Derek Chauvin George Floyd
People cheer after a guilty verdict was announced at the trial of former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin for the 2020 death of George Floyd on Tuesday in Minneapolis, Minn. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Faith Leaders Thank God for Justice & Pray for Reform, Following Derek Chauvin’s Guilty Verdicts

By Julie Roys

Faith leaders today are thanking God for justice and praying for reform, following the three guilty verdicts in the trial of former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd.

Chauvin, a white man, kept Floyd’s neck under his knee for more than 9 minutes, killing the Black man and sparking a national and global reckoning about race and police brutality.

In remarks Tuesday after the verdicts, President Joe Biden expressed his hope that Floyd’s legacy would be about peace rather than violence.

“It’s my hope and prayer that we live up to the legacy,” the president said. “This can be a moment of significant change.”

Pastors and leaders of Christian organizations expressed similar sentiments and hope for positive change. Here’s a sampling:

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Jemar Tisby, author of ‘How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey Toward Racial Justice’

“This verdict will not bring George Floyd back, and we have yet to hear the actual sentencing, but for the moment, at least the blatant disregard for Black life did not get exacerbated by yet another failure of the courts. We have been holding so much in for so long. Now is a moment to feel what we feel. And there’s no ‘right’ emotion in moments like these. We need to make space for people to feel all kinds of ways. For now, though, I hope we as a people can do what George Floyd was not allowed to do — breathe.”

The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

“Today’s decision has demonstrated yet again how far we have to go on our long march toward justice. The wounds of our past continue to bleed into our present reality and the tensions in American life — revealed by this terrible tragedy — have remind(ed) us that there will probably be another George Floyd and another Derek Chauvin.

“The remedy — politically and judicially speaking — is the blind eye of justice guiding our legislators and judges, but the remedy for the soul of America is empathy, understanding and love of one’s neighbor whatever the color of their skin.”

Franklin Graham, CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse

“The verdict is in & Derek Chauvin was found guilty of all charges in the death of #GeorgeFloyd. Our legal system has worked & justice is being served. I hope all of America & our law enforcement will learn from this, & that we’ll become a better nation.

“My prayer is that our country will come together. I hope Christians will set the example & lead the way. Jesus told His disciples, ‘This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you’ (John 15:12). George Floyd’s life mattered—every life matters to God.”

Marshal Ausberry, president, National African American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention

“The death of George Floyd is one more horrific memory added to the historical trauma that African Americans live with every day. While we don’t know Derrick Chauvin’s motivations, his actions resulted in a needless and senseless death. I pray for Derrick Chauvin and his family as they also have to live with the consequences of his actions.

“I pray for George Floyd’s family as they grieve their loss and that God grants them peace. I pray that the justice delivered will help the healing process for them and their community. I hope that the death of George Floyd will bring about police reform throughout the nation. There are many good and dutiful law enforcement personnel – we cannot taint all of them with the actions of Derrick Chauvin. But when law enforcement personnel cross the blue line, they need to be subject to swift justice.”

The Rev. Walter Kim, president, National Association of Evangelicals

“While this verdict cannot bring back the life of George Floyd, we pray that it enables his family and our country to take one step further on the long and hard journey toward true justice and lasting peace.”

The Rev. Barbara Williams-Skinner, co-convener, National African American Clergy Network

“Praise God that former white police (officer) Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all charges for the public execution of a father, and brother, Mr. George Floyd. While I feel great relief, sadly, this verdict means that a Black person must be murdered in public, followed by massive global protests for justice to be done. Sadly, too, the policing system is still on trial and must be radically transformed so that Black lives matter … then indeed, all lives will matter — Latino lives, Asian lives, Indigenous lives and White lives. We continue to pray for every Black and Brown mother whose unarmed son or daughter was killed by police and paid no price for it.”

Russell Moore, president, Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

“Grateful for justice rendered in Minneapolis. Let’s remember today the family of George Floyd. And let’s work together for a new era of racial justice and American hope.”

Bishop T.D. Jakes, author and Dallas megachurch pastor

“While we are delighted by the jury’s verdict, we are mindful that there’s still a lot of work ahead of us. Our criminal justice system remains deeply flawed. Black people disproportionately remain victims of police brutality and are more likely to be pulled over or cited for negligible or phantom traffic violations. Let us not relent in our efforts to press our local, state and federal elected officials for police reform, particularly as it relates to qualified immunity, bias training, de-escalation training and uniform hiring standards.

“My prayer is that this will ignite a safer society where justice is equally allocated to absolutely everyone irrespective of socio-economics, race, religion or gender. Thank you to the many officers who do not stoop to such atrocities and honestly work toward protecting us every day.”

Evangelical Covenant Church

“The fact remains that George Floyd’s life was needlessly taken. George Floyd’s death illuminates a broader issue regarding the frequency with which deadly force is deployed by law enforcement against Black and Brown citizens and neighbors when alternative choices — non-lethal choices — could and should be made. This is not an indictment of all police officers. We know many serve with dignity, equity and selflessness, and we applaud them and commend their service. However, when an officer demonstrates disregard for human life, as was the case with Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd, law enforcement must be held accountable. We implore officers who serve with integrity and protect our communities to willingly lend their support and voice to hold other officers accountable whenever they abuse their power.”

Greg Sterling, dean, Yale Divinity School

“We have all waited with palpable anxiety for the jury verdict in the case of Derek Chauvin. We have feared there would be a repeat of what has taken place far too many times, when white police officers have been acquitted of crimes against African American members of our communities.

“Today, justice was served. Today, justice stands tall. We know there is still a great deal of work to do, however, before justice prevails across our country. May we each commit ourselves to liberation and justice for ALL.”

Bishop LaTrelle Easterling, Baltimore-Washington Conference, United Methodist Church

“Although the justice system has worked, there is still a family in pain over the unnecessary loss of their loved one. This is not a moment for celebration; it’s a time for reflection for all those involved in the death of George Floyd and all that unfolded in those nine minutes and 29 seconds last May, which prompted the largest movement for human rights in our nation’s history. It is a time for reflection on why justice is still elusive for far too many.

“The verdicts provide greater assurance for all Americans that life, regardless of ethnicity, is sacred, equal, and worthy. It bolsters the truth that each child of God inherently possesses rights that must be respected by everyone, including by those sworn to serve and protect our communities.”

The Rev. Bernice King, CEO of Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change

“Oh, that George Floyd were still alive.
But I’m thankful for accountability.
The work continues.
Justice is a continuum.
And America must bend with the moral arc of the universe, which bends toward justice.”

Religion News Service contributed to this report.

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32 thoughts on “Faith Leaders Thank God for Justice & Pray for Reform, Following Derek Chauvin’s Guilty Verdicts”

  1. I cannot say if justice was done. But whatever it was, I think this principle had more to do with the decision, “But one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.’” John 11:49-50

    1. John, did you watch the over 9 minutes video? Pilate tried Jesus and found him innocent. Chauvin was intentional about his action to take out life of a man already helpless. He is only the first to pay for his sins while so many before him got away with it. God is now out to judge the action of unrepentant men who disfigure His image with wanton impunity.

      1. Not comparing Chauvin to Jesus. The jury was following the same line of thought as Caiaphas. How could the threat of riots and personal harm they may receive, not have played into their decision? Is that fair? I think if a guillotine was around, millions would cheer on seeing Chauvin executed. No one is thinking clearly. Just as these responses point out. The mob wanted him punished and the mob won. Unfortunately, just as in the French Revolution the mob is never satisfied.

        1. John, your fact-free comparisons to the French Revolution just make you look ridiculous. This was a trial conducted with great decorum, presided over by a judge and decided by a jury. There were no guillotines.

          The fact that you don’t like the jury’s decision doesn’t mean that it was wrong, and doesn’t make your fear-mongering valid or even credible.

  2. Dr. Peter J Oehler

    I don’t know what planet these people are from but Marshal Ausberry is the only one even close to reality when he said ” While we don’t know Derrick Chauvin’s motivations,” which is why the Second Degree Murder charge was NOT applicable. It requires Motive. Only the Second Degree Manslaughter charge was even remotely applicable. The fact that the jury ONLY took 10 hours (probably 1 or more for meal break) is evidence that they really didn’t examine ALL the evidence or evaluate and apply it to the criteria for the top 2 charges.
    What happened to Floyd was sad and unnecessary but it is blatantly obvious these commentators are grossly misinformed about much of what they are saying. All they seem to be doing is “virtue signalling” to avoid being canceled by the “Woke” mob who live in a dream world of Godless Humanism.

    1. Dr Peter, you’re making a LOT of assumptions about the jury here. Interesting that you agree we don’t know Chauvin’s motive, but then rant so confidently about how you know the jury’s motive (to virtue signal, not to examine….).
      Please tell us how you know the latter so well.
      Sounds like you disagree. That’s fine. But don’t make assumptions.

    2. Why don’t you actually look up the relevant MN criminal statues Chauvin was convicted on first and then get a clue?

    3. DR. PETER J OEHLER, for clarification, the second degree murder statute does not require a motive, only a mental state. In fact, motive is really not required to prove any crime.

      That is why I somewhat disagree with hate crime statues because they blur the line between motive and mental state, and in the case of Chauvin, the prosecution did not argue that race had anything to do with George Floyd’s killing. They did not need to prove that, and trying to prove it would have been nearly impossible.

      Did Chauvin kill Floyd BECAUSE he was black or think that he could get away with it BECAUSE he was black? Only the Lord and Chauvin really know the answer to that.

    4. I have served on juries in the past and we took more time deliberating far lesser crimes. I do not believe justice was served at all. If people do their due diligence in finding out ALL the facts of this sad story they would know that Mr. Floyd would have in all probability died later that day even if he had not been arrested due to the amount of illegal drugs in his system. He was not a nice person trying to improve his life. He was a criminal – pointed a loaded gun at a pregnant woman’s abdomen!!- and was on illegal drugs! Those were choices he made for his life. It is sad when any one dies but you have to realize that the choices people make can hasten their death. If you look at the totality of videos available you see that he resisted arrest. The police were following the protocols they had been taught. I cannot believe that the police involved woke up that morning with the thought of wanting to murder a citizen. It sickens me how people have jumped on the bandwagon of virtue signaling. This entire situation is being used for a Marxist takeover of America. Wake up people. We are losing, if we haven’t already lost, our nation. The anarchists are running the show. They are not happy with the verdict and they will never be satisfied till the USA is turned into the USSA or worse. It is beyond concerning to me that too many Christians show little to no discernment in these matters. Christians are not called to be social justice warriors. We are called to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The one and only cure for this world’s ills is for individuals to be born again by repenting of personal sin and accepting Christ as Savior. Everyone will stand before God, the Supreme Judge of the universe, to give an accounting of how they lived their life and if they put their faith and trust in Jesus.

      1. Susanne,

        For starters, you and all the other Chauvin defenders are _ASS_uming Floyd would have died later that day.
        By your logic, perhaps you will argue that we should not prosecute the drunk driver who kills your mother in a vehicle hit and run, because she would have likely died of a heart attack later that day.

        Second, we don’t know how much longer Floyd would have lived, so you are throwing out speculation here to defend the indefensible. Hey it’s OK. Maybe we should let all murderers out of jail, since the people they killed would have died anyway from _something_ else.

      2. Susanne –
        Chauvin’s own police colleagues and former chief testified that he did NOT follow protocols. So you are just hearing what you want to hear to make it ok that Chauvin killed Floyd.
        Murder is not ok “if the person would’ve died later anyway.” Isn’t that the reason we as Christians oppose assisted suicide…that we are NOT the ones to decide anyone’s fate under the guise of “they are dying anyway”? What’s different now?
        Murder is not ok because of a person’s criminal past. We have a court system for that. We have a God who cherishes, loves and values us in spite of our sins. (And based on the “he was a criminal so it’s ok he was killed!” cheers from CHRISTIANS, I am grateful to serve a God who is more merciful than we EVER could be.
        To make it ok for cops to serve as judge, jury and executioner is moving towards the very culture you claim to be concerned about.
        This was one of the most airtight prosecutions regarding police misconduct EVER. Several lawyers have said this. Again, kudos to the young girl who caught it on tape. Otherwise, add Susanne to those who would’ve been cheering.

  3. 200 lbs of pressure on a man’s neck…along with “I can’t breathe” being repeated well over a dozen times…
    is enough “motivation” for a murder charge Dr. Peter…and I’m from planet earth.

  4. All statements except Franklin Graham’s were flawed and filled with incorrect remarks. Only 17 men of color were killed by police last year. More white men were killed. Left to himself Mr Floyd would have been dead before the day was over.
    I’m waiting for all these religious organizations to condemn the black on black murders which happen with regularity such as the 7 year old killed last weekend.
    What are their organizations doing to combat that violence? Stop with the Social Justice preening.

    1. Denise –
      When are you going to condemn how 84% of white people murdered last year were murdered by other whites? Does that statistic mean we should stop caring when a white person (adult or child) is killed? Should we look the other way about the opiod crisis, which is overwhelmingly hurting white communities, because of “white on white murders”? How is your religious community condemning these white on white murders, which happen DAILY? What is it doing to combat that violence? Should we not intervene if “someone will be dead anyway before the day is over”? Imagine if the Good Samaritan kept walking because of having that attitude.

      STOP with the cold-hearted condescension. STOP justifying bad police behavior, for cops are not above the law – they are to UPHOLD it. STOP with the “why care, he would’ve died anyway” attitude. TRY having just a LITTLE compassion for the lives tragically affected by all of this. Black lives DO matter as much as yours, even if they aren’t as perfect. Christ died for ALL of us.
      I cannot believe I have to say that on a CHRISTIAN blog. This is what’s considered Christlike now?
      Lord, help us.

    2. “Left to himself Mr Floyd would have been dead before the day was over.”

      This was not the testimony of doctors and pathologists connected to the case, Denise. Do you know something they don’t?

      Otherwise, your statement here is bearing a false witness. You might want to consult the Bible to see what it says about that.

  5. Would someone share with me one single piece of evidence that suggests this was racially motivated? Just one. Additionally, let’s stop making George Floyd out to be a saint. Where is the justice for the victims of his earlier crimes. He was a man in and out of prison, high on drugs and trying to pass a counterfeit $20. This tragedy has been used as a political football.

    1. Agreed. There is no evidence this was about race. None. No hate crime add-ons were put in play or charged. In fact, the full video of the whole incident reveals quite a bit of respect and patience shown to George Floyd.

      There is always a place for “reform” because humans are flawed, but to use this case of some sort of example of systemic racism is merely using a tragedy for political purposes. If people want to make the case for better training, fine. If this officer needs to be punished, even put away for reckless disregard for life, fine. It fits the situation. Nothing being said by the “faith leaders” that goes beyond these things fits this one incident at all.

      Keith Ellison’s speech after the verdict demonstrates plainly that adding the racial component is a tool for progressive politics.

      1. “In fact, the full video of the whole incident reveals quite a bit of respect and patience shown to George Floyd.”

        In fact, the full video of the whole incident reveals George Floyd being MURDERED.

        What in the name of heaven is WRONG with you, Wayne?

    2. George Floyd is not a saint, he is a SYMBOL. HUGE difference. He’s a symbol of cops using excessive force, yet always getting away with it because attitudes like the ones I read here (and in other places) make it ok.
      George Floyd is proof that if this incident weren’t on camera, the Douglases and Denises of this world would’ve justified bad police behavior and been ok with yet another black man dead in police custody.
      The REAL hero is the teen girl who turned on her phone and kept recording. Because if not for her, we know what Douglas and Denise would’ve thought.
      Last I checked, addiction, past prison records, and counterfeit bills do NOT mean the cops have a right to kill. I thought we had courts for that.
      Speaking for ME – a black woman who was raised in a white affluent area – I have always been baffled by difference in treatment. I’ve seen white classmates of mine get drunk, throw glasses in clubs and act beligerent with security get the “go home! sleep it off!” warning from cops. I’ve seen those SAME cops haul a drunk black man off in cuffs and charge him with public intoxication. Why wasn’t he told to “go home! sleep it off!” WHY is it SO TERRIBLE to want equal treatment by the people OUR TAXPAYER DOLLARS PAY to protect us?

      By the way, as someone who used to work in cash management and investigations at a bank, I can tell you that most people with counterfeit bills don’t know it. Not that it justifies killing someone.

      1. Thanks for sharing your story, MH. I’m one of many Christians who was deeply challenged by the death of George Floyd to examine my own biases and to seek to “weep with those who weep” over a lifetime of being treated as lesser. I’m also seeking to understand what my own role might be in defending the downtrodden as my Savior did, and he’s faithfully providing me with opportunities. I appreciate you!

    3. You seem to want to put the victim on trial instead of the perpetrator, Douglas. Fortunately, that’s not how the court system works.

  6. If anyone wants a biblical perspective on the garbage that is Critical Race Theory, I highly recommend checking out the “Just Thinking” podcast by Darrell Harrison and Virgil Walker. These men speak the truth as opposed to the worldly trash coming from Jemar Tisby and some of these other “faith leaders.”

  7. We don’t need our ears tickled by virtue signaling to the woke mob by christian celebrities jumping on the bandwagon of opinion.

    Jesus is all we need, in every situation.

  8. I was deeply moved by hearing the Floyd family credit prayer for the verdict, telling the story of how they had prayed for justice, how they needed justice, how they had called on Jesus for it, and even in the midst of it how they had prayed for his murderer Derek Chauvin as well.

    Their prayers–and mine–were answered.

    Many of the comments in this thread are reprehensible, and have nothing to do with the example of Christ.

  9. Meanwhile nothing will be done about drug addiction in our country. Nothing. The pain and suffering from drug addiction will continue because the war on drugs is doing nothing to help those that need it. No one cares really. It is all political theater. Sad for humanity.

  10. “Chauvin, a white man, kept Floyd’s neck under his knee for more than 9 minutes, killing the Black man and sparking a national and global reckoning about race and police brutality.” Julie, did you watch much if any of the trial? Your statement on being on GF neck for 9 minutes is factually incorrect.

  11. Justice will be served when the rioters, the revilers behind the scenes, and all those involved in destroying innocent victims’ businesses, families, and personal lives in the name of an evil movement that is clearly the epitome of lawlessness.

    We praise the verdict of this court case, yet ignore the injustice of killing, violence, and injustice/unfairness of the innocent victims of the evil rioters, government officials who do the bidding of satan, and the useful idiots who lack discernment, especially those who call themselves the church.

    May Jesus protect the innocent victims.

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