Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I am weighed down by the heaviness of the racism and white supremacist ideology we have seen so voraciously expressed this past weekend in Charlottesville. Though I am currently on vacation, there is no escaping the sad news of such extreme hatred. I pray for the families and friends of Charlottesville resident Heather Heyer, killed by a white supremacist who drove his car into a crowd of people, and Lt. H Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke Bates of the Virginia State Police, who died while responding to the chaotic aftermath. Their deaths remind me of the tragedy we so recently experienced in Portland.
Even more so, I pray for all the people of color who have for so many years lived under the oppression of racism that is not always so overt but is nonetheless dangerous to body and spirit.
I affirm the statements of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and my other clergy colleagues in condemning racist ideology, the “alt-right,” the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white nationalist movements. I recall one of the commitments we made after the presidential election last year, “To stand and work with those whose race or religion is threatened by the vitriolic and violent language and action of white supremacy in American society.” We in the Church know that there is nothing Christ-like in beliefs and actions that seek to diminish the dignity and value of any person. May we continue to seek out and repent of the racism we perpetuate, knowingly and unknowingly, and be active participants in the furthering of God’s Kingdom of peace and reconciliation.