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In response to Trayvon Martin shooting, church members march ‘to stop this violence’

Members of the Midtown Church of Christ in Muncie, Ind., will take to the streets of their town in response to the Feb. 26 fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla.
A march is planned for 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 28, at a public park in Muncie, minister Denell Howard told the Star Press newspaper:

Minister Denell Howard and his wife with ministry leaders at the Midtown Church of Christ in Muncie, Ind. (Photo via midtownchurchofchrist.com)

The local march has a three-pronged approach, Howard said. First is to raise awareness of what happened to Martin and show solidarity with his family, second is to give notice that such acts won’t be tolerated in Muncie, and third is to let youth know that violent behavior caused by them will not be excused, either. Howard wants this summer to be free of violence, he said. He’s hopeful that about 10 percent of the population will turn out for the rally.
“Martin Luther King, Jr. said it right: ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,'” Howard said. “We’re not going to stomach this. We’re also trying to bridge both of the communities. We need to go ahead and put our emphasis that we’re not going to do that (violence) this summer. I think it’s more than just the preachers who don’t want the foolishness. This is a community-wide effort. We want the community involved to stop this violence.”
Wednesday’s march is in line with Howard’s proactive philosophy. He has worked with other community leaders to stop violence in the community — even when all involved are black — and he organized a gun amnesty program last year.
“My belief is that marches mobilize people, the message motivates people, but it takes the masses to move people to change,” Howard said. “We’re not putting down our young black men; we want to empower them to be something greater.”

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  • Feedback
    I find it interesting that the law that is protecting the shooter (Stand your ground law) and other laws like it in other States are supported by Christians on the right. Christians have also passed laws that allow Christians to pack guns in church.
    These laws have the backing and support of the Tea Party and their backers the Koch brothers and the NRA.
    I don’t know about you but there is something wrong with this picture.
    Thomas Sutton
    Thomas Sutton
    March, 27 2012

    I wonder if the marchers will be criticizing the black panthers who have put a bounty on Mr. Zimmermann’s head? What happened in Florida was tragic. But, the political hoopla that is being made out of it while ignoring the threats by blacks can be just as tragic.
    Bob Roberson
    March, 27 2012

    That a minister/church would “appear” to come down on the side of one party when he/it can’t possibly know all the facts is profoundly foolish and racially divisive.
    For Mr. Sutton on the matter of gun laws, here is what Thomas Sowell, a distinguished professor of economics (who happens also to be black) has to say . . .
    “Gun-control laws began to be passed during times when crime was declining, rather than climbing. Crime began climbing after gun-control laws were passed. Places with very strict gun-control laws typically have more crime than do places without them — a fact that holds true between countries and between regions of the United States. There is little or no relationship between the rigorousness of gun-control laws and criminals� access to guns. Many countries have lots of guns but relatively few murders, while others have few guns but relatively many murders. Swimming pools kill many more people in accidents than guns do. You do not have to be a great scholar to look at those facts and ask: What is the point of gun-control laws?” (From Commentary Magazine, Dec 2011)
    Bill Brewer
    March, 27 2012

    Why is this church marching before all the facts of this case are even known? The ultra liberal San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that Martin attacked Zimmerman, and the early evidence (including a 911 call) seems to support that report.
    Also, why is the media showing a 5 year old photo of Martin, as if the alleged victim is some elementary school child?
    Just another sad chapter in the story of media manipulation, along with the help of the “Reverends” Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, not to mention the Black Panthers, some of whom have threatened bloodshed if their vision of “justice” is not met. Will the church also protest these tragedies?
    Todd Clippard
    March, 27 2012

    In the Martin shooting case, there are certain facts that have come to light in law enforcement circles that supports the shooter’s allegations that he was attacked and fired in self defense. As an investigator, I have learned to look at all the facts before I make a conclusion. In the Martin case, everyone seems to jump to conclusions without knowing all the facts in this case. While I understand this congregation’s plan to march to stop the violence, I would be careful to be sure that all the facts are known before rushing to judgment on the shooter in the Martin case. If the march is in support of stopping violence, then I am all for it. If the march is in support of rushing to judgment on the shooter in the Martin case, then I would stay away from this march because of the emotionally and politically charged environment in order to prevent the body of Christ from looking foolish when all the facts eventually comes to light.
    No matter where we Christians stand on our political orientation, scripturally we must strive to be sure that politics does not cause division in the Lord’s body.
    Stephen Maple
    March, 27 2012

    Thank you for the comments Mr. Maple. Well said. We need to make sure we remain one body – regardless of political beliefs. I, too, was outraged by this story the moment I heard it. However, in light of recent facts, I think we need to let the entire story develop before we come to conclusions. It saddens and angers me that so many people just jump right in before everything is known.
    Dewey Leggett
    March, 27 2012

    Let us all calm down a bit. We stand against all injustice, but we are a nation of laws to be followed. Let us march in unity against all crime whoever it involves and whenever and wherever it occurs. I’ve been down the dark road of the news media leading us in the wrong direction before. Even the Christian Chronicle needs to be aware where they are trying to lead us.
    Don Musgrave
    March, 27 2012

    What’s wrong with the picture is ALL THE FACTS HAVE TO BE KNOWN. Parents should know their children well enough to know if they are kicked out of school, smoking anything & if they have a somewhat violent attitude at times.
    Everyone jumping on the bandwagon and joining one side or the other before KNOWING all the facts is THE WHOLE PROBLEM….Jumping in a swimming pool with an inch of water and killing yourself and your family blaming the homeowner because HIS POOL is being cleaned is overlooking the fact that someone trespassed and killed themselves!!
    Come on world, start praying for the family of the deceased child and the gentleman that shot him and let GOD do the rest.
    Don Sinquefield
    March, 27 2012

    So, packing guns in church is a good thing? Allowing everyone to pack heat and kill if they feel threatened is also a good Christian thing?
    How easy it is for some to forget that only fifty years ago in America we had Jim Crow Laws that allowed the lynching of people because of the color of their skin.
    How easy it is to forget that Christians would sing “Oh How I love Jesus” on Sunday mornings and then put sheets over their heads and burn Crosses on the lawns of those who were born black.
    Thomas Sutton
    March, 27 2012

    Unfortunately, in an effort to gain the acceptance of the world we sometimes leave our main mission to engage in what we sometimes feel is what others want us to do. The law will determine this issue weighing the facts. The media and others have painted one picture of the events even as we learn more details about this unfortunate and terrible incident. As the facts come out, we are seeing a different picture of what happened. I remember just a few years ago all the hype about protecting the environment as a church mission. That too is being revealed as something that was overblown for political expediency. We need to resist the pull to be accepted by the world as relevant on their terms and focus on what Jesus wants us to do. After all, I think His acceptance is more important than the world’s. We should focus on praying for the families and their grief, the government officials deciding this matter and that no one else is hurt from any violence incited by this incident. I believe that is what Jesus would want us to do in this case
    Kenneth Morvant
    March, 27 2012

    Hey folks. As expected, this is a heated topic and it has stirred a lot of emotions in all of us. We’re starting to get a lot of back-and-forth on the comments, though, so I have edited a couple of comments and blocked a few others. Please reply to the issue in the post and not individuals who have posted. Feel free to refer to our <a href=”https://christianchronicle.org/blog/comment-policy/” rel=”nofollow”>comments policy</a> as well. Thanks for understanding.
    Erik Tryggestad
    March, 27 2012

    The Golden Rule demands that we place ourselves in others’ shoes when we recommend a course of action. If I were accused of a crime, I would be shocked to read online that someone who lives a thousand miles away thinks he can judge my case because he read a couple of newspaper stories. Do we really trust newspaper stories as if they were gospel? Let the investigation proceed, and let all the facts come to light. Until that happens, I cannot presume to say that the shooting was a case of self defense, or that it was not a case of self defense.
    Clark Coleman
    March, 27 2012

    After reading this article, I am concerned that the church could wind up having mud in its eye. It looks like this “march” is a protest against Zimmerman and the way the case has been handled. Not being involved in the investigation, not having all the facts, and not having been there, people need to be wary of rushing to judgment. It would be in line with the mission of the church to offer healing and support not only to the Martin’s, but also the Zimmerman’s. Both are made in God’s image and both are subjects of redemption. The police investigation, the lawyers, the politics, etc. are something the church needs to stay out of. That is not the church’s role, it is the role of governing authority. The church is called to minister to all people. Jesus said to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. The church’s role should be to bring healing through the Gospel, not politically charged marches.
    March, 27 2012

    By the way, we have LOTS of blog posts up right now about great things happening in Churches of Christ and Christian universities across the country � and most of them have gotten zero comments so far.
    Erik Tryggestad
    March, 27 2012

    I think we better wait for all of the FACTS to come out publicly before we jump on the ban wagon like the circular news media does. The police have investigated and are continuing the investigation but up to this point have not reason to arrest the man who did the shooting. I always question something when Jackson or Sharpton are involved, this is the way they make their living.
    Ted Mountjoy
    March, 27 2012

    I appreciate the heart and compassion of folks who are expressing their outrage over the death of this young man. Nevertheless marches of the masses will not change hearts. Gods’ counsel decided that only a message called the gospel can galvanize the masses is the gospel. Jeremiah said, O Lord we know that its’ not in man who walks to direct his own steps of rightousness (paraphrased in the context).
    robert brooks
    March, 27 2012

    I haven’t read the responses. Please overlook this if I’m posting something someone else has already said, but there are so many mothers and fathers grieving over lost sons and daughters. Why Trayvon’s story is told and the rest aren’t is a puzzling phenomena. I do pray for his family’s healing, but I pray for so many others.
    Here is a trailer for a documentary based on the work of our CoC sister, Carolyn Johnson-Turner, who attends the Westlawn Church of Christ in Birmingham, Alabama. The church let the community use their facilities for the documentary’s premiere.
    Gerald ‘G’ Franks
    March, 28 2012

    Don Musgrave is correct. Though they would deny it, the Chronicle has an agenda. Erik speaks of the Chronicle’s feature of many great brotherhood works, but there are some good works the Chronicle refuses to feature. I have worked with House to House – Heart to Heart (HTH) for more than ten years. For the unfamiliar, HTH is used by more than ONE THOUSAND congregations in the US to evangelize their communities. Our bi-monthly circulation is approaching 2.5 MILLION copies per issue. With our cooperating churches, we have sent more than 100 MILLION issues into American homes, and hundreds of thousands of issues overseas. HTH is the largest publication in the brotherhood, and I have tried to get the Chronicle to feature our work, but to no avail. Same goes for Polishing the Pulpit (PTP). More than 2500 brethren attend this event annually. It continues to grow each year, featuring some of the most respected men in the brotherhood, but it can’t find its way into the Chronicle’s reporting. Neither can Smoky Mtn Marriage Retreat, even though it has 1000+ participants each year. ALL THREE of these efforts are overseen by the Jacksonville AL church, which has about 250 members. (BTW – A search for GBN also came up empty.) But if you wanna hear about Tulsa, Lubbock, ACU or Pepperdine, you’ll have no problem finding plenty in the Chronicle about these. What’s the difference? The formerly mentioned events are conservative efforts sponsored and supported by conservative brethren. The Chronicle has no interest in featuring works that hold to the old paths.
    Todd Clippard
    March, 28 2012

    For anyone wondering what word was edited three times from my previous post, it was the opposite of your sister + what covers your car engine. Would someone at the Chronicle like to explain?
    Todd Clippard
    March, 28 2012

    Concerning the editing of “brotherhood,” that’s due to an overzealous spam filter, not any concern on the <em>Chronicle’s</em> part about that word. I have restored that word in your previous comment.
    Regarding your claim that the <em>Chronicle</em> has no interest in featuring works that hold to the old paths, our mission is to report on the full spectrum of Churches of Christ. With a relatively small staff, we do our best to cover 13,000-plus congregations and ministries in the U.S. alone, not to mention thousands of foreign works.
    You claim to have submitted information on several ministries. However, I handle the national news for the <em>Chronicle</em> and do not recall ever hearing from you. If you want to submit items for consideration, please make sure you have the <a href=”https://christianchronicle.org/staff118~Bobby-Ross%20Jr.” rel=”nofollow”>right contact information. </a>
    If I am correct, David Shannon was one of the featured speakers at Polishing the Pulpit. We just did a three-page <a href=”https://christianchronicle.org/article2159553~From_%27serve_us%27_to_service” rel=”nofollow”>Churches That Work feature</a> on his congregation, the Mt. Juliet Church of Christ in Tennessee. Neal Pollard was one of your other speakers. I visited his church, the Bear Valley Church of Christ in Colorado, last summer and did a <a href=”https://christianchronicle.org/article2159417~Future_of_the_church:_Camp_mixes_fun,_preacher_training” rel=”nofollow”>Page 1 feature</a> on their preacher training camp.
    If you want coverage, I’d urge you to redouble your efforts to keep us informed. We can’t cover news that we don’t hear about.
    Bobby Ross Jr.
    March, 28 2012

    Thank you Christian Chronicle for covering this delicate issue. May Father God’s good and perfect will be done and justice be served on all sides. God bless you all. God is good. 😉
    March, 28 2012

    WOW!!! I did NOT know that this article received such negative responses! I wish people would read the article and then, if you have ANY questions, contact us and we can explain in detail our position on this matter. Listen to this, “having favor with the people GOD added to the church daily…”. We have favor with the city of Muncie and lives are being changed and saved.
    Denell Howard
    May, 25 2012

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