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Baton Rouge bishop urges community not to give in to anger, fear


  • Sandra Sterling reacts during a July 7 vigil in memory of her nephew, Alton Sterling, who was shot dead by police outside a market in Baton Rouge, La. Sterling, 37, was killed early July 5 in a shooting that was captured on cellphone video. (CNS photo/Jeffrey Dubinsky, Reuters)
  • A community member holds up a Bible during a July 7 vigil in memory of Alton Sterling, who was shot dead by police outside a market in Baton Rouge, La. Sterling, 37, was killed early July 5 in a shooting that was captured on cellphone video. (CNS photo/Jeffrey Dubinsky, Reuters)
  • Community members attend a July 7 vigil in memory of Alton Sterling, who was shot dead by police outside a market in Baton Rouge, La. Sterling, 37, was killed early July 5 in a shooting that was captured on cellphone video. (CNS photo/Jeffrey Dubinsky, Reuters)

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BATON ROUGE, La. (CNS) -- Bishop Robert W. Muench of Baton Rouge is urging the local community to be "ministers of healing to a hurting world" while protests are taking place about the police shooting of a black man outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge July 5.

"This week in our community, as in our nation, and as in our world, we find ourselves facing the many emotions that accompany acts of violence. We experience sadness, anger, frustration, and fear," the bishop said in a July 7 statement.

The statement was issued two days after 37-year-old Alton Sterling was shot and killed as two white police officers wrestled him to the ground, an action posted online by a cellphone video of the shooting.

The bishop urged members of the community not to let anger move them "to inflict pain on others" but instead to be "ambassadors of hope and mercy."

"May fear not lead us into despair," he said, urging the community to be moved by "the grace of Christ's suffering for us" and in turn "impart that grace to one another."

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards asked the U.S. Justice Department July 6 to lead a civil rights investigation into the killing.

"I have very serious concerns. The video is disturbing, to say the least," the governor said at a news conference.

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