'We Need Christians to Care More:' Black Pastor Says Protests Are Opportunity to Share the Gospel
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Terence Floyd visited the site of his brother George Floyd's death Monday and called for peaceful protests instead of riots, and he's not the only one.
Pastor Dimas Salaberrios of New York's Infinity Church and author of Street God, is calling on believers to go to the protests and pray.
Salaberrios often travels to cities where mass shootings have taken place in an effort to bring hope and healing. In 2015, he visited Charleston, SC after Dylan Roof, a white supremacist, shot and killed nine black parishioners at Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
When asked why he traveled to Minneapolis to pray with protestors and police, Salaberrios said, "I think when darkness is running rampant we gotta bring the light."
He said now is the time for the church to be bolder than the enemy.
"The church, the Christians, need to throw on their masks and go out to these protests. And walk around and ask, 'Can we pray for you?' Can we pray for your safety? That's what I normally say," Salaberrios said in an interview on the CBN News program Prayer Link. "And people are like yes, please. One guy was lighting firecrackers to scare the cops and because I prayed for him, I was able to snatch it out of his hand. We were able to stop that."
The former drug dealer-turned pastor said most of those involved in protests are young people.
"These are kids – 16, 17,18 years old," Salaberrios explained. Around 60% of them were white. And around 40% were black in Minneapolis. And they were weeping and crying. And we only found one other minister on the ground. There were about 5,000 people. We started praying with them, ministering to them, praying with the police officers."
"We went to the front of the crowd, right where people were speaking and projecting and just told the young brothers that were there, we said, 'look we're the church and we need to say something'," said Salaberrios. "And they were like pastor here you go. And we just started to pray for people. We had six, seven-thousand people sit down to hear us, to pray. And many of them are hurt."
The pastor has plans to visit other areas where protests surrounding Floyd's death at the hands of white police are taking place.
"We in New York City are going out. On Wednesday to Harlem we're going out to hold a memorial for George Floyd," he said. "And we're going to lead prayer out there with thousands of people, masks of course. Then we're going to Times Square on Thursday and we're going to move cause these young people need guidance."
Many protestors have been holding signs, banners, and images of Floyd, whose independent autopsy report revealed died by homicide from "asphyxiation from sustained pressure" when his neck and back were compressed by Minneapolis police officers during his arrest last week.
"We need Christians to care more about that than all the other little things that are going on," explained Salaberrios, "And need white leaders to speak up."
"We just need some change and healing and we're hoping that by going out to New York, then we're going to go to DC and then we're coming to Atlanta to try to talk to the people on the streets, that we can bring that healing," Salaberrios said.
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