A few weeks ago, the leadership at All Saints Episcopal Parish supported the purchase and installation of Black Lives Matter banners at our two locations, 7th & Washington and 6th & Willow. After two nights, the one at 6th & Willow, the location of Holy Innocents Church and where we now worship outdoors on Sundays, was partially ripped from the fence. We were not completely surprised since someone had already stolen the BLM banner from in front of the day school down the block at 6th & Clinton.
Last evening, a clergy colleague called to say that he saw the banner at Holy Innocents lying mostly on the sidewalk, ripped from the fence, with an obscenity scrawled on it. He kindly removed the banner the rest of the way and dropped it onto the lawn so it would not be further damaged.
As Christians, and specifically as Episcopalians, we affirm the dignity of every human being and promise to strive for justice and peace every time we renew our baptismal covenant. When one group of people is being targeted for violence, injustice, and discrimination in ways that traumatize and attempt to dehumanize and delegitimate, we are compelled to speak up. Our Black Lives Matter banners are one way of saying that we will not stand by while our Black neighbors are repeatedly denied justice and equity in this country.
What I find so confounding about the b******t you scrawled across our banner is that you prove the necessity of proclaiming that Black Lives Matter because they so obviously do not to you. We do not expect everyone to agree on every point of the BLM platform or anything else. But as fellow humans, we do believe that standing in solidarity with those you, and many like you, so vehemently proclaim do not matter is what our faith requires of us.
This Sunday, I’ll be preaching on a parable in which Jesus is asked about paying taxes and is handed a coin bearing the image of Caesar. He tells his questioners to give it to Caesar since it belongs to him, and to give to God what belongs to God. But you see, they’ve been tricked, because everything belongs to God. Every one of us bears God’s image, and our work on this earth is to honor that image in one another, including you and me and every Black life. Join us on Sunday if you’d like to hear more.
Feel free to get in touch if you’d like to chat, or maybe just reimburse us for the banner.