Stand down, hate groups. Stand down, right-wing extremists. There is no place in our country and no place in our lives for hate and violence.
I hope I am preaching to the choir with this statement, but just to be very clear – I denounce and condemn white supremacy and white supremacy groups and all groups that promote discrimination and violence.
It is too bad that this has to be said out loud in our country in 2020 but clearly that is the case. Both the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament tell us to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” That includes all of my neighbors including every religion (and no religion), every skin tone, and every cultural background.
I serve a church that is Open and Affirming. Our Welcome Statement declares, “As a church, we welcome and affirm all persons of every race, age, gender, family structure, physical or mental ability, economic status, faith back-ground, nationality, sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity into the full life and ministry of this community of faith, including membership and leadership. “
When we do that, we not only learn more about one another, we also learn more about God. We are told that every one of us is created in the image of God. When I limit myself to knowing only people who look, act, or think like I do, I limit what I can learn about the nature of God. If I close myself off from others, I am the one who loses; my life will not be enriched by their presence.
Racism – stand down. Messages of hate and violence hurt all of us. Instead, let us widen our circle so that we can welcome and learn from all of God’s children.