July 8, 2016 UPDATE

Violence has wracked U.S. cites in the past week, with senseless shootings of law officers and private citizens. Religious leaders lament this atmosphere of hate and mistrust, and urge prayer, reflection and restraint in our response. Here are some reports from the religious press:

From Religion News Service:
WARSAW — President Obama condemned the sniper-style shootings of Dallas police officers Friday, calling them a “vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement. I believe I speak for every single American when I say we are horrified over these events, and we stand united with the people and the police department in Dallas.” Obama said he spoke with Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, and offered him condolences and federal assistance.
Read Full Story:  http://religionnews.com/2016/07/08/obama-dallas-police-shootings-were-vicious-calculated-and-despicable/

From Catholic News Service:
DALLAS (CNS) — Five Dallas law enforcement officers were assassinated July 7 as at least one sniper opened fire in downtown Dallas as hundreds of demonstrators were winding down a march protesting recent fatal officer-involved shootings in other parts of the country.
Read Full Story: http://www.catholicnews.com/services/englishnews/2016/five-dallas-officers-killed-in-ambush-bishop-calls-for-prayer-and-peace.cfm

From Episcopal News Service:
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
The news of the fatal shooting of four Dallas police officers and one Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer in Dallas last night is horrifying and heartbreaking. Make no mistake. This is a devastating loss for their colleagues, for Dallas, for all humanity. As President Barack Obama said, it was “a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement.”
We hold all of Dallas in prayer today.
Read Full Story: http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2016/07/08/fort-worth-bishops-respond-to-dallas-shootings/

From The Christian Post:
Philando Castile, a 32-year-old Minnesota man whose death was broadcast in a viral Facebook Live video after he was shot by an officer during a traffic stop, was remembered Thursday by his mother, Valerie Castile, as a “good person.”
Read Full Story: http://www.christianpost.com/news/philando-castile-man-shot-dead-in-gruesome-video-by-minnesota-police-remembered-as-good-person-166169/

From The Christian Post:
In an epic and poignant reaction to the gruesome killing of Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man who was shot dead on Tuesday by Baton Rouge police officers, Savanna Hartman, a pastor, mother and spoken word poet challenged white Christians to stand with her against deadly force and racism.
Read Full story: http://www.christianpost.com/news/their-lives-matter-tampa-pastor-tells-white-christians-alton-sterling-shooting-166161/

From Religion News Service:
It makes sense, doesn’t it? Government authorities, such as police officers, are public servants. They are frightening only to those who do wrong. Those of us who don’t do wrong need not be afraid.
Read Full story: http://religionnews.com/2016/07/07/alton-sterling-philando-castile-government-terror/

From Black Christian News Network One:
Prominent pro-life leaders in the African-American community now mourn the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, who were killed this week by police officers.
Read Full story: http://blackchristiannews.com/2016/07/in-wake-of-alton-sterling-and-philando-castile-police-shootings-christian-african-american-pro-life-leaders-demand-action/

From Charisma news:
Dozens of protesters in Louisiana on Tuesday chanted slogans and held up signs demanding justice for a black man fatally shot in an altercation with two police officers hours earlier, video postings on social media showed.
Read Full story: http://www.charismanews.com/us/58258-no-justice-no-peace-protesters-demand-action-after-police-shooting

From The Christian Times:
Four police officers were fatally shot and seven wounded in one of the worst shootings of police in recent U.S. history, by snipers who targeted them during rallies in Dallas to protest against the fatal shooting of two black men by police this week.
Read Full story: http://christiantimes.com/article/dallas-shootings-see-four-police-officers-killed-seven-wounded-by-snipers-during-protests/58576.htm

From The Christian Science Monitor:
Even as her fiancé, Philando Castile, lay dying next to her, Diamond Reynolds’s reaction was to grab her cellphone and start live-streaming the bloody aftermath of a traffic stop gone horribly wrong.
Read Full story: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2016/0707/Behind-Philando-Castile-video-a-deep-yearning-for-justice-video

From The Presbyterian Outlook:
While these police killings are occurring, it is apparent that we remain a denomination that struggles to engage the truth about our own privilege. As church leaders, we find it easy to offer prayers for the families while mentioning a statement in our Sunday morning sermons about the struggles of racism in the U.S. Yet our depth of commitment to resolve the problem of blatant racism within our own communities is often shallow and meaningless.
Read Full story: https://pres-outlook.org/2016/07/pcusa-stated-clerk-speaks-police-killings-alton-sterling-philando-castile/

From Sojourners:
Before I could finish weeping about Baton Rouge where Alton Sterling was killed, another shooting happened less than a day later in Minneapolis where Philando Castile was killed. This turned my tears into righteous indignation.
Read Full story: https://sojo.net/articles/turning-tears-righteous-indignation

From Church Leaders news:
On Tuesday, July 5, 2016, 37-year-old Alton Sterling was shot and killed by police officers outside the Triple S Food Mart in Baton Rouge. On Wednesday, July 6, Philando Castile was shot and killed by police in a suburb of Minneapolis. The shootings have stirred the racial disunity pot in our country once again and caused many to pause and consider the extent to which racial prejudice and distrust still exists in the land of the free.
Read Full story: http://www.churchleaders.com/daily-buzz/282839-police-shootings-louisiana-minnesota-fuel-rising-tide-fear-america.html