Dear Decaturish – Christian clergy of Decatur speak out against Christian NationalismImage provided to Decaturish
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As Christian clergy who represent a variety of denominational and non-denominational communities in the Decatur area, we categorically condemn the actions that took place at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
The actions of Jan. 6 have at their root the Christian nationalism, enshrined in the Doctrine of Discovery of 1493, that empowered European settlers to commit genocide against Indigenous peoples who had lived for centuries, if not millennia, on this continent, and to enslave Africans and other people of color to make possible a plantation economy that benefitted white settlers.
The irony that such actions took place on Epiphany, a day in the Christian calendar which celebrates the coming of sages from every corner of the world to worship the Christ-child, is not lost on us.
When the inclusive message of Jesus Christ is twisted into a foundation for the white supremacy that has haunted this nation from its inception, we must speak out. When Christ’s teachings are mangled into a rationale for white supremacist violence that seeks to center the voices of white people at the exclusion of Black, Brown, and Indigenous voices, we must speak out. When we hear again and again about American “exceptionalism,” and that “this is not who we are,” we are compelled to point out that only those who choose to ignore the uncensored history of this nation can hold such positions. This is exactly who we are. Now is the time to acknowledge, to confess, and to repent.
We call upon all Christians–and indeed, all people of conscience regardless of religious affiliation or non-affiliation–to condemn white supremacist violence and to stand in solidarity with our Black, Brown, and Indigenous siblings in calling for the much-needed change that has been too slow in coming.
The time is now. We dare not wait another moment.
Rev. Karen Bryant Shipp, Minister of Music, Oakhurst Baptist Church Rev. Melanie Vaughn-West, Pastor, Oakhurst Baptist Church
Rev. Lauren Colwell, Pastor, Oakhurst Baptist Church
Min. Brandeis Tullos, Pastoral Intern, Oakhurst Baptist Church
Rev. Lanny Peters, retired Pastor, Oakhurst Baptist Church
Rev. Paul M. Turner, Senior Pastor, Gentle Spirit Christian Church Rev. Tom Hagood, Pastor, Columbia Presbyterian Church
Rev. Heather Chase, Associate Pastor, Oakhurst Presbyterian Church
Rev. George Tatro, Pastor, Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church
Rev. Fahed AbuAkel, Presbyterian Minister and past Moderator of the 214th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA
Rev. Robert V. Thompson, Chair of the Board, Compassionate Atlanta Rev. Amantha Barbee, Pastor, Oakhurst Presbyterian Church USA
Rev. Patrick Faulhaber, Pastor, North Decatur United Methodist Church
Rev. Josh Linman, Pastor, Common Table
The Rev. Dalton T. Rushing, Pastor, Decatur First United Methodist Church
Rev. Shelley Woodruff, Pastor for Community Engagement, First Baptist Church of Decatur
The Rev. Dr. James L. Brewer-Calvert, Pastor, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Iyabo Onipede, Co-Director, Compassionate Atlanta
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