The Trayvon Martin shooting in Sanford, Fla. has gripped the nation in recent weeks, with many questions still unanswered about the controversial shooting death of the unarmed 17-year-old by neighborhood watch member George Zimmerman. I asked Pastor Rick Warren how he would minister to the community there.
TAPPER: If you were the pastor in Sanford, Fla., how would you minister to the people in that community, where there is so much pain? What needs to be addressed in that community?
WARREN: Well, first place, let me say, I don’t know the specifics of that story, so I can’t comment on it. In fact, I was in Africa when it happened, and I was there for 10 days. And so I’m behind the ball on that. But I will say this. I think one of the most prevalent sins around the world is racism. I have seen prejudice literally all around the world, not just between races, between gender, between political parties, prejudice between economic societies.
WARREN: This conflict that happens all around the world, and the reason why is, we’re not at peace with God. When we’re not at peace with God, then we’re not at peace with each other. That’s why Jesus said, “Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself.” “Get right with God, get right with others.” “‘Be reconciled to God, be reconciled with each other.’ That’s the first letter of the PEACE Plan to promote reconciliation.
WARREN: And so what I would be doing as a pastor would be promoting reconciliation in this issue. Martin Luther King was brilliant in that he knew we do not overcome evil with more evil. Violence only begets violence. Leaders absorb the pain. And you overcome evil with good. I would be promoting reconciliation between all of the parties there, and at the same time I would still be working for racial equality.