending prayers that there will be an end to this needless and continued killing of black lives.

We need to hold the Police accountable for their actions. Black Lives do matter and we need to make sure that we stop killing unarmed Black men and women,

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