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Church Leaders: Religion Key To Racial Tension Discussion

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A local interfaith group is looking for ways to safely discuss racial tensions in the community. The group made their comments about local and national issues Thursday on WFSU’s Perspectives program.

They call themselves the God Squad, and members agree religion is the best strategy for fighting racism and hatred. That’s why the group of church leaders will be gathering at the start of each month for what they’re calling Faith Food Friday at Village Square. It’s a community forum to talk about solving problems concerning racism and how to heal its ability to divide society.

Rabi Jack Romberg of Temple Israel says there are opportunities to learn from other religions.

“As opposed to saying yes, we’re different, perhaps the Jewish concern for justice needs to be picked up more by my other colleagues and their religions, but the Christian ability to do forgiveness is something that we need to think about a little bit more,” Romberg says.

Safety is a concern among members of Pastor Darrick McGhee’s congregation at Bible Based Church. He says his congregation is angry and fearful.

“I had at least two congregants prior to Sunday service reach out to me to ask if it was safe. Wondering if we had security cameras, wondering if everything was going to be okay. At our church we have a security mechanism in place that I don’t share with the congregants because I don’t want them to know but they are safe,” he says. “But you start wondering and the reason why is because you are raised, at least from an African American standpoint, where the church is your beacon light.”

Dr. Bill Shiell of First Baptist Church is encouraging the community to get involved with Tallahassee’s Operation Safe Neighborhoods. He says the best help they can offer is their presence.

God Squad may not find answers to end racism. But the group is committed to trying.