‘Raise Cain’: Pastors Dress in Hoodies at the Pulpit to Protest Zimmerman Verdict

Reactions to the George Zimmerman verdict have been swift — and with the ruling coming down over the weekend, it’s no big surprise that some religious leaders chose to take the issue up during their Sunday sermons. From encouraging congregants to “raise Cain” to numerous pastor delivering their sermons while dressed in hoodies, the responses have been intriguing.

Take, for instance, the Rev. Aaron Williams of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Seattle Washington. He told congregants not to allow the situation surrounding the verdict to simply simmer. Instead, the pastor encouraged the audience to highlight the alleged “injustice” in the national’s criminal justice system, KING-TV reports.

Rev. Tony Lee of the Community of Hope A.M.E. Church in Temple Hills, Maryland (Photo Credit:WTTG-TV)

Williams also told parishioners to “raise Cain,” which generally means to become boisterous or to “cause a disturbance.”

“We should be raising Cain because, if we don’t, history has a way of repeating itself,” the preacher told his congregation, also urging them to invoke peace and calm as they make their voices heard on the matter.

And according to WLWT-TV, the Bishop Dr. Victor Couzens of Inspirational Baptist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, also made his voice heard on the matter. He took to the pulpit dressed in a hoodie.

Like Williams, Couzens called the Zimmerman verdict an injustice and encouraged his congregation to work diligently to prevent something like Trayvon Martin’s death from happening again.

“You see people of all walks of life wearing hoodies so this is a sign of solidarity, we’re standing with the Martin family, we’re standing with the community,” Couzens told parishioners. “We will not be violent, we will not be silent neither. At the end of the day we are Christians and we are compelled to love, we are called to love but we are also called to action as well.”

Couzens wasn’t alone in his hoodie-wearing. Other churches joined in for what was dubbed “Hoodie Sunday” in an effort to bring attention to and discuss the issues surrounding the Zimmerman verdict.

The Rev. Tony Lee of the Community of Hope A.M.E. Church in Temple Hills, Maryland, was yet another pastor who preached about the case while wearing a hooded sweatshirt, WTTG-TV reports.

“I don’t want this kind of stuff to happen to another one of our children,” Lee proclaimed. “We have to hold the nation accountable but we also have to hold accountable the people who are shaping culture and shaping the atmosphere in which a young man could be dehumanized.”

These, of course, are only some of the houses of worship and preachers who participated. At Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, even the congregation joined pastors in wearing sweatshirts in honor of Martin and in opposition to the Zimmerman verdict. WXIA-TV has more:

Senior Pastor Rev. Raphael Warnock of Ebenezer told the outlet that the hoodie-wearing was done to stand in solidarity with Martin’s family and to make a statement.

“We have a black man in the White House, but Trayvon Martin can’t walk without suspicion through the streets of his own gated community,” he said during his sermon, later adding, “Here we are, again, staring bigotry in the face, staring racism in the face, staring in the face of old logic that black life is not as valuable as white life.”

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