Resisting Hate (80411-C1-R9999)
Add new resolution to the Book of Resolutions as follows:
Resisting Hate, Fear and Scapegoating and Transforming the Context of Hate in the United States
“Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.
Those who say, “I love God, and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.” I John 4: 8 and 20 NRSV
WHEREAS in the post 9/11 world, reports of hate crimes of acts such as the following have become part of the daily lives of people both in the United States and around the world:
A Muslim Arab-American woman receives a threat from a co-worker “You and your kids will pay”...”death”
A Catholic high school student is punched and kicked on a bus by a group of youth for looking “Chinese”
A teenage boy is beaten with a baseball bat because of his perceived sexuality
Anti-Semitic graffiti is spray painted on a store selling kosher meat products
Four men attack and kill one of twelve undocumented immigrants
A cross is burned on the lawn of a house for sale after being viewed by an African American Family
These acts encourage social movements that promote bigotry based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and national origin (white supremacists/nativists) to appeal to racial and other fears.
If we look only at these acts as the acts of individuals or groups of individuals we will fail to recognize the wide context of fear and hate that gives rise to these individual acts. That context has both historical roots and grounding in current economic and political realities. Demographic change and economic uncertainties contribute to a sense of insecurity and anxiety about the future leading to old animosities and prejudices being revived and new ones.
WHEREAS the centuries old legacy of racism in the United States means that communities of color are still targeted and used as scapegoats. In the name of a “war on terror” racial profiling by police and other government agencies is on the rise and local government strategies are attempting to control immigration by criminalizing immigrants and refugees by building a wall across the southern border of the United States and creating laws to restrict immigrant and refugee rights. School officials who ostracize gay and lesbian students encourage homophobia rather than acceptance of diversity. Media reports that fail to distinguish differences within religious traditions inadvertently promote religious intolerance by portraying all Muslims as radical Islamists or all Jews as Christ haters.
WHEREAS “free speech” is interpreted by media conglomerates as the right to use the public airways for ‘entertainment’ that denigrates and ridicule women, people of color, immigrants, lesbians and gays, persons with disabilities etc. and anyone who is ‘different’ from the ‘mainstream’.
WHEREAS the United Methodist Church has a long tradition of challenging individual acts of hate as well as hate speech and violence against specific groups and communities. The "Social Principles" affirm that United Methodists “deplore acts of hate or violence against groups or persons based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, national origin, or economic status (162A). As the Social Principle affirm, "certain basic human rights and civil liberties are due all persons" (¶162H).
And following the guidance of the Social Principles, we "commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons," (¶161G).
Therefore, be it resolved that the United Methodist Church reaffirms its historical commitment opposing acts of hate, hate speech and violence, in both church and society and commits itself to redouble its efforts to speak out against hate crimes and work to transform the context of fear and hate that gives permission to these acts, naming and challenging the culture that perpetuates it;
Be it further resolved, that the United Methodist Church, with assistance from the appropriate boards, agencies, and local churches, implement the following recommendations:
Faith and Biblical Resources:
Provide biblically based resources for young people and adults that address the historic and systemic roots of hate that lead to hate speech and hate crimes;
Create resources to help United Methodists analyze the language of hate among groups that use religious language to justify hatred and bigotry;
Work with ecumenical and interfaith groups to create worship resources, and develop community activities to unite religious groups on behalf of justice for all;
Develop educational materials to build understanding of the systemic, institutionalized culture of racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of marginalization;
Develop materials to explore and challenge expressions of hate, including: personal attitudes, scapegoating individual violence, media distortions, to public policy and collective violence, including state violence;
Educate United Methodists about trends of hate in the US and the world and how the church can prevent and respond to acts of hate,
Encourage United Methodists to report hate incidents to the police, and to organize support for victims of hate crimes;
Encourage United Methodists to end complicity with hate by speaking out when jokes, disparagements, and stereotypes violence are based on identity or status;
Annual Conferences - Responding to Hate Crimes:
Annual conferences develop data bases of information of local and state hate groups and explore the connections between anti-immigrant/refugee groups and white supremacist organizations in order to develop strategies for response for use by local churches;
Organize letter writing campaigns and denominational and ecumenical delegations to meet with state government officials to advocate for the passage, funding, and implementation of strong and comprehensive state hate crimes laws that extend civil rights protections to all individuals and groups;
Encourage law-enforcement personnel to maintain records on hate crimes and to bring to justice the perpetrators of such violence and intimidation;
Annual Conferences - Transforming the Culture of Hate:
Strongly encourage local churches, annual conferences, general agencies, campus ministry units, and any other place where the United Methodist Church has a witness, to create opportunities to hear from excluded groups about the reality and impact of hate and to partner with them to act for justice;
Be active participants in civic or religious organizations that promote unity and diversity and work to eradicate acts of hate, as well as working with diverse grassroots and national organizations;
Engage in efforts to enable communities to unearth the truth about past hate violence, to bring perpetrators (including state actors) to trial, and to heal wounds and seek reconciliation based on justice and more equitable power relationships. This effort is based on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission and other efforts now linked through the Center for Transitional Justice;
Work through local organizations and local schools to ensure their policies and training programs adequately address various forms of discrimination and sexual harassment based on gender and perceived sexual identity;
Use United Nations and other resources for adults and children in efforts to build a global Culture of Peace;
Create an Annual Conference taskforce to develop strategies to address actions of the media that use or condone hate speech, stereotypes or racial profiling.
The United Methodist Church calls on Annual Conferences to report on their work on culture of hate and hate crimes at their annual conference meeting; to include hate crimes in their conference report to the General Commission on Religion and Race; and to work with the General Board of Church and Society and the General Board of Global Ministries, including the Women’s Division on this concern.