Pray for Peace in Louisville

September 23, 2020
By Bishop Leonard Fairley

We have waited for this day with a sense of hope and belief in justice. However, it goes without saying that fear and anxiety have also been part of our waiting for justice to show her face.

With the announcement by the Attorney General, there will most likely be protests and counterprotests that could very easily turn to rioting and violence. Just as we are called not to condone injustice, neither can we condone violence in any form.

More than ever, we must live into the words that hold our democracy together: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all (people) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among them are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (The Declaration of Independence).

Long before these words became the glue holding our fragile democracy together, they were God-given. In the face of the tragic death of Breonna Taylor, I find it part of my calling as a minister of the gospel, and as a passionate spiritual disciple of Jesus Christ, to call each of us to live into the truth of our better selves.

While there comes a time when we must “protest for right,” we can never allow those protests to deteriorate into destructive evil, hatred, and violence. Our Judeo-Christian heritage calls us always to guard each person’s dignity and worth regardless of age, race, gender or socioeconomic status.

There may be protests and counterprotests, but we must remind one another that this does not give anyone the right to take a life or treat another human being as less than anything other than a child of God. Because we are finite creatures, we often miss the marks of justice, love, and peace. However, we must never cease moving toward their fulfillment. We must reach for a deeper truth not easily found when injustice and chaos rule our streets.

As we respond to this announcement, I remind you that there is a distinct line between “peaceful protesting” and rioting. I pray that, whatever we feel about this decision, we choose peaceful demonstration in spite of our pent-up frustration; that we choose the road to peaceful protest over rioting.

Choosing the road of violence, hatred and rioting will lead us down a path littered with death, destruction, pain and suffering. These paths do nothing honorable for those who continue to bear the burden of injustice.

We can no longer afford the luxury of failing through denial, fear and hatred. This way of thinking allows justice, love and peace to become casualties caught up in hearts of war. It is time to lay down our weapons and work toward the common good of all God’s people so no other Breonna Taylors are added to the chants of “say her/his name.”

Be safe and kind to one another, and pray for the peace and healing of Louisville.

In Christ,
Bishop Fairley