Dr. Hurley Responds to Violence & Injustice in the World Today

Dearest South Highlanders and other Friends,

Our nation is at a moment of great peril, both from a virus of nature and from continuing racial injustice of our own making, together with leadership from Washington that seeks to divide us rather than unite us. I write to express to you my heart in these unsettling days.

The brutal murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police is horrendous and inexcusable. Those responsible must be brought to justice. This act reflects continuing disparity in our nation toward people of color. We have seen unacceptable responses of violence and destruction across the nation and in our own city that must cease. We must seek and achieve justice for all people of all races, all economic conditions, and all backgrounds, doing so by peaceful means. As followers of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, we must lead the way, and do so by methods that are peaceful and reconciling. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in his historic "Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” the Church must be "a headlight guiding men progressively and decisively to higher levels of understanding,” rather than, “a tail light behind the Supreme Court and other secular agencies."

The ugly charade put on by the President of the United States this week using armed military and police forces, tear gas, smoke bombs, and rubber bullets to disperse peaceful demonstrators exercising their constitutional rights in Lafayette Park in front of the White House, in order to clear a path for himself to walk across the street to historic St. John’s Episcopal Church and conduct a photo op with a few top members of his Administration uneasily standing alongside, using the church as a backdrop, lifting the Holy Bible as a prop, immediately after a Rose Garden speech where he portrayed himself as the "law and order” President, is a shameful scene that will ring throughout our future history as a nation. We Americans are a better people than this. We must demand better of our leaders.

In these unsettling times, let us all as followers of Jesus Christ heed the core messages found within the pages of our Holy Scriptures:

- “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:2-3

- “And if you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you this day that you shall surely perish.” Deuteronomy 8:19

- “What does the Lord require from you, except to carry out justice and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8

- “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9

- “For Christ is our peace, who has made us one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility.” Ephesians 2:14

- “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28

- “For the love of Christ controls us, he died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

- “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, we beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-20

And be reconciled to one another. This must be our prayer and our guiding principle: that we all may be guided by the love and grace and peace of our Lord, and in these days of pandemics caused by acts of nature and by acts of our own making, that we may work to bring about liberty and justice and righteousness and peace in our city and in our nation, and that we, the United States of America, might again be a shining city on the hill that is an inspiration to the world, as we demand such unifying uplifting leadership from our leaders.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:9.

Grace, Mercy and Peace to you,

Ed Hurley