Commentary: Reclaiming God’s Love & Justice through Sacred Conversations to End Racism

The President released his federal budget proposal recently. It features deep cuts in domestic programs and entitlements including Medicare, education, social safety nets that ensure food security, and reduced spending for health and education for children. The devastation cuts broadly across the nation impacting America’s most impoverished citizens. These efforts could be more broadly understood as part of a larger strategy to dismantle civil and human rights.

Witness for Justice logoSupport for racial equity remains absent from our Justice Department as well, as demonstrated by Attorney General Jeff Session, who recently praised the nation’s sheriffs by referencing the Anglo American heritage of law enforcement in a recent speech at the National Sheriffs’ Association.

W.E.B. Du Bois, American sociologist, historian, and civil rights activists accurately named the racial crisis of the twentieth century saying, “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line.” Du Bois engages the questions of race, racial domination and racial exploitation in his 1903 classic book, The Souls of Black Folks. Du Bois identified racism as a national problem, and he named the crisis correctly. Our nation is facing an even more urgent crisis in the twenty-first century.

I believe the roots of racism and xenophobia continue to run deep in the veins of those who want to make America a bastion of white supremacy. Racism is a disease. It is a chronic destructive force that overtakes the heart, mind, and souls of humans. People who intend on being agents of racism never stop plotting and planning. I wish Americans would move passed their shock and surprise as this, because as long as we live in denial, racism will live on.

We are indeed living in troubled times. However the Spirit of God reminds us to have hope. As people of faith we can reclaim God’s love and justice to dismantle and eradicate racism, xenophobia, and white skin privilege and supremacy. And we can start by entering into a covenant through a forthcoming United Church of Christ curriculum entitled, Sacred Conversations to End Racism.

Sacred conversations alone will not end racism, but as people of great faith who believe in and trust the living God we can disrupt, dismantle, and eradicate systems that prevent people from living freely within the United States. We can create a movement towards activism protecting undocumented immigrants from being deported. We can show up when communities of color are threatened by militarism and police violence, and we must take a stand and declare that Black Lives Matter. The Good News as reported 2 Timothy 1:7 states, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but the spirit of power, of courage and resolution, to meet difficulties and dangers; the spirit of love which will carry us through opposition.” May we sieze upon that courage, motivated by love, as we work to end racism.

Begin the Lenten Season with Podcast for a Just World, Lent to Easter Journey: Sacred Conversations to End Racism. The weekly broadcast begins February 13 and runs through Easter. The Sacred Conversations to End Racism Resource Guide will be available for download on the UCC website March 2018.

Rev. Dr. Velda Love is the Minister for Racial Justice for the United Church of Christ.

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