Fuller, in the strongest of terms, denounces the senseless, brutal killing of George Floyd and the countless instances of abuse and othering of black and brown bodies in a long line of systemic injustice. We have, over the past few months, seen again this rhythm of violence. There is a temptation to view these occasions as isolated instances of radical hatred. But this violence is sadly not unique—it is in the core of our nation’s existence and the expressions of violence against non-white bodies that have been a perpetual rhythm since America’s founding.
The protests and riots of the past few days have elicited a variety of responses. The loss of life is cause for full-throated lament, and it is for that reason that we choose to stand in solidarity with those who have lost loved ones, with those who are seeking justice, and with those who are advocating for drastic and overdue change. We believe this is consistent with the God revealed in our Scriptures, who in both Testaments disrupted established institutions for the sake of justice.
In this moment, we must again turn towards our Savior, who intimately knows the contours of unjust violence. We must fervently ask for the Spirit’s guidance in examining ourselves, our institutions, our theologies, and practices for the ways in which they retain ideologies that disregard the humanity of all non-white peoples. And we must join our God in God’s own solidarity with the oppressed and the marginalized.
This is not an abstract solidarity, but God’s presence in the midst of real pain and God’s concern for the black communities which have suffered devastation after devastation. It is that solidarity that guides us toward action. We urge those in elected positions, those in positions of power, those with privilege, and those who follow the crucified Savior Jesus to resist any justification for unjust killings, to act in bold love for the flourishing of marginalized communities, and, by God’s grace and bold power to create new rhythms that honor human life—rhythms that carry with them justice for George Floyd.
Responding to the killing of George Floyd and the protests around the violence against black and brown bodies, Dwight Radcliff, assistant provost for the William E. Pannell Center for African American Church Studies, joins Mark Labberton for a special episode of Conversing. Dr. Radcliff speaks about the systems of oppression and generational trauma that plague black communities in the United States, and challenges the church to own a theology that responds rightly to suffering rather than dismissing it.