Racism

Jim Wallis 6-09-2016

Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who last week gave his support to Trump, said Tuesday that Trump’s recent attack on Judge Gonzalo Curiel of a United States District Court was “the textbook definition of a racist comment.” Textbook racism, said Ryan — but he has yet to withdraw his support.

6-08-2016

                                                                                    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Michael Mershon, Director of Advocacy and Communications

Phone: 202-745-4654

Email: mmershon@sojo.net

Detail of window honoring Stonewall Jackson. Image via Washington National Cathedral / RNS

The Washington National Cathedral will replace depictions of the Confederate flag in its stained-glass windows with plain glass but maintain adjoining panes honoring Confederate generals for at least two years while it fosters discussions about the church and race relations.

The board of the cathedral announced the decision June 8, almost a year after the South Carolina governor ordered the Confederate flag be removed from its statehouse grounds. The governor’s action followed the fatal June 17 shootings of nine members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., by an alleged perpetrator known for embracing the flag.

Image via Wendy Gustofson / RNS

The sign in front of the building reads “Blessed Ramadan.”

But the building isn’t a mosque or Islamic Center — it’s Pilgrim Congregational Church, a United Church of Christ congregation in Duluth, Minn.

Image via REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/RNS

When boxing star Cassius Clay declared himself a member of the controversial Nation of Islam back in 1964 and demanded to be called by his new name, Muhammad Ali, he shocked the world of sports and rattled a nation already struggling with social unrest over civil rights and the Vietnam War.

But Ali’s conversion also launched a pilgrimage of faith that would take him from the fringes of Islam through its orthodox heart, and from a virtual pariah to a global ambassador for faith — his own and others — as the key to peace.

the Web Editors 6-06-2016

Image via  / Shutterstock.com

In a three-page letter, U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela blasted Donald Trump as a “racist” and told him “you can take your border wall and shove it up your ass,” reports Chron.

Vela, a Democrat from the border town of Brownsville, Texas, opened the letter diplomatically, admitting that he agrees with Trump that the government has failed veterans, that Mexican drug cartel violence requires a more serious response, and that felons who are undocumented ought to be deported.

the Web Editors 6-03-2016

Donald Trump continued his streak of racist comments on June 2, this time taking aim at a federal judge.

 

Reggie L. Williams 4-26-2016

I knew that the problem of race in America was one of the two main engines that mobilized his project in Christian ethics. The other was the threat of war. In the 1980s, Glen put together a method of doing Christian ethics in the context of the Cold War that was meant to help foster clarity in conversation and allow unspoken influential preferences to be recognized. As he understood it, we are much more than reasoning, rational minds; we are a complex amalgam of different contributing factors, including our core convictions, community loyalties, things we are passionate about, people we trust, and political commitments. Indeed, many things are at play in all of our ethical decisions.

Shane Claiborne 4-20-2016

Andrea Izzotti / Shutterstock.com

The color of your skin shouldn’t determine whether you live or die. But that is precisely the case for Duane Buck, a Texas man facing execution. His case is before the Supreme Court this month.

Image via Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Jim Bourg/RNS

A year ago, when the death of Freddie Gray and resulting unrest in Baltimore filled the news, the Rev. Kathy Dwyer felt she had to do something.

“Every time I turned on the TV, I just felt like I was getting punched in the gut from watching the issue of racism just escalate in our country,” said the white pastor of a predominantly white United Church of Christ congregation in Arlington, Va.

the Web Editors 4-13-2016

Image via  / Shutterstock.com

A task force appointed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has unleashed a blistering account of racism in the Windy City’s police department, reports The New York Times. The report was issued April 13, just as the police department’s new superintendent was being installed.

April 4, 2018 — two years from now — will be the 50th anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

April 4, 2017 — one year from now — will be the 50th anniversary of his speech to Clergy and Laity Concerned About Vietnam, at Riverside Church in New York. There he warned us of the “deadly triplets” of racism, militarism, and materialism that were endangering America. (And still are.)

Ryan Stewart 4-01-2016

Although King should rightly be lifted up as a hero of nonviolence and deeply Christian minister, we need to be reminded of King's radical legacy. King harshly criticized white people who failed to support black leadership. And particuarly toward the end of his life, King began to speak out about economic injustice and militarism, decrying the ills of capitalism and the Vietnam War.

As you remember today a leader who was murdered for his political beliefs, take a moment to reflect on these nine quotes:

Jim Wallis 3-31-2016
The Summit 2015

The Summit 2015, by JP Keenan/Sojourners

Imagine what it would look like for a diverse mosaic of justice movements to stand together to oppose white supremacy.

Imagine what it would look like for our spirituality to be infused with a longing for repair and restoration of what centuries of racial division have broken.

Imagine what it would look like for a room full of business leaders, local pastors, grassroots organizers, and artists to discuss real answers to deep problems.

That’s the vision for The Summit 2016. And we need your help to make it happen.

3-30-2016

Jim Wallis, social activist, author and one of America’s most influential Christian voices discusses social justice and the Christian life.

2014 Moral March in Raleigh, N.C.

2014 Moral March in Raleigh, N.C. EPG_EuroPhotoGraphics / Shutterstock.com

Meeting for a one-day emergency session last week, North Carolina’s General Assembly passed HB2, which has been widely criticized as the nation’s worst anti-LGBT bill. In supposed defense of the general welfare, conservative lawmakers moved to stop a Charlotte ordinance that would have allowed transgender citizens to use public restrooms of the gender with which they identify. But their call to “protect our women and children” echoes language of the white supremacy campaign that overthrew local governments in this state 120 years ago. Both then and now, the call to defend families against imagined predators is a crude power grab.

Since the beginning of the modern era almost 500 years ago, Western culture has been marked by a distinct aversion to history. Thus we have come to narrate our lives primarily through our stories as (seemingly) autonomous individuals, instead of through the social stories of the peoples and places to which we belong. One of the unfortunate consequences of this shift is that we often become blind to the socioeconomic narratives that have set the stage for our present lives.

One of these is white supremacy, which has shaped the geographical, educational, and economic systems of our land over many generations and played a formative role in the life of almost every American. In his excellent new book, Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism, Drew Hart turns our attention to this story and particularly to the ways it misshapes our Christian faithfulness. Hart begins the book with a description of how racialized our lives are. Historically, nonwhites were excluded from many important spaces in U.S. public life: schools, governmental positions, and even churches. Although few, if any, of these spaces today explicitly exclude nonwhites, our socioeconomic systems are rooted in these earlier eras and continue to promote a highly segregated way of life. “When we can be honest about how our entire society is deeply racialized,” Hart says, “we will be ready to move forward.”

Hart reminds us that race is not simply about the color of one’s skin but also about power and the question of who gets to dictate the course that our society will follow. Early in the book, he spends a chapter exploring how our understanding of Jesus is often too white. We are inclined to imagine Jesus as an influencer, one who works in the upper echelons of our hierarchical society and who has the power to control the course of society. Hart emphasizes that this is not the Jesus that we find in the gospels, who aligned himself with the marginalized and who mostly rejected hierarchical society. “Where the old order dominated and violently lorded over others,” Hart observes, “the kingdom of God arose from the bottom, margins, and cracks of society, freely inviting people to share in the peace and justice of God made available in the presence of Jesus.”

3-28-2016

Listen to the interview here.

Outspoken evangelical preacher Jim Wallis has been arrested many times at civil rights and anti-war protests over the years. In the wake of the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice, he tells Andrew West it's time for America to confront its 'original sin'—racism.

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