OPINION | This article contains political commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Well ladies and gentlemen, it has been quite the week for America. The trial of Derek Chauvin was concluded and he was found guilty of murder in the second degree, third degree, and manslaughter. The jury has spoken, and if there were any issues of unfairness in the trial itself, Chauvin’s lawyer will continue the legal process and take it up on appeal. In the end, the system worked.
The Chauvin conviction kicked off many companies and schools issuing anti-racist, virtue-signaling statements. Right here in central Indiana, Hamilton Southeastern Schools made national news for their inflammatory statement. Now mind you, all of these statements are race focused. I’ll take this opportunity to note there was zero evidence presented in the trial, nor even an accusation, that Chauvin’s conduct was motivated by race. That, however, doesn’t stop those in America who want to promote an agenda from promoting an agenda.
Sadly, churches are getting in on this game too.
An anonymous staff member at local Indianapolis megachurch, College Park Church, has shared an internal email sent to all staff from the Director of HR.
As you’ll see for yourself in the email below, it reeks of Critical Race Theory (CRT). Now, if a church wants to go all in on Critical Race Theory, that is certainly their prerogative. However, they need to OWN it, and be honest with their congregation and people who support them financially. People also need to be know the true feelings of leadership so they can be aware of racist ideologies seeping into church teaching. Last year, after controversy over this 4th of July post,* College Park Church explicitly denied supporting the truly racist CRT. This proclamation seems to be in question after reading the email sent to staff.
Here is the controversial email in its entirety (bold emphasis added mine, all grammar errors left unchanged).
Good evening Staff/Family,
If I were the HR leader in a large corporate organization, it would be expected and required for to construct a political statement to affirm the monumental results of the verdict of guilty for all three felony charges in the public murder of Mr. George Floyd by Derk Chauvin (I will not call him Officer).
Being the HR leader is a job in any environment to be legally, politically, and visibly “correct”.
Being the HR leader at College Park Church is my walking in my calling and performing a professional purpose as called by God.
I want to encourage our White brothers and sisters to not view this as a political occurrence of happening. This is a deeply systemic, inhumane, and sinful problem in our society that we as the people of God-the Church, must acknowledge.
We all watched in horror as a human being literally had the life choked out of him while he cried for his deceased mother by someone who had the responsibility and took an oath to “Protect and Serve”. This is not political. It is spiritual warfare. It is deep-seeded sinful dismissal of Black skin being not being viewed as human or worthy of living God given life.
Mr. George Floyd was a living, breathing, human being who didn’t deserve to be murdered on the street. No one does.
Your Black brothers and sisters in Christ are bleeding, weeping, burdened, tired, overwhelmed, drained, exhausted, weary, and still waiting for justice. You see, this conviction is not just a jury decision for us. It is a step forward in accountability. The conviction is not celebratory of us. It is overdue, not enough, not fully just and certainly not the end. It is barely the beginning.
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For context, Derek Chauvin, convicted murderer, is only the 8th officer convicted of murder since 2005 in over 16,000 police killings.
Many of you may feel awkward not knowing what to say to the Black people you encounter for fear of not saying “the right thing”. Some of you may not care to say anything at all and view it as just another media blasted case and turn the channel.
I want to implore you to lean in with those who will sit with or around your White peer-including friends and family, who will be unaffected, uncaring, and maybe even villainizing of the victim, Mr. Floyd, with hateful, insensitive, or racists remarks. Those remarks are not only about Mr. Floyd. It is the condition of their hearts towards those who look like him as well.
Am I asking you to be harsh? No
Am I asking you to be argumentative? No.
Am I asking you to make people uncomfortable by not participating in passive and uncaring comments and commentary by not participating? Yes.
Am I asking you to use your voice to in showing others in your immediate reach how to be aware, sensitive, conscious, and Christ-like in the way they interact with Black people (congregants and otherwise) who are living in daily pain and trauma because we are ALL Mr. George Floyd? Yes.
This is justice, but it is not justice. It is a message that convictions can be made. And should be made. Now, let’s see more of them. There are countless instances of Black human beings being murdered by uniformed officers on video and by witness account with no convictions. None. Including children.
On April 11, 2021, Mr. Daunte Wright, 20-year-old Black man was killed by (officer) Kimberly Potter during a “routine” traffic stop after claiming she mistook her gun for her taser, shooting the man at point blank range. This happened a few miles from where Mr. George Floyd was murdered. Since then, Potter has been released on bond and her house protected by constructed barriers to “protect” her life, while Mr. Wright’s family plans his funeral.
So, please understand. Black people are not celebrating this one conviction. We are crying inside and full of rage that we must hide because we aren’t allowed to live out or speak about our trauma without ridicule or whitesplaining of why the victims deserved death or that we should just be quiet. ONE conviction is not justice. It is a step towards it.
If you are of the mind that this email is inappropriate, unnecessary, or otherwise unhelpful to address our staff, I urge you to seek the Cross. This is a condition of the heart. And until our White brothers and sisters bleed with us, it will never heal. Each one reach one. It starts with you.
Your Black brothers and sisters are not ok. While others turn the channel, turn their heads or change the subject-we are wounded, suffering and living in daily PTSD in this country waiting for the next occurrence-knowing it is only a matter of time.
To my Black siblings reading this, give yourself time to process. Time to grieve. Scream. Cry. Talk about it. Do not be ashamed of our collective pain. Be kind to yourself. Do not smile to fight the tears. Do not ignore the trauma.
Director of HR and Staff Development
College Park Church
Praise Him In All Things. He is GOOD!
There is so much wrong with this message. It’s very sad to see businesses, schools, and churches pushing this divisive racial ideology. There is so much misinformation and opinion in the email that is passed off as fact. As you can see, you can’t even disagree with this person’s viewpoint otherwise you need to seek Jesus because you have a heart condition. This HR Director proclaims you must acknowledge a systemic sin problem. There is no room for disagreement, despite the reality that the facts do not back up her sentiments.
Now, the tone of this email message is quite different than the tone of the Sunday morning message to congregants. This Sunday morning, a College Park pastor prayed the following: “Father this week has been challenging week for our nation and our community. The verdict in the Chauvin case and death of Ma’Khia Bryant Lord has brought the full range, the full range of human emotions. From relief to weariness. From disillusionment to despair. From numbness to concern and even from joy to anger. Father we’ve witnessed the realities of our brokenness and the effects of sin and the limitations of justice on many levels. We’re reminded yet again, Lord, we need your help to love each other and to listen to each other well.”
Unfortunately, based on the email, it sounds like only one side needs to do the listening and only certain emotions and feelings about the verdict and whole issue are tolerated.
While it is tragic and horrible that a young girl with her whole life ahead of her was killed, I think we need to pray for the officer who saved the other woman’s life. He has to live with the weight of taking a human life and all the unfair criticism he is getting despite doing his duty and saving a woman from being stabbed.
Now George Floyd did not deserve to die. However, it is strange the way some lionize him as if he were some sort of role model for…well, anyone. He was not. Nor was Daunte Wright, whom the HR Director also referenced. Although neither of these men deserved to die, they both failed to cooperate with police and created dangerous situations.
Can someone, anyone, please show me how the United States is systemically racist? Right now, how is it systemically racist? Specifically, what racist policy or policies need to be changed?
In fact, we have many systems in place to help minorities. We have many systems in place to ensure fairness. Are there racist people in the United States? Of course. Are we, as a country, racist? Absolutely not.
I fervently hope and pray the country, and churches especially, wake up and stop promoting such divisive ideologies. I hope they stop stoking racial division. We are all part of one human race, each one special and precious and made in the image of God.
*[UPDATE 1] The 4th of July post was deleted after publication of this article, but you can still read it here.
[UPDATE 2] The church has restored the 4th of July post, which has been up on their site for almost a year, but they have now added the below message to the beginning of the post.
“This article focuses on celebrating the Fourth of July as a Black American. It expresses the author’s valuable and unique personal perspective. (Read Part I for another perspective). To learn about College Park’s biblically-based approach to racial reconciliation and justice, please view the College Park Elder Statement on Racial Reconciliation & Justice.”