ELCA Leaders Address Charlottesville

Greater Milwaukee Synod Bishop Paul Erickson on Charlottesville:

“Like so many of us, I am disgusted by the violence and racism that was on display last evening and today in Charlottesville; I am grateful for the courageous witness of my colleagues and so many others who stood their ground for justice, inclusion, and love; and I am convinced that we cannot take any comfort in the fact that these events took place miles away from us. We must all commit ourselves to the painful and persistent task of uprooting the racism that infects our communities and congregations.”

Virginia Synod of the ELCA statement:

As members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), we stand against all forms of hatred and discrimination. We believe that cultural, ethnic and racial differences should be seen and celebrated as what God intends them to be – blessings rather than means of oppression and discrimination. We are a church that belongs to Christ, where there is a place for everyone. Christ’s church is not ours to control, nor is it our job to sort, divide, categorize or exclude.

The ELCA’s social statement, “Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity and Culture” states: “Racism—a mix of power, privilege, and prejudice—is sin, a violation of God’s intention for humanity. The resulting racial, ethnic, or cultural barriers deny the truth that all people are God’s creatures and, therefore, persons of dignity. Racism fractures and fragments both church and society.”

We stand in solidarity with clergy and community members who will gather August 12 in Charlottesville to reject the hatred and discrimination of white supremacy.

ELCA commitment to confronting racism and anti-Semitism:

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), stands against all forms of hatred and discrimination. The church believes that cultural, ethnic and racial differences should be seen and celebrated as what God intends them to be—blessings rather than means of oppression and discrimination.

The ELCA’s social statement “Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity and Culture” states: “Racism—a mix of power, privilege, and prejudice—is sin, a violation of God’s intention for humanity. The resulting racial, ethnic, or cultural barriers deny the truth that all people are God’s creatures and, therefore, persons of dignity. Racism fractures and fragments both church and society.”

The social statement, adopted by the ELCA 1993 Churchwide Assembly, calls on the church to make confession for complicity, name the spiritual crisis at the roots, commit to change and make pledges to public witness, advocacy and action to confront racism.

“We recognize that the kind of violence we witnessed in Charlottesville last weekend is very real and affects all of us,” said ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton. “We need to stand up firmly against racism and anti-Semitism, show up for and advocate with others. Jesus, who makes visible those who are invisible, is already there. We need to show up, and we need to listen in each of our communities.”

The ELCA is a church that belongs to Christ and Christ’s church universal, where there is a place for everyone. The job of Christ’s people today is to celebrate the diversity of God’s creative work and embrace all people in the spirit of love, whatever race or ethnicity, economic status or gender.

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