This week’s Record features an opinion piece written with passion and expertise by Charmein Weathers, a member of Christ the King Church in West Louisville.
She offers her readers a thorough description of racism, one that calls even people who consider themselves free of this stain to reassess their perspectives. All of us are guilty, to varying degrees, of some form of racism. While some forms may be milder or repressed, their existence is a threat to peace and justice and anathema to our Christian faith.
Weathers asserts that all people — of every race and ethnicity — have a responsibility to destroy racism.
Not since the era that ushered in the civil rights movement has it been more important to stand against this insidious vice. The presidency of Barack Obama and the 2016 presidential campaign revealed just how deep racism still runs in this country.
White supremacists have become emboldened since President-elect Donald Trump won the election. Hate speech, right here in Louisville, has flared against immigrants in a local grocery store and in some schools.
On Monday, Nov. 21, the president-elect’s transition team released a tepid statement, saying Trump “denounces racism of any kind.”
It’s time for the president-elect to boldly call for an end to the hate — some of which he encouraged during his campaign rallies. He should directly address the American people and offer a pledge — and a plan — to counteract the strain of prejudice that has been directed at immigrants, refugees, people of color and women.
He should also exercise prudence in appointing his cabinet and others to leadership positions. The selection of those who will foment racial injustice is untenable and will only worsen the division in this country.
In the meantime, people of faith should lead the way in seeking understanding, common ground and justice. We should work together across parish boundaries to seek a future where Christian values, as espoused in the Gospels, are brought to bear on racial injustice.
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz told Catholic News Service reporter Chaz Muth recently, as the polarization in this country widens he wonders, “Where do you begin to really approach things with the mind and heart of Christ, to see in the person next to you a child of God?”
The archbishop, whose three-year term as president of the U.S. bishops’ conference ended last week, formed a national task force in July to study the racial tension and incidents of violence that have exploded across the United States in the last year or more.
The task force made several recommendations to promote healing and peace that we should take seriously — as individuals and parish communities — here in the Archdiocese of Louisville.
The task force called for local dialogues; parish-based and diocesan conversations and training; opportunities for encounter; prayer; and statements on unity and racism, among other things.
Charmein Weathers suggests we tap the healing balm of mercy as an antidote to anger, hatred and prejudice. And she, who has endured the painful scourge of racism from childhood through adulthood, calls for an imitation of Christ, saying, “I must show forgiveness to those who have treated me unfairly and unkindly because of the color of my skin. Mercy is true love that seeks to forgive and should be given without the expectation of anything in return.”
Let us all immerse our racist instincts in the bath of mercy and emerge a more Christ-like people.