Bishops' Leader: We Must Love Our Neighbor
In the aftermath of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, Council of Bishops President Bishop Ken Carter is calling for United Methodists to help end white supremacy and xenophobia which he says is fueling a culture of violence.
In a statement released August 6, Bishop Carter commended the statements of Bishop Gregory Palmer and Bishop Earl Bledsoe to the people of their residential areas in West Ohio and New Mexico/Northwest Texas respectively, noting that the carnage following these acts of violence reminds us of Sandy Hook and Orlando, Sutherland Springs and Charlotte, Las Vegas and Parkland, Charleston and Pittsburgh.
“Underneath the violence is a culture of white supremacy and a fear of immigrants (xenophobia). These are expressions of our sinful nature and deny the image of God (Genesis 1) that is in every person. Christ died for all (2 Corinthians 5), and in this he loved us and gave himself up for us (Ephesians 5),” he said.
Bishop Carter echoed the voice of Bishop LaTrelle Easterling of the Baltimore-Washington Conference, condemning the president’s disparaging comments about an honorable congressman and the City of Baltimore. “The use of the presidential role granted for the purpose of serving an entire people for white privilege does great harm to us. According to counterterrorism experts, the president’s racial rhetoric is fueling an incipient and violent white nationalist movement in our nation,” Bishop Carter noted.
He urged United Methodists who are Democrats and Republicans in the United States to contribute to a civil dialogue on the issue. “We are in desperate need of leadership that does not pit us against each other. And we are in need of a dialogue that is deeply rooted in our discipleship in the way of our non-violent Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Quoting Mark 12, Bishop Carter reminded United Methodists that Jesus calls everyone to love their neighbors. “To love our neighbor is to work for a church that does not exclude anyone, that welcomes immigrants, that reckons with the systemic realities of racism and that honors the faith of people across the political aisle from wherever we are sitting.”
Bishop Carter called on “our brothers and sisters in Europe, the Philippines and Africa to intercede for us in this struggle (1 Thessalonians 5), that we would be faithful, non-violent and courageous in our discipleship.”