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Lankford Takes Senate to Church with Bible Lesson on God's Rejection of Racism: 'Every Tribe, Every Nation'

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Senate Republicans have introduced their new police reform legislation stressing accountability and transparency.

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott introduced the bill. The GOP hopes it will help bridge the divide between people of color and police.

"Too often we're having a conversation in this country about are you supporting the law enforcement community or are you supporting communities of color – this is a false binary choice," Scott said.

'This Is a Biblical Issue'

Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford, who worked with Scott to craft the legislation, pointed his fellow senators to the Bible to see what God has to say about racial equality.

Lankford told the Senate about how God makes clear in the Old Testament that He wants "equal weights and measures", which means people should be treated with respect and racial equality.

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He also referenced the Bible's book of Revelation and its image of racial unity in the kingdom of heaven.

"There is this gathering around the throne that's pictured at the very end of the gathering of the kingdom of God. And as they gather around the throne, it's described as every tribe, every nation, every language, every people, all gathered. See, for me, this is a biblical issue. As well as being a personal issue. But for us as a nation, it's a legal issue. And it's where we find inconsistencies of the application of the law we are to correct it. And do what we can to be able to make it right."

The bill calls for an end to chokeholds, increases the use of body cameras, and sets up a national database for reporting incidents involving force.

Scott Says Durbin Causing New Hurt with Insensitive Comments

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, of Illinois, criticized the GOP bill as a "token, half-hearted approach."

Scott replied that Durbin is being divisive and hurtful, and he reminded everyone that the bill was introduced on the same day a racist gunman killed nine people at an African American church in Charleston five years ago.

"To think that anti-lynching that's a part of this legislation would be considered a token piece of legislation, because perhaps I'm African American and I'm on the other side of the aisle, I don't know what he meant, but I can tell you that this day to have those comments again hurts the soul," Scott said.

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Racism Must Be Addressed on a Personal Level

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hopes to pass the reform bill before the July 4 recess. And when it comes to racial reconciliation in America, Lankford says, "The issue of race is a national issue, but it really boils down to families and individuals."
Lankford encourages people to invite families of another race into their home to share a meal.
"If individuals aren't developing relationships with people of another race and developing real friendships, our nation is not developing those kinds of friendships," Lankford said. "And so I challenge families to be able to develop those kind of relationships so our nation can work on those issues together."

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