NCC statement on Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, and Dallas killings

Posted Jul 9, 2016

“My eyes are spent with weeping; my stomach churns; my bile is poured out on the ground because of the destruction of my people, because infants and babes faint in the streets of the city.” —Lamentations 2:11 NRSV

“Please, Lord, you know our rights, Lord. You know we are innocent people, Lord. We are innocent people.” — Lavish Reynolds, girlfriend of Philando Castile

The National Council of Churches mourns the recent shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, LA, Philando Castile in suburban Minneapolis, MN, and five police officers in Dallas, TX. These killings point to the racial tensions that plague our society and the disturbing disregard for the sacredness of human life, exacerbated by the prevalence of weapons.

We pray for a full recovery of those wounded in Dallas and for the friends and families of those killed in each of these tragic incidents. Words seem inadequate to express the depth of our sorrow and the extent of our concern for the stability and well-being of our country. Our society is in need of a radical transformation, away from suspicion and anger to trust and reconciliation. We are committed to the pursuit of both racial justice and sensible measures to prevent gun violence, and to working to bring about reconciliation among our people.

We commend the following statements from NCC member communions:

Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:

“We are killing ourselves, and until we in the white community feel that the death of a person of color is our death too, it’s not going to change.”

Rev. J. Herbert Nelson, Presbyterian Church (USA):

The Bible reminds us that, “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them, because greater is the one who is in you than the one who is in the world” (I John 4:4). Our ability to overcome the world by the God-bestowed power within us requires faith and courage.

Other statements will be posted on the NCC website as they become available.