The blatant racism displayed in Charlottesville, VA these past several days is yet another reminder of the need to look inward into our own prejudices that enable such actions to be tolerated in our nation.
History has shown us how racism has always been just under the surface of our culture and that all it takes is for some igniting issue to bring it full bore. The genocide of the Native American people, the imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and the persecution of Muslims in our own time are pertinent examples, in addition to the white nationalism that has been present here in the region of the California-Pacific Conference.
The United Methodist Church itself has also been guilty of such racism in the turning away of African-Americans so that they had to form their own denominations, and the creation of the Central Jurisdiction for Black United Methodists.
It might be easy for our church to point outwardly towards Charlottesville and condemn white nationalism and, yet, difficult for us to look inwardly at the racism that remains as the church’s “unfinished business.” In my mind, these two are linked. If we are to deal with the national crises of racism, it must include dealing with the racism inside of ourselves.
I know that I will be in deep prayer this week on this matter, examining my own heart. The United Methodist Church as a whole, as well as Cal-Pac specifically, will be providing further resources on racism in light of what has taken place so that we might also be in prayer as a church.
I invite you to join me in this time of humble bowing before God and self-examination.
Be the Hope,
Bishop Grant J. Hagiya
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