Senate Chaplain Barry Black Leads Congressional Walk-Out Protest

(system) #1

Senate Chaplain Barry Black led a group of Congressional staffers and at least two lawmakers in a walk-out demonstration, on the steps of the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. on December 11. The group of over 100 demonstrators, consisting primarily of black leaders, assembled in front of the Capitol in peaceful protest of the non-indictments of officers responsible for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Photos and videos of the event showed Reps. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and Marc Veasey, D-Texas among the lawmakers participating in the walkout.

Chaplain Black, an ordained Seventh-day Adventist minister and former Rear Admiral in the United States Navy, stood in front of the large group of demonstrators facing members of the media and other observers and spoke on behalf of the group:

We're gathered here today so that we can be the voice for the voiceless. We believe that there is a power that has fueled our nation toward excellence through the centuries, and we are here today to take advantage of the Free Exercise rights guaranteed to us by the framers and founders of this nation, and we begin this gathering with prayer. So let us pray.

Eternal God, Our Hope for years to come, You have brought America through many challenging times. [Voice from crowd: "I can't breathe!"] Today as people throughout the nation protest for justice in our land, forgive us when we have failed to lift our voices for those who couldn't speak--or breathe--for themselves. May we not forget that in our national history, injusitce has often been maintained because good people failed to promptly act. Forgive, oh God, our culpability in contributing to our national pathology as you keep us aware of our own capacity to be instruments of injustice. Immunize us from that self-righteousness that blames everyone but ourselves. Lord, comfort those who mourn, who know the pain of loss, the anguish of grief and the futility of despair. Remind us that earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal. Protect and guide your people who gather here today. May the words of our mouths, the meditaions of our hearts and the activity of our limbs be acceptable to you oh God, our rock and our redeemer. We pray this in your sovereign name, Amen and Amen.

Following the conclusion of Black's prayer, all the demonstrators silently raised their hands in the air in what has become a universal symbol of protest against police brutality and racial injustice: "Hands Up, Don't Shoot." According to witnesses, Michael Brown had his hands in the air when he was shot dead by Ferguson Missouri police officer Darren Wilson.

As Senate Chaplain, Barry Black generally maintains an a-political stance in his service to American leaders, but has at times boldly chided lawmakers, including his October 2013 prayer during the Government Shutdown. Black asked God's forgiveness for leaders' "stubborn pride" and "blunders."

In the days following the non-indictment of the police officer responsible for the death of Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, protests swept the United States and spread to other countries. Seventh-day Adventists have taken part in many peaceful demonstrations, including three protests on the campus of Andrews University and Oakwood University, and in front of the state capitol in Columbus, Ohio, respectively.

Several Adventist leaders have issued public statements on issues of racial justice and public demonstrations following the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, including Daniel Honoré, the president of the Northeastern Conference, Daniel Jackson, the president of the North American Division, and the Andrews University Faculty Senate.

Jared Wright is managing editor of

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

(Sherlock1) #2

In Ferguson a criminal was confronted by a law officer. The criminal retaliated and wound up on the wrong end of the gun he tried to take from the officer. Obviously there was no respect for law and this criminal made himself a victim by his own choosing.
In New York there was obvious police brutality.
Because the criminals are black this makes it a racial issue? Sorry, but the logic is lacking. Especially since there is plenty more black on black crimes not covered by the media and black on white crimes not covered by the media. The media is simply trying to fuel racism and make the non-white race appear as victims.

(Wizzle) #3

Sherlock1d, I wonder if you are a criminal also? (Excessive. - webEd) Have you not committed any crimes? What crime did Brown commit? Did the officer knew anything about what happened in the store? Inherent in your writing is racism itself. The media is not portraying anything, they are highlighting what exists. Most of the folks reporting the news are non black. Equality is what is needed and the Sabbath school lesson this quarter is emphasizing the issue in the church and the society in which we live.

(le vieux) #4

Unless you know Sherlock intimately, your are being quite judgmental here. I guess anyone who refuses to toe the line on political correctness will be called a racist.

(Denny) #5

I find that folks who moan about ‘political correctness’ do they want to turn back the clock when the legal system and the culture racially or sexually abusing your fellow human being by words and deeds was acceptable?

(Denny) #6

“According to witnesses, Michael Brown had his hands in the air when he was shot dead by Ferguson Missouri police officer Darren Wilson.”

I believe if Michael Brown was white he would still be alive.

(Steve Mga) #7

If one has one’s hands in the air one would not be taking a gun away from an officer.

SO! Which is it?
The question I would like to ask is, Why are the Black Community leaders in all cities, this includes the members of the Black Churches, not concerned about Black on Black crime in their communities and developing programs to entice children and adolescents away from anti-social behavior?
All this protest and marches just reinforces in the minds of black youth that Cops are criminals. Cops are not to be trusted. Cops are to be resisted.
One sees this Anti-Social behavior developing in persons as young as elementary school age children.
Michael Brown has now become a HERO. What a great person for Black Youth to emulate!!

(Sherlock1) #8

There ya go! You are missing many facts. Witnesses also say he did not have his hands in the air for surrender. The facts are not all reported by the media. Why would anyone count the media as correct when they don’t present all the facts? There is much more to the story, such as Wilson was responding to a report of theft, and then…

(Sherlock1) #9

Simply stating and thinking or wondering if I am a criminal also shows how gossip begins. That kind of gossip is what we see often in the news media. Facts and wondering are not so similar. If you wonder then verify rather than gossip.

Racism in my writing? Get real! My writing focused on activity not a persons ethnicity.

(Thomas J Zwemer) #10

The entire Jefferson episode was senseless. Brown paid dearly for his arrogance, The officer allowed his passion and pain to overrule his judgement, The District Attorney protected the system and delayed his announcement until a riot was assured. Burn Baby Burn solves no problem.

remember how we behaved after 9/11. let us make that normative. Tom Z

(Denny) #11

you mean you want to bomb Ferguson like you did in the Middle East?

(Denny) #12

As long as white people including churchgoers (sorry I refuse to see such folks as Christian, nothing Christlike about em) continue to see this is a ‘BLACK’ issue then this will continue. The story of the Good Samaritan and ‘who is my neighbour’ went over your head?

(Interested Friend) #13

Some talk as though you were at the site and witnessed personally the event and know exactly how the officer should have responded. Such claptrap should not be the essence of a conversation among those who supposedly represent the intellectuals.

How many have experienced a huge man coming for you and attempting to wrest a weapon from your hands?

(Denny) #14

Dr Ben Carson witnessed the event? Wow!

(Thomas J Zwemer) #15

That is a reach. you know even road rage was down. tz

(Tompaul Wheeler) #16

This forum may not be the best place to ask why African-American leaders aren’t doing such and such. Perhaps you might visit an African-American church and pose that question for an in-person conversation. The answers you’d hear just might give you a new perspective.

I won’t presume to speak for anyone else, but I’d encourage you to retire the phrase “black on black crime.” We never speak of “white on white crime,” because we take for granted that people hurt those with whom they are in closest contact. For instance, over 80 percent of white murder victims are killed by white people.

Regarding the Brown case, the officer maintained that Brown repeatedly struck him so severely in the face that he feared losing consciousness, yet the lack of so much as a bruise belies that claim, and calls into question every other statement he made. But the Brown case is only the murkiest of a near-daily list of police killings. John Crawford. Tamir Rice. Ezell Ford. The list goes on, and on, and on.

The reality is, violent crime rates in the U.S. are at 50-year lows (violent crime plunged in the 1990s, and the drop in the African-American community was higher than the national average). Meanwhile, police killing of civilians is at a 20-year high. Police in America kill over 400 people a year, and young black men are 21 times more likely to be amongst those victims than young white males. Last year police in Britain killed exactly zero people–in fact, all police combined fired fewer bullets than struck Michael Brown.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We can fix this.


With the Republicans taking control of the Senate, Chaplain Black probably won’t be the Senate Chaplain anyway. His last hoorah.

(Yoyo7th) #19

I suggest Barry Black meet Owen Wilson and the officers involved in the new York incident.

1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

(Yoyo7th) #20

Statistics are misleading without additional statistics to present reality

(Randle Patrick) #21


“According to witnesses, Michael Brown had his hands in the air when he was shot dead by Ferguson Missouri police officer Darren Wilson.”

Definitely not a believer in Ben Bradlee journalism.