Taking a standing against hate speech

From our friends in the Progressive Explorers’ Group (PEG) in Melbourne who have signed this statement.

Action on hate speech: a letter to the churches

   We, the undersigned, are members of a group of mostly clergy, both women and men, still actively involved in the life of the Church. We meet on a regular basis to explore and discuss issues of faith, church and society from a contemporary perspective. We express our profound concern at the horrific events in Christchurch New Zealand in March 2019, and believe that our church should respond strongly, and with conviction.

   While we understand the complexity of the situation, which makes the sheeting home of blame problematic, we accept responsibility to examine our own thought and practices and those of our various churches. We do this in the hope that we can identify our contribution, intentional or otherwise, to the construction of a social, religious and political environment conducive to race-based hate speech.

   We, as followers of Jesus, acknowledge that our churches have in times past promoted notions that racial and cultural superiority are justified. We acknowledge that such notions have contributed to the worst behaviour imaginable.  The fifty deaths in Christchurch are but the most recent symptoms of faulty theology, poor education, careless talk and the mistaken identification of faith as a marker of superiority. Often when our society, or individuals within it, behave in a violent and offensive manner we have said little or have maintained our silence.

   In recognition of our churches’ complicity we, the undersigned, ask of the churches that, in word and deed, we together:

  • embrace inclusiveness, and publicly denounce division;
  • engage in open-minded study of other faiths
  • actively build bridges between faiths and cultures, and decry the forces that keep them apart;
  • resist the urge to convert or demean people of other faiths;
  • proclaim love and peace as the very essence of God’s will;
  • stand up in our communities for justice;
  • speak out against hate speech;
  • call out racism.

Signed: Members of the Progressive Explorers Group as at Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Name Status Institution
Robert Renton Retired minister Uniting Church in Australia
John W. H. Smith Retired minister Uniting Church in Australia
Lorraine Parkinson Retired minister Uniting Church in Australia
Margaret Black Retired Deacon Uniting Church in Australia
Karel Reus Previously minister Uniting Church in Australia
Gillian Crozier Retired minister Uniting Church in Australia
John Cranmer Retired minister Uniting Church in Australia
Peter Sanders Retired minister Uniting Church in Australia
Ric Holland Minister (Hampton Park) Uniting Church in Australia
Alex Poore Retired minister Uniting Church in Australia
John Gunson Retired minister Uniting Church in Australia
Jeff Shrowder Retired minister Uniting Church in Australia
Rex Hunt Retired minister Uniting Church in Australia
Neil Tolliday Retired minister Uniting Church in Australia
Kath Baldini Retired minister Uniting Church in Australia
Coralie Ling Retired minister Uniting Church in Australia
Denham Grierson Retired minister Uniting Church in Australia
Howard Ainsworth Retired priest Anglican Church of Australia
Neil Wilkinson Retired minister Uniting Church in Australia
Jim Cunnington Retired minister Uniting Church in Australia

oOo

1 thought on “Taking a standing against hate speech

  1. Rosy Sturling

    Makes one think of all the times we have given silent consent by not speaking up against racial slurs.

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