More than 300 concerned Christian theologians and ethicists released a statement Monday condemning white supremacy, racism, neo-Nazi ideals, and xenophobic principles as sin against God.
The statement came days after white nationalists marched in Charlottesville, Va., to protest removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, clashing with counter-protesters. Heather Heyer, 32, was killed when a 20-year-old white nationalist plowed his car into a crowd of protesters.
The statement reads in part:
White supremacy and racism deny the dignity of each human being revealed through the Incarnation. The evil of white supremacy and racism must be brought face-to-face before the figure of Jesus Christ, who cannot be confined to any one culture or nationality. Through faith we proclaim that God the Creator is the origin of all human persons. In the words of Frederick Douglass, “Between the Christianity of this land and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference.
The group also placed blame on the 2016 election and “the ‘America First’ doctrine” for fueling xenophobia and emboldening hate groups to practice their racist, supremacist, and nationalistic ideals publicly. This statement came before Trump’s recent news conference in which he blamed both sides for their violent actions, equating the actions of the counter-protestors with the neo-Nazis.
The statement also called on every Christian leader in every denomination to denounce white supremacy, racism, and white nationalism in their congregations, reminding them that every person is created in God’s image.
The signers of the statement — written by Tobias Winright, Associate Professor of Theological Ethics at Saint Louis University; MT Dávila, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics at Andover Newton Theological School; Anna Floerke Scheid, Associate Professor of Theology at Duquesne University, and Matthew Tapie, Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies at Saint Leo University — pledged to reject white supremacy and other hate-filled ideals through their teaching, writing, and service. They said:
- We reject racism and anti-Semitism, which are radical evils that Christianity must actively resist.
- We reject the sinful white supremacy at the heart of the “Alt Right” movement as Christian heresy.
- We reject the idolatrous notion of a national god. God cannot be reduced to “America’s god.”
- We reject the “America First” doctrine, which is a pernicious and idolatrous error. It foolishly asks Americans to replace the worship of God with the worship of the nation, poisons both our religious traditions and virtuous American patriotism, and isolates this country from the community of nations. Such nationalism erodes our civic and religious life, and fuels xenophobic and racist attacks against immigrants and religious minorities, including our Jewish and Muslim neighbors.
- We confess that all human beings possess God-given dignity and are members of one human family, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or country of origin.
- We proclaim that the gospel of Jesus Christ has social and political implications. Those who claim salvation in Jesus Christ, therefore, must publicly name evil, actively resist it, and demonstrate a world of harmony and justice in the midst of racial, religious and indeed all forms of human diversity.
Read full text and list of signers here.