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Rodney King, Rev. Fred Luter, the Southern Baptist Convention, and "Can We All Get Along?"

  • Broadcast in Religion
Daniel Whyte III

Daniel Whyte III


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Revelation 7:9: "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands."

On last Sunday, June 17, we heard the sad news that Rodney King, the man at the center of the infamous Los Angeles police beating died. Because of the racially charged nature of the case, when four white police officers were acquitted of brutally beating him, Los Angeles erupted in riots and violence. By the time the riots ended, 53 people had died; 2,383 people had been injured; there had been more than 7,000 fires; 3,100 businesses had been damaged; and there was nearly $1 billion in financial losses. Smaller riots had also been sparked in San Francisco, Las Vegas, Atlanta, and other cities. In the middle of the mayhem, Rodney King appeared on television, and offered his now-famous question: "Can we all get along?"

Just this past week, however, America saw a tremendous example of unity and harmony at the Southern Baptist Convention in New Orleans, LA. The Southern Baptist Convention, an organization which was formed largely to protect the rights of Southern slave-holders in 1845 and is still majority white, enthusiastically elected a black pastor, Rev. Fred Luter, to serve as its president. Many ministers expressed that this was a God-ordained move and one that would be of great benefit to the Southern Baptist Convention.

Here we see two very different examples: one of people not being able to get along with each other, rioting, looting, and damaging other people's property. The other is an example of people putting their differences behind them and coming together in unity and harmony.

Allow me to point out three observations from these events.