By the Rev. Dr. Fatimah Salleh
Dear White Christian Churches (churches that have been historically and presently led by white men and womxn),
For Black people, the history of the white Christian “welcome” was in the hull of a slave ship and at the auction block. Or the burning cross. The newer “welcome” is the long-standing avoidance, if not outright dismissal, of white Christians to deeply commit themselves to upend racism in all its forms—personally, theologically, and systemically.
Make no mistake, this is a call to discipleship committed to dismantling racism and oppression within the church. This work has to be more than one-time statements and pithy comments here and there—this work demands a fidelity that continues to fight until this evil is eradicated (most likely, when Jesus comes back).
And yes, this is a call to political and ecclesiastical action. It matters how you vote and who you vote for because laws and policies can sustain systemic racism, or they can try to dismantle it. This work is not apolitical. Your politics do matter. And a church that tries to maintain an apolitical stance on deeply political issues, cannot begin to do the real work of welcome in this nation.
I implore you to do the harder and more lasting work of uprooting racism in your theology and in your congregational communities and then vote to rid this country of laws and lawmakers that uphold this evil.
For certainly, the call to justice is intricately intertwined in the welcome, or it’s no welcome at all.
Want to take a next step?
Form an anti-racist trust team using this free resource.
About the Author
The Rev. Dr. Fatimah Salleh was born in Brooklyn, NY to a Puerto-Rican and Malaysian mother and an African-American father. She has a PhD in Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a masters degree from Syracuse University and a masters of divinity from Duke Divinity. She is the founder of A Certain Work, an organization dedicated to educating on issues of faith, diversity, equity and inclusion. Dr. Salleh is leading the course Spit & Mud for Faith + Lead.