World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

You are here: Home / Press centre / News / Presbyterian leaders: racism in USA is “pernicious poison”

Presbyterian leaders: racism in USA is “pernicious poison”

Presbyterian leaders: racism in USA is “pernicious poison”

On 12 August, clergy took a stand by marching in silent protest through Charlottesville. © Steven D. Martin/NCCUSA

31 August 2017

In an open letter on 28 August, former moderators of the general assemblies of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and its predecessor churches expressed their increasing alarm when notions of nationalism and racial superiority are masked and clothed in terms of the Christian faith.

“The brazen march of white nationalist supremacist groups in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 11 and 12, 2017 and President Donald Trump’s subsequent responses that equivocated on clearly identifying, denouncing, and condemning those same groups as instigators of hatred and violence brought the spotlight upon the deeply embedded and pernicious poison of racism and white supremacy so endemic in society and, we dare say, in the church,” the letter reads.

The moderators called the church to confess and repent of the ways in which it has been complicit and failed to disrupt, challenge, and undo white supremacy and racism.

“As our concerns, sadness, and anger have increased over the state of affairs we find ourselves as a nation, we are also equally determined and committed to active prayer and prayerful action, as we know so many of you are doing in thousands of churches, in counter-protests in streets across the country, in letter writing to and visits with elected officials, in mobilizing through social media, in face-to-face/neighbor-to-neighbor conversations,” the letter concludes.

“May we, as the present-future generation of God’s people in this time and for this time, work and pray for the reconciliation of all of God’s children, and may the Lord grant us grace and courage for the facing of this hour.”

In Charlottesville, can the power of love prevail? (WCC press release of 14 August 2017)

WCC member churches in the United States of America