Baton Rouge / Newsroom

Paynter: Honor, moral imagination are antidotes to the poison of murder


July 17, 2016

By CBF Communications

DECATUR, Ga. — Following Sunday’s shooting in Baton Rouge, where three police officers were killed and three others injured, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter has released the following statement:

“The despicable and intentional acts of murder in Baton Rouge are intended to inflame. In response, we, like Lincoln, call to empower our ‘better angels’ and act with strength, volume and solidarity for justice and peace.

Our collective response is vigils, candles, flowers and prayers — all compassionate expressions. And there is strength in compassion, great strength. But lament is not the ideological or compelling moral alternative to violence.

If murder is poison, we need an antidote. The chaos, violence and the unholy permission of certain ideologies toward wanton destruction and brutality need undoing. That undoing is calling all our names to act with honor.

We have a powerful moral imagination born of the great Creator God who sees the value of each human life and the hope of building beloved community through mutual sacrifice and love of neighbor. As black, white, blue and brown Americans, we have a moral imagination for justice. Our nation was born of a commitment to human rights and civil institutions that enable people to participate in making true justice and honoring life together.

Whether Dylann Roof in Charleston, the assault on Baton Rouge Police Department, the police sniper in Dallas, the criminals responsible for the tragedies at Pulse in Orlando and in Nice, France — all these men took upon themselves the power to destroy human life with no quarter. These howling voices do not have the last word though. Our time requires the strength and volume of a 21st century moral imagination born of faith and expressed in civil society.”


CBF is a Christian Network that helps people put their faith to practice through ministry eff­orts, global missions and a broad community of support.The Fellowship’s mission is to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission.

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