United Methodists Denounce Racism

Posted by on Aug 22, 2017 in EventReport, Mission: Beyond our Community, UMC Shared Ministries | 0 comments

The recent events in Charlottsville VA (where violence erupted when a neo-nazi group protested the removal of a Confederate statue) have spawned a series of responses from the United Methodist Church leaders. Being actively engaged in issues of justice and human rights is part of our “DNA” as United Methodists, and the recent comments by our church leaders is consistent with that call.

 

Book of Resolutions

The Book of Resolutions of the United Methodist Church calls us to action:

Taking an active stance in society is nothing new for followers of John Wesley. He set the example for us to combine personal and social piety. Ever since predecessor churches to United Methodism flourished in the United States, we have been known as a denomination involved with people’s lives, with political and social struggles, having local to international mission implications. Such involvement is an expression of the personal change we experience in our baptism and conversion.

 

The United Methodist Church believes God’s love for the world is an active and engaged love, a love seeking justice and liberty. We cannot just be observers. So we care enough about people’s lives to risk interpreting God’s love, to take a stand, to call each of us into a response, no matter how controversial or complex. The church helps us think and act out a faith perspective, not just responding to all the other ‘mind-makers-up’ that exist in our society.”

 

Social Principles

The United Methodist Church has developed a set of “Social Principles” which guide our interaction with the the world.  The section dealing with the “Nurturing Community” opens with the following statement:

The community provides the potential for nurturing human beings into the fullness of their humanity. We believe we have a responsibility to innovate, sponsor, and evaluate new forms of community that will encourage development of the fullest potential in individuals.

 

Primary for us is the gospel understanding that all persons are important—because they are human beings created by God and loved through and by Jesus Christ and not because they have merited significance. We therefore support social climates in which human communities are maintained and strengthened for the sake of all persons and their growth.

 

We also encourage all individuals to be sensitive to others by using appropriate language when referring to all persons. Language of a derogatory nature (with regard to race, nationality, ethnic background, gender, sexuality, and physical differences) does not reflect value for one another and contradicts the gospel of Jesus Christ.


 

 

Do Something!

Because of our beliefs, we shouldn’t sit idly by without pushing for the social justice that we claim to believe in.  In that vein, the Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe (General Secretary of the United Methodist’s General Board of Church and Society) recently wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions which included the following reminder:

As the general secretary of the General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church, I am responsible for advocating for the implementation of the Social Principles and other policy statements of the Church to which we belong.  These Social Principles state:

Racism, manifested as sin, plagues and hinders our relationship with Christ, inasmuch as it is antithetical to the gospel itself

(2016 Book of Discipline, Social Principles ¶162.A).

The spiritual and systemic manifestations of racism tear at the heart of our faith and our society. Racism is not only the expression of hate, but it is the perpetuation of economic injustice, enactment of discriminatory housing and education policies, implementation of unjust policing practices, infringements on voting rights and more.

The following video, recently produced by the United Methodist Church and posted on their site,  illustrates the child-like wisdom of embracing love instead of hate.

 

To learn more about the church’s stand against racism, here’s an article recently published on the UMC.org website:  Decry Racism   

 

 

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