Brad Hall

I don’t always touch on controversial topics because there’s so much hatred in the world that I fear I’d only add more fuel to the fire. I have my beliefs and I know what is right, but anything shared nowadays seems to always draw a negative or mocking reaction. That still does not give me an excuse for not sharing my faith more, but I’m always so afraid that anything I say will just make matters worse.

However, I feel like there is no choice right now but to be transparent and start the conversation about everything that’s been going on in the world. As a result, maybe we can all learn from each other and move forward for the better.

Throughout March, April and May, all of us had to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting quarantine. For a lot of us, it was just the struggle of not being able to go anywhere or do anything. For others, it was much worse as many people lost loved ones and weren’t even able to be with them in the hospital or hold a proper funeral. Still yet, it felt like we were all in it together.

Then as the weeks went on, all that started to change. There were disputes over if we should open everything back up or not. Then there were arguments over whether we should have to wear masks or not. All of that paired with the restlessness of the quarantine just got to be too much for a lot of people to handle.

Here in Kentucky, Governor Andy Beshear perhaps hasn’t been perfect but I think he has tried to do a good job, and I’ve given him and all of our leaders the benefit of the doubt. This virus is something none of us saw coming and it’s hard to say what is right and what is wrong.

Opening all of the stores and restaurants back up now could be the right thing to do, or it could still be too early. Wearing masks might be helpful or it could just be an inconvenience that doesn’t make much of a difference.

Regardless of what is right or wrong, or what you believe is right or wrong, the debates haven’t been friendly and have led to unrest in our state and nation.

But then, while we were still dealing with the coronavirus, we saw the video of George Floyd.

He was a black man suspected of forging a $20 bill, and died after a white police officer continued to press his knee to Floyd’s neck while he was handcuffed on the ground. In the video, you can hear Floyd saying “I can’t breathe” but the officer didn’t let up.

This has sparked protests, riots and general outrage regarding police brutality and systemic racism in the United States. No matter which side you take, there have been crowds taking it too far while others are just hoping for some peaceful change.

We’ve seen vigils such as the ones here in Corbin where everyone remained peaceful while also letting their voice be heard. But in other parts of the state and the country, we’ve seen things get out of hand with violence and looting and destruction.

I’ve had no choice this past week but to soak in everyone’s opinion on the matter. But I’ve also gone out of my way to listen to what the black community has to say as well as various police officers.

Thankfully, everyone I’ve heard from agrees with me that what happened to George Floyd was wrong. No matter the race or no matter if you’re an officer or civilian, everyone has agreed that there’s no place for that type of brutality in our world.

But what comes next has always been the tricky part which is why I hope to hear from anyone who takes the time to read this.

I listened to Vince Marrow on the radio this week share his thoughts and experiences regarding racism. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Marrow is the associate head coach for the UK football team and is also a black man.

He shared uplifting stories about how all of his players had each others’ backs regardless of skin color. But he also shared some of his negative experiences such as when he got randomly pulled over by a police officer. The only thing the police officer had to say was that his tail light was out. I’m not really sure what the actual problem was but Marrow seemed to feel like he was pulled over simply because he was black.

I also listened to another black man talk about how he grew up in a nice neighborhood, but one day a police officer stopped him just to ask what he was doing walking around there. Presumably, the officer thought that if a black person was in that nice part of town, he must be up to no good.

So I can’t help but feel for the black men and women who have to wonder if they can even go for a walk or a drive without being harassed.

On the flip side, I have the utmost respect and compassion for our law enforcement. So often they get painted as these fat, white, donut-eating racists who are only around to make our lives miserable. Sure, there are a few rotten apples in every bunch, but I believe the majority of them just want to do what’s best for their communities. I can’t imagine the sacrifices they have to make, and I feel for their spouses, parents and children who never know if the next shift could be the last.

So I understand it’s a tough situation for everyone involved. We have to let police officers do their jobs and I don’t want to see so many restrictions put into place that they can’t protect us properly, but we can’t sit back and let there be more unnecessary tragedies either.

As I’ve written about before, I believe racism is nothing more than a tool of the devil. We’ve ignored God and allowed Satan to turn this country upside down. And instead of us realizing that we’re in a war between the light and the darkness, we think it’s a war between Republicans and Democrats.

We concern ourselves so much with what politicians do and say that we forget about who our true leader is. We idolize those who represent our party while we claim the others are just as bad as Adolf Hitler.

But I don’t believe that racism is a Republican vs. Democrat issue. There are plenty of those issues out there but racism should not be one of them. You cannot be a true child of God and have any type of hate for someone of another color. You shouldn’t have hate for anyone period, but certainly shouldn’t hate someone just because they look different than you.

Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

While this quarantine has many places closed and events canceled, maybe it’s also giving us time to really talk about the problems we’re facing. In the past we’ve had our issues but we just move on to the next thing while nothing gets changed. So maybe now without any sports to think about or vacations to go on, we can finally take the time to hash some of these things out.

I don’t really know the solution just yet which is why I want to get the conversation started. But above all, I believe we first need to turn to God and to prayer. There are lots of bad things happening and lots of people who are upset, but I’ve yet to see any good come from name calling and bullying.

Racism is not a Republican issue or a Democrat issue — it’s a sin issue, and I know just the One who can fix it.

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