On the eve of the President’s second inauguration,
NCC calls for a renewal of MLK’s pursuit of justice
Washington, January 20, 2013 – As the nation prepares for the second inauguration of President Obama on January 21, a day also set aside to commemorate the 84th birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., the National Council of Churches is calling for a renewal of “our historic commitment to racial justice in church and society.”
The Council’s 37 member communions will be symbolically present at the 57th Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service Tuesday at the National Cathedral through the participation of NCC President Kathryn Lohre.
The Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, NCC vice president and general minister and president of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) will also have a role in the service.
Lohre reflected on the Call to Action in a blog published last week in the Huffington Post, expressing her personal commitment to the pursuit of racial justice.
Recalling the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, Lohre noted “the simple and obvious truth that, even then, the movement for racial justice was not the churches' alone -- but it was one in which the churches claimed their rightful place, giving witness to the hope we have in Jesus Christ as the One who breaks all barriers between us as children of the living, loving God.” She asked, “With whom are the churches marching today, and toward what effect?”
The NCC’s inaugural call for renewal to racial justice expressed gratitude for “those NCC faith leaders who joined with The Rev. Dr. King in giving prophetic leadership to the U.S. Civil Rights movement.
“We recall with hope the countless ways in which the NCC has sought to uphold a vision for racial justice through its work and witness over the years – challenging unjust laws, policies, and structures that perpetuate the pernicious sin of racism,” the statement said.
“Today, we commit ourselves anew to exposing the scandalous realities of racism in the churches and in society as an affront to the Gospel, and to confronting racial injustices wherever they occur.”
The statement calls on “communities to affirm the lives and worth of all people regardless of race and to work to promote laws, policies, and structures that promote racial equality, equity, and justice.
“We call on churches to continue to confess the sin of racism and to stand in solidarity with all men, women, and children who are created equally in the image of God. We further call on all persons to commit to creating the beloved community envisioned by The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”
The NCC’s full statement can be found here.
Lohre’s blog in the Huffington Post can be read here.
Additional background about the ecumenical and civil rights movements can be found here.
Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for shared ecumenical witness among Christians in the United States. The NCC's 37 member communions -- from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace churches -- include 40 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.