Morality, Christianity, and the History of Policing


February 17, 2019 @ 1:30 pm – 5:30 pm
First Congregational Church of Oakland
2501 Harrison St
California 94612
by donation, no one turned away for lack of funds


Let’s talk about the “common sense” ideas about crime, morality, and safety that shape and limit how we think about policing and community safety. Many of these ideas are profoundly influenced by a particular brand of Christianity that has dominated in this country, a version of the faith that served to justify genocide and slavery and continues to uphold white supremacy in ways that are sometimes overt but more often subtle and even innocuous-seeming. How can we begin to call these “common sense” ideas into question so that we can have a different conversation?

In this interactive workshop, we will take a deep dive into both the actual history of policing and the narratives and ideologies that have shaped it. Content will include viewing and discussion of segments from two webinars, one offered by Andrea Ritchie on January 28, 2019 on the History of Policing, and one offered by SoulForce on January 8, 2018 on Christian Supremacy and Policing, both through SURJ-Faith.

Andrea Ritchie is a Black lesbian immigrant and police misconduct attorney and organizer who has engaged in extensive research, writing, and advocacy around criminalization of women and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people of color over the past two decades. She recently published Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color now available from Beacon Press. Read more about her and her work here:

SoulForce is an LGBTQI organization that sabotages Christian Supremacy through radical analysis, spiritual healing and strategic direct action. Their website reads: “Christian Supremacy is not new; the project of empire has snatched Christianity and put it into service for hundreds of years, especially in the United States and its business partners. Calling out Christian Supremacy means recognizing that the struggles against white supremacy, capitalism, and (neo)colonization – to name a few – are intricately tied to how certain sectors and expressions of Christianity are driven by power over, not justice. We believe consciousness of how this kind of religion works in the United States – its language, its cultural plumb lines, its relationship to social and financial power, its stated and unstated values – tells a more honest story of how this country came to be.”

Facilitators will be Nichola Torbett and Marcia Lovelace.

We will also ground ourselves in our values and agreements, which are rooted in transformative justice, and in our commitment to caring for our hearts, minds, and spirits as we do this work.

By donation; no one turned away for lack of funds.


A growing coalition of organizations in the Bay Area is coming together to explore alternatives to calling the police to our campuses and into our neighborhoods. Over the coming year, we will be offering a series of workshops to explore alternatives to calling the police. Some of these workshops, like this one, will provide deepening analysis and a grounding in alternative ways of thinking about safety. Others will provide practical skills. All of them will lift up a transformative justice framework and emphasize the importance of self care.

The Coalition includes First Congregational Church of Oakland, Kehilla Community Synagogue, Agape Fellowship, Qal’bu Maryam, Jewish Voice for Peace, the East Bay Meditation Center, Skyline Community Church, Oakland Peace Center, Oakland LBGTQ Community Center, KinFolkz, the Omni Collective, and Black Organizing Project. We are eager to partner with additional organizations so please contact us if you are interested!


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