Liberation, Freedom, Equity and Justice for All

Witness for JusticeWhen in the company of the Spirit of God, one should leave one’s practice of prayer and deep meditation yearning for a more radical faith. The Spirit of God would not have us settle for cheap grace and narcissistic self-interests. The Spirit would have us taste and see the goodness of our God. And to be aware of the existence of corruption, greed, and militarism, and the ongoing verbal and physical attacks acts of violence. In other words, we who believe in freedom must wrestle with and live in the tension of a majority of the United States governments policies have never been fair, equitable, and just to communities of color.

I encourage everyone to remain vigilant and protect vulnerable communities from violence and acts of vigilante racism. It will take days, maybe even weeks, before a decisive outcome regarding the next president of the United States is declared. In the meantime, people of faith must put their trust in God regardless of who occupies the halls of Congress and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

I learned to trust in God very early in life. These valuable lessons were handed down from members of my family, elders in the community, black liberation church teachings, womanists pastors and theologians, and armed defenders of black bodies, and community activists. Our lessons were firmly rooted in everyday lived experiences. We protested and opposed people, systems, and institutions choosing to do harm based on beliefs and socialized behaviors originating in settler colonialism, racism, and racist policies at local, state, and government levels.

Today we have models to learn from about radial resistance. Our faith teaches us there are theological and biblical texts regarding warnings about empires conspiring to rid their nation of people regarded as “other’ and unwelcomed. Then and now, governments used the same tactics of denying people outside Euro-Anglo ancestry their full humanity – practices fully realized in social structures and systems, as well as within Christian churches and congregations.

As we wait for post-election results, I suggest we lean in and trust God, pray for first responders and pandemic relief, develop plans and strategies to protect communities of color, and develop methods of communication when we travel and go about in cities, towns, and locals where people plot and plan evil against God’s people.

People of faith, clergy, and lay look to the prophets in the First Testament – Isaiah, Elijah, Amos, and Habakkuk. They knew the policies and politics of their day and prophesied against the empire and its leaders. Think and be courageous strategists like Deborah and Esther. Remember and call the names of those who stood up against tyranny and practices that denied people justice, safety, equal protection.

In the months to come people of faith must pray and act, and never forget about families still held as prisoners in detention by government mandates under the unholy presence of ICE. The struggle is real but we who believe in freedom must never give in to a political regime that enacts ethnic cleansing and hidden policies of genocide under the guise of stripping away more and more human rights.

Remember: God is the caretaker of this 4-billion-year-old planet called earth. Humans are not the centerpiece of creation but for over 200,000 years have been allowed to exist alongside all of God’s creations. Acknowledge your time on this rock is limited. What will your life’s legacy reveal to the next generation? One who claimed an identity in Christ, or a gatekeeper of hell on earth?

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

The United Church of Christ has more than 5,000 churches throughout the United States. Rooted in the Christian traditions of congregational governance and covenantal relationships, each UCC setting speaks only for itself and not on behalf of every UCC congregation. UCC members and churches are free to differ on important social issues, even as the UCC remains principally committed to unity in the midst of our diversity.

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