In a scathing rebuke of recent racist comments reportedly stated by President Donald Trump, the AME Church Council of Bishops issued the following statement signed by Bishop Clement W. Fugh, president; Bishop Vashti M. McKenzie, president of the General Board; Bishop Frank M. Reid III, chair of the Commission on Social Action; and Senior Bishop McKinley Young.
“The AME Church has consistently opposed the racist rhetoric and social policies of the Trump Administration. We have issued formal statements, published editorials, encouraged our members to engage with ecumenical partners, and visit public officials to advocate for all of God’s people.
“When the Trump Administration announced that the temporary protective status (TPS) granted to Haiti, El Salvador and Nicaragua would be revoked in 2019, we urged our church leaders, members, and friends to organize against this racist immigration policy. While it took the U.S. President 15 hours to deny his alleged ‘s**thole remarks,’ there is no denial of his previous statements maligning Mexicans as ‘rapists,’ Haitians carrying ‘AIDS,’ Nigerians living in ‘huts.’ We continue to abhor and be alarmed by the bigoted rhetoric of a U.S. President that is only outdone by his immigration policies, which can be construed as a war on people of color.
“Recognizing that the President claims he did not use profanity, U.S. Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), asserts that the President made the ‘vile’ and ‘hateful’ remarks. The Council of Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Social Action Commission of our Church demand not only a public apology but also inclusive and ‘just’ social and immigration policies. We stand with the public summoning of U.S. diplomats by the countries, which were slandered by the President.
“Because, in 1787 and 1816, our founders chose to proudly affirm the important role of Africa in world history and culture we are horrified that the President of the United States continues to denigrate people of African, Asian and Latin American descent throughout the world. We would remind this President that it was enslaved Africans, poor Chinese people, and oppressed Latinos whose genius built the wealth of the United States. We would remind him that immigrants from the maligned countries come with a high level of education and a work ethic can only make the U.S. greater.
Sadly, a statement from our church about the racist roots of Trumpism, that endangers democracy as we know it in the United States, is not enough. We stand with our ecumenical and interfaith partners in supporting the National Council of Churches campaign to end racism and the launch of that initiative on April 4, 2018.
“We will continue to speak out and hold the United States government accountable as our faith commands us to: ‘There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers.’ (Proverbs 6:16-19).
“Making people aware of the ‘bronzing’ of America and Trump’s attempt to use white supremacist policies to make America white again is not enough. We support the AME V-Alert Call To Action urging us to organize for Voter Education, Mobilization and Registration (Operation EMR) in our communities and churches. It is urgent to make changes in our local, state and national elections in 2018 and 2020.”