We, the called and elected leaders of the United Church of Christ, heirs of a tradition rich with saints who have gone before us and whose courage in the struggle for justice and peace informs our own words and actions, rise in one voice, with clarity and unity to condemn the insurrection that took place at the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Upon hearing the news of his pending birth, Jesus’ mother proclaimed: “God will scatter the proud in the imagination of their hearts.” We remember too these words from our blessed Savior Jesus, “I have come to bring good news to the poor, to bring release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind and to let the oppressed go free.”
In the spirit of our ancestors, recognizing their intent and standing on their shoulders as people who acted in courage and faith, we join in one voice to name the evil we witnessed, and to condemn the words of our president and the actions of his insurrectionists and white supremacist terrorists. The president’s words incited the attack on the United States Capitol. Therefore, we call upon members of his administration and the Congress to remove him from office, thereby holding him accountable for his treasonous actions and ensuring that he never hold the office of President of the United States again.
We bear witness to and name as racist the deplorable difference between security plans implemented during Black Lives Matter protests and the security plans ordered and implemented on Jan. 6, ahead of a rally by armed domestic terrorists and call out that difference as an embodiment of white supremacy. That difference allowed the act of terrorism to happen.
We hold accountable our elected leaders, who have been complicit by their support of the actions of the president, as well as the lingering silence in the wake of his actions. We condemn their unwillingness to uphold the Constitution of the United States and their fueling of the flames that erupted at the U.S. Capitol and on the streets of Washington, D.C.
We name the pain and the collective trauma that all Americans felt when we were forced to witness the terror inflicted by armed insurrectionists. The mob broke through windows and forced our elected representatives to hide under their desks, place gas masks on their faces, lie under the rows of seats in the House and Senate Chambers. The mob surrounded U.S. Capitol security guards, who were outnumbered and overwhelmed, and made them fear for their lives. They marched through the Capitol buildings carrying Confederate flags. They placed pipe bombs and Molotov cocktails on the grounds of the Capitol. They ransacked the offices of our elected representatives and vandalized the grounds and the building. They removed the American flag that flies over the U.S. Capitol and replaced it with a Trump flag. They desecrated the Halls of Congress and our nation’s democracy.
To the extent possible, every person involved in this armed attack on our Capitol must be identified, arrested and placed on trial for crimes committed.
Our love affair with white skin in America, a love affair that seeps into every pore of America’s skin – including our houses of worship – culminated in another indefensible act of raw terror and violence. Some rioters and insurrectionists – many of whom would proclaim Jesus as their Lord and Savior – were carrying Bibles or holding “Jesus Saves” signs.” We want to be clear: there is nothing Christlike in any of this. Christians have for too long tolerated racism and racists as a part of our collective story.
Today as we condemn the perpetrators of this violence on the grounds of our Capitol, we further condemn the lie that whiteness is a virtue. The love of whiteness is an evil that must be rooted out from our shared and common narrative, and until it is, white supremacists like our current president and his devoted followers will continue to behave like they have a God-given right to acts of violence and insurrection.
We condemn the inaction and complicity of the church, which continues to miss the mark of its high calling by using the Bible and the gospel narratives to support injustice. The time has come, indeed, is long overdue, for the church to denounce theologies of whiteness, and to name white supremacy as idolatrous. Now is the time for the church, in all denominational contexts, to release support of white power and white privilege and to embrace fully the call to follow Jesus.
Our faith calls us to acts of love, kindness and compassion. Our faith reminds us that the power of God aligns with the poor and the abandoned, the weak and the hungry, the oppressed and the marginalized. We call on all people of faith and goodwill to use what we saw on Jan. 6, 2021, as a call to justice and a reminder of what happens when evil goes unchallenged.
Our faithful response to this most recent act of white terrorism and insurrection will be to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, free the oppressed, welcome the stranger, love the neighbor, and fill the whole world with the love of our blessed redeemer, Jesus. And, as we continue to do so, we will walk in the courage to denounce and dismantle theologies and systems of oppression and hatred, replacing them with theologies of freedom, peace, justice and love.
We invite all members of the United Church of Christ to a period of sober reflection and fervent prayer. We further urge brave conversation and a willingness to break down the barriers between us and within our communities.
May we as Church offer a clear witness of the bold love, honest confession, and simple humility required of us all in this moment. In the words of the prophet Micah, let us go forth to “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God.”
The Elected Officers of the United Church of Christ
The Rev. John Dorhauer, General Minister and President
The Rev. Traci Blackmon, Associate General Minister
The Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson, Associate General Minister
The Council of Conference Ministers