The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 17, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Council of Bishops President Bishop Bruce R. Ough has challenged United Methodists and all peoples of faith to be bold in the witness against racism and white supremacy, which he described as repugnant and against the Christian faith.
In a statement to the more than 12 million members of The United Methodist Church, Bishop Ough expressed dismay and grief over the clashes between white supremacy advocates and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“I am shocked by the blatant resurgence of white nationalism, neo-Nazism and racially motivated domestic terrorism in the United States. I am dismayed (and frightened) by the animosity, division, extremism and evil that is spiraling out of control in the U.S.”
He asked the UMC to join in the grieving for the lives lost, and pray for the family of Heather Heyer, the families of the two state troopers killed while monitoring the Charlottesville demonstration from the air, and for the healing of all the injured.
Bishop Ough noted that there should be no excuses or political justification for the evil that was on full display in Charlottesville last Saturday. “Nor, let us forget that many such displays of white supremacy, racism and hatred go un-reported or under-reported in many places. White supremacist and neo-Nazi ideologies are abhorrent and entirely inconsistent with the Christian faith.”
Pointing out that the United Methodists share collective responsibility to break their silence, the leader of the bishops called on all people of faith to use the shock, dismay and grief of Charlottesville to stand up against extremism, hatred and racism. “We share collective responsibility, as followers of the Prince of Peace, to create non-violent communities where people with different political and religious views respect each other. We share responsibility to articulate the vision of the Beloved Community where no person feels endangered on account of their social, racial or cultural identity.”
He called on all people to examine their own hearts for the prejudice that contributes to attitudes of supremacy or hatred, or to violence, or silence or fear.
“This is the moment for The United Methodist Church and all peoples of faith to be bold in our witness against racism and white supremacy. The vision of the Beloved Community lies not behind us, but before us. I urge us to pray for the Holy Spirit to break through and work through The United Methodist Church to heal our broken world and make tangible, visible the kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.”
Quoting scripture, Bishop Ough noted that “Jesus called his followers to ‘love your neighbor.’ It is clear this key spiritual imperative means all neighbors without regard to race, color, religion or national origin. And, Paul taught that “enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions and factions” are among many works of the flesh that are antithetical to the kingdom of God. “By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:19-23) These works of the Spirit lead to peace-making and the kingdom of God.”Read More