The Marshall Project

Police Brutality Drove a Wedge Between Me and My Church

“I still believe that the congregation has some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Unfortunately, there were limits to that warmth that I could not abide.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. once famously said that 11 a.m. on Sunday morning is one of the most segregated hours in American life. Despite that sad historical truth, studies have shown movement, albeit slow, toward the integration of congregations. That progress is in danger of being reversed, however, with black worshippers leaving their mostly white churches in droves in recent years. We’re being pushed out by a failure of our churches to apply their professed values to racial injustice and, as I experienced, to the issue of police brutality.

I joined my church in 2005 when I was just 17 years

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