ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – A Baptist Church in south Arlington lifts its voice loudly during worship. Reverend Dwight McKissic will energetically interact with the congregation. The choir and band are ready at a moment’s notice to punctuate the messages with upbeat music and the congregation vocalizes along with them. The message is always loud and clear.
But when McKissic showed the congregation the video of Ray Rice hitting his fiancé the wall separating this church from the domestic violence issue quietly came crashing down. The church sat in silence as the various security videos were shown several times. But, when it came time to talk about domestic violence, McKissic wasn’t going to preach quietly.
“Men in America, we got to change, that one out of every four women have been beaten by a man!” he exclaimed from the pulpit. “Which means some in this room, I’m speaking to right now have been beaten by a man and some of you have beaten a woman.”
McKissic said one of the most disturbing aspects of the case was the NFL’s original two game suspension for the incident and its denial it had access to the video of Rice hitting his now wife.
“Our 8-year old son is looking at them, wearing their jerseys,” McKissic boomed to the congregation. “And if Ray Rice can get by beating his wife what you’re saying to that 8-year old is, ‘When you get his age, it’s alright to beat your wife!’ And it is not alright!!”
But with the condemnation came a reminder that there is redemption and admiration for what Rice has done since the altercation including joining a church and undergoing counseling.
“I’m proud of Ray Rice,” McKissic told the church. “He’s admitted he’s wrong. He’s admitted he sinned. He’s admitted it’s inexcusable.”
“I can honestly say a lot of what I was hearing this morning I heard for the first time – as far as his conversion and how he’s changed,” said church member Katrina Battle. “We all deserve forgiveness.”
“I think what the pastor said this morning was good for everyone to hear,” said church member Charles Walker. “Not only for us, but for people that have issues that are in the congregation. Maybe they didn’t know the word. Now, they’ve heard the word from the pastor and they can do something different to change their lives.”