I have read long and hard on the history of policing in the United States. I readily admit that I am no expert.

We rightfully pray for George Floyd in our hearts and minds. We pray for and insist on change in his name and in the name of too many others.

But then there is Derek Chauvin. He is the harder issue to address. I found his actions to be abhorrent. I struggle to even pity him. There is simply no excuse for what he did. Ever. So how do I find a way to pray for him as I will for George Floyd?

There were a number of people involved in George Floyd's death, Chauvin's actions being the most direct. We can debate the societal role in this, we can scrutinize the systemic causes and what they led to — my reading on society's role in this could become a lifelong pursuit in and of itself: starting at the end of slavery (and truly, before), to the 1960s civil rights advances where responses included tanks being sent into Chicago's Black communities, to the overall view that for every advance made by Blacks, there is a heavy push back — it goes on forever, and it is exhausting. I don't say outright that Derek Chauvin is a victim of society's ills (but I do say that George Floyd's death is such an example), though I do feel that an argument can be made as a mitigating factor. What society asks of our police is outlandish, at best.

I am trying my best to hear all sides if only to find a way forward for myself. I have yet to arrive, but I continue to walk forward. As a Quaker lobbyist working on behalf of Quaker tenets, I heard more than I really wanted to hear about how the police felt besieged (their training and their union play a large role in this). When I finally decided that what I was hearing was meant for me to listen to, I began to suggest ways for all participants to come together — that it was in the interests of all involved that we work together and that such work would benefit all. It fell on deaf ears, but I will try again another day.

So I ask — do we pray for Derek Chauvin as well? I believe that the answer is yes, knowing in fact how hard this is. It tears at me, but I must find a way forward. Pick any great teacher — Jesus, Muhammad, Confucius, Buddha, or any other great teacher that leads you to understand. They all say the same thing: it is to the least of us — amongst them the most reviled — that we must tend to. The best way to overcome evil is not to destroy it, but to change it to good. So I will pray for Derek Chauvin. I must.

(24) comments

public-redux

Dear FNP,

The deleted comment was not the slightest bit offensive. It was nothing more than a commenter asserting that his deity was the right one. Heck, the “On Faith” series is pretty much the same thing. Try to adhere to your published guidelines.

Respectfully,

Your adoring public

Awteam2021

Derek Chauvin will have plenty of years to pray for himself, IN JAIL. Floyd won’t have that chance. Derek’s malice is his pain to bear.

public-redux

A couple of thoughts. First, you might endeavor to ascertain whether or not Chauvin would welcome being prayed for. “Do not do unto others as they do not wish to be done unto” is wonderful moral guidance.

Second, if you are indifferent to the wishes of others, go ahead and pray for Chauvin. It will likely cause no harm and might do you some good. Christians pray for Satan after all. How can they not?

veritas

Public, you are a veritable paragon of "wonderful moral guidance," for which the amoral and immoral amongst us are grateful.

public-redux

Not grateful enough, I’d say.

PurplePickles aka L&M

@public-redux

Do you think Christians know they are praying for Satan?

public-redux

I sure hope so. Although I suppose it might depend upon which of the Christian religions they favor. I was in one of the confessional/creedal varieties and we knew that praying for Satan was a Christian duty.

PurplePickles aka L&M

So do you think that praying for Satan made Christians feel better? Like praying for Chauvin would make a Christian feel better?

public-redux

The one documented benefit of prayer is that it makes the person praying feel better about themself. IIRC, however, all of those studies involved praying for an actual person. With respect to praying for Satan, I can speak only for myself. It gave me a sensation of ... oneupsmanship. I felt like I was undermining Satan and there was nothing he could do about it. So, yeah, it felt good.

threecents

I think we should pray for him whether he wants us to or not. One thing I prayed for him was that he be found guilty.

jsklinelga

Ms. Lerner,

My original comment got cut in the middle due to my computer. So the message was mixed at best. But I have a solution for your pray quandary. This afternoon drive to the inner city. Park your car and start walking by yourself. See if you start praying to see a police officer. Or start praying for the thousands that live in that area. The you might truly feel the compassion to pray for the officer and the victim.

Awteam2021

Are the thousands that live in that area also praying? Might that be a church in the inner city?

JSK, let me share an exercise I had with an officer that I called for help. Since forever, I’ve gone to what you might call the ‘inner city’ typically in the afternoon, sometimes in the evening to attend Oriole and Raven games. I park on the street where ever I can find a free parking space. The only prayer I say, “I hope my team wins”.

I once parked on a empty warehouse lot against my wife’s wishes. We came back to find, someone broke into my car by smashing the driver’s window. They stole my cooler of beer and my wallet, and my daughter’s cinderella blanket was laying in the street. That was awful. I was already commiserating over the lost to the Steelers, and now the police were no help. They even made matters worse, I got a lecture about parking on the empty lots, private property, then saying I couldn’t drive my car home because I didn’t have my drivers license and my car would need to be towed of the property. Fortunately a neighbor in the community offered to allow me to park the car at his gas station to avoid being towed and my wife and I could stay there until my Brother could pick use up. The cop seemed annoyed 😠. After the cop left, I drove home.

jsklinelga

(Whoops, accidentally cut off) To continue It is obvious you are confused by prayer.: "address a solemn request or expression of thanks to a deity or other object of worship." You have no one deity so it is understandable.

As far a Mr. Chauvin. Yes you should feel compassion for him. If it needs to be explained why then it really is not felt. That is why I often pray for my friends similar to yourself.

public-redux

Such disrespect toward a person of faith. For shame.

Greg F

Pray? No. To fart in his general direction would be more appropriate.

public-redux

His father smelt of elderberries?

Greg F

👍

jsklinelga

Ms. Lerner,

I have many friends like yourself. Smart, intellectual, compassionate people. Folks that believe in their own formulated sense and understanding of righteousness thus dismissing the existence of one God..

Greg F

Gawd...a fallacy for the weak minded.

bosco

threecents, that's an interesting approach. The one thing I've learned over the years is that political and religious zealots are cut from the same cloth - they are right and you are wrong and they are here to save you.

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phydeaux994

There’s only one Greg F, the real one. The other 6,999,999 are man-made imposters.

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bosco

Nope, all 7 million are man-made. Have you not studied the history of religions, Fido, or are you just content to believe whatever that TV preacher tells you?

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public-redux

I'm open to persuasion about any and all of them. Something as simple as "hello" would be a start.

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threecents

[thumbup]PR, I always wondered that as a kid, when I struggled to try to believe in a god. Why would a god insist on faith, rather than just showing himself to everyone in some form that nobody could deny? I could never get past that, so I went with the Reform Judaism theory that the concept of God might be too complicated for us to understand - and he works in mysterious ways.

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