RESOURCES FOR BUILDING

THE BELOVED COMMUNITY

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Statement on White Nationalism

The events of the last week tragically remind us of the devastating impact hatred continues to have on our nation. We recognize that these horrific acts of violence far too often have a common thread—white nationalism, which is the wrong and sinful belief in white superiority, and the warped desire to rule our country by and only for the benefit of white people. White nationalism in the United States is stoked by daily political diatribes, easily-accessed hate-filled ideas, and faulty theology. We acknowledge a direct connection between white nationalism and Christian nationalism—the dangerous falsehood that the United States was meant to be a country that privileges and protects the lives and beliefs of white Christians above all others. We denounce these ideas as heresy.

These wrongful philosophies tear our county and our communities apart. We know with certainty that they most directly harm people of color and immigrants, but we also state clearly that these ideas damage and diminish all of us. We call those who embrace tenets of white supremacy and violence to leave these death-dealing movements behind and rejoin us in the affirmation of life and human dignity.

As people of faith, we have a sacred responsibility to speak clearly and frequently about the humanity of people of color and of immigrants, affirming that all people are equally created in the image and likeness of God. We need to speak promptly when we see acts that dehumanize others, particularly those impacting marginalized communities. We build our holy vision of a world in which every person is valued. We affirm our God-given values that honor diversity, cast off fear, welcome the stranger, protect the vulnerable, and make peace among the nations.

This week, in addition to images of bloodshed, we can also see the streams of people taking to the streets and marching, and crowds holding candles in silent vigil. There are so many more of us who recognize the sacredness of life in all its beauty and diversity. We are not alone in our desire for a world of peace; we have each other. We are not powerless; we can act together. Each day presents new opportunities for us to build communities in which all are safe, all are valued, and all belong. We do this for the soul of our nation and the lives of its people.

Justin Sabia-Tanis

Rev. Dr. Justin Sabia-Tanis is Assistant Professor for Social Transformation and Director for Social Transformation at United. He earned his PhD from the Graduate Theological Union in Interdisciplinary Studies, focusing on sexuality, art, and religion. In addition, he has an MDiv from Harvard University and DMin from San Francisco Theological Seminary. As a pastor, he served congregations in Boston, Honolulu, and San Francisco and as Director of Leadership Development for Metropolitan Community Churches; he is now with the United Church of Christ. Justin has a long history with grassroots activism, including AIDS advocacy in the 1980s and serving as spokesperson and media coordinator for the Hawai’i Equal Rights Marriage Project in the 1990s. Justin directed communications at the National Center for Transgender Equality and for Out & Equal Workplace Advocates. He served as managing director for four years of the Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion at Pacific School of Religion; he now directs their communications and resources. He is currently active in humanitarian efforts with migrants in Southern Arizona. Justin teaches at Iliff School of Theology, Pacific School of Religion, University of Arizona, and Pima Community College. He is the author of Transgendered: Ministry, Theology, and Communities of Faith (Pilgrim Press, 2003; Wipf and Stock 2018), which was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, and is a contributor to the forthcoming Transgender: Four Views (Baker Academic Press, 2019). He has also contributed chapters to the Queer Bible Commentary, Take Back the Word: A Queer Reading of the Bible, Transfaith: A Transgender Pastoral Resource and a forthcoming book, Unraveling Systems from Within.

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