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To Serve and Protect: The Police, Race, and the Episcopal Church in the Black Lives Matter Era

Gayle Fisher-Stewart

Black lives matter; they matter to God and they should matter to all Americans. However, as we continue to witness unjust and unconstitutional killing of black men by the police, we must ask: What is the role of the Episcopal Church in providing safe space for and mediating discussions of the role of policing in America as it continues to maintain racial attitudes and values that have negative effects on the life chances of blacks in America? How do we lead the way to bodily encompass our Baptismal Covenant, in which we promise to “strive for justice” and to “respect the dignity of every human being”? The Episcopal Church has directly profited from slavery, discrimination, and Jim Crow, and the police were in the forefront of maintaining those mechanisms that defaced God’s people. Through acts of confession and repentance led by the church, perhaps four hundred years of oppression can truly end.

 
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