The Washington Post

Missouri interfaith leaders say spiritual power ‘is greater than tear gas’

Mark Kelly Tyler, a pastor at Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, speaks into a megaphone.

Clayton, Mo. — About 10 miles from Ferguson, an interfaith group gathered Wednesday at dusk in front of the St. Louis County Department of Justice Services. They marched from a nearby high school, tailed by police.

“We must be an intimidating group, because they barricaded the sidewalks,” said Mark Kelly Tyler, a pastor at Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. “They must have seen all these preachers, imams and rabbis coming out.”

Their spiritual power, Tyler said, “is greater than tear gas.”

The religious leaders had come from across the United States in recent days to demand what they described as justice for Michael Brown, the unarmed teen shot by a police officer on Aug. 9. Tyler said the group of about 200 was “only loosely organized,” but its members shared the sentiment that the events in Ferguson represent an American, not a St. Louis-specific, problem.

During the protest — which included a several speakers, including a rabbi and a St. Louis-based preacher — police stood off to the side. The event lasted about an hour, and took place in a neighborhood with a few well-maintained government buildings, tree-lined sidewalks, a Starbucks, and a Chipotle. After the protest ended a few from the gathering went for burritos.

The Washington Post explores the feelings and emotions of African American men along West Florissant Ave. in Ferguson, Mo., as thousands protest the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. (Chris L. Jenkins and Garrett Hubbard/The Washington Post)
Chico Harlan covers personal economics as part of The Post's financial team.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments

Sign up for email updates from the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

You have signed up for the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

Thank you for signing up
You'll receive e-mail when new stories are published in this series.
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Video curated for you.
Next Story
Sarah Larimer · August 20, 2014

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.