Since the killing of George Floyd, we have seen protests emerge all over the country. While these protests were sparked by outrage regarding Flyod’s murder, they are sustained by the longstanding experience of racial injustice and inequity faced by so many in our country.
As scenes of unrest unfold in cities across our county, we seek to take seriously the experiences of discrimination and dehumanization that have compelled so many to lift their voices collectively and demand real change in our society. In this time that may feel uncomfortable and confusing to many of us, we believe simply calling for unity and calm only maintains the status quo and silences the voices of those whose depth of pain is finally being brought up to the surface of society.
As we consider our response as Christians, the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are important and challenging for us today as they were for white Christians 60 years ago:
I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”…Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
Our public support for the testimony of our black and brown sisters and brothers is as necessary now as it was for the white Christians who stood on the right side of history, and the Gospel, 60 years ago. May God grant us the courage and conviction to use our privilege to amplify those voices calling for change today.