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The Breath of God Was in His Body: A Statement from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities

The Breath of God Was in His Body: A Statement from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities May 27, 2020

Here is a statement (originally published here) from my seminary, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, in response to the death of George Floyd by police brutality:

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The United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities is outraged and grieved at the death of yet another unarmed Black person while being detained by the police. We join countless voices in the Twin Cities and across the nation calling for justice for George Floyd and an immediate end to the horrific killings of Black people in this country. Injustice and death continue to run rampant so long as there is impunity for those who murder Black members of our communities.

While handcuffed and on the ground, with a police officer kneeling on his neck, George Floyd repeatedly said he could not breath, yet was offered no mercy. Our faith traditions affirm that the breath within us is the very presence of God. Genesis 2:7 tells us that Adam became a living person only when God breathed into his nostrils. That same breath of God was in George Floyd’s body. Acts 17:25 tells us, “God gives to all mortals life and breath and all things.” God gave life and breath to George Floyd and a police officer took it away. Everyone has the right to breathe.

We state with deep conviction that Black Lives Matter is a statement that reflects the very heart and foundation of our faith. God cares deeply for every person, no community is expendable, and no level of bias is acceptable in God’s reckoning. Police shootings are a leading cause of death among Black men and boys, dying at a rate more than 2.5 times that of white men, despite being a much smaller segment of the population.[1] This devastation of human lives and communities must end.

We call for an immediate investigation into the circumstances of George Floyd’s death and accountability for those who took his life. We pray for George Floyd’s family, his community, our city, our leaders, and our country as we face yet again the terrible consequences of the sins of racism, violence, and white supremacy. As members of the Twin Cities community, as people who live and work and minister in the neighborhoods of Minneapolis and St. Paul, we grieve with our friends and neighbors. We commit ourselves to seeking justice and ending violence in our city and our nation. This is our calling as a community of faith and as the human family.

[1] Frank Edwards, Hedwig Lee, and Michael Esposito, “Risk of being killed by police use of force in the United States by age, race–ethnicity, and sex,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, August 20, 2019 116 (34) 16793-16798; first published August 5, 2019 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1821204116.


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