It has been a most upsetting time the past two weeks.

Dear Members and Friends,

Let us therefore not think of our movement as one that seeks to integrate into all the existing values of American society.  Let us be those creative dissenters who will call our beloved country to a higher destiny, to a new plateau of compassion, to a more noble expression of humanness.

-The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 20th century

It has been a most upsetting time the past two weeks.  Ugly allegations have been made of ugly statements being made about people of color from other nations.  Politics is again playing with the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people known as “Dreamers.”  And entire populations are being threatened with losing Temporary Protective Status, being denied Guest Worker Visas, and other harsh actions.  Whether words spoken in a private meeting were actually spoken or not, other words have been spoken in public which have inflamed racial attitudes of hatred rather than encouraged reconciling attitudes of love.

The words that have been reported to have been spoken by our President in a closed door meeting were hurtful not only to people in our nation but to many, many people around the globe, many of whom we partner with in ministry through the Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ.  They have felt that pain and hear of that pain from many of our partners and on January 17, 2018 they issued a statement which I wanted to share with you here.  It is a beautiful statement of our theology in the United Church of Christ, of our solidarity with all people, and of our witness for justice, compassion, and love.

We are Family…No Matter What

Many were shocked with the racist remarks attributed to President Trump and the way in which he referred to countries in Africa, as well as El Salvador and Haiti.  His comment, along with previous public statements, pierced our hearts and the hearts of our partners as many of our church partners are located in the countries and regions he disparages.  Global Ministries, a common witness in mission of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, is unable to be silent in the face of the words and attitudes that dehumanize and insult our sisters and brothers.  The president’s actions go against our core values that we cherish: community, mutuality, justice, peace, and presence.  We are blessed to receive the witness of our partner churches in Africa, El Salvador, Haiti, and in many other places that the president would no doubt place in the same category. 

The Apostle Paul describes the human community as a family clothing themselves with Christ.  That means that “there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female;  for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26-29 NRSV). This is a beautiful expression of the profound beloved community that God calls us to create in the midst of the wonderful diversities with gender, race, faith, and nationality with which God has endowed us. 

We are bound because of love, and we are no longer apart from each other.  We are all part of the same family, with God as our Father/Mother.  As Desmond Tutu defined it, this radical love “makes us insiders and not outsiders.  All are to be held in this incredible embrace of the love that won’t let us go.”  It is from that radical love and welcoming that we want to express our disgust at the comments of the President directed at our family in Central America, the Caribbean, and Africa. Such statements should not be made by the president of a nation built in part by those very same people. 

We stand alongside with our brothers and sisters, partners in mission, in Haiti, El Salvador and the diverse countries of Africa.  We also stand alongside the families of Dreamers who live in the U.S. and confront painful situations regarding their personal safety, well-being, and their uncertain future.  We stand alongside our brothers and sisters abroad and herein, in defense of their dignity and integrity.  

Global Ministries joins others in the faith-based community in urging the president of the United States to apologize for his racist expression and attitudes directed at our global family.  We also urge our congregations to recommit themselves to the core values of Global Ministries. Racial bias and bigotry must stop.  In this unfortunate hour, it is our Christian duty to call the leader of the country into account.  May his eyes and the eyes of this nation be opened, so we can indeed call ourselves children of our everlasting, welcoming God.

See you in church.

R. Steven Hudder
Pastor, Christ Congregational United Church of Christ
Palmetto Bay, Florida