There have been much dispirited conversations on the racial issues in the democratic candidature of US presidential election. The recent controversy has been a result of a few statements made by Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr, pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ where Senator Barack Obama is a member. Sakshi decided to check with the Trinity United Church of Christ itself its view on patriotism and racism. Trinity United Church responds.
While all Christians are citizens of the Kingdom of God, we are also citizens of the country we live in. Indian Christians have to love India (despite the caste system and persecution); Saudi Arabian Christians have to love Saudi Arabia (though they would be killed for being Christians) and American Christians have to love America (despite its racism). It is unbiblical to be unpatriotic. Similarly we are called by Christ to reconcile people to God and to man. It is unbiblical to be casteist or racist. Therefore, the charges of being racist and unpatriotic against a Church are serious. Sakshi poses those questions to Trinity United Church and the Church gracefully responds.
Sakshi: There have been charges that Trinity United Church is racist. Is it true? If it is true, how can it be justified in the light of the Word of God- the Holy Bible?
Ans: The United Church of Christ (http://www.ucc.org), Trinity’s denominational affiliation, is “a community of faith that seeks to respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in word and deed.” It was founded in 1957 through the union of several different Christian traditions. Not only does Trinity not exclude anyone from membership or attendance based on race or ethnicity, but: The majority of UCC members are white; the conference minister of the Illinois Conference of the UCC (Rev. Jane Fisler Hoffman) and her husband (both white) are members of Trinity (You can watch a video of Rev. Hoffman speaking at Trinity about her positive experiences there.).
Sakshi: What about the charges of being unpatriotic?
Ans: There is no anti-American sentiment in the theology or the practice of Trinity United Church of Christ. To be sure, there is prophetic preaching against oppression, racism and other evils that would deny the American ideal. Trinity is “Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian.” Trinity was founded in 1961 and had 87 families when Dr. Wright started his tenure in 1972. Now, there are more than 8,000 members, 70 ministries, and three Sunday worship services