A Vigilante Killing in Georgia—David French and Esau McCaulley on the murder of Ahmaud Arbery

On February 23, an unarmed runner was pursued and shot by two men in a Brunswick, Georgia suburban neighborhood. Until this week, the killers did not face arrest or murder charges. Why? Journalist David French unpacks the known evidence, applies the law to those facts, and concludes that Arbery's killers must be charged. He closes the roundup of evidence by noting that this killing is part of a pattern: "the long and evil history of American lynchings features countless examples of young black men hunted and killed by white gangs who claimed their victims had committed crimes." Facing this injustice head on, Anglican priest Esau McCaulley offers a stirring lament and proclamation of Christian hope, drawing from the testimonies of nineteenth century slaves and abolitionists: Instead of pinning their hopes on corrupt rulers, they articulated a theology of the kingship of God. The Psalms, Israel’s hymnbook, are full of passages that say things like, “My whole being will exclaim, ‘Who is like you, Lord? You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them.’” When kings and rulers would not bring about justice, the disinherited put their hope in God. This is the root of black faith in this country: when faced with the denial of justice we set our hopes on a higher court, a more definitive vindication. For the Christian, this vindication came in the person of Jesus Christ.

Read "A Vigilante Killing in Georgia" over at The Dispatch and "Ahmaud Arbery and the America That Doesn’t Exist" at theTimes.

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