Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Can a minister put the fear of God in gang members?

It appears LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa -- who himself could use the fear of God -- thinks so. Today he introduced the Rev. Jeff Carr as L.A.'s first gang czar. Carr has been the COO of Sojourners, the Washington-based liberal evangelical organization run by Jim Wallis. For 17 years before that he led the Bresee Foundation, named for Church of the Nazarene founder Phineas Bresee, which ministers to L.A.'s poor.

"I've been a minister my whole life and deeply rooted in my faith that calls me to deal with respect with every individual, to treat people as creative human beings with dignity," Carr said. "I try to see the positive in every life, regardless of where they live, the color of their skin or the economic status."

But with that, Carr said he brings a practical approach in dealing with young people.

"I tell them they have to get their tail in school and get a job," Carr said. "I agree with (Father Gregory Boyle of HomeBoy Industries) that the best way to stop a bullet is with a job."

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