Pastors and religious leaders are urging for prayer and manifesting furious grief in response to the murder of a black man in Minneapolis.
On Monday, 46 year-old George Floyd suffocated to death after a white police officer used a knee to pin his neck to the pavement for several minutes.
The video was released that shows the nine-minute incident of a white officer pressing his knee into Floyd's neck behind a car. While lying face down on the road, Floyd repeatedly groans and says he can't breathe.
"Please, man, I can't breathe," he says.
Floyd repeats the phrase again and again: "I cannot breathe. I cannot breathe."
Minneapolis Police kill a black man on 38th and Chicago.
He is screaming, “I can’t breathe” as police drive their knee on his throat for over three minutes. pic.twitter.com/1hhBLAqy8K
— Keaon Dousti کیان (@KeaonDousti) May 26, 2020
Other witnesses urged him to let Floyd go, but the police refused to listen. After seven minutes in the hold, Floyd went limp and unresponsive. He then was placed on a stretcher and put into an ambulance. It was announced later that he died.
Religious leaders are lamenting the death of George Floyd.
"I am disturbed, brokenhearted, and deeply grieved when I see and read that another black man's sacred life has been unjustly snuffed out," said Marshal Ausberry, SBC first vice president and president of the National African American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention.
"The life of George Floyd was ended by those charged to protect and serve. They became judge, jury and executioner."
"You cannot talk to any African American young person, especially male, who will not have a story about their interactions with police," Hans Lee, pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church, located a block from the intersection where Floyd died, told USA Today.
Alongside Veal, Clarence Hill, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, told FOX 25: "If we just send a little statement and are just excited in this moment, but we don't do anything in-between tragedies, then we're not doing what it takes to see change."
Nick Hall, the founder of Minneapolis-based PULSE and host of Fox Nation's "Bible Quarantine" series, quoted Martin Luther King Jr. in his plea for justice and peace: "A riot is the language of the unheard."
"Please pray for Minneapolis. Our city is hurting after the unjust death of George Floyd, and many are taking their anger to the streets in ways that are destructive, and causing further harm. I hurt for those afraid and upset, discriminated against, and marginalized for too long," Hall wrote in a lengthy Instagram post.
"As a white man, I will never understand what it's like to be followed in a store or afraid for my loved ones being mistreated because of the color of their skin. But that doesn't mean I can't speak up, pray, lend a hand, and do whatever I can to work toward justice, unity, equity, and peace."
"God, please no more death!" Hall wrote, calling for prayer for the mayor, governor, police, first responders, elected officials, "for the safety of those protesting, and for those seeking to protect and serve. ... Pray that the Church of the Twin Cities will rise up and lead in this time, and that this will bring about change from within."
Death of Floyd have sparked the national outrage and inflamed tensions locally, as thousands marched at the scene of the incident and others protested, rioted and looted Wednesday night.
Some of local pastors are praying with congregations and mediating to find the best way to respond.
"It's so fresh," Chris Reinertson, director of missions for the Twin Cities Baptist Association in Bloomington, Minn., who pastor Southside Baptist Church, told the Baptist Press. "And, of course, we want to help people connect with Christ, and that deals with all of the situation at hand. ... Don't ever think I'm saying this is a fresh racial issue. I'm saying this African American man, George Floyd, being arrested and then the white police officer putting his knee right on his neck that specific incident. I'm not talking, 'Oh, this is the first incidence of racism.'"
Carl Lentz, Hillsong Church pastor in New York City, said, in part: "We will not accept media, that continually spins this narrative away from what it is. And we cannot accept silence, from anybody claiming they care. Somebody said to me today 'America is at a breaking point.' My hope is that we are at a 'breakTHROUGH' point. Because it's been broken racially, for too long. God, help us."
Pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church Jack Graham said silence is not an option.
"We cannot ignore the tragic death of George Floyd. The brokenness of a sinful world and violent humans cannot be tolerated," Graham tweeted. "We condemn hate in all its forms and stand together to end injustice. For the love of God."
Meanwhile, four cops involved in this incident were discharged right after, and the FBI is investigating this case.
Jentezen Franklin, pastor of Free Chapel in Gainesville, Georgia, tweeted that it's good the FBI is investigating the case: "But let's be clear: this should not happen in America to begin with! Enough is enough. The investigation should be expeditious, thorough, impartial & justice must be done."