The church buildings want to have interaction in "troublesome talks" about racial and ethnic injustices
(Photo: Unsplash / Aaron Burden)
Churches "must deal directly with issues of racial injustice" through research, reflection and redress, according to a report from a new ecumenical body formed following the protests against Black Lives Matter and the death of George Floyd.
The newly formed Racial Justice Advocacy Forum (RJAF) brings together the Quakers, the Sam Sharpe Project, the United Reformed Church, the Methodist Church, the Evangelical Alliance, Baptists Together, Churches Together in the UK and Ireland and the Ascension Trust.
It is said that churches must engage in the "difficult conversation" about racial and ethnic injustices in both society and the church, including "not only their historical legacies, but also places of complicity and the ongoing injustices that exist today there is commitment in church life, in the formation of ministers and in the community ".
The call comes in response to the recent government sponsored report by the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparity, which downplayed institutional racism as a factor in UK ethnic differences.
CONTINUE READING: A Christian response to the government's troubling report on race and ethnic differences
RJAF welcomed the Commission's reassessment of the term "BAME" to include black and ethnic minorities in the UK, but expressed concerns that the report "could postpone progress on racial justice by 20 years".
"The RJAF questions the report's ability to conclude that institutional racism is no longer a determinant of the ability of blacks and browns to thrive in various aspects of British life," it said.
The group also criticized the report's "idiosyncratic" statements on slavery, its "distancing" from the Windrush scandal and its lack of commitment to reparations, which the RJAF said should be a "key priority".
She also accused the commission of pointing out that ethnic minority communities are "waiting for government handouts" rather than working hard to address "institutional shortcomings" through initiatives such as supplementary schools and community-based entrepreneurship.
In response, the RJAF urged churches to participate in theological discussions on ethnic and racial discrimination, particularly "the color-blind / anti-political viewpoints that affect a community's ability to do justice to those experiencing discrimination and prejudice".
You should also work with other churches to lead by example on racial justice and to challenge racial and ethnic discrimination within churches and Christian institutions.
"In response to the Commission's report on Racial and Ethnic Differences, this report seeks to make recommendations to help churches address or perpetuate racial injustice in the 21st century," the RJAF said.