“Please do this no matter how many or how few people sign this petition, it’s the right thing to do. Thank you.”
“Author and distribute teaching tools for congregations to study racism and means of combating it.”
|I grew up in an all white ELCA congregation that never spoke of racism or other such controversial topics. In that vacuum racist ideas were transferred from one generation to another – while the congregation maintained its polite silence. I will forever be grateful to Mr. Dawson who was the first person who ever spoke of racism with me, he helped show me that my father is a racist, and taught me that within a church that follows Jesus racism has no place. If it were not for this brave act of defiance when a father insisted it was his right to teach his son hate I may have internalized my father’s teaching – instead I resist. Not every congregation is blessed with a Mr. Dawson willing to take on the prophetic voice, not every child has someone who loves them enough to risk conflict with parents to proclaim love. We cannot allow silence to continue. This Emanuel 9 feast day is one way the ELCA can openly confess the racism and white supremacy within its walls and cast a vision of the church on Earth as a place where we following Jesus and racism has no place among us.|
As a classmate of Rev. Clem Pinckney, this tragedy continues to disturb and afflict me. As a pastor I try to use this event for calling attention to my racism and the racism inherent in our society. A formal day would give me further reason to continue to lift up our sin, and repentance.
The ELCA passed its resolution “Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity, and Culture when I was a child. Since then, the church has continued to struggle with deeply ingrained racism on an institutional level and within the individual congregations whose members continue to foster stereotypes and support policies that actively hurt people of color. We can see this most clearly in the actions of the self-proclaimed white supremacist who committed murder at Emanuel AME church on June 17, 2015. The shooter was a baptized Christian and a member of a Lutheran Church in Columbia, Virginia. As fellow Lutherans, we are guilty in fostering a culture that allowed seeds of white supremacy to take root in this man, and we have an obligation to our brothers and sisters in Christ in the AME church to atone for our collective sins.
I am now in my 30s, and I am tired of waiting for the ELCA as a collective body to take meaningful actions on race. Our congregations need to do more. We need to do more. The sin of white supremacy must be called out and dismantled at every opportunity.