Statement regarding Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, and Dallas killings

“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.”

Also: Statement by ELCA Advocacy

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.

Rev. John Dorhauer, United Church of Christ:

I mourn the loss of so many lives over the last few days; Alton Sterling, Philando Castile; and now five Dallas police officers who died in the line of duty. These deaths remind us that our collective complacency and complicit silence carry a heavy price.

Bishop Bruce Ough, United Methodist Council of Bishops:

We support the difficult work of those in law enforcement and at the same time seek ways of moving toward better community engagement… We pledge to address the problem of mass incarceration of young black males in our society.

Sharon Watkins, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ):

“Thus says the Lord, ‘A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping.  Rachel is weeping for her children, because they are no more.’” (Jeremiah 31:15 – New American Standard). Just as Rachel wept, God is weeping today for the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and the five police officers who were killed in Dallas, as well as the injured. There is so much grief and anger in the face of these deaths.

Church of the Brethren:

Though we are not in a great civil war, we are in a time of great civil violence. We are not divided by geographic lines such as north and south, nor political lines like Union and Confederate. But we are still divided by race. Our imaginations have been made anemic through fear, comfort, and statistics warped for political advantage. Our hearts have been hardened by a steady diet of media commentary thinly veiled as news that demonizes any person different from us. Yet these divides blur in the common hue of blood shed in violence and vanish when we face the call of Christ to love and serve all our neighbors.

A Statement from the College of Bishops of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church:

It is our hope and faith in God that we become a people of wisdom and understand that violence begets violence and we must seek wisdom through prayer and conversations with intent to change and reform our police departments who hold the public trust to provide safety for all citizenry in every jurisdiction that they are entrusted to serve.   Those services must be provided without acts of racism and viciousness protected by a badge and a uniform signifying authority.  The public trust is the backbone of reciprocal relationships of mutual respect. Any breakdown of this trust ultimately leads to civil dysfunction and outrage.  The integrity of such trust must not be uprooted because of the insensitivity that some individual police officers display and have displayed in the past.  At the same time, the lives of police officers must be protected as well.

Also, see this page of statements by the Episcopal Church

Other statements will be posted here as they become available.

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