Riots about more than Gray’s death, pastors say

d0bc153e-5c6a-4de3-965d-238f4cd3ab9f-Balitmore-riot-screen-capture-2BALTIMORE (BP, TAB) — As Baltimore experiences the first calm after the April 25 funeral of an unarmed black man who died of injuries sustained when police arrested him, local black Southern Baptist pastor Ryan Palmer recalls when the riots were just protests, the primarily white crowd at the Orioles game just hours after the funeral began chanting “[four-letter expletive] Freddie Gray,” angry because they weren’t allowed to leave the stadium for safety reasons.

“There is a latent racism and a sense of frustration that grows and flows out of being ignored,” Palmer said. “And so while [the protesters] were yet still peaceful, and not doing the violence, the other group was shouting [expletives] to the deceased.”

David Gaines, an African American Southern Baptist pastor of the Baltimore inner-city Manna Bible Baptist Church, described the violence as the “opportunistic” work of those who are more concerned with destruction than justice. Palmer said in this situation, “the enemy is lack of education, the enemy is intolerance, the enemy is our own personal biases.”

The only solution is Jesus Christ, Gaines said.

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State Baptist newspaper serving Baptists in Alabama, providing information, inspiration and interpretation as well as challenging readers to serve and find opportunities for ministry that further the kingdom of God.
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