On Wednesday, December 4, a Staten Island, New York, Grand Jury decided there was not enough evidence to prosecute a white police officer whose “chokehold” on an unarmed African American man led to his death. Despair is expressed by many people. We, the undersigned Cultural Ministry Advocates and Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Baptist Multicultural Ministries make this statement to declare our commitment for justice and peace.
The Biblical dictum calls for radical allegiance to Jesus Christ who is totally opposed to the principalities, powers and violent culture which have enslaved and dehumanized us. We reaffirm our commitment to Christ and call for a radical change to eradicate racism, violence and killings, power and demagogy, status, ideology and suppression. Our acknowledgment of Jesus Christ means a new relationship to persons and especially to the poor, the outcasts, minority, the “rebels,” and the victims of the cultural and racial discrimination. In the Nazareth Manifesto, Jesus announced the centrality of his mission:
The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives. And recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden. To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord (Luke 14:18,19).
Christ brought a new beginning to humanity and the whole creation. Christian individualists often overlook the biblical teaching. Everything that is affected by sin is now affected by redemption. The disintegrating powers of sin and evil manifested in different forms in our society have been reversed by redemption. Redemption is not only a salvation that lies beyond the present world, but also a salvation that begins in the present. This redemption which had taken place in human history has a present historical side to it. Those who are redeemed and belong to the body of Christ are to live lives from a different viewpoint—grounded in God and God’s revelation and not in themselves and their selfish desires. The duty and calling of a redeemed person are to unfold a society and political order in such a way that the society and political orders reflect the “new creation.” Instead of oppression, injustice, hatred, racism, greed and dishonesty, and the like, we seek to bring redemption, justice and love.
The growth of the Kingdom is a process, which occurs historically in the redeeming work of God, in so far as redemption means a realization of true humanity that God intends us to be. Without redeeming historical events such as the racism embedded in our institutions, there could be no growth of the Kingdom. The responsibility for justice for all is placed on the churches as a result of God’s summons and support.
Therefore, with many Americans, the Massachusetts Baptist Multicultural Ministry stands in solidarity with all African-Americans who continue to live in fear because of the institutional racism that threatens the lives of millions of young black men and women and children every day. We will initiate and support action to enable persons of all racial backgrounds to become full participants in and beneficiaries of this country. We will continually examine our own roles and attitudes to eliminate any vestiges of racism and we will work to witness for racial justice as we practice Christian faith and eventually work towards the realization of the Kingdom of God that Jesus inaugurated here on earth.
Mr. Weimin Feng (MBMM Board of Director)
Rev. Ashlee Weist-Laird (BMM Cultural Ministry Advocate)
Rev. Cindy Maybeck (MBMM Cultural Ministry Advocate)
Ms. Twila Wanamaker (MBMM Staff)
Rev. Dr. Debora Jackson (MBMM Board of Director)
Ms. Barbara Drauschke (MBMM Vice President)
Rev. Roberto Paiva (MBMM Board of Director)
Rev. Ruth Harvey (MBMM Board of Director)
Mr. Daniel Nye (MBMM Board of Director)
Ms. Marilyn Glover (MBMM Board of Director)
Rev. Jackson Oliveira (MBMM Cultural Ministry Advocate)
Rev. Dr. Maung Maung Htwe (MBMM Cultural Ministry Advocate)
Mr. Richard Freeman (MBMM Board of Director)
Rev. Dr. Mar Imsong (MBMM Executive Director