Q: What precipitated this or was there any discussion about why this was a good time to make this statement?
A: Yes. This was our first House of Bishops meeting following the installation of Michael Curry as presiding bishop so we spent a great deal of our time in conversation and reflection and prayer around his agenda of evangelism, racial reconciliation, restoration of peoples, and in the midst of that conversation, we all are were kind of talking about the recent rhetoric that has kind of plagued the political debate. As we had that conversation, it led to discussions of historical events where people sat silent when politicians were speaking in these kinds of ways and where they were talking about disenfranchising people and immigration, building walls and those kinds of things. One of the things that came up was the political rhetoric back in the late 1930’s and what happened with Hitler and Europe. That kind of led to a conversation about do we want to weigh in on the politics of our nation, which there was really not a lot of energy about doing that. But we did want to weigh in on how we were treating one another. It is so easy for us to ridicule and demean and use this disrespectful kind of discourse. We’re kind of saying this is not who we are. This is not who we are as a nation. This is not who we are called to be as Christians. That led to a group of bishops drafting this statement and we at the House had some discussion about it and wordsmithed it a little bit, We unanimously voted to make this a “mind of the House” statement. Given where we’re at in this country, we feel it fits very strongly with where our presiding bishop is taking us about the restoration of all people.
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