Across our nation, we again try to come to terms with an act of senseless violence. What we know is that a twenty-one year old white man took a gun into a Bible study at an African-American church in Charleston and, after attending an hour of the study, opened fire, killing nine people at point blank range. This act comes after a series of police shootings that raise serious questions about race and law enforcement. It comes after campus rampages at Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and Santa Monica.
Our last issue of the Diocesan Messenger focused on racism. Both the editor and I received a significant amount of vitriolic and angry email. We may wish to fool ourselves into thinking that the church is enlightened. We are not. Our nation is not. We have not purged the demons of racism and prejudice. And our love affair with violence and guns makes for a maddening and wicked mix.
African-Americans in this country are in poverty because of racism. African-Americans are disproportionately in prison (our modern slavery) because of racism. African-Americans are being killed because of racism. Look at the statistics. Look at the history.
Surely, we need to pray for the victims–again. Some will say, we should do something modest and measured about gun control. Some might even suggest we try to address why African-Americans are disproportionately poor and in prison. My sense is that nothing is going to change until we get rid of the guns and we actually pay the price, as a nation, for what we have done to generations of African-Americans from the days of slavery until today. The wasteland we have created calls for a new Marshall Plan to transform the lives of our brothers and sisters. It is time. There are no excuses. The next time we recite our baptismal covenant and say the words, “to respect the dignity of every human being,” race relations and reconciliation are what we should be thinking about.
At 7:15 a.m. Sunday, June 28, during the upcoming General Convention in Salt Lake City, I will march alongside scores of bishops in the Bishops United march to rally people of faith to seek common ground to curtail gun violence. I will march and pray for the victims, their families, and for our nation’s leaders to bring an end to this senseless violence. I bid your prayers, advocacy and action as well. It is long overdue.
May the grace and peace of Christ be with us all.
Thanks to a three-year grant from The Episcopal Church’s Office of Global Partnerships, EDSD is glad to welcome a new part-time Border Missioner, Troy Elder. In this role, Troy will coordinate ministry activities in the Diocese of San Diego related to US-Mexico border and migration issues. He will collaborate with diocesan staff, congregations, community ministry […]
The Diocesan Service & Justice Coalition, (formerly the Diocesan Service Coalition) began in 2011 by Sarah Shealy at Christ Church Coronado. The DSJC is a group of dedicated service/outreach and peace/social justice coordinators at parishes throughout our diocese who strive to network and share ideas and collaborate on projects to make a greater impact in […]
Jeff Pack, St. Paul’s Cathedral John Shelby Spong, the controversial, well-traveled, and now retired, Episcopal Bishop from New Jersey, once claimed his early spiritual search was simply a means to seeking security for his anxious and insecure soul. He would discover he was only partially correct, as he later wrote in his autobiography, “…I discovered […]