A campus pastor at Liberty University told Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders Monday morning that police shootings are a spiritual problem, not that of racism.
Sanders spoke to a packed house at the Christian university and spoke about the racism problem facing the country today.
“I cannot understand for the life of me how there can be hundreds of groups in this country whose sole reason for existence is to promote hatred, hate groups, and they join us so we can hate African-Americans or gays or Jews or immigrants or anybody that is different from us,” Sanders said. “I can’t understand that, but let us be clear, that when you have unarmed African-Americans shot by police officers, something which has been going on for years, that is also institutional racism and something that cries out for reform.”
The crowd seemed to respond well to Sanders remarks. That was until moderator David Nasser chimed in with his thoughts on the racial issue.
“We couldn’t agree with you more on (criminal justice reform), though,” said Nasser.
“We would say, and I think I speak for many of our students, that it’s not so much a skin issue as much as it is a sin issue,” Nasser continued to a roar of applause from the audience. “That we can change the behavior of police, we could put cameras on them all day long, but behavior modification can only stop so short as identity change. I think we want what you want.”Sanders, however, was unwavering by the ignorant response from Nasser and continued on message urging students to fight for social justice.
“Let me just say this,” Sander said. “The answer is obviously that we have got to change our hearts, but everybody here should know (that) 50, 60, 70 years ago in this country, we had segregated schools and segregated restaurants, and it took a Supreme Court, it took Martin Luther King Jr., it took millions of people to demand public policy which ended segregation.”
One of the biggest problems facing the US today is the fact that conservative Christians believes some of the country’s biggest problems can be solved through prayer and not through action.
When they see a police shooting on the news and see unarmed black man after unarmed black man gunned down, they believe more God is needed, without ever stopping to think that the law of averages would say that both the officer and the victim are Christians.
And until conservatives realize racism is alive and well in this country, nothing will ever change. We can’t fight an injustice that people refuse to accept still exists.
[Image: Bernie Sanders Media Kit]