We live in a violent society. Every day we read or hear about acts of violence, and we constantly hear that it is Black on Black crime. I write today about the violent acts we commit to ourselves, like those we see every day in our neighborhoods and in our streets. To make matters worse, we use various excuses to justify ungodly behavior; from economics, education and poor housing conditions, the list continues on and on. Yes, all of these facts can be validated, but that does not condone the killing, maiming or destroying of one another.
Violence is seen throughout our country. The tragedy which took place in a movie theater in Colorado where 12 were killed and dozens were wounded is frightening. I find it appalling that the government cannot come up with some effort to curb guns in the hands of people. Yet, they can enact legislation to hinder people from voting, with voter ID being required in order to vote. Last month right here in our city, on a hot summer evening, teenage boys allegedly gang-raped a 12-year-old girl in the Myers Recreation Center in Kingsessing. Youths were gathered to participate in sports activities and in the darkness of the night, this horrible incident took place. There is no place safe, and this child’s life has been severely damaged. What would possess boys, at that young age, to attack this innocent child? How does the community respond to such violence? Where are the parents and guardians? Were these boys who allegedly committed this crime aware of what they were doing? Why couldn’t one of them act in defense of this young girl, instead of participating? Where were the cries from the neighbors? I also think of the tragedy at Penn State, in the Sandusky case. It appears as though it was a cover-up, no one dared speak out, and so many voices are silent from the college officials to the coaches; even now, the emphasis is on the prestige of the school and the economic fallout; what about the victims?
Life is precious, and in far too many cases, we have lost the meaning of life, because for many, it means nothing. As I previously mentioned, our society as a whole is violent, and far too long the church has been silent. We need to raise our voices against violence. We have to be able to find a way to handle conflicts. The Lord has called us to lift our voices against any and every ungodly act. In the book of Micah, 6:8 we read, “The Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” I maintain that you cannot seek justice, love and mercy and walk humbly with God and not raise your voice against violence. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
The time has come when we as a people of God must truly be the people of God. Speak not just with words, but with action. Let us seek to build a better world for our children and our grandchildren so we can live in a world free of violence. That may be wishful thinking, but certainly there ought to be hope and dreams that we can live without seeing violent crimes committed every day. Let us allow God to speak to our hearts so we can live together as brothers and sisters. Let us seek peace, that our voices are heard loud and clear. The time has come to end this violent destruction.
The Rev. Charles Quann is the pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church.