Pastor Rick's Message

St Peters by the Sea Front Dust
Anti-Racism Statement of the Pacifica Synod Council Within this newsletter there are two articles that I would draw your attention to.  One is the “Anti-Racism Statement of the Pacifica Synod Council” that was sent to each of the churches of the Pacifica Synod for their consideration.  Also there is an article written by one of our church council members who has legitimate concerns about the statement. What I like best about St. Peter’s is that there are always people on both sides of important issues and yet the church is open to differing views and honors differences in opinion.  In that spirit of true diversity and unity without sameness, I am excited about this issue of the newsletter.  Racism and prejudice needs to find a voice that confronts the inequalities and yet finds constructive dialogue.  These are my thoughts on the statement and the voice of dissent toward the statement. The statement has four parts: The history of racism in this country, a theological perspective on racism and sin in general, a call to empathy by a “white majority” for people of color who suffer from inequalities and a call to repentance and change. I support each one of these positions as outlined by the statement even though I admit that there is much that is left unsaid and could imply directions that could be misleading or counterproductive.  I just think the statement is a step in the right direction. My mother is a racist.  She judges people by the color of their skin without knowing them.  She is afraid when “Mexicans” work on a neighboring house because she thinks many, if not most, Mexican men are criminals.  My Mom thinks black people are trying to take over the country and that “we” have given them enough.  Her views are disgusting to me.  We have had many heated exchanges.  We wonder at each dinner table what kind of insensitive remark she will make next.    On the other hand my eldest daughter is dating a black man.  This is the most objectively fine man she has had in her life.  He is a graduate from UCLA, he has a great job that allows him to rent an apartment in Pacific Beach, he loves his family and his family loves him.  Her sisters, who have been very critical of the men in her life, think this man is wonderful and they love being around him.  My daughter’s best friends for almost all of her life have been people of color that lived next door to us in Bloomington, Minnesota 30 years ago.  I do not have friends that have survived that kind of test of time. I tell you my personal stories because I am ashamed and deeply saddened that our country still treats black people, Asian people, Native Americans and the list goes on, as second class citizens at best and with fear and prejudice at worse.  Do I have to wait until heaven to find a society that embraces all human life with justice, love and respect?  Do I have to wait until heaven where people will be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin, to paraphrase Martin Luther King, Jr? This statement of the Pacifica Synod Council can give us a platform to address the prejudice that oppresses valuable people around us.  To quote the wisdom of our founding fathers:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (and women) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the People to alter or to abolish it and to institute new Government…” The Church can be a tool to make change that is righteous.  We owe it to our country and we owe it to our witness of the goodness of the Creator of us all. Pastor Rick