Confronting Bigotry & Hate

Here are some resources for study and exploration of racism, sexism and other forms of prejudice in our society, and what we as Christians can do to work for a society that is more just, tolerant and peaceful while living out Christ’s command to love our neighbors.

Who Lynched Willie Earle?: Preaching to Confront Racism (Abingdon Press, 2017)by Will Willimon. To contextualize today’s racial tensions, the esteemed Duke Divinity scholar recountsthe 1947 lynching of a 24-year-old African American man from his hometown, as well as the courageous Methodist pastor who preached prophetically about it.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (Matthew Pillischer, 2012) by Michelle Alexander. Following the victories of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, the government began its war on drugs and other initiatives that caused the prison population of black and Latino inmates to skyrocket. Alexander connects the dots to argue that the two phenomena are related.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption(Spiegel &Grau, 2014) by Bryan Stevenson. A law professor at New York University, Stevenson tells the story of the practice he started to assist and protect the rights of the most vulnerable in our midst. In the process of serving them Stevenson uncovered and fought corruption, power, injustice, oppression and a legal system seems rigged against the impoverished.

America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America(BrazosPress 2014) by Jim Wallis. The evangelical Christian and founding leader of the Sojourners community, Wallis tackles the social, political and theological underpinnings of racism in our culture, and he suggests ways to move forward.

ELCA Resources on Racial Justice:

ELCA Presiding Bishop’s Message on such topics as racism, immigration, refugee resettlement, Muslim relations and the Charleston church shootings:

ELCA Webcast, “Confronting Racism,” featuring Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton and William B. Horne Jr.

I Am Not Your Negro, an independent movie now in theaters. This documentary is based on the life and observations of the late African American writer James Baldwin who lived through the murders of three friends in the 1960s: Medger Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Powerful.

White Like Me: Race, Racism, and White Privilege in America is a powerful documentary by Tim Wise that explores white privilege and blindness. The film is available for fair use and streaming on YouTube at the link above.

Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity and Culture (ELCA Social Statement, 1993) expresses the ELCA’s calling to celebrate culture and ethnicity. This calling commits the ELCA to confront racism, to engage in public leadership, witness and deliberation on these matters, and to advocate for justice and fairness for all people. The statement is grounded in the conviction that the church has been gathered together in the joyful freedom of the reign of God as announced by and embodied in Jesus. That reign has not come in its fullness, but the message of God’s yes to the world breaks down all dividing walls as we live into that promise.

“Immigrants and Refugees in the Bible” is a short study prepared by Bishop Mike Rinehart of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod. “The treatment of strangers in general, and immigrants in particular, is hardly a minor theme in the Bible,” writes Rinehart. “It is woven throughout, from the beginning of the Bible to the end, as a sacred duty.”

ELCA AMMPARO is a holistic, whole church commitment by the ELCA, as a church in the world, to accompany children today and in the future. Additional resources are  available on the AMMPARO Facebook page.

“This is what a Refugee Looks Like” is a short video by New York Times columnist and author Nicholas Kristof. This video is part of the Humanity on the Move project from Show of Force media company. Consider using this video in conjunction with Bishop Rinehart’s Bible study and AMMPARO resources for a faith formation opportunity in your congregation.

ELCA Advocacy works for change in public policy based on the experience of Lutheran ministries, programs and projects around the world and in communities across the United States. We work through political channels on behalf of the following biblical values: peacemaking, hospitality to strangers, care for creation, and concern for people living in poverty and struggling with hunger and disease.

LAMPa (Lutheran Advocacy Ministries in Pennsylvania) advocates for wise and just public policies in Pennsylvania that promote the common good in response to God’s love in Jesus Christ.