So many of us who are white thought that racism was dealt a death blow decades ago with desegregation. But we were wrong. Incipient racism is rearing its ugly head and it’s a white problem, as much as we wish it weren’t. Facing and dismantling the structure of white privilege in our communities and nation will take love and courage on the part of we who are de facto beneficiaries of white privilege. Our faith in the God that created us all in God’s own image is the source of the kind of courage and love that will end racism.
Therefore, we are joining other churches in our area to denounce racial injustice and repent of the error of white privilege. Together we publically promise to strengthen our resolve to act according to our confidence that all people are created equally in the image of God and are worthy of equitable treatment in our society.
This summer the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA added a new document to our Book of Confessions that specifically names racism as contrary to the Good News Jesus taught and demonstrated with his live. It reads in part:
- that God has revealed himself as the one who wishes to bring about justice and true peace among people;
- that God, in a world full of injustice and enmity, is in a special way the God of the destitute, the poor and the wronged…
- that the church as the possession of God must stand where the Lord stands, namely against injustice and with the wronged; that in following Christ the church must witness against all the powerful and privileged who selfishly seek their own interests and thus control and harm others.
We will use this Belhar Confession* in worship as we seek God’s power to heal racism.
As powerful a statement as the Belhar Confession is, however, it remains merely words if not put into our action against inequity between races. Our challenge, and our particular task as beneficiaries of white privilege, is to use our influence to address injustices like:
disproportionate numbers of people of color living in poverty;
inequitable sentencing and imprisonment for people of color;
the wealth gap between “whites” and people of color in the US;
racial profiling by police, lending institutions and individual citizens…
This Sunday we will pray to be healed from purposeful or inadvertent participation in these injustices, and ignorance of white privilege. And, holding fast to the promise of God’s healing, we will resolve to be instructed by people of color and, in solidarity with them, to actively participate in healing the racism that is pervasive in our American society.
Your white privileged sister in Christ,
*to hear the history & full text of The Belhar Confession go to: https://vimeo.com/97751502