Letter: A Christian Call to Anti-Racism

To the Editor:

We, the leaders of Christ Church Easton, write to add a perspective of Christian faith to what we have been glad to observe as a loud affirmation of Easton’s commitments to anti-racism in response to the letter penned by the Citizens for Responsible Government.

The principle of interconnectedness that was maligned by the letter is a profoundly important concept to Christian faith (in fact shared by all persons of faith and secular humanists alike). It is a painful and dripping irony that the authors resurrected the very same ahistorical and damaging arguments the Rev. Dr. King faced in his day to resist efforts toward racial justice in our day.

In fact, Rev. Dr. King penned his letter from the Birmingham Jail refuting the accusation of outside agitation and addressing the “fierce urgency of now” by asserting the principle, “we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all directly.” Our parish is grounded in generations of Easton families, and yet we draw our members from across the region; we can attest to the power of shared connection.

From our earliest days, we who seek to follow Jesus have asserted that “where one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it” (1 Corinthians 12: 26).  From our Baptismal Covenant, we believe that we are called to “strive for justice and peace for all people,” “seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves,” and “to persevere in resisting evil.”

We at Christ Church, Easton have sought to put love first since 1762. And we certainly love to love! Rooted in love, as a white majority parish with a long history, we seek to repent of our complicity in enslavement, racial prejudice, and continuing systems of racial inequality and to strive vigorously for racial justice.

It takes willful indifference in today’s world not to acknowledge the rampant and harmful impact of racism in the lives of our Black, Asian, Latina, and Native American neighbors (including those among us, parishioners, family, friends, and regional neighbors alike) and the complicity of white Americans in its perpetuation. White Christians are called to repent of this sin and brokenness.

Each week, in our services of Morning Prayer and Communion, we collectively confess, “We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.” We do this not to become stuck in guilt, but to remind ourselves of who we are called to be, to free ourselves from that sin which keeps us from God and from loving our neighbor, and so that we may yet again turn in heart, mind, and body to the Way of Love, which we believe offers true Life.

Out from the riches and obligations of our faith, we stand with our town and neighbors in their commitment to anti-racism, which is nothing less than love-in-action, Godly action to which all people of faith are called.

Yours in God who is Love,

Amy Baumbach Bailas, Russ Bailas, Sonia Bodie, Andy Hathaway, Dianne March McCann, Vicki MarkAnthony, Marina Philips, Johanna Rauch (Christ Church Easton Vestry)

Rev. Ally Brundige (Christ Church Easton Priest-in-Charge)