The Bishop Stands with the Police

Season 1 Episode 104
CC | tv-pg
Bishop James Greenleaf, the head of Calvary Fellowship World Ministries, is in a difficult situation. David Nelson, a Memphis police officer, has shot and killed an unarmed teenager, sending residents into the streets to protest the use of excessive force by the city's police force. Now, in exchange for a favor from the mayor, the bishop has agreed to show support for the police by inviting several officers onstage during his next sermon. Although the offending officer is a member of Calvary, the deacon board, headed by Connie Sykes, can't stomach the sight of the police parading down the aisles of the church.

The bishop's sermon is a tightrope walk between executing the mayor's demands and not offending the deacons. He begins by expressing sympathy for Officer Nelson's experience watching the teenager he shot slowly die while en route to the hospital. Before he starts sounding overly pro-authority, however, his message takes a turn.

"And finally," he says, "I'm here to remind our guests, the brave men and women who police our streets, and God bless them all, sincerely, for doing a job I know I'm not brave enough to do myself. Those people you're shooting out there aren't shadows. They're people. They're real. They're not cowards in some video game."

The congregation stirs with excitement as the bishop makes his appeal. "Black lives matter," the bishop shouts as uniformed officers begin filing onto the stage. "Black loves matter. Black laughs matter. Black tears matter. Black feelings, black hopes, black regrets. Black breakfast, black lunch, black dinner matters. Whatever we're doing with our lives."

As the choir breaks into song, the bishop walks down the line of assembled officers, shaking hands, but he turns to see whether Deacon Sykes is still in the pews. To his dismay, he sees the deacons walking out of the service in protest, and the bishop meets the determined gaze of Deacon Sykes before she joins them.