In Georgia, an Episcopal church has an extended internal struggle to remove a memorial to a Confederate general prominently displayed behind the altar. In neighboring Alabama, an Episcopal church’s #BlackLivesMatter banner is stolen, again. George Floyd is central in both cases.
The Rev. Jim Flowers, pastor of All Saints Episcopal Church in Mobile [Alabama], tells local news outlets that the congregation decided to put up the large sign on the church doors last summer. One sign was stolen and replaced, and now its replacement has been taken as well.
If we can’t be in church, we can be in solidarity.
From a blog post by The Rev. James Flowers, August 26, 2020 Why It Matters:
Since we have hung the “Black Lives Matter” banner on the front doors of All Saints, and posted a picture of it on social media, there has been a huge and continuous response. Maybe it’s because my friends on Facebook are predominantly, predictably… algorithmically of like mind as me, but the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Many of the respondents are African American, thanking us for our support. To date some twenty eight thousand people have seen the picture. More than three hundred people have shared the post with their friends. There have, of course, been a few negative reactions. One person called me a Marxist and an anarchist. No one ever guaranteed that the Gospel is without controversy.
Racism is our “original sin” in this country. It is, tragically, an American institution. We have to own it. For four hundred years, Black Americans have been shamed and abused and violently oppressed only because of the color of their skin. At one time they had been deemed institutionally as “less than human.” Shame, and the memory of shame, is perhaps as wounding as physical violence. Martin Luther King Jr. got it right when he said that liberation for Blacks will also mean liberation for whites. None of us will be whole and well until our Black brothers and sisters are whole and well. I have no inkling of a doubt that if Jesus showed up among us today, he would embrace wholeheartedly the Black Lives Matter movement. I have no doubt he would be in the streets. He would get criticism. Some would call him names with scorn… But he’s been there before. He’s endured and triumphed over worse.