The National Council of Churches USA, too, expressed “outrage” at George Floyd’s murder in a statement relayed in Europe by the World Council of Churches (WCC). Floyd – the statement reads – was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer who “mercilessly pinned him down with his knee” until death. He could be heard repeatedly saying: “I can’t breathe”. “This incident – the U.S. Christian leaders wrote – adds to a string of occurrences in the last few weeks and too many incidents to count in the U.S. over hundreds of years, where racism and bias coupled with policing are a lethal combination for Black people. Deplorably, while the coronavirus has infected the U.S. and been the cause of death for more than 101,000 people in less than three months, racism has infected this country since its beginnings and this virus has seeped into every aspect of American life. There is still no vaccine for the racism and white supremacy that is so pervasive in our society. There is still no cure. As people of faith, our fight and struggle against this evil that has all of us bound continues”.
The National Council of Churches also called for “swift and decisive action to bring justice to George Floyd and his family” and recalled Martin Luther King’s words: “Riots are the language of the unheard”. “Our nation needs healing but there can be no healing without justice”, the Christian leaders wrote. In addition to justice in the courtroom, there is also a need for decisive action amongst our people “to end racism and white supremacy once and for all”. “In a moment like this, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, silence is betrayal”, Rev. John Dorhauer, president of the National Council of Churches and general minister of the United Church of Christ, said. “We must do everything in our power to end this evil that infiltrates our nation”.
The National Council of Churches launched the “A.C.T. Now to End Racism” initiative, to combat the many manifestations of racial discrimination, also present in the church, work for change in mentalities, and to promote “an inclusive Gospel of justice and peace and resistance to racism and white supremacy”. Virtually all Churches in the U.S. have taken a stance on George Floyd’s murder. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America released a statement with the names of some of the black Americans recently murdered: “Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Dreasjon (Sean) Reed, and George Floyd were our neighbors”. “We grieve with, pray for and stand in solidarity with the families and friends of all whose loved ones have been and continue to be victims of injustices run amok, racist violence and the insidious venom of white supremacy”. In a letter, Dr C. Jeff Woods, general secretary of the American Baptist Churches USA, stressed that African-Americans have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
Grief over the tragic death of George Floyd was also expressed by Zachariah Mar Nicholovos, metropolitan of the Northeast American Diocese of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, and by Rev. Dr Martin Junge, general secretary of the World Lutheran Federation.