White guilt will not move the country forward, directors of the Alliance of Baptists said in a newly released statement urging “meaningful action” to address systemic racism in the United States.
The Alliance, a predominantly white organization for progressive Baptist congregations founded in 1987, called on members and partner organizations to embody commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement.
The statement, adopted by Alliance directors Oct. 1 and released to the public Oct. 6, calls on predominantly white congregations and communities to thoroughly examine “the ways ideologies of white supremacy infiltrate our consciousness and even our theologies,” and “conduct the difficult and painful work of dismantling the ways these sinful ideologies shape us individually, institutionally and as a society.”
The call to action encourages Alliance members to embody the meaning of “sanctuary” by “cultivating spaces where persons can gather to lament the unjust loss of Black lives and to liturgically enact our restless striving for an in-breaking justice that is still yet-to-come.”
It urges churches to pursue racial justice through “intentional, ongoing racial justice education and activism training that takes place throughout the year, and not only in moments of national crisis.”
The statement also supports “acts of solidarity with faith-based and community organizing racial justice efforts led by organizations like the PICO National Network and the Fellowship of Reconciliation and grassroots community organizing.”
The statement was approved during a Sept. 29-Oct. 1 board meeting at Vienna Baptist Church near Washington in northern Virginia.
“The board of directors continues to work with great intentionality and situational sensitivity to bring awareness and positive action to bear on these urgent matters of humanity and injustice,” Alliance Vice President Lisa Davis Brownlee said in a statement. “It is vital to be a prophetic voice in such a time as this.”
Board member Ben Boswell, senior minister of Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., said he is proud of Alliance leaders for embracing the #BlackLivesMatter cause.
“It is critical for majority white organizations, like the Alliance, who understand the dynamics of systemic racial inequity and injustice, to stand in solidarity with those who are suffering from the oppression of white supremacy and crying out in the streets for equality and justice,” Boswell said.
— With reporting by Alliance communications specialist Leah Grundset Davis