Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Brethren leaders release statement on New York Post cartoon.

A statement responding to a cartoon published by the New York Post on Feb. 18 has been issued by three key Church of the Brethren leaders: Annual Conference moderator David Shumate, Mission and Ministry Board chair Edwin H. Edmonds, and Church of the Brethren general secretary Stanley J. Noffsinger. The statement follows in full:

"A statement from Church of the Brethren leadership responding to a cartoon published by the New York Post on Feb. 18, 2009:

"The Church of the Brethren leadership expresses grave concern about a cartoon published by the New York Post on Feb. 18, portraying the image of a dead chimpanzee, shot by police, alongside a reference to the federal government’s economic stimulus bill.

"Our concerns center on the cartoon’s use of old racist symbolism equating those of African descent with monkeys, and the way it connects that racist symbolism to President Obama, our nation’s first African-American president.

"We are concerned about the effect of this cartoon personally for people of African descent, and its effect on our society as a whole during a time in which many hope that America is moving beyond its racist past. Our deepest concern, however, is that the cartoon might be interpreted to encourage violence against President Obama and other African-American people.

"Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corporation, which owns the New York Post, has apologized personally for the publication of the cartoon and we are grateful for that. However, the apology does not detract from our concerns about the destructive effects of the cartoon.

"We call on members of the Church of the Brethren to hold President Obama and his family and the whole African-American community in prayer, and we call our church to a new awareness of how frightening expressions of violent racism are for people in minority groups in our country. We are painfully aware of an increase in hate crime, and of the various threats that have been made against President Obama since he was elected.

"We suggest that members of our church and people of good faith across the United States seek positive responses to the harm that may have been done by the cartoon. If we act together with faith, we may seize this difficult experience in our life as a nation and convert it into an opportunity to do outreach and relationship building with people of every ethnicity, and make it into an opening to talk with the children in our families and Sunday school classrooms about how God loves all people equally.

"The scriptures continue to encourage us as we walk together toward the Kingdom of God, where we will be among ‘a great multitude...from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb’ (Revelation 7:9).

"In the name of Christ, our hope and our peace."

Source: 2/25/2009 Newsline

No comments: