“In Christ there is no Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female” (Galatians 3:28)
There is no difference between races, classes, or genders in the salvation that Christ brings to us all. This is essential to the work of Jesus Christ, and the early church made a clear choice to create a multiracial Christian community. Therefore, a multiracial body of Christ is not only admirable—it is intrinsic, mandated, and expected by God.
But today in America, we as Christian leaders are morally concerned about the deluge of incidents this year that have revealed how the factors of race have yet to be resolved or, as we would say, reconciled.
Painful incidents like the killings of Trayvon Martin and Jonathan Ferrell, as well as this year’s Supreme Court decision that removed a key provision of the Voting Rights Act reveal the racial divides at the heart of our nation. It is time for the multiracial body of Christ to be clear that we are in this together. These issues are all of our issues. We are one church. We are one body.
Therefore, together, we pledge to:
Take our mission of racial reconciliation to a country divided by racial segregation. Every denomination in the United States has experienced the dividing blade of racism. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. observed that 11 a.m. on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America. Sadly, his prophetic words are still true today. The Apostle Paul compares the church to the human body, saying when “one part suffers, all parts suffer with it.” Christian churches have often been silent, blind, or actively complicit with acts of racial intolerance and injustice, hurting Christ’s body and causing suffering to our brothers and sisters. Racism is a sin that must be named, repented of, and healed. The church must come together as a multiracial community of faith for the sake of the credibility of the gospel of reconciliation that we preach. We must pledge to make this gospel vision a reality.
Take it upon ourselves to repair our criminal justice system and protect the safety and security of all our brothers and sisters and their children. Racial profiling is a sin against God’s children and against God. We must oppose it wherever it occurs, commit ourselves to a racially just criminal justice system, and strengthen protections against racial profiling by government and civilians, a practice that particularly threatens the lives of people of color and other minority groups. Christians must be among those who lead in defending minority children and their parents from danger in harmful environments.
Take to the Congress the critical need to restore the integrity of the Voting Rights Act. We will respond to the Supreme Court’s mandate to develop and enact an updated formula for Section 4 “preclearance” for any new regulations that could threaten the voting rights of minorities, including the young and the elderly—especially in those states and places where a history of race-based voter suppression has long existed. We must ensure public accountability for any proposed changes in voting procedures that threaten voting rights. Protecting voting rights for all is not only a foundational democratic principle, but also is rooted in the theological imperative to build a multiracial community that protects “the least of these.”