IC3 Church Growth & Development Conference
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dr. Ralph D. West, the IC3 Senior Board, and IC3 Advisory Team denounce racial injustice
HOUSTON – On May 25, 2020, we were aghast by the video of the homicide of George Floyd. In spite of his ever weakening voice crying out, “I can’t breathe!,” Mr. Floyd died from asphyxia as a result of a knee on his neck. This evil act was preceded by the unconscionable murders of Breonna Taylor in her own home by police and Ahmaud Arbery by a white father and son while he was jogging in their neighborhood. The loss of these precious black lives, along with the racial disparities highlighted amidst COVID-19, has reminded us that America still does not have a vaccine for its deadliest virus, racism. The virus of racism has killed far more black people in America than any other virus in this nation’s history.
We are outraged by the acts of domestic terrorism perpetuated against black people in this country. We are filled with righteous indignation over the crimes against humanity that render black lives expendable, relegate black communities to food deserts, create prejudice policies, engage in judicial apartheid, implement zip code injustice, and exploit educational inequities in this country. We are demanding that America live up to its pledge of “liberty and justice for all.” We share the sentiments of Fannie Lou Hamer, uttered in 1964, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired!”
We demand that every perpetrator and accomplice in the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We demand that independent prosecutors and investigators be assigned to every case involving a police officer. We demand that justice be swift on their behalf. We echo the words of the prophet, Amos: “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
We understand that riots are the megaphones of the unheard. We understand and share the pain and frustration that injustice has caused. Yet, violence and vandalism undermine the power of peaceful protest to bring injustice to the attention of the world. Participation in the senseless burning of our cities and destruction of our businesses only create cisterns of more violence and death. Such activity does not advance the cause of justice nor honor the life of George Floyd and others.
We challenge all Christian clergy of every ethnicity and faith tradition to raise your prophetic voice. We have a biblical and moral responsibility to speak truth to power. The prophet’s role on God’s behalf is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Our congregations and communities must be comforted with hope and faith. Yet, systemic evil must be confronted and overthrown. America must be called to confess its sins, repent of its sins, and rectify its recidivistic proclivities to sin against black people. Walter Brueggemann reminds us that the prophet’s work “is nothing less than an assault in the consciousness of the empire, aimed at nothing less than dismantling of the empire both in its social practices and its mythic pretensions.” We cannot be silent at such a critical time. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. There comes a time when silence is betrayal. In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” We call on white clergy and their congregations to fight with us for justice in the same manner that white abolitionists fought with us against slavery and conscientious whites joined Dr. King in the quest for justice.
IC3, under the leadership of our founder, Dr. Ralph Douglas West, is committed to helping pastors and churches maneuver through the murky waters of injustice and the uncharted waters of leading through a pandemic. As the sons and daughters of Isaachar, who understood the times and knew what they should do, IC3 will continue to be a resource for pastors and churches. We will be persistent in our engagement with civil rights organizations, as well as government on all levels to affect meaningful change in our communities. In addition, we invite our white colleagues to join us in strategic conversations and partnerships that advance the cause of justice and manifestation of the beloved community.
IC3 Church Growth & Development Conference