“They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying ‘Peace, Peace’ when there is no peace” - Jeremiah 6:14, Hebrew Scriptures
As White faith leaders and clergy, we are called to take responsibility for our part in the struggle against anti-blackness and for racial justice. Many of us, and particularly our white Christian traditions, have been complicit with racism through colonization, slavery, segregation, lynching, and racialized mass incarceration. Collectively, we have allowed our fear to give way to silence, allowing racist theologies and praxis to find welcome in our places of worship and our communities. At our worst, we have been complicit with the forces of religion that serve to dehumanize Black, Brown, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Native peoples, and offer “salvation” to people of color only when they adopt the trappings of whiteness.
At the dawn of the Summer of 2020, our nation is in a crucible wrought by racist systems and structures that permeate every facet of life in the United States, including health care, employment, education, wealth, the criminal justice system, and housing, and they infect far too many faith institutions and traditions. Those of us in the Christian tradition have also been complicit with anti-semitism and Islamophobia. We are here, with the future of this nation and its faith traditions in the balance, because we too often have embodied the words of the prophet Jeremiah in the Abrahamic traditions, by treating “the wound of God’s people carelessly, saying ‘Peace, Peace’ when there is no peace” because there is no justice.
These wounds are disproportionately afflicting Black, Brown, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Native communities, and we recognize that our embrace of dehumanizing theologies wounds the souls of White people as well. Every time we forget that each person is made in the image of God, we move further away from our own humanity. Ideas and systems that support white supremacy are a cancer that eats away at our minds, hearts, and souls, and reinforce systems of inequality that hurt poor and working class White communities as well.
Yet there have also been many times faith leaders, including White faith leaders, have labored for justice, including work for abolitionism, voting rights, civil rights, a just immigration system, and an end to racialized mass incarceration. In the spirit of this tradition, we are calling all White clergy and faith leaders to join us in uprooting theologies and practices that promote or accommodate interpersonal, structural, and systemic racism, and replace them with life-giving ways of making meaning, building relationships, and reconstructing just systems and structures. Together we will go on a journey of transformation in the weeks and months ahead to ground ourselves in the deep truth that our own liberation and wholeness are woven into the larger struggle for racial justice. We will sojourn in deep solidarity with Black, Brown, Asian/Pacific Islander and Native clergy and faith leaders to embody the beloved community.
On our Journey we will learn to ATONE/REPENT:
On our Journey we will learn to AFFIRM:
On our Journey we will learn to ACT: