29 May 2020
The World Council of Churches (WCC) and its member churches resolutely condemn both racism and violence, and consistently seek to promote recognition of the image of God in all people. As part of our Christian understanding and our witness in the world, we reject the brutality of both violence and racial injustice. We therefore express our revulsion at the killing of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis, and call for full accountability for those responsible for his death.
We grieve for Mr Floyd, and for all the other victims of excessive force employed by US law enforcement authorities against people of colour. How many more must die before there is a collective affirmation that black lives do matter, and fundamental root-and-branch reforms in the culture and practices of law enforcement agencies are implemented?
The racism that continues to infect our societies is brutally evident in the manner in which Mr Floyd and so many other people of colour have died. This must stop. There must be a conversion (metanoia), reflection, repentance and rejection of all forms of racism and racial discrimination, and a true and genuine acknowledgement of the equal God-given dignity and worth of every human being, regardless of colour or ethnicity.
Superficial measures will no longer suffice. In the case of Mr Floyd’s killing, a crime has clearly been committed. Criminal prosecution must surely follow, as well as fundamental reforms in law enforcement. More importantly, society itself must change, to confront and rid itself of these hateful and deadly prejudices.
We pray for Mr Floyd’s family and loved ones, that they might be comforted in their bereavement, and see their loss become the catalyst for positive change.
However, violence will never be ended by more violence. We call on those now expressing their anger in violent protest to end the violence, but to strengthen peaceful demands for accountability and reform until justice is done.
We pray for God’s peace and justice in this broken and divided nation and world.
Dr Agnes Abuom, Moderator of the WCC Central Committee
Metropolitan Prof. Dr Gennadios of Sassima, Vice-Moderator of the WCC Central Committee
Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, Vice-Moderator of the WCC Central Committee
Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca, Acting General Secretary of the WCC