World churches group condemns violence, racism calling for justice in US after black police suspect killed

(Photo: Marcelo Schneider / WCC, 2019.)

The World Council of Churches joined the United Nations in condemning violence, racism and police brutality in the United States, following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of a police officer.

"As part of our Christian understanding and our witness in the world, we reject the brutality of both violence and racial injustice," said a WCC statement on May 29.

"We therefore express our revulsion at the killing of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis, and call for full accountability for those responsible for his death."

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet had the day before denounced the killing of Floyd by U.S. police, which was captured on video and led to violent protests in the state of Minneapolis.

"This is the latest in a long line of killings of unarmed African Americans by US police officers and members of the public," Bachelet said reacting to the killing.

"I am dismayed to have to add George Floyd's name to that of Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Michael Brown and many other unarmed African Americans who have died over the years at the hands of the police."

She also named other victims, including Ahmaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin who were killed by non-law enforcement members of the public.

Emily Claire Schmitt wrote in the Catholic blog Patheos, "We've been here before. In fact, we've never been anywhere but here. Violence against black people at the hands of the state has been a reality for our country since it's founding.


"It's time for Catholics to treat this as a pro-life issue. If you're angry over issues like abortion and euthanasia, you should also be angry over state violence, mass incarceration, and the death penalty."

Floyd's death on May 25 triggered outrage and violent protests in Minneapolis accompanied by demonstration and the burning of businesses surrounding the local police precinct.

The WCC fellowship said it grieves for all victims of excessive force employed by U.S. law enforcement authorities against people of color.

"How many more must die before there is a collective affirmation that black lives do matter, and fundamental root-and-branch reforms in the culture and practices of law enforcement agencies are implemented?" the WCC stated. "This must stop."

"There must be a conversion (metanoia), reflection, repentance and rejection of all forms of racism and racial discrimination, and a true and genuine acknowledgement of the equal God-given dignity and worth of every human being, regardless of color or ethnicity," said the statement.

The WCC said, "Superficial measures will no longer suffice.

"Criminal prosecution must surely follow, as well as fundamental reforms in law enforcement."

The church grouping representing more than 500 million Christians said that U.S. society must change.

It said, however, "However, violence will never be ended by more violence....We call on those now expressing their anger in violent protest to end the violence, but to strengthen peaceful demands for accountability and reform until justice is done."

The National Council of Churches USA said it i"s outraged by the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer who mercilessly pinned him down with his knee on his neck until Floyd died."

"This incident adds to a string of occurrences in the last few weeks and too many incidents to count in the U.S. over hundreds of years, where racism and bias coupled with policing are a lethal combination for Black people," said the NCC.

(Photo: Fibonacci Blue / Wikimedia Commons)Protests against police violence in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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