Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Following the horrific death of George Floyd over a week ago in Minnesota, there have been many protests and riots all around the country. As Anglican Christians, we are reminded once
again of several truths in our faith and in our country.
1. “Thou shalt do no murder.” The killing of Mr. George, the video of which we have seen many times, reminds us that the Lord has forbidden us to murder our fellow man. The people who killed him must be judged by our society. They will also be judged by God. He is our ultimate Judge and demands of each of us that we turn away from our sinful behaviors and turn to Him.
2. Racism and racist behaviors are antithetical to the Christian faith. Jesus died on the hard wood of the Cross that all of us might become one. As St. Paul said, in Christ there is neither slave or free, Greek or Jew, male or female, but we are all one. With God as our Father, we are all sisters and brothers. St. John told us that, if we do not love our brothers who we have seen, we cannot be loving God who we have not seen. It is our great responsibility to love. Even when we are enemies for some reason, we are told that we must love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. These truths are fact, no matter what race, color, gender we are.
3. The right of peaceful protesting is enshrined in our Constitution. If we have any concerns about the way that our government (local, state, or federal) is working, it is our absolute right to be able to let them know how we feel. It is our absolute right to petition the government and to engage in peaceful protests against the activities we see them performing.
4. It is NOT a right for us to riot and destroy others’ property or to attack or harm their person. Countering a sin with another sin is not part of our belief system. We must work against racism whenever we see it, but this must be done in a peaceful manner. Martin Luther King, Jr., led a very powerful movement that changed our country forever. He did this based upon his (and our) Christian faith. He demanded change. He demanded that that change come about in a peaceful way. He did not carry guns, knives, or bricks. He carried a Bible. We can do no less.
My Christian friends, we must always confront evil whenever we see it. Racism is evil. We must not allow racism to occur in our Churches. We must not allow racism to occur in our communities. We must confront it. But we must do so with the “peace of God, which passeth understanding”. We are Warriors for Peace in Christ. Let us wield “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” as our great and only weapon against the sin that is confronting us. Let us be God’s messengers in this world of woe.
May God bless you all.
Presiding Bishop, Anglican Church in America