It is no secret that for many years there has been, to varying degrees, suspicion and even antagonism between law enforcement officials and minority communities in our country. Over the past year we’ve seen these tensions reach tipping points in Ferguson, in New York, and most recently, in Baltimore.
In response, members of the clergy here in metro Phoenix have organized prayer rallies calling for racial justice and reconciliation through Faith & Justice PHX. At Flourish Phoenix, we’ve published multiple pieces by thoughtful leaders who are grappling with the implications of racial injustices, and we’re committed to publishing additional perspectives on the issue (we’re waiting to hear from you!).
In the meantime, we want you to know about the first annual Law Enforcement Prayer Breakfast coming up on May 20. Pastor José González, who leads a local network of Latino pastors, is organizing this event, with proceeds going to the 100 Club of Arizona. Gov. Doug Ducey is scheduled to speak, along with Attorney General Mark Brnovich and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.
We spoke with Pastor González about his hopes for the event and his views on the need for reconciliation in our community.
FP: In addition to your work as a hospice chaplain, you lead Arizona Christian Link. Could you briefly tell us what that is?
JG: Arizona Christian Link is an organization that is helping to connect Latino churches with Anglo churches and African American churches, but also with government agencies and other institutions in our community.
FP: In light of the recent tensions between police officers and minority communities, how do you see this event as a step towards reconciliation in our own city?
JG: I believe there is a tendency to show the bad side of law enforcement officers. When we see one bad cop, it makes us believe that all cops are the same. What we want to do [through this event] is to show that there are many good and responsible people in law enforcement. We want to honor them. Many times they risk their lives, so we want to let officers know there are churches praying for them. We care about their families, and we want to pray with and for them.
FP: Many of our readers, though not all, would consider themselves people of faith. How would you recommend praying for law enforcement officers and other public officials?
JG: People in government and law enforcement need so much prayer. Police go in to places that are very dangerous in order to protect us. I even believe that in some cases they’re in spiritual battle. There are forces of evil trying to take over communities, but these police officers are working to protect families and communities. I pray for these officers and for their families. I also pray for other government workers, because they need wisdom too. Not a lot of people understand them or show concern for them. If we pray for wisdom and protection for public servants I believe we will have better police and government. They need our prayers.
The first annual Law Enforcement Prayer Breakfast will be held on Wednesday, May 20 from 8am to 9:15am at North Phoenix Baptist Church. To learn more and to register, please contact Pastor José González at email@example.com.
Header photo: Flickr/Al_HikesAZ