December 12, 2014

Letters to the Editor

Submit a letter to the editor electronically | For our letter writing policy, click here

Sisters’ letter was thoughtful, but misleading, reader says

The “Be Our Guest” written by the Sisters of Providence in the Dec. 5 issue of The Criterion was a thoughtful, but misleading, response to the events in Ferguson, Mo.

I applaud the sisters for their efforts to “transform the congregation into an open, inclusive and anti-racist congregation.”

They had many meaningful suggestions to promote more dialogue to further educate ourselves on these issues. More communications will surely improve relations between the parties involved.

I especially support “ongoing dialogue regarding the statistics mentioned,” as the letter concluded. Those statistics consisted of: 1) 34 percent of the persons in prisons and jails are African-American; and 2) Of the state’s population, African-Americans make up only 9 percent.

Citing these statistics, the Sisters of Providence’s Anti-Racism Team concluded we live “in a culture of gun violence, ongoing racial profiling and increasing militarization of law enforcement, as well as a criminal justice system rampant with human rights violations.” These conclusions may all be true, but are they the “cause” of those statistics, or the “result” of them? Other than “rampant rights violations,” which needs further proof, these sad statistics are very likely the result of the state of affairs as they exist today.

We all know what happened in Ferguson, but we do not know why it happened. The grand jury had so much more evidence than we did.

How could the Sisters’ Anti-Racism Team make any firm conclusions? How could they “come to the conclusion that the decision may not have been the correct course of action”? This implies that the correct course of action to this—and the solution to those statistics—is to blame police officers for heavy handedness, regardless of the facts.

I agree that ongoing dialogue regarding the statistics should be encouraged. But the dialogue should include an honest discussion of why these numbers are so high and disproportionate, and what really causes them.

What is causing the high rate of violence, of abortions, of single-parent families in the African-American communities? Could they be caused by not having jobs, a lack of morality, or losing their reverence for God? Or what?

More dialogue would help. But so would prayer, lots of prayer.

- John Hanagan | Indianapolis

Local site Links:

Like this story? Then share it!