“My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain! Oh, the walls of my heart! My heart is beating wildly; I cannot keep silent.” – Jeremiah 4:19
Such are the words of a Middle Eastern prophet some 2,700 years ago. During their time, ancient prophets exposed and challenged social injustice, abuses of power, and particularly violence against the less powerful and marginalized. They did so without weapon or armour – but with the words of truth.
The events in Charlottesville, VA, the anti- Semitic graffiti in Winnipeg, and all of the lesser-known acts of racial violence (including the “freedom of speech” demonstrations designed to legitimate such behaviour), demand a response, not just from law enforcement agencies or civil governments, but from all people who can clearly see the fear and hate that lies behind such actions.
We unequivocally denounce these actions and the attitudes that lie behind them. We call on the members of our churches and all those who embrace the inherent dignity of every human being to do likewise. The words we speak and the words we hear have power – both negatively to radicalize and engender misunderstanding and fear – and positively to create life-giving space and peace for all. To remain silent is to abdicate our responsibility to protect and support our fellow human beings.
We are not all biblical prophets, but we all have power to shape the beliefs, attitudes, and actions of the communities in which we live. It is imperative that we speak out strongly against these acts of violence; that we visibly support those being oppressed and excluded; and, in our own lives, that we continually challenge ourselves, through our attitudes and actions, to help build peaceful societies for all humanity.
+Bishop Donald Phillips
Diocese of Rupert’s Land
+Bishop Elaine Sauer
Manitoba/Northwestern Ontario Synod
See pdf version here