Race, Law, and the Gospel
National Townhall Meeting
June 18, 2020
Our nation is in social turmoil, the likes of which we haven't seen in half a century. While trying to ride out a global pandemic, we are also witnessing crowds all over the country reacting in anger to egregious cases of police misconduct.
In response to killing of George Floyd, CLS issued the following statement:
We are sorrowful over the killing of George Floyd. Christian Legal Society believes in the sacred value of his life and all human life. We pray for justice, and we confess that something needs to change. We are committed to be part of that change, as much as we can, through our members and our ministries. We call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for mercy, help, and healing for Minneapolis and the United States of America.
In light of that statement, and the command of Micah 6:8 to Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly with Our God, which instructs the CLS motto, Seeking Justice with the Love of God, we held a national townhall meeting on June 18. Our speaker information is below, but we invite you to view the recording of our live national discussion on "Race, Law, and the Gospel." Four attorneys from different backgrounds shared their thoughts on critical issues involving race relations, legal injustice, and the criminal justice system, as well as their biblical perspectives on these issues.
Townhall Meeting Recording
Below are some recommended books and articles on the issues of race, faith, and justice in America. This is by no means a comprehensive list of good resources, but just a few suggestions as a starting point for further engagement on these topics.
Compassion (&) Conviction: The AND Campaign's Guide to Faithful Civic Engagement (by Justin Giboney)
The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race (by Willie Jennings)
Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just (by Timothy Keller)
Outrageous Justice: Awakening Christians To The Need For Justice That Restores (by Prison Fellowship)
Other lists of recommended books and articles
Racism articles (from Christianity Today)
Books on the White-Black Racial Divide (from The Gospel Coalition)
Children’s books on Race and the Gospel (from The Gospel Coalition)
Books on Race (from Hearts & Minds Bookstore 2018)
Books on Racial Justice by people of color (from Hearts & Minds Bookstore 2020)
The Anti-Racist Curriculum White Evangelicals Need (from InterVarsity Press)
Resources for Faithful Justice (from InterVarsity Press)
Townhall Meeting Presenters
John Churchville, Program Director and Professor of Criminal Justice, Lancaster Bible College
Previously a public defender in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Professor Churchville received a B.A. in American History from Brown University and his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law. Professor Churchville has taught Law, Government and Political Science over the last decade, and currently specializes in Criminal Justice and Constitutional Law.
Justin Giboney, Founder & President, AND Campaign
Justin Giboney is an attorney and political strategist in Atlanta, Georgia. He has managed successful campaigns for elected officials in the state, as well as referendums relating to the city’s transportation and water infrastructure. In 2012 and 2016, Georgia’s 5th congressional district elected him as a delegate for the Democratic National Convention, and he served as the co-chair of Obama for America’s Gen44-Atlanta initiative. A former Vanderbilt University football player and law student, he served on the Urban League of Greater Atlanta Board of Directors. Mr. Giboney is author of the forthcoming book Compassion (&) Conviction: The AND Campaign's Guide to Faithful Civic Engagement (IVP).
Al Johnson, Executive Director, New Covenant Legal Services
Al Johnson is currently the executive director of New Covenant Legal Services (“NCLS”), a faith-based ministry that provides legal services to individuals who are on fixed or low incomes. He has been with NCLS since 2016, when he concluded a 35-year career as a litigation attorney. After an eight-year stint as an assistant prosecuting attorney in St. Louis County, Mr. Johnson entered private practice in 1990, specializing in general civil litigation including commercial, personal injury, civil rights, police misconduct, and white-collar criminal cases. After over 70 jury trials, he reevaluated his career in 2013 and decided that the greatest satisfaction he achieved professionally was when he was able to help people who had experienced major injustices but could not afford legal counsel. That same year, with the encouragement of his pastor and several friends, Mr. Johnson founded NCLS, serving as its executive director on a part-time basis until 2016 when he went full-time. NCLS handles cases for individuals who are victims of various forms of civil injustice, including consumer fraud, landlord/tenant cases, civil rights violations, and expungements and other ex-offender services.
Heather Rice-Minus, Vice President of Government Affairs and Church Mobilization, Prison Fellowship
At Prison Fellowship, the nation's largest Christian nonprofit serving prisoners, former prisoners, and their families, Heather Rice-Minus directs a team of grassroots and federal policy staff to advance campaigns on criminal justice issues and promote restorative justice solutions. Ms. Rice-Minus has contributed to stories about criminal justice reform in outlets including Christianity Today, Slate, CBN News, the Marshall Project, PBS' Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, and WORLD Magazine. A valued shaper of the criminal justice reform debate because of her wide-ranging policy expertise, Ms. Rice-Minus maintains a vested interest in justice reform as someone who has both been a victim of crime and walked alongside a family member during his incarceration. She is a graduate of Colorado State University and George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School.
Moderator: Ken Liu, Director of Christian Legal Aid, Christian Legal Society