African-Americans in both the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America were called this week to help build the future of their churches by working hard in the present.
The call to action came during the Union of Black Episcopalians’ 49th annual conference, held July 23-26 at a hotel here in suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The UBE met jointly for the first time with the African Descent Lutheran Association.
“Right now, the church is not leading the conversation about justice,” Brittney Cooper, assistant professor of women’s, gender and Africana studies at Rutgers University in New Jersey, said during a July 25 presentation.
“We’re not leading the conversation about truth, and we should be. Instead, we have some perversion – some version – of the church that I don’t recognize, which we call the religious right.”
That version, said Cooper, who was raised Baptist and continues to attend church, has “hijacked the conversation about what truth is and what truth we should be telling.”
Cooper contended that society now has more access to information, both factual and false, than at any point in history “and we still can’t make sense of any of it.”