NO MORE STATE-SPONSORED CRUCIFIXIONS IN THE NAME OF “SAFETY”
A Holy Week Declaration from First Congregational Church of Oakland
Issued on Good Friday, March 30, 2018
As followers of Jesus, we
- That Lent is a season of
spiritual searching and wilderness wandering when we recommit ourselves to
following the way of Jesus Christ.
- That we face temptations
that threaten to make us complicit with violence against our neighbors and
ourselves, including the temptation to try to secure our own safety, survival,
and comfort at the expense of other human beings and the planet.
- That during Holy Week, we
remember the execution by the state of a person targeted not for what he had
done but for who he was and how he was positioned in his society
- That at Easter, we
celebrate the resurrection of a criminalized Christ, revealing that love is
more powerful than violence and that we are invited to live according to that
- That this journey, from
death to life, is an expression of the fundamental gospel truth that sets us
In our community we see:
- That state-sanctioned
violence perpetuates a violent and inequitable status quo in a number of forms
including racialized policing
- That Christ is found among
those who are criminalized by our society and targeted for state violence:
Black and Brown people, poor people, transgender and gender-non-conforming
people, disabled people, and homeless people.
- That beloved community
members have been killed by local police, including Stephon Clark, Sahleem
Tindle, Demouria Hogg, Nate Wilks, Yuvette Henderson, Kayla Moore, Alan
Blueford, Oscar Grant and so many others.
- That militarized policing
continues to threaten the lives of beloved people within and outside our own
- That militarized policing
also harms human beings who serve as police officers, many of whom suffer from
moral injury as a result of their work
- That courageous resistance
has been mounted against this state-sanctioned violence, led by
- That our faith calls us
into deeper community with and participation in these liberation movements, as
well as with all our neighbors
- That our faith further
calls us to commit ourselves to developing restorative and/or transformative
justice processes as a means of addressing harm in our communities
- As an expression of our
hope in God’s goodness, our assurance in the resurrection, and our faith in
Jesus Christ, we declare that we will live our new life today.
- We commit to reimagining
our policies, procedures, and relationships to our neighbors to reduce our
reliance on policing that is too often deadly for those already marginalized,
to contribute to restorative/transformative approaches to addressing harm, and
to increase our capacity to ensure the safety of everyone in our community.
- God has already done all
that needs to be done to prepare the way for us. We are now ready to live our
faith with the boldness that is required.
- May what we declare with
these words be ratified by our action.