Trayvon Martin Case: A Biblical Perspective

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

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Sometimes, not always, this Blog focuses on a current event that is on the minds of many. Early on I recognized that the Trayvon Martin Case was such an event. My initial reaction was that I wanted to write on something else. I did not want to deal with this issue. But I realized that we must look upon issues like this from a biblical point of view.

Part of the story is clear: George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin.  His argument from beginning to end was that he used his pistol in self-defense. Many in our country saw this as a white (Hispanic) man killing because he hated blacks. At the end of the case, the lead attorney for the prosecution, Angela B. Corey said: “This case has never been about race… [or] about the right to bear arms,…We believe that this case all along was about boundaries and that George Zimmerman exceeded those boundaries.” (L.A. Times, 7-14-2013)

It is apparent that the jury was convinced that George Zimmerman acted in self-defense. If they were right in their judgment, then Zimmerman was not guilty of the accusations brought by the prosecution. This is not to say that Zimmerman acted wisely or that he did not have other alternatives. However, it appears that he was attacked and that, in desperation, whether out of necessity—we do not know—he used his pistol to defend himself.

Respected legal authorities, including Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, have said, “This case should never have been brought.” He did not mean that Zimmerman was either right or noble. What he did mean was that there was not enough evidence to put him in prison for the better part of his life.

Unfortunately, a substantial group in our population, both black and white have reacted irrationally. They believe that an unseen and unproven underground river of prejudice and hatred against blacks exists in this country. This is not to say that we are free of all prejudices in the United States of America. To the degree that prejudices exist, they are misguided and even silly. But the idea that there is a substantial reservoir of malice toward blacks is simply wrong.

You may or may not agree with me. In either case I hope that I have helped you to think more clearly. Let us affirm some biblical principles:

1. There is no justification for racial prejudice. We are all created in the image of God: Genesis 1:27, So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

2. Taking the law in our own hands is wrong and undermining to civil government. Romans 12:19, Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

3. Hatred is evil. I John 2:9, He who says he is in the light and hates his brother is in the darkness still. Hatred leads to evil deeds, and is destructive to the person who entertains hate. We are warned by scriptures, and by our own frailties, against taking judgment into our own hands—the outcome is to render evil for evil. We are taught by our Savior that we do not overcome evil with evil, we overcome evil with good!

Foster H. Shannon
Please contact Foster directly with any questions or comments at the following address:

Thank you.

More about Foster…

Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note

Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth.
He is currently Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA. He is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. He is the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, which he established with others in 1981. Green Leaf Press, Inc. publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences. The website is: www.gogreenleaf.com. He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.

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A COURAGEOUS QUEEN

Queen Esther
by Dr. Foster H. Shannon
The book of Esther in the Old Testament tells us of the situation of the Jews in Persia. At that time Persia was the greatest empire in the world, stretching from India in the east to the Mediterranean in the west. Xerxes I (Ahasuerus in the biblical text) was king with absolute power and great wealth. Queen Vashti was deposed, and search was made for a new queen. Esther, a beautiful young Jewess was taken into the king’s harem, and in due course chosen by him to be the new Queen of Persia. She had been left an orphan, and had been adopted by Mordecai, her cousin, an official in the Persian government.
Anti-semitism has been an evil plague throughout history, manifesting itself in many attempts to persecute and destroy the Jews. Our first knowledge of governmental persecution of the Jews is told in the book of Esther. Haman, a Persian nobleman, had a rapid rise to power to become second only to the king. He hated Mordecai, and through him hated the tens of thousands of Jews in the Persian Empire. By deceptive means, he received authority from the king to destroy all of the Jews in the Empire. This placed Esther and Mordecai in grave danger, along with all of the other Jews. No one was to enter the throne room of the king without invitation. Those who came uninvited did so at the risk of their lives. Esther knew the rules, nonetheless, was told by Mordecai to reveal to the king that she was a Jew, and of the evil consequences that would befall her and all of the Jews. She had risen to a preeminent position in the world. She was now asked to risk all that she had achieved and her very life in order to save her people. Mordecai set the issue clearly before her: “For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:12,13) She undertook three days of fasting (seeking the Lord) to make her decision. She entered the palace, her presence was known to the king, he stretched out his scepter toward her indicating forgiveness for her serious breech of protocol. She invited Ahasuerus and Haman to a banquet that she would prepare, and then to a second banquet in which she accused Haman for his deception and wickedness. The result was the execution of Haman and his family and protection for the Jews.
Some things come upon us unwelcome and unexpected. The entire matter rested on one woman’s decision, which she made at the risk of her life. We need to recognize that there will be times in our lives that will challenge us. They are of such a nature that we regret having to deal with them. At such times we must do what we believe to be right. We must pray—we must think—we must refuse to go against what our conscience tells us. We must do what is right, even when it appears not to be in our interest. These principles are deeply embedded in the example and teaching of our Savior.

Foster H. Shannon
Please contact Foster directly with any questions or comments at the following address:

Thank you.

More about Foster…

Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note

Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth.
He is currently Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA. He is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. He is the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, which he established with others in 1981. Green Leaf Press, Inc. publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences. The website is: www.gogreenleaf.com. He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.

‘LIKE’ our FACEBOOK PAGE!