By Sydney Melson
The Birmingham Times
The Rev. Thomas Beavers, New Rising Star Church in Birmingham’s Brown Springs neighborhood, who has been pastor there for a decade, talks about Dr. Martin Luther King’s teachings of love and peace.
“There’s nothing more powerful than the force of love,” Beavers said. “Whenever you attempt to fight hatred with hate, then there’s always retaliation. [King’s] message of peace was really important in helping us get to where we are.
“A lot of times when you are an oppressed people and protest peacefully, the oppressor will view those peaceful actions as retaliation, even when they’re not. Peaceful protest is very important to prevent our ultimate goal [of equality] from getting lost in foolish behavior.
“The fight against injustice may feel hopeless, but no one should ever give up. It would be foolish to say we [as a country] have not made any progress; it’s just been slow. It’s very disheartening 50 years forward to see that we’re still marching for the same things. We shouldn’t have to fight [police] corruption and [COVID-19] at the same time, but yet it seems like we have to.
“We’ve got to keep fighting because, at the end of the day, it’s not about us, it’s about our kids. The people who marched before us made a better way of life for us. They never got to experience the better way of life because they were gone before it got better.”
Beavers urged those angered by the recent pro-Trump riots to use what happened for good.
“The Bible never says don’t be angry; [it] says ‘be angry and sin not,’” he said. “I will turn this anger to prayer. We can be productive with our anger.”
Beavers cited political strategist Stacey Abrams as an example. The once Georgia gubernatorial candidate who lost her race for the state’s highest governing position now fights against voter suppression and was key in electing two Democrats to flip the U.S. Senate balance in favor of the Democratic Party.
“It’s the power we have as African American people to channel that anger to make systemic change,” Beavers said.
Click one of the links below to read what other pastors had to say.