"It's not the responsibility of police officers and schoolteachers to discipline kids. It's the responsibility of the parents," said Griffith, a father of a 24-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son.
"There's a breakdown of law and order, and it's because of bad parenting. Mothers and fathers are unwilling to set boundaries and do the work."
The church is responsible to help children, and those that attend a church, synagogue or mosque have a better chance of staying on the right path, he said.
The Black Clergy focuses on attaining social, political and economic justice in the community, he said.
As for economic justice, Griffith said African-Americans are consumers, rather than producers in their neighborhoods.
Other groups, including Asians and Dominicans, have set up shop in black neighborhoods, but live elsewhere. "They're not part of the community," he said. "We have to start producing goods and services . . . we can't continue to patronize others at our own expense."
But the topic that has been on Griffith's mind most recently is the abduction of a 5-year-old girl from her West Philadelphia school last month. A woman dressed in Muslim garb, posing as the girl's mother, signed her out of school and kidnapped her. A passer-by found the girl the next day in an Upper Darby playground wearing only a T-shirt.
Griffith implored residents to speak up if they know anything about the abduction.
Police on Friday searched and removed possible evidence, including a talking parrot, from a Cobbs Creek home in the connection with the case.
"If a 5-year-old girl can't be safe in our community, who can be safe?" Griffith asked.
"Someone knows something and they're not speaking up," he said.
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