The death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter Campaign – Statement from Baptists Together Core Leadership Team
Like many in this country and across the world, we have been appalled and horrified by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis by state police. We grieve with his family and community over his brutal mistreatment and the flagrant disregard for his humanity. We recognise that his inhumane treatment is symptomatic of a deeper devaluing of black lives, in particular black men and that his death has tapped into generations of anger and frustration as the result of systemic brutality and discrimination. We therefore completely understand the protests which have swept the United States as a natural and right consequence to this tragic injustice. But we hope and pray at this dangerous but pivotal moment, not only in the United States but in global history, that this will provide the urgent impetus to redress the social inequalities that has caused so much outrage. The ‘dream’ inspired by the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King has yet to be fulfilled but we commit to working with good people of all persuasions to see it realised not only in the US but wherever injustice manifests itself in our world. His reminder that ‘injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere,’ is a rallying call to action because we are all affected by this tragic event. All people, of all races and faiths, have the right to breathe.
Furthermore, we were also dismayed by the use of force to disperse a peaceful protest outside the White House to facilitate a political photo opportunity in front of a neighbouring church. We strongly believe that these attempts to co-opt the church and the scriptures are incompatible with the Christian values at the heart of the gospel. We thus would urge the President and the people of America to draw once again on the foundational values enshrined in the Declaration of Independence that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. In the light of this timeless statement, unlawfulness, inhumanity and injustice can never be right outcomes.