White supremacy is inherently violent. Sometimes that violence comes in words that deny the common humanity we share with all God’s children, and sometimes that violence comes from the point of a gun.
President Trump has used his words for violence as he denigrates the humanity of our brothers and sisters. He told four members of congress to “go home” and then crowds of his supporters took up the chant. He denigrated the citizens of Baltimore by calling their city a “disgusting and rat and rodent infested mess” and saying, “no human being would want to live there.”
This past weekend, we witnessed two more mass shootings. We already know that one of these shooters was undeniably motivated by hatred of immigrants and targeted our Latinx siblings. This was not just violence, but violence motivated to take the words of white supremacy and act them out to their logical and deadly conclusion.
Politics and policy come out of culture and either the failures or successes of our country’s leadership. With each statement we hear from faith and political leaders we need to ask, do they affirm or denigrate the image of God in every person? Do these words take us a step closer to peace and understanding or toward fear and division?
We must hold our elected officials accountable. But for our church leaders today we must ask another question, how loudly is your silence speaking? How deafening are the words we have not said to the people who now suffer?
If now is not the time to have the hard conversations in our communities about the violence we perpetuate through our acceptance of the status quo, when will it be?
It is not enough to claim that our communities are not at fault for the violence of words and deeds we see every day. We must be a part of the solution or we perpetuate the problem.
We need to confess our sins of things done and left undone. Then, take our thoughts and prayers and turn them to action.