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Giving Compass' Take:
• Anthony Fowler Jr. shares how the murder of Philando Castile led him to leave the church he has been a member of for 11 years.
• How can communities better engage in supportive dialogue to work through differences? How can philanthropists help to create spaces where people can come together to understand their own biases and grow?
• Fowlers's story is anecdotal evidence of resegregation, but it is part of a concerning trend. Memphis school segregation is worse than it was 50 years ago.
Martin Luther King Jr. once famously said that 11 a.m. on Sunday morning is one of the most segregated hours in American life. Despite that sad historical truth, studies have shown movement, albeit slow, toward the integration of congregations.
That progress is in danger of being reversed, however, with black worshippers leaving their mostly white churches in droves in recent years. We’re being pushed out by a failure of our churches to apply their professed values to racial injustice and, as I experienced, to the issue of police brutality.
In my 11 years as a very active member of the church, I had known that my pastor and a good number of the members were politically conservative, but it never bothered me much. I believed that our shared faith superseded any racial, social or cultural divisions. There was no room for strife in Christ, I thought. Then Philando Castile was murdered.
There’s no way anyone could deny that was wrong, I thought.
But deny it they did. I was mortified as I watched conservative pundits, politicians, and people I know wave away the circumstances and blame Castile for his own death. Ultimately, the response I heard from my then-pastor was the most disturbing.
Read the full article about policy brutality by Anthony Fowler Jr. at The Marshall Project.