Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the ELCA, has issued a statement on racial justice. “The last 16 days have been a microcosm of the original sins of racism and white supremacy in the United States,” the statement read, in part. “This has included the trial of Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd; the extrajudicial killings of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minn., and Adam Toledo in Chicago; the lack of justice for Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis.; and the release of the body cam video of the abuse of Lt. Caron Nazario in Norfolk, Va.”
The statement continued: “As an anti-racist church that condemns white supremacy, we acknowledge how these injustices are traumatizing to Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) and call on God’s comforting love. We join in lament over the lost lives of Daunte and Adam and in the cry for justice. We recognize that ‘rooted in slavery, racism is manifested through the history of Jim Crow policies, racial segregation, the terror of lynching, extrajudicial killings by law enforcement, and the disproportionate incarceration of people of color’ (‘Declaration of the ELCA to People of African Descent,’ page 2).
“As we await the verdict in the Chauvin trial, we pray for justice, we cry out as in Amos 5:24: ‘But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.’ We call for reforms to this and any institutionally racist system. We also encourage you to join Campaign Zero, a 10-point policy platform created by the #BlackLivesMatter movement to address and improve relationships between local law enforcement and the communities in which they serve, at joincampaignzero.org and to learn more about ELCA resources at elca.org/blacklivesmatter.
Eaton’s statement also invited ELCA members to join other Christians through the National Council of Churches in condemning these incidents.