A Response to Trump's statements on "lynching"
The servant leaders of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and our Social Action Commission are appalled at President Trump's insensitive use of the term "lynching." To equate his current political predicament, rooted in his tyrant-like abuse of power, with the long history of this violent practice directed primarily against African Americans but also other minority groups is divisive and destructive.
This tone-deaf and racist attempt at 21st century political distraction disrespects the memory of the thousands of persons who were lynched physically, legally and politically by the spiritual, political and economic systems of white supremacy. Trump's statement that the Democrats are lynching him dishonors the families who still suffer from the wounds of losing their loved ones to this brutal practice. President Trump should go to the National Lynching Memorial to learn the truth about lynching and the pain and evil that his words have unleashed.
How dare the president of the United States of America claim he is being lynched when it is "open season" on people of color in America! The number of hate crimes is rising — the recent police shooting of an African American woman in Ft. Worth, Texas, combined with the ongoing history of the Trayvon Martins, Michael Browns, Freddie Grays, and Sandra Blands is a reminder that racism and lynching are still alive and well in the U.S.
We are surprised at Trump's chief apologist, Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, supporting this lynching rhetoric. The roots of white supremacy run deep in South Carolina. In the 19th century, Denmark Vesey, an African Methodist Episcopal member, was lynched for organizing slaves to rebel against the system of white supremacy. In the 21st century, people were assassinated while at a Bible study at Mother Emanuel AME Church. The Senator affirming the president's comment equating lynching with a political disagreement disgusts us and disturbs their memory.
We call upon the United States Congress to censure the president and Senator Graham for these appalling and insensitive remarks. Remarks that belittle the historical suffering of any people, their faith tradition, race or gender are intolerable. We ask Trump for an immediate and sincere apology. We ask that our ecumenical partners join with us to continue to speak out and act so that "justice will roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream."
Bishop Harry Lee Seawright, President of the Council of Bishops
Bishop Gregory G. M. Ingram, President of the General Board
Bishop Adam J. Richardson, Jr., Senior Bishop
Bishop Frank M. Reid III, Chair of the Commission on Social Action
Mrs. Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker, Director/Consultant of Social Action