Subject: NCC Newsletter: Police Reform, Christian Nationalism, and AAPI Hate

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Police Reform, Christian Nationalism, and AAPI Hate

NCC Newsletter
April 23, 2021
NCC Expresses Relief at Guilty Verdict But Our Work to Reform Policing Must Continue
“He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?”
Micah 6:8 NRSV

April 20, 2021, Washington, DC – After expressing outrage at the murder of George Floyd in 2020, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) is relieved that there has been a conviction in the case of George Floyd’s murderer, former police officer Derek Chauvin, in Minneapolis, MN.

This verdict, while welcomed, does not mean that our nation has turned a corner on the problem of police brutality. This decision was made based on multiple witnesses, recorded videos, and nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds of violent and inhumane treatment of Mr. Floyd even after all life was drained from his body.

It is clear that the problem of excessive police violence has not been solved. We continue to commend and support law enforcement agencies that model good community policing, and in the tradition of advocating for justice and peace and inspired by the prophet Isaiah to serve as “repairers of the breach,” we persist in our call for an overhaul of the justice system that brings about reconciliation and restoration.

“I was able to see with my own eyes that Derek Chauvin was guilty of killing George Floyd and so, too, did the members of the jury. I pray this verdict will help advance the cause of racial justice in our nation, but I know we still have a long way to go,” stated Jim Winkler, NCC President and General Secretary.

“I applaud the jury for a right decision in this case and I rejoice with Mr. Floyd’s family,” said Rev. Aundreia Alexander, Esq., NCC Associate General Secretary, Action and Advocacy for Justice and Peace. “This case highlighted the systemic racism within the policing system throughout the nation. It is my hope and prayer that the nation will now be willing to take a serios look at reimagining a model of public safety that will focus on wholistic care for people and communities rather than policing the everyday activities of living while black in America.”

Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell, Founder and President, Grace and Race Ministries, Inc. and Chair of the NCC Racial Justice Advisory Committee shared, “Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Those words not only apply to Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd, they also present a challenge to our justice system. This case is a mandate for truly seeing the racial inequities in the criminal justice system and the necessity of addressing police reform. Black people are still dying at the hands of those who took an oath to protect and serve. Let’s stay in the fight to improve police training, policies and practices, and provide hope that the killing will end. God will find that we are all guilty if we celebrate today and stop pressing for the needed systemic change.”

“I rejoice in a verdict that affirms that Black Lives Matter, but I temper my rejoicing with an awareness that George Floyd is still dead and his family will never have him back,” commented Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ and Chair of the NCC Governing Board. “I pray that George Floyd will be remembered as one whose death caused a reckoning long overdue, initiated a justice long denied, and spurred on a movement for racial equity that too many died waiting for.”

The NCC remains committed to end racism in all its forms in our nation.

NCC Governing Board Addresses Christian Nationalism and AAPI Hate
The Governing Board of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) met on April 20, 2021, and, since the meeting was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, recorded the largest attendance of members in years.

After prayerful deliberation, the Governing Board adopted, “The Dangers of Christian Nationalism in the United States: A Policy Statement of the National Council of Churches USA” stating that “the contemporary movement, Christian nationalism, is of great concern to the members of the National Council of Churches and, indeed, to all Americans committed to justice and peace.”

Standing with all who live in fear due to the discrimination unleashed on the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, the Governing Board approved a “Resolution Against Asian American Pacific Islander Hate” to stand with all who live in fear due to the discrimination unleashed on the AAPI community and will through the work of our A.C.T. (Awaken, Confront, Transform) NOW to End Racism! Campaign, the Governing Board charged the Racial Justice Task Force to expand its work and focus on racism against all who experience it in our country, including the AAPI community.

As the NCC has commissioned the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) to review and update the NRSV, a presentation by John Kutsko to the Governing Board noted that the New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition (NRSVue) can claim a well-known line from the 1611 preface to the King James Version: “We never thought from the beginning that we should need to make a new translation … but to make a good one better.” The NRSVue will be released in November 2021. To stay informed, sign up at:

NCC Calls for Prayers After the Mass Shooting Deaths in Indianapolis
Last week, the lives of eight victims were taken during a shooting at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis, IN. We call for continued prayer for each of the victims who were at work when this massacre occurred. We also pray for their families as they face life without their loved ones. No one should die from gun violence just for going to work.

The NCC and the Sikh Council of Interfaith Relations have convened the National Sikh-Christian Dialogue since 2019 and built friendships during this time. As four of the victims of the shooting were members of the Sikh community, we hope that in the Sikh tradition, their families are blessed with beautiful memories of their lives.

This shooting is yet another example of how current gun regulations are unable to reduce gun violence. After seven mass shootings occurred in the last month, we, once again, ask “When will the mounting death toll from gun violence end?”

Sign On to Support H.R. 40 - Deadline Extended
Join faith-based organizations, faith leaders, and advocates representing millions of people of faith across the country to support the passage of H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African Americans Act by signing onto the letter from the Domestic Human Needs Racial Equity Subcommittee of the Washington Interfaith Staff Community. The deadline has been extended to Monday, April 26, 2021 so you can still sign and encourage others to do the same. 

"H.R. 40 would establish a commission to examine the history of enslavement and discrimination in the United States from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies. During the 116th Congress, H.R. 40 had over 173 co-sponsors, and was endorsed by over 300 organizations across the country as part of the “Why We Can’t Wait” project. This overwhelming support demonstrates that the United States cannot move forward without properly addressing and atoning for the lasting harms of the nation’s original sin — the institution of slavery.

There can be no racial healing in the United States without first repairing the harm caused by the deprivation and destruction of Black wealth, racism in health care, discrimination in the criminal legal system, and countless systemic failures. H.R. 40 is the only bill that will lead to concrete proposals for repairing the damage that the US government has inflicted on Black people. Anything short of this will fail to deliver the remedy required from centuries of injustice."

In Memory of Those Fallen in Afghanistan
With the announcement that the United States will be withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan, Dr. Tony Kireopoulos, NCC Associate General Secretary, has written a reflection on the soldiers whose lives were lost in America’s longest war, and concludes, "We, the living, remember the sacrifices of the fallen. We are indeed blessed by their memory."
Passing of Vice President Mondale
At this time the NCC joins the nation in mourning the passing of Vice President Walter F. Mondale and expresses appreciation for his work on civil and women’s rights. As a young senator, he co-wrote the Fair Housing Act of 1968, a pillar of federal civil rights legislation and also engineered a 1975 bipartisan deal that ended the two-thirds rule for stopping filibusters, so that 60 senators instead of 67 could cut off debate. When he ran for president, he chose the first female nominee for vice president from a major party, Geraldine Anne Ferraro.
COVID-19 Pandemic Response
Get Vaccinated!
“Originally, I said I’d wait a while to get the covid vaccine, if at all. I’d gone 5 years without a flu shot and endured the consequences because I knew my body could handle it. Yet, after all the covid deaths, social distancing and intentional isolation protecting my personal health, I made the sacrifice of momentary inconvenience for future reward of reuniting with family and friends. As a man of faith, I must keep on being a “living sacrifices unto God” (Rom. 12:1), doing all I can to live and thrive for the benefit of the Kingdom and for others. Taking the vaccine protects me as I keep on keeping on.” ~ Minister Christian S. Watkins, NCC Justice Advocacy and Outreach Manager
COVID-19 Community Corps

Friends United Meeting General Secretary and NCC Governing Board member, Kelly Kellum, accepted the invitation to be a founding member of the Covid-19 Community Corps and wrote to his staff, “It is an honor to be invited, on behalf of FUM, to participate in this collaborative effort. I joined the Community Corps because I observe how Covid has disrupted the FUM community in so many ways: Friends gatherings canceled; plans for traveling in the ministry abandoned; churches and Meetings finding alternative ways to worship and care for members; schools pressured to develop alternative ways to educate students; and members of retirement communities forced into quarantine. The effects of the Covid pandemic are significant, and Friends are not immune from the collective anxiety, loneliness, economic distress, and incredible grief that are being experienced across the globe."

Individuals, faith-based organizations, nonprofit organizations, medical providers, education, and government can still join the COVID-19 Community Corps to get resources to help you build vaccine confidence in your community in order to end the COVID-19 pandemic by choosing to get fully vaccinated, and encouraging the people in your life to do the same.
From our Partners
Job Listings

Lead Lobbyist for Nuclear Disarmament and Pentagon Spending -  Friends Committee on National Legislation is looking for someone who has experience either working on Capitol Hill or lobbying Congress, who is knowledgeable and passionate about reducing Pentagon spending and eventually eliminating nuclear weapons, and who can think and work strategically to move the political needle on these issues. They are actively soliciting applicants from all ethnic, racial, sexual orientation, gender identity, and religious backgrounds. If you are that person, or know such a person, please consider apply at this link.

Communications Manager - Faith Matters Network seeks a skilled full-time exempt Communications Manager to engineer, implement, and manage their communications strategy in support of efforts to amplify the mission and vision of Faith Matters Network to different audiences and activating and growing their donor base. More information can be found at this link.
Former NCC General Secretary, Rev. Michael Kinnamon, Ph.D., has taken a new turn and published his first novel, Summer of Love and Evil, at Publerati. Although he has previously published non-fiction books, this is his first foray into fiction. The novel will be officially released on May 1 but is now available for  preordering. He tells us that "the novel deals with several social issues, including class (especially), corporate farming, drugs, and the deterioration of small-town America."
Jim Winkler's letter will return next week.

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