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Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also. 1 John 4: 20-21 NRSV

The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) is firmly, resolutely, and unequivocally opposed to white supremacy. Our faith teaches us that every person is created in the image and likeness of God. We believe, as Jesus instructed us, to love our neighbors as ourselves and to treat others as we would want to be treated. Embracing white supremacy is immoral, unjust, and anti-Christian. Theologically, spiritually, and practically, white supremacy is an affront to the faith that we proclaim. We stand in opposition to it and all the ways it is manifest in our society.

The fact that any national leader, much less the President of the United States, would continuously refuse to publicly denounce this evil that has haunted and permeated American society since its beginnings, is alarming at best. We have come to accept certain shared values in our society and promoting white supremacy or being openly racist are not a part of those values. Yet, during Tuesday night’s Presidential Debate, the world witnessed the President give what can only be described as marching orders to white supremacist factions in our nation when he spoke directly to the Proud Boys, a recognized hate group, and encouraged them to “stand back and stand by.” This was unacceptable and we urge the President to retract his statements and to once and for all without equivocation disavow white supremacy.

We further decry the President’s call for his supporters to engage in voter intimidation tactics by going to polling places to “monitor” voters on Election Day. This is a tactic that was used during the Civil Rights Movement to prevent Black people from voting with tragic outcomes. Surely, this is not a part of our history that we want to repeat. A democracy only works when the people and the leaders abide by its principles. We are deeply concerned about the rhetoric and devices that are being employed in this election and we call on all candidates to exercise decorum, mutual respect, and common decency toward those running against them as well as those with whom they may disagree. We urge our member denominations and churches to find creative and meaningful ways to bring people together. Let us be for one another beacons of light in the midst of escalating tensions in communities across the country.

We pray that our nation will continue to be the example of democracy around the world that it has always striven to be. In order to uphold this banner, we must continue to repudiate white supremacy, no matter who seems to be a proponent of it.