Clergy oppose Stand Your Ground legislation



Clergy oppose Stand Your Ground legislation – Arkansas Times




























Here’s a letter signed by 79 faith leaders in opposition to the “dangerous” SB 24, the  shoot-first legislation that eliminates the need to safely retreat before killing someone in perceived self-defense.

The clergy members said, in part:

 It is always better to avoid taking a life if there is a clear and safe way to do so, but Stand Your Ground encourages people to resolve issues with violence. These laws are associated with increases in homicides and injuries, while disproportionately impacting communities of color. In states with Stand Your Ground, we have seen the senseless loss of life. Shootings in movie theaters because a bag of popcorn was thrown, arguments over parking spaces that turn deadly, arguments over loud music that lead to the death of a teenager. In addition to the everyday impacts, this proposal that promotes violence couldn’t come at a worse time, with violent anti-government extremism and white supremacy on the rise across our country.

The incident at the U.S. Capitol is only one example of the increasing violent rhetoric that should concern us all as Americans. In the aftermath of the election, we’ve seen the armed intimidation of election officials and the public in multiple states. The need to reject radical policies which would likely embolden extremists and vigilantes has never been more evident. Stand Your Ground is not only associated with clear increases in homicide, but too often used by those who already have violent backgrounds.

The signatories are long on the usual suspects from mainline denominations. I am reminded of when Baptist preacher-politician Bro. Mike Huckabee once remarked to me — perhaps jokingly, perhaps not — that I wasn’t a member of a real religion when I told him I attended a Presbyterian Church after a Methodist upbringing.

The list does include nine people affiliated with the state’s dominant religious preference, Baptist. However, four are from Little Rock’s historically progressive Second Baptist Church and the others are from primarily African-American organizations including two from the historic St. James Missionary Baptist Church in Fayetteville, founded more than 150 years ago by a freed slave.



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