The Rhode Island State Council of Churches recognizes the profound personal, institutional, and cultural impact, especially in BIPOC communities, of the Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative …
The Rhode Island State Council of Churches recognizes the profound personal, institutional, and cultural impact, especially in BIPOC communities, of the Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action. Addressing the long history of systemic oppression and violence directed towards our nation’s BIPOC community is a central concern not only for the Rhode Island State Council of Churches, but for many faith communities nationally.
Likewise, today’s ruling that governments (state and federal) must allow discrimination in the name of religious deference is an attack on both civil society and religious consciousness. The Rhode Island Council of Churches reaffirms its inclusion and protection of the LGBTQIA community in all walks of life.
Although not without sin, Rhode Island’s founding thinker, Roger Williams, understood the importance of preserving a civil space where no, “uniformity of Religion [should] be inacted and inforced,” and where a permission [freedom] of conscious and worship “[be] granted to all men in all Nations and Countries.” Although Williams was deeply committed in religious belief and practice, his vigorous debates with other religious authorities were grounded in the notion that religious truth, however passionately conceived and defended it may be, lies outside the realm and jurisdiction of the civil state.
Williams understood that the preservation of our civil spaces was not born out of an indifference to religious concerns – far from it. For those of us who are people of faith, robust religious discourse and practice constitutes our embodiment in the world – it orients us in our understanding and grounds our commitments to peace, community, and social justice. At the same time, we recognize that abundant life is found in the blessing of a diverse and pluralistic civil society, a society where no person is discriminated against based on the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender expression, or any other way in which their being is expressed.
To that end, the Rhode Island State Council of Churches remains committed to the work of “creating a world that is a beloved community, reflecting God’s peace, love and justice.”
Jeremy Langill is the Executive Minister of the Rhode Island State Council of Churches.