Pod people: Vigils, protests and church activism in wake of #Ferguson

As the nation's spotlight stays focused on Ferguson, Mo., your friendly GetReligionistas remain interested in religion story angles and, yes, even ghosts.

In this week's episode of "Crossroads," the GetReligion podcast, host Todd Wilken and I discuss media coverage of the chaos and protests in that St. Louis suburb since a police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager.

A few religion pieces have crossed our radar, such as this Huffington Post report:

But beyond the coverage I highlighted Thursday, few strong #Ferguson faith angles seem to have emerged. Not that Godbeat pros such as Sarah Pulliam Bailey — a former GetReligion contributor who now serves as a national correspondent for Religion News Service — haven't tried.

So far, the Ferguson religion coverage has been about "vigils and protests and church activism," Sarah said in response to a question from me. She added: "I feel like the media have been pulled in so many different directions this week: Robin Williams, Ebola, Iraq, Israel, Ferguson, Pope Francis in South Korea. I think it's been hard to drill down and get good reporting on all of the stories."

Did I mention that we miss Sarah's wonderful insight here at GetReligion? 

A major development since my last post has been the calm brought to the reeling Missouri community by Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ronald Johnson. There may or may not be a religion ghost, but I am personally curious about Johnson's religious affiliation, if any. Based on a St. Louis Post-Dispatch story, it appears that he's a Christian:

On Friday, Johnson described a conversation he had with his daughter Thursday night when she asked if he was scared.
She said, 'Dad, I want you to remember when Jesus walked with Peter. When Peter got scared Jesus picked him up and said, 'Have faith.'
"He's going to pick us up and pick this community up."

In today's USA Today story on silent vigils across the nation marking the teen's death, these two paragraphs caught my attention:

Kenny Wiley, a youth minister who helped organize a vigil in Denver said Brown's death is the most recent demonstration of what he called the "systemic inequality" facing young black men in America. Wiley, who is black, said the system feels stacked against some people who pay the price with their lives.
"It wasn't in our city, but this is our country, our world," said Wiley, 26. "We want to stand up and say enough is enough, and to mourn those who have lost their lives." Wiley led about 100 people through a vigil that included the out-loud listing of names of black men killed by police and chants of "hands up, don't shoot."

I found myself wanting more details on Wiley's faith background and specific religious affiliation. That information, of course, is not too difficult to find online.

Click here to listen to the podcast. As always, the smooth, relaxing Oklahoma accent is free.

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