March 24, 2021
Once again, our nation is faced with incidents of senseless violence and the loss of lives of God’s beloved people. We are witnessing a sharp rise in disturbing violent incidents committed against our Asian American sisters and brothers, including most of the victims in the deadly shootings in Atlanta. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Bishops of the Diocese of Maryland condemn these acts of violence and reaffirm our diocese’s stance on addressing all expressions of hate, bias, bigotry, discrimination and racism.
Holy Scripture and our faith tradition teaches us that we are all made in the image of God. Yet, racially motivated violence and murder continue among us. We continue to suffer the legacy of the history of this country which was built on the backs of kidnapped and enslaved people and then denied full citizenship. This was expanded to the Indigenous people where their lands were stolen and then their self-determination minimized by squeezing them onto reservations far removed from their sacred grounds. For hundreds of years, hateful words and actions have been used against black, brown and Asian people to keep them in a constant state of “otherness.” Hate, fear and ignorance have played a major role in keeping us all separated from one another and from God. Sadly, this continues still.
We should not be surprised at the recent targeting, assaulting and murdering of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans. These attacks follow the unconscionable expression of anti-Asian sentiments which began at the start of the pandemic from the highest level of our government. Fear of other makes the climate of racism and xenophobia in our country a safe haven for white supremacy to reign as it has for hundreds of years. Racially motivated violence will simply continue until we decide to address it on all of its levels.
As Christians, we must commit to the truth of Audre Lorde’s assertion that “there is no hierarchy of oppression,” and to remember that as the Body of Christ in the world, we are called to not only welcome all to God’s table, but to love all of God’s children. As a community of love, our diocese remains committed to creating and sustaining the beloved community as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called us to more than fifty years ago, and we express our love and support for our Asian brothers and sisters by standing in solidarity with them during these troubling times and beyond.
The Diocesan Truth and Reconciliation Commission
The Right Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton
The Right Rev. Robert W. Ihloff