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FERGUSON, MO: Episcopal Priest Blasts Fellow Clerics over Rush to Judgment on Black Killing

FERGUSON, MO: Episcopal Priest Blasts Fellow Clerics over Rush to Judgment on Black Killing
Mob aims to lynch police officer and call it justice, he says.

By David W. Virtue DD
November 7, 2014

An Episcopal priest has come out blasting fellow Episcopal clerics in the St. Louis community, calling their actions "lynch mob" violence for prejudging a police officer over the shooting death of a black man.

The Rev. Dale Coleman, Jr., rector of St. George's Episcopal Church in Belleville, IL just 27 miles from Ferguson, said in a letter to the "St. Louis Post Dispatch" that for the past two months and more, we have been witnessing community leaders, legislators, federal officials and now clergy leaders in the St. Louis community joining various sizes and makeup of mobs, springing up following the shooting of Michael Brown. Why? Why the immediate prejudice shown by all these folks who would wish to lynch the police officer, and call that justice?

"Where is the civics lesson of stating the constitutional right Officer Darren Wilson enjoys as an American citizen for due process of law? Where is the stand of the governor or mayors claiming the clear probability that this officer was attacked? Why take the word of Brown's buddy, who gave contradictory and confusing statements as to what happened?"

Coleman ripped his fellow Episcopal clergy saying, "Now we have my brother and sister Episcopal clergy and other clergy piling on with everyone else, and sanctimoniously confronting policemen with the word "to repent." What gall! What fatuousness. What acquiescence to mobocracy and feeling morally superior about it."

Organizers of the four-day Ferguson October protests dubbed the day "Moral Monday" and committed acts of civil disobedience across the St. Louis region.

The Rev. Mike Kinman, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, announced that he stood with the voices of the oppressed and affirming that in Christ, if one suffers, we all suffer.

The Rev. Jonathon Stratton, director of the Deaconess Anne House in St. Louis, was among several Episcopal clergy arrested in the march on Ferguson.

"The theme was of repentance and confession and absolution and turning from systems that perpetuate racism and injustice," including church systems, he said. Clergy confessed their complicity in such systems and called upon police officers, standing in a line outside the Ferguson police station, to do likewise," noted Stratton.

"We want to be very clear that the clergy, speaking for myself and those by me, were not talking about individual sin, this is systemic sin," he added. "We were telling the police officers they were very valued and beloved children of God, but they're part of a system that not only stereotypes and dehumanizes folks on the other side, but also that leads to the dehumanization of the police force.

"Every time they come out in riot gear, it is a tangible sign of dehumanization. They cease to be seen as people and more as machines or as weapons of violence."

Retorted Coleman, "When I was a school child many, many years ago, I was taught about John Adams coming to the defense of British soldiers who had fired upon a mob of 'unarmed' men. Against the lynch mob of his own friends and fellow citizens, Adams refused to be intimidated by the manipulative and pressure tactics of many in Boston in 1770. Adams saw to it that the soldiers received due process and the soldiers were found not guilty, and received justice."

Coleman said this event long ago may very well be the equivalent to what occurred in Ferguson.

"I would imagine the police will not stoop to the level of these clergy if Wilson is exonerated," he concluded.


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