The Loyola University Maryland Theology Department stands with the black community during this time of national reckoning following the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and so many others. We grieve that their violent deaths are part of a pattern of oppressive anti-black structures that underwrite American history, from slavery to Jim Crow laws to the criminal justice system. It’s a pattern we saw hit close to home five years ago when Freddie Gray died while in the custody of the Baltimore police.
We affirm that racism and social control through violence are in direct opposition to a faith in which all people are created in the image of God. At the same time, we lament the ways that the church and its theologians have actively perpetuated or remained silent in the face of white supremacy and structural injustice.
As theologians, we bring the resources of our traditions to bear on these profound challenges: the prophets like Amos and Isaiah who influenced civil rights leaders, the laments that shaped the African American spirituals, and the scriptural stories of exodus and resurrection that inform today’s liberation theologies.
The Theology Department recommends the following resources on racism and structural injustice from a theological perspective:
- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, “A Pastoral Letter to the Nation” (https://www.breachrepairers.org/blogs/a-pastoral-letter-to-the-nation)
- James Cone, “The Challenge of Race: A Theological Reflection,” in Ethics That Matters, edited by Marcia Y. Riggs and James Samuel Logan
- James Cone, The Cross and the Lynching Tree
- Gary Dorrien, Breaking White Supremacy: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Black Social Gospel
- Kelly Brown Douglas, Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God
- Dominique Gilliard, Rethinking Incarceration: Advocating for Justice that Restores
- Drew Hart, Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism
- Jennifer Harvey, Dear White Christians
- Bryan N. Massingale, Racial Justice and the Catholic Church
- Esau McCaulley, “What the Bible Has to Say about Black Anger” (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/14/opinion/george-floyd-psalms-bible.html)
Click HERE for a more thorough list of recommended reading and links.
Statement from Office of Peace and Justice Studies, Loyola Maryland
Statement of Anti-racist Commitment, Society of Christian Ethics
Statement on US Racism, College Theology Society
Statement on Racism and George Floyd Murder, American Academy of Religion
A Statement on Black Lives Matter, Right to Protest, and Bible as Prop, Society of Biblical Literature