General Convention prepares for expansive conversations on racism, racial healing

By David Paulsen
Posted Jun 29, 2018
Charlottesville statue.

The Rev. Paul Walker, rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Charlottesville, Virginia, talks to Presiding Bishop Michael Curry in front of the city’s statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee in September. The statue had been shrouded in a tarp while the city dealt with challenges to its decision to remove the statue of the Confederate general. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

[Episcopal News Service] Episcopal Church leaders already had begun thinking about spiritual responses to racism in 2015 when a shock of events underscored the urgency of that discernment.

A young white supremacist gunman with a fondness for the Confederate flag opened fire June 17, 2015, at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, killing nine people. That massacre, along with news reports of arsons at black churches and police shootings of unarmed black men, helped fuel passage at the 78th General Convention of Resolution C019, which called on church officers to develop a churchwide response to racial injustice, and up to $2 million was approved for that work.

The Charleston massacre, in particular, left bishops and deputies “feeling a sense of shock and outrage because I don’t think they thought that that could happen in 2015,” Heidi Kim, staff officer for racial reconciliation, told Episcopal News Service.

Kim had been on the job about a year at that time. Since then, she has helped lead a team of Episcopal Church staff members in carrying out the mandate of Resolution C019 through a framework agreed on by church officers, including Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, who was elected in 2015 as the church’s first black leader.

The racial reconciliation team developed the framework into Becoming Beloved Community, which now is the centerpiece of the Episcopal Church’s racial reconciliation efforts. How to follow through with those efforts will be the core question before the Racial Justice and Reconciliation Committee when it convenes at the 79th General Convention next week in Austin, Texas.

But racism and racial healing are such big topics, both socially and spiritually, that the discussion is expected to expand well beyond a single resolution, or even a single committee, to include meetings, events and exhibits in all corners of the convention center from July 5 to 13.

Stephanie Spellers

The Rev. Stephanie Spellers, canon to the presiding bishop for evangelism, reconciliation and creation care, delivers the keynote speech Jan. 17 at the All Our Children Conference in Columbia, South Carolina. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

“The world needs us to get serious about racial healing, reconciliation and justice,” the Rev. Stephanie Spellers, the presiding bishop’s canon for evangelism, reconciliation and creation care, said in an email. “That only happens as we tell the truth about our churches and race, proclaim the dream of Beloved Community, practice Jesus’ way of love with one another and repair the breach in our society and institutions.

“I’m eager to see our church sharing the wisdom and resources to support even more local adaptation and engagement with this vision.”

Resolution C019 was the most prominent in a series of resolutions on racism in 2015, and it was hardly General Convention’s first time addressing racism. Resolutions dating back decades have helped guide the church as it responds to racism and atones for its own complicity in racial injustice and support for racist systems, from slavery to segregation. The mandate in 2015 sought to carry those efforts a step further.

“The abomination and sin of racism continue to plague our society and our Church at great cost to human life and human dignity; we formally acknowledge our historic and contemporary participation in this evil and repent of it,” C019 reads. Another resolution, A182, called on the church to address systemic racism at all levels.

Racial reconciliation also was identified by General Convention in 2015 as one of three priorities for the 2016-18 triennium, along with evangelism and care of creation. All three priorities will be highlighted in Austin in three joint sessions of the upcoming General Convention.

Those sessions, named TEConversations, will feature three-member panel discussions on each topic. The TEConversation on racial reconciliation will kick off the series on July 6, from 10:30 a.m. to noon, with panelists Catherine Meeks, who heads the Diocese of Atlanta’s anti-racism commission; the Rev. Nancy Frausto, a “Dreamer” from the Diocese of Los Angeles who was brought to the United States from Mexico as a child; and Arno Michaelis, an author and former skinhead. (The evangelism discussion is July 7. Care of creation will be the topic July 10.)

Meeks also is founder of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing in Atlanta. The center will hold a luncheon on racial healing at noon on July 6 at the Hilton Hotel across the street from the Austin Convention Center.

Other exhibits on racial healing are planned for the same day in the exhibit hall, Kim said.

“It’s actually kind of an exciting time,” she said. “The convention will have an opportunity to talk about what it is we’re trying to engage in.” And she expects those conversations to be lively and illuminating, as well as instructive for the coming triennium.

For example, one resolution before the Racial Justice and Reconciliation Committee (B004) questions whether “anti-racism” should be replaced with a term that better encompasses the spiritual transformation sought in this work. Diocese of Atlanta Bishop Rob Wright is listed as the proposer.

A resolution (A042) submitted separately by the Executive Council Committee on Anti-Racism seeks to change the committee’s name by adding “Reconciliation.” A companion resolution (A043) would adjust the committee’s mandate accordingly.

Another resolution (A138) focuses on the church’s track record of diversifying its leadership. The resolution, submitted by the Task Force on the Episcopacy and assigned to the Churchwide Leadership Committee, would give dioceses 60 days after a bishop election to submit demographic info on all nominees.

“Progress towards the church’s goals and aspirations in the diversity of its leadership, including bishops, is dependent to a significant extent on gathering critical data to inform plans to achieve those goals and be faithful to those aspirations,” the Task Force said.

The church’s work on Becoming Beloved Community is detailed at length in the Blue Book report generated by church officers in response to Resolution C019 from 2015. Becoming Beloved Community is broken into four parts that are illustrated as a labyrinth: telling the truth about our churches and race, proclaiming the dream of Beloved Community, practicing the way of love in the pattern of Jesus and repairing the breach in society.

That framework was finalized in early 2017, Kim said, and it was released to the church that May. About half of the $2 million approved for this work has been spent so far to implement Becoming Beloved Community at the diocesan and congregation levels, and implementation is expected to continue in the new triennium, Kim said.

Becoming Beloved Community is referenced by the Executive Council Committee on Anti-Racism in its resolutions assigned to the Racial Justice and Reconciliation Committee. The stated aim of Resolution A044 is “building capacity for Becoming Beloved Community,” and it recommends a certification framework for the anti-racism training that was mandated by a 2000 resolution. The Committee on Anti-Racism also submitted a resolution to this General Convention (A045) clarifying that training requirement and reminding dioceses of it. And it is proposing a racial reconciliation awards program (A046) to recognize successful local efforts.

Resolution D002 would approve $1 million to provide grants to local ministries engaged in racial reconciliation work. That kind of direct financial support is not included in the scope of the past resolutions that produced and have supported Becoming Beloved Community.

Leona Volk greets Presiding Bishop Michael Curry during Curry’s September 2016 visit to South Dakota, where Episcopalians were involved in demonstrations against the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Photo: Mary Frances Schjonberg/Episcopal News Service

The importance of such efforts has been punctuated over the past three years by the continued shock of current events, from high-profile police shootings to the violent clashes last year in Charlottesville, Virginia, between white supremacist groups and counterprotesters. Kim said she also sees the need for racial healing in how Americans respond to migrants at the Mexican border. And environmental issues often are interwoven with race, as seen in the Standing Rock Sioux’s fight to preserve the tribe’s drinking water and Native Alaskan efforts to protect caribou breeding grounds in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

She also hopes Episcopalians will embrace the work of racial reconciliation as a personal spiritual journey, not as a way to shame those whom we may see as racist.

“We all have our own work to do, so we can’t just externalize the problem of racism,” she said. “We all can be better at being reconcilers and healers.”

Spellers said she finds hope in the visionary work of General Convention in measures such as Resolution C019 from 2015, and she expects that vision to carry the church through the next two weeks of discernment on systemic racism.

“When I look to our church’s work so recently begun toward Becoming Beloved Community, and when I hear today’s fierce racial justice and healing conversations among bishops, deputies and dedicated networks — I am deeply encouraged,” Spellers said.

– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at dpaulsen@episcopalchurch.org.


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Comments (52)

  1. Frank Harrision says:

    The first thing to do in such a conversation is to define “racism” so that it is not too broad, too narrow, not contradictory, not circular, etc. In many instances, the term has become a highly emotional, negative, and rhetorical word with little to no cognitive meaning. Nor will it suffice merely to attempt to give examples to try “to define” the term. Ostensive definitions are weak. One can always legitimately ask why is THIS an acceptable example of “x” and THAT is not. I seriously believe that racism is a most important issue and cannot be allowed to flounder on the level of emotions and beliefs.

    1. Alec Whispers says:

      Racism manifests itself in so many ways. It can be blatant or subtle. If you ask thirty people to define it, you could get 20 different answers. I think it’s like Justice Potter Stewart’s description of porn. I paraphrase, I can’t describe it, but I know it when I see it.”

      Racism is almost impossible to prove to a person determined not to see it. There is always a reason the person that experienced racism was treated poorly that is unrelated to race.

      1. Frank Harrision says:

        Indeed, various people have various notions of what the think “racism” to mean.” This is one of the major reasons that there needs to be some definition held in common before a meaningful discussion can be had. Of course, there may be long discussions needed to come, let me say, to at least a “working” definition of racism.” Otherwise, those in that discussion are going to be talking around one another, misunderstanding one another, getting frustrated with one another, and so on. So, discussions must begin, I venture to say, with a willingness to understand whatever it is that one is discussing with someone. Certainly, willingness to understand is not the same as accepting. But, a definition and the work coming to that definition is a vital part of the discussion. Otherwise, the danger of ending in chaos looms large.

        1. Alec Whispers says:

          The difficulty comes in getting people to agree to a definition. Even if you go by Webster’s definition, Dictionary.com probably has a different definition. I.E. If a white woman only dates Asian guys is she racist or is that just a preference? I say preference, others say racist. What if she won’t date white guys, but loves her father and siblings? Is that racist?

          I think more important than a definition is a willingness to just listen. In an issue this emotional, people tend to get defensive, often before the speaker has completed their speech. Sadly, the people most willing to discuss the issue probably aren’t the problem.

          1. Frank Harrision says:

            Yes, getting people to agree on a definition can be difficult. But, suppose that we accept common standards for “acceptable definitions.” For instance, suppose I defined “university” as a place of learning? Hopefully someone would point out that this is far too broad a definition; for instance, it includes kindergarten and high school. On the other hand, one could also point out that the definition is too narrow for it excluded “online learning.” These are issues of “correct form” of a definition. After all of this is settled might we then move to the acceptability of the “material content” of the definition. Then there is another matter to be considered in doing all of this and that is the definition itself and then its application in particular circumstances. Of course, listening to the other is vital in ALL of this. One reason is that no one of us is perfect. Presume that we are seekers of truth — the success of this seeking demands the help of others, even those, perhaps especially those, who do not agree with us. Not so if we are seekers of power. But, that is another matter entirely. Thanks for your comments.

  2. Craig Kauffman says:

    This sentence from the article sounds like racial profiling to me!!! — “The resolution, submitted by the Task Force on the Episcopacy and assigned to the Churchwide Leadership Committee, would give dioceses 60 days after a bishop election to submit demographic info on all nominees.”

  3. Omar Reyes says:

    I would like to see this goeven further .perhaps encourage every parish with a Vacancy to interview at least one person of color. That why more people of color are given opportunities to grow.

  4. Doug Desper says:

    The more that I read about the efforts to reconcile with others in light of racism the more that I wonder why just that single symptom of the greater sin of elitism has been identified for action. Racism is but a symptom of an elitist’s disturbed heart. Checking off the box of “Anti-Racist” leaves whole topics undisturbed that should be disturbed. Few will admit that they are a racist and the moniker of “Ally” and “Anti-Racist” are the prizes of the day. However, look at how many among us will still talk disparagingly about people in rural areas, trailer parks, the South, “flyover country”, or those with a high school education or less. Elitism is not addressed when just a single symptom of it becomes the measure. Pointing at neo-Nazis, or neo-Confederates and rushing to pray and protest in front of them solves nothing, and likely reveals something about the one doing the confronting. Rushing into the mess of someone’s racial sin to call it out is itself dangerously close to the sin of elitism. Finding the splinter in the eye of a neo-Nazi is gratifying. We found a racist! But…what about the board sticking out of our own eye? A board that bears some examining. For while the sin of racism has been found, was there not something also wrong with the pride and satisfaction to find it and call it out? That, friends, is the sin of elitism. Work for social justice. Do not get into the splinter-finding business. It will reveal ourselves.

    1. Alec Whispers says:

      Perhaps because of the harm racism has done to our country and our species. How many lives have been destroyed or ended because of a person’s skin color. It’s fine to be concerned about people who live in rural areas, trailer parks, the South, “flyover country”, being talked about disparagingly, but the division and discord created by their existence is nothing compared to the hate aimed at people because of their race.

      Are people being denied jobs because they are from the south? Have church bodies split because someone from flyover country wanted to join the congregation? Do schools have segregated proms because the kids who don’t live in trailer parks want a separate prom from people who do?

      Racism and slavery nearly divided this country in half. Racism permeates every institution in this country in a negative manner. It needs to be rectified.

  5. John Hobart says:

    Except, perhaps, for our attitude towards GAFCON and the Global South, I have never thought the Episcopal Church had a big problem with racism so I don’t get what all the hoopla is about.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      It is not racist to criticize homophobia in the Global South. We should call it out regardless of where it is found, because the LGBTQ+ people in Africa will suffer the consequences of such hate.

  6. Lou Schoen says:

    There has long been a basic definition of racism in very wide use in racial justice training (including the anti-racism training in TEC before the 2010 budget struggle cancelled all national ministries). The definition is: “racism = race prejudice plus power.” Under that definition, in American culture, all of us defined as “white” are inherently, culturally racist. That morally obligates every one of us to do some in-depth personal as well as cultural and institutional study and action to change our inherently corrupt, racist system. There has been significant change, sometimes, but it has tended repeatedly to be challenged by resistance and backlash. Please, TEC & 2018 GC: Keep up the good work you’ve laid out for yourselves and for all of us!

    1. Alec Whispers says:

      The racial justice definition you provided is valid in the aggregate, but problematic on an basis. If an Indian man tells his daughter her Black friend is not welcome in his home (but a white friend is), is he not racist? It’s somewhat rare, but sometimes a non-white is in charge. There is definitely a racial hierarchy in America and white have the numerical and financial power, but they aren’t the only group to have the sin of racism.

    2. Doug Desper says:

      Lou, I wholeheartedly reject that whites are inherently racist to the exclusion of all others. Your definition of “racism = race prejudice plus power” certainly sees more than white participation. I have experiences in social work that more than confirms that every race has prejudicial tendencies and all can find power over others when necessary to manipulate and have an advantage.

      1. Frank Harrision says:

        PLEASE do not think that this is a silly question, but specifically what is this “Jesus Movement” referred to by the PB? Do not be vague as in saying such things as “Living as Jesus lived,” or “Doing what Jesus did.” As is commonly known, these sorts of comments lead to all manner of varying interpretations. So, specifically what is the Jesus Movement envisioned by the PB? THANKS!

      2. Matt Ouellette says:

        It’s not that whites are more prejudiced than blacks individually. It’s that our society, in America, privileges the racial prejudices of whites far more than it does those of any other race. That’s why white racism is a bigger problem in America. It’s more systemic and has much deeper roots in our nation’s history (e.g. slavery, segregation, incarceration bias, stop and frisk, racial profiling, etc.). Discussing the racial prejudices of other racial groups against whites in America is less of an issue because they don’t have as much of an impact on the living standards of white Americans on a societal level.

      3. Frank Harrision says:

        Dear Mr. Desper — YOU are in a position, through your profession to see many things. Remember, though, that humans are, by nature, social beings, We gather into groups from the moment of birth, and are formulated in those groups. It is only natural that we are “suspicious” of other groups and especially those who appear to be far removed from us in our own values. But, is this racism, elitism, bigotry, or the like? Thanks for your comments.

    3. Jerry Williams says:

      “The definition is: “racism = race prejudice plus power.” Under that definition, in American culture, all of us defined as “white” are inherently, culturally racist. ” Racism, I believe is a personal flaw. The definition noted is interesting in that it excludes the personal and very intentionally refers to “power” and that white’s are culturally racist. I submit that holding that believe is racist in itself as it paints all the individuals in the group as racist. Not having power does not exclude one from racist views. If you are human, you have the capacity for racism. If you claim you don’t because you have no “power”, you are not human. This does have a precedent in Marxist views and is a practical tool for creating class unrest. Reconciliation starts with learning to see and experience someone’s spirit, not their skin tone. Maybe a perspective of “We are souls that happen to have temporary bodies.” Expecting, and really believing that there is a whole world of racists out there is racist. See the God and expect the God in everyone. We know for sure that it is there. You know that is The Way. If someone tries to convince you that you are racist, but you just don’t know it, you are not being “woke”, you are being conned.

  7. Frank Harrision says:

    Is “racism” to be so defined as it applies only to whites? If so, then many of the “arguments” and examples using “racism” in ways “against” whites become, at best circular or “true by definition,” This may well have strong rhetorical effects, most fallacies do, but little to do with the truth of the matter if it is truth being sought.

    1. Alec Whispers says:

      I don’t see why a racial designation would be included in the definition. Any person can be racist to another person. However, on a societal level, it’s ethnic minorities that are typically victims of racism.

  8. Frank Harrision says:

    I agree with your comment. My observation, however, is strictly a logical one focusing on definitions which are too broad or too narrow, Used in arguments, explanations, and the like, they often generate circularity and this is not at all helpful in seeking the truth of the matter IF we are interested in seeking the truth of the matter.

  9. Larry Waters says:

    “Racism” spoken here is really bigotry, but racism has such a catchy ring to it! If a green bell pepper is ugly to a red bell pepper because the pepper is red, then that is bigotry, what most of the commenters call racism. If the green bp thinks that he is superior to the red bp because he is green, then that is racism. Mr. Schoen’s “definition” is worded that way because he seeks a particular outcome, the same way lawyers phrase things in court to try to sway a jury. Racism [bigotry] has NOTHING to do with power, but everything to do with how we treat each other. White people are not more or less bigoted than any other ethnicity. And to keep trying to ascribe to white people that they are the only “racists” [bigots] is the height of lies and hypocrisy. People, being people, are always going to be bigoted, sadly. There will always be evil in our world, though we wish otherwise. I am sad that slavery has existed almost always. But I had nothing to do with slavery and I am not going to accept being told that I am a racist because I am Caucasian. If the EC believes that, then I will leave the EC and label them as one of the most hypocritical groups around; they would not be a religious denomination but a hate group!

    1. Alec Whispers says:

      “Racism [bigotry] has NOTHING to do with power, but everything to do with how we treat each other. White people are not more or less bigoted than any other ethnicity. And to keep trying to ascribe to white people that they are the only “racists” [bigots] is the height of lies and hypocrisy.”

      The outcome of racism has much to do with power. Compared to white people, African-Americans have very little power. African-Americans have never banded together and passed laws disenfranchising white people. We’ve never forced an entire population of Caucasians out of a town, whites have forced Blacks out of towns numerous times.

      Stop and Frisk, gerrymandering, redlining, those stupid confederate statues in the public square, are all things Black people don’t like that negatively effect us that we can’t do much about because Whites have the power. Even Affirmative-Action, which was supposed to help minorities, benefits White Women the most.

    2. Matt Ouellette says:

      Racism is a specific form of bigotry, one regarding racial differences. White supremacy is only one form of racism. I don’t think anyone here has suggested being white automatically means you are racist. What is often brought up is that whites are the most privileged racial group in America on a societal level, and therefore often benefit from a system that privileges them over other racial groups. For example, white Americans today are not responsible for slavery, but we are the beneficiaries of a society that was built on the backs of African slaves and should be aware of the long-lasting repercussions (social and economic) that has on the descendants of those slaves.

  10. Charles Vok says:

    I’m interested to see how the Church handles the growing hatred of whites in our society. There needs to be a response to this.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      I just don’t see a systemic hatred of whites that you and other conservatives claim to see. I see a criticism of white privilege in society at large, which I think should be criticized. There is a sense of rage from racial minorities against certain whites who abuse their privileges to make life harder for minorities (e.g. calling the cops on African-Americans who are selling water on the street, staying at an Airbnb, or simply mowing the lawn), but their rage is understandable given the effect that abuse has on their lives and the lives of their relatives.

      1. Doug Desper says:

        Matt: we have whole marches, protests, vigils, letters, sermons, speeches, and interdenominational cooperation which frequently calls out “white supremacy” and rightly so. I have never once – ever – heard an utterance from the PB or any other official which calls out or challenges the rabid and hateful speeches Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam – an exclusively African American organization of no small size. That organization peddles racism with every word and action and has never once been mentioned for their institutional hatred of whites.

        1. Matt Ouellette says:

          The Nation of Islam has very little power or influence in society. The outlandish statements and positions of a fringe group like that is not a sign of institutional hatred of whites in greater American society.

          1. Doug Desper says:

            How much or how little hatred matters, then, Matt? Please don’t be so dismissive of the hate group of Nation of Islam. It is bigger and more active than any single white supremacist group that became the magnet for Episcopal activists including a visit by the Presiding Bishop.

          2. Matt Ouellette says:

            I’d like to see evidence for a claim like that (from mainstream, non-biased sources), because I am skeptical that the Nation of Islam is all that powerful, and I’m especially skeptical that it has the support of PB Curry (unless I misunderstood your post). And the effect of their hatred is no where near as systemic as white supremacy, which is one of our nation’s original sins. Should that group gain influence in any way, though, they should be called out and condemned as a hate group (as they have been labeled by the SPLC):
            https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/nation-islam

      2. Alec Whispers says:

        Much of this belief that whites are “hated” is that for most of this country’s history Caucasians have done what they like to minorities, and minorities, especially Blacks could do nothing about it.

        Don’t like your Black child going to a school named after someone who fought a war to enslave them? Too bad. Don’t like going to a tax payer funded govt. building with a Confederate flag flying over it? Too bad! Tired of stereotypical negative depictions on tv or in movies. Too bad.

        For decades, Afr-Americans just had to take it. That is changing very, very slowly and that scares people.

        Any complaints about the the harm done to Black people because they are black is seen as a condemnation or hatred by (some) whites.

    2. Jordan Sakal says:

      Charles,

      There is no “systemic oppression” or “systemic hatred” of whites in American society. Society on the whole is just coming to recognise the great imbalance of privileges and rights afforded to whites based upon the colour of their skin. As an example, look at how white gunmen are treated by the police (they tend to be taken away in handcuffs and are less often to be roughed up by the police. Compare that to how people of colour are treated by the police and you have an example (one of many)of white privilege.

      What do you say to that?

      1. Alec Whispers says:

        Recently a white woman yelled at some black teens visiting a neighborhood pool. She even assaulted one of the teens. When the police went to arrest her, the woman pushed one detective into the wall and bit another on the arm. Had it been one of the teens assaulting the officers I imagine the child would be beaten at best or dead.

        Considering an unarmed Black person a threat and ending their life for selling cigarettes while white people have assaulted cops and worse, yet are taken into custody is the epitome of racism.

        http://www.startribune.com/white-woman-charged-with-assaulting-black-teen-at-pool/486715771/

        1. Frank Harrision says:

          And what of black teens killing elderly white women? IF we are going to be fair, let us remember stories on both sides of the fence. NOW, of these stories, so what in the following sense. From the fact that some whites, some blacks, some whatever are morally horrible, it does not follow that all blacks, whites, whatevers are. Indeed, it does not even follow that the majority are. We cannot argue from the characteristics of the few to that of the whole. To attempt to do this is simply to indulge in The Fallacy of Composition. Let us attempt to be more rational and less emotional. This will be to the betterment of ALL concerned.

  11. Larry Waters says:

    Mr. Ouellette and Mr. Whispers, I believe that both of you were addressing me, Larry Waters, though neither of you said so. Particularly to you Mr. Whispers, I said in my comment that people are always going to be bigoted and that there will always be evil in our world. And Mr. Ouellette, I can respond to you that all of us are beneficiaries of a society that was not only built on Black labor, but Chinese, Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian [in general]American Indian etc. The main idea in my comment was treat other people the way we would like to be treated; that idea [of course it’s Love thy neighbor etc.] would/could have avoided many of the injustices that Mr. Whispers alluded to. My take-away from both of your comments, is that discussion is pointless/hopeless.

  12. Larry Waters says:

    To Jordan Sakal: Mr. or Ms. Sakal, please cite specific examples of points that you are trying to illustrate about the police. This back and forth and trying to “best” each other reminds me of the old “Hatfields/McCoy feud”, if you are familiar with that story. If we are going to try to heal the racial breech, this ” ain’t” the way to do it. Some previous commenters are understandably angry/upset over past treatment of various minorities in our country. I certainly don’t condone that treatment, I condemn that treatment and as person who is trying to be Christian, don’t understand how that treatment came to be. But blaming me for wrongs that happened in the past and that I nothing to do with, is not something that I will accept. You push me and I push back; you swing at me and I swing at you; then the situation escalates. Perhaps a better way to heal the breech is to try to treat each other justly and equitably and “love thy neighbor” etc. Goodwill/good intentions must come from all sides.

    1. Jordan Sakal says:

      Mr. Waters,

      You really wish me to do your dirty work for you by Googling various and sundry amounts of police brutality and attacks by the police on unarmed black people? I take it then that you challenge the very existence of the racial nature of these attacks?

      From the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/05/17/us/black-deaths-police.html

      From Miami: http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/six-miami-police-brutality-cases-besides-the-kicking-video-10322438

      I could keep citing and finding examples for you, but I’m sure you can Google them yourself.

      Here are some more articles detailing how white criminals/gunmen are treated differently compared to people of colour.

      https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/03/in-texas-and-maryland-white-killers-receive-more-sympathy-than-black-victims.html

      https://www.google.com/amp/www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-austin-bomber-racial-empathy-gap-20180323-story,amp.html

      https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_59c14adbe4b0f22c4a8cf212

      https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_59d3da15e4b04b9f92058316/amp

      As you can see there are scores news articles describing the racist way in which our media and our police services treat people of colour. There is of course no excuse for this yet it shamefully continues.

      Mr. Winters, my original commentary was not directed at you and I’m actually interested in why you chose to reply when my comments were directed at Charles. Charles with the one who claimed that there is systemic oppression of white people now in society when the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.

      I do apologise if my comments were taken in any meanness by yourself, as I mentioned, my comments were for Charles and maybe they got shuffled around on the thread here.

      Have a good day,

      Mr. Sakal

  13. Larry Waters says:

    Mr. Sakal, thank you for your response. I could say Google, Huff Post, NY Times, Chicago Tribune etc. are all totally biased against conservatives. And I could also agree with Charles Vok about the systemic oppression of whites, which you say is not true. The problem is that we all have our views, which are true in our thinking. As I mentioned in a previous post, this attempt to “best” each other is NOT going to work. And there will always be evil,bigoted, mean spirited people in the world; it is sadly, a human trait. As I said in the last line of a previous post, goodwill/good intentions must come from all sides.

    1. Frank Harrison says:

      You say, “The problem is that we all have our views, which are true in our thinking.” Exactly. This is a deep seated moral relativism. What is true is what I believe to be true. But, what I believe to be true is NO evidence that it is true no matter how strongly I hold it to be true. In my beliefs I may well be wrong. (This is one reason why I NEED others to help me against myself.) Nor is something true because a good many people hold it to be true and even true over long periods of time. That is merely another form of relativism. So, a question for each of us is are we pleased with such relativism or do we want to seek the truth which is independent (as far as evidence for is concerned) of what I believe to be the truth? If we are pleased with relativism, then then only thing that each, or groups, can do is to pronounce their beliefs and shout at those who have different beliefs. If we do not want to do this but rather to seek the truth, then we have to recognize that this is hard work which we cannot do along and which must be done in the light of the laws of rational thought. Here we do have a fundamental choice to make and stick with.

    2. Jordan Sakal says:

      Mr. Waters,

      My point in providing you those linked sources was to create for you the proof that you so eagerly sought. Charles Vok was the gentleman who claimed that there was systemic oppression of whites going on. I provided evidence (biased if you would like to think it, I would like you to provide other evidence in that case.) which indicated that the treatment of people of colour (hereafter POC) by police and others (the media) is racially tinged and biased against POC.

      You are correct in thinking that you suffer from confirmation bias. You are choosing to disbelief what I am providing evidence for, which is of course your own perogative. (Evidence mind you, that is especially valid given there is videographic proof of these attacks and situations which occur to POC.)

      I am not seeking to “best” you, again my initial comments were not directed at you (rather they were directed to Charles) I seek merely to educate Charles on the fact that oppression of whites which he claims is not as valid as he thinks.

    3. Alec Whispers says:

      How can there be systemic oppression against the ruling class? By it’s very nature, that is an impossibility. Whites control every major institution in this country. Even when we had a bi-racial President, he was still a cog in a wheel designed by, run by, and to benefit white people.

      There is not a single societal indicator where whites don’t do significantly better than African-Americans. Even Affirmative Action, conceived as a way to allow non-whites more opportunity,has garnered the most benefits to white woman.

      I hear so many examples in which white people are told “We would have hired you, but we had to hire a black person”. (Yet, the alleged victim never sues or tells the media). Even if that were true, it’s not systemic, nor pervasive.

      Are there Blacks more successful than Whites in America? Yes. Some are extremely wealthy and powerful. Are there laws, policies, and traditions intertwined in the very fabric of this country to benefit minorities over whites? No. Have whites used the law, policies, and customs to give themselves an advantage over minorities, especially Black people? Yes.

      “There are lots of reasons that whites have so much more wealth than nonwhites. How the GI Bill played out is one of those reasons. Whites were able to use the government guaranteed housing loans that were a pillar of the bill to buy homes in the fast growing suburbs. Those homes subsequently rose greatly in value in coming decades, creating vast new household wealth for whites during the postwar era.

      But black veterans weren’t able to make use of the housing provisions of the GI Bill for the most part. Banks generally wouldn’t make loans for mortgages in black neighborhoods, and African-Americans were excluded from the suburbs by a combination of deed covenants and informal racism. ”

      http://www.demos.org/blog/11/11/13/how-gi-bill-left-out-african-americans

  14. John Hobart says:

    If you enter “bigotry” at the Google prompt, the following definition is returned: “intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself.” Based on that simple definition, I would suggest that the Episcopal Church has an enormous problem with bigotry, but not necessarily with racism.

  15. Matt Ouellette says:

    I don’t think that is a very good definition of the word. Here is a better definition from Merriam-Webster of the word “bigot”: “a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (such as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.” It’s not just about people who disagree with you, but includes hatred based on race and ethnicity. And I would say that, while TEC does need to do a better job at allowing for differences of opinions, it is FAR better than other denominations (e.g. Roman Catholic, Southern Baptist) of allowing its members to hold to a diverse range of opinions, within reason (you can’t disagree on gay marriage, for example, in the Roman Catholic Church or Southern Baptist churches without being excommunicated).

    1. John Hobart says:

      The Roman Catholics and Southern Baptists are somewhat beyond the sphere of my influence. In my parish we have never lost a parishioner due to racial and ethnic intolerance, to the best of my knowledge, since I have been attending. We have lost quite a few due to the political bigotry of some clergy. From a church vitality standpoint, it doesn’t matter that they weren’t excommunicated.

  16. Matt Ouellette says:

    Where the priests saying “conservatives are not welcome in our church?” Because that would be political bigotry. However, if the priests were merely sharing their own views on politics which certain parishioners disagreed with and decided to leave the congregation over, that’s not bigotry. That’s the parishioners not wanting to listen to contrary points of view.

    1. John Hobart says:

      They made it abundantly clear that their political opinions were God’s opinions and that anyone who disagreed was morally deficient and not welcome. That is bigotry. It is also probably idolatry when you decide that your political views are God’s political views.

      1. Frank Harrision says:

        Thank you, Mr. Hobart for these insights which are all too often forgotten. Idolatry comes in various forms and those who practice it are often the first to deny that they are doing sol

    2. Mark Bigley says:

      Hopefully the Gospel is preached instead of politics. They are not the same.

  17. Mark Bigley says:

    Lots of counting coup going on. Perhaps working on our own sanctification in “fear and trembling” ( thanks St. Paul) would be more fruitful than spending time policing others. Somewhere awhile back someone said “Let me be the change I wish to see in others.” I thought God was the source of change, not us beating other people up.

  18. Hugh Hansen, Ph.D. says:

    I think the whole argument has been aired here in a quite intelligent way. I do think some thoughts expressed here where remembering. “Elitist,” “judgemental,” and “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Elitism we can understand. What is meant by racism is nebulous at best. I live in a minority community. I am called “brother” by my neighbor and we all seem to be a contented community. I go to a church with a number of black people. Both white people and black people in my church seem to go out of their way to show kindness, thoughtfulness, and Christian love to one another. What each of us need is to “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling,” as Mark has said, we end up in the right Christian relationship to one another.

  19. Frank Harrison says:

    Just what constitutes “elitism”? The word is used a good deal in a derogatory sense, but is this appropriate? For instance, IF elitism is admitting that someone is better that someone else in a given area, then what is wrong with that. MY physicians are far better than I am in the practice of medical science/art. Of course, someone may claim that she is better than someone else in a given area and yet not be. I would not call such an attitude one of elitism but rather, perhaps, snobbery. So, just what is elitism?

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