This first question is for black people only. Have you ever been offended by a white person or a group of whites? Don’t assume all whites are like that. They aren’t, there are a lot of courteous and considerate whites. Don’t stereotype all whites as always being that way. Such behavior is not systemic. There are a lot of whites who see all persons worthy of respect and acceptance.

This second question is for white people only. Have you ever been offended by a black person or a group of blacks? Don’t assume all blacks are like that. They aren’t, there are a lot of courteous and considerate blacks. Don’t stereotype all blacks as always being that way. Such behavior is not systemic. There are a lot of blacks who see all persons worthy of respect and acceptance.

Among blacks and whites there are people who are atypical and do offend the other race. Regardless, that is always wrong and unacceptable.

This third question is for all races. That is right, all. After all, there are a number of races in America and all should be considered.

Have you ever been offended by a policeman? Don’t assume they are all that way. Such behavior is not systemic. There are a lot of police who see all persons worthy of respect and acceptance.

As a sidebar, police don’t always deal with people who respect them and are cooperative. Some are hostile and aggressive, even hyped on drugs. Police must be given license to use force when necessary. Police must always be restrained in the use of force.

In the turmoil of the last few weeks there have been various groups with different motives. There were people who wanted to engage in peaceful protest of a wrongful death. There were professional protesters who wanted to hide their covert nefarious motivation behind those who initially wanted to engage in a peaceful protest. These are they who became the agitators causing the conflict between the protesters and the police.

Then things spun out of control with extreme demands, everything from abolishing police departments to reparations with each black person getting more than $300,000.

Near the Marietta square there is a plaque marking it as one of the spots where Native Americans were herded up and forced on the degrading and debilitating Trail of Tears. Driven from their homes and forced on this deadly trek, they suffered greatly. Alleged to have had a Native American ancestor, I remember as a child hearing we were all going to be given reparations. I wanted my fair share. Not! We should not have been given reparations. After all, we were not the people deprived. Likewise, we the people of which reparations were being demanded were not the ones having done the depriving.

There is one example of how this can be resolved even to the abolition of all police. It happened some years ago in a region of Wales. Crime, violence, and bitterness were the norms. A great spiritual revival swept the community. Such peace and accord resulted that in the community crime and violence subsided to the degree the police department was abolished. There was such harmony there was nothing for them to do.

America is looking to the state to reform our culture. It is an essential element, but if the spiritual component isn’t involved it won’t work. It is an inside job. It must be heartfelt.

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The Rev. Nelson Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta. Visit his website at www.nelsonprice.com.

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