Since the Trump administration came into power in January 2017, the United States has become more hostile to those who are othered in our society. They have consistently spouted racist and transphobic propaganda, and have encouraged their supporters to openly harass anyone that doesn’t fit their standards.
The murder of George Floyd has been a tipping point. The United States government has failed black people since before it even became a country. The Civil Rights era brought some change, but black and brown people are still treated as slaves with discrimination, low wage jobs, and being sent to prison for crimes that most white people get a slap on the wrist for. The great melting pot experiment that was the United States has, over and over again, failed to address the needs of black people, indiginous people, and other people of color.
The government has also failed transgender people. This administration, and the Republican party, have continuously passed legislation and executive orders that egregiously erode the rights for transgender persons. It is especially heinous to us that religion is used as an excuse to deny medical care, housing, or any number of essential needs.
The United States government has failed its people, using hate, fear, and religion as weapons.
In the Progressive Christian Alliance, we take the teachings of Jesus seriously. It is our mission to try to follow, to the utmost of our abilities, the two commandments that, in scripture, Jesus deemed most important:
“This is the foremost: […] You must love the Most High God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You must love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31, The Inclusive Bible)
While individual’s beliefs in our organization may differ in fulfilling the first of these important commandments, fulfilling the second commandment is the foundation of the Progressive Christian alliance. As we say in our welcome statement:
We are a diverse fellowship inviting others to share in our common spiritual journey while walking our unique and sacred pathways. We believe that following Christ’s example means working for social justice and hospitality to all people, especially those who have not found hospitality elsewhere, and a heartfelt, thoughtful approach to being in relationship with God. We are intentionally radically inclusive and welcome all persons of any race, color, age, ancestry, sexual orientation, familial or relational configuration ( e.g. polyamory, non-monogamy, etc.), body size, gender, religion, or any other difference to become a part of this movement.
To put it simply, we understand that when Jesus stated that loving one’s neighbor as oneself is one of the greatest commandments, there were no conditions on that statement.
So we say, in solidarity and in faith: Black Lives Matter. Transgender lives matter
The Leadership Council, Clergy, and Laity of the Progressive Christian Alliance have, do, and will continue to stand with our black and transgender siblings not only because we should, or that it is the right thing to do, but because our living faith demands we emulate the love of Jesus in all our actions.
Emulating the love of Jesus demands that we do the work of educating ourselves to the realities of oppression. It is especially important for those of us who are white do the work of dismantling the white supremacy that we’ve been taught from the cradle.
Emulating the love of Jesus demands that we do the work of dismantling the systems that seek to oppress black and transgender lives.
Emulating the love of Jesus means that, however and wherever we can, we speak Truth to power. If it means flipping the tables in the temple, then those who can, will. If it means convincing one person at a time that the Gospel calls us to stand against white supremacy, bigotry, and hate, then those who can, will. If it means feeding protestors, or hiding them from the police, then those who can will. If it means overthrowing empires of oppression, then those who can will.
Whatever you can do to ease the suffering of black and transgender lives is doing the work of Jesus. It is what is demanded of us as Christians.
The Progressive Christian Alliance will always stand for justice, stand for the oppressed, and stand for the calling of radical inclusivity that is the bedrock of our faith.
So we say again: Black Lives Matter. Transgender lives matter.
In the name of Jesus and God, in their many names,
Rev. Gina Pond – Leadership Chair
Rev. Alaina Cobb – Leadership Co-chair
Rev. Jenny Howard – Secretary
Helen Drivick – Treasurer
Rev. Rob Ponsford – Member at Large