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‘Stereotypes cost lives’

‘Stereotypes cost lives’

More churches are finding their voice and speaking out against a culture which allows people to be shot to death with little hope of finding justice. A cross-denominational group of denominations, which include the Episcopal Church as well as the traditional African-American denominations have issued a joint statement.

“”It is a time to understand the burden that some of us have to live always facing the stereotypes of others and the danger that these stereotypes might cost us our lives,” wrote the 10 leaders of Churches Uniting in Christ in a statement released Wednesday (March 28).

“In humility, we invite the Body of Christ to join in serious self-examination about how our communities by our silence support racial profiling and stereotyping.”

CUIC called on churches to examine laws that may have contributed to the Feb. 26 death of Martin, a 17-year-old African-American who was unarmed. George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, admitted shooting Martin in Sanford, Fla., but law enforcement officials have not charged him, citing the state’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law.

“We cannot remain silent as our country once again struggles with the senseless killing of an unarmed young African-American boy,” the CUIC leaders said. “We write because we cannot remain silent at the continued ‘criminalization’ of black and brown peoples with laws that give license to people to shoot first and ask questions later.””

The full statement and background to it is posted on Religion News Service’s site here.

Yesterday we reported on the witness of newly consecrated Episcopal bishop Greg Brewer who marched in protest in Florida.

Today there’s news of a similar witness by the Bishop of Central Pennsylvania, Nathan Baxter.

Yesterday the Bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of New York released a joint statement that speaks primarily of their concern regarding the way that the Occupy Wall Street protests were handled and the bishops support for the principles of the Occupy movement. The statement also speaks about the shooting of Trayvon Martin.

We also write this at a time when lawmakers of this state are testifying in Albany to their own experiences and those of their constituents of the unfair, humiliating, and potentially dangerous practice known as Stop and Frisk. This is also written against the backdrop of the heartbreaking killing of Trayvon Martin by a private citizen operating under the protection of Florida’s wildly ill-conceived Stand Your Ground law. Laws and law enforcement practices which dehumanize, demean and debase; which deny and take life; and which are inherently racist, are ruinous to the freedom in which God intends us to live and contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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