By Vatican News
Family and close friends gathered in Houston Tuesday for the funeral of George Floyd, two weeks after he was killed by Minneapolis police officers.
Floyd's death has sparked protests in the US and around the world, calling for changes in policing and law enforcement's relationship with African American and other minority communities.
Pope Francis, US bishops and leaders of faith-based communities across the world have decried the murder and called for justice and the respect for human dignity and life.
Amongst them, the World Council of Churches (WCC) is calling for conversion and the rejection of all forms of racism, entrusting Christians with the task of spreading love, fidelity, hope and courage.
Vatican News’ Gabriella Ceraso spoke to Father Lawrence Iwuamadi, Dean of the Bossey Ecumenical Institute in Geneva which is linked to the WCC, about the need to respond with Christian hope and solidarity to the crises that have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
One of the main responsibilities of the WCC and its Steering Committee is to promote dialogue and encounter between the members of the different Christian Churches. Father Lawrence said the battle against racism and discrimination has been one of the mainstays of the Ecumenical Council of Churches throughout its history.
“Already in the '70s, '80s and '90s this fight was part of the history of the Council in every part of the world," he noted.
So what has happened in the United States, he added, emphasizes the need for continuing such an effort. He said the WCC has firmly stated that “all this must end” and has called for “conversion, reflection, repentance and the rejection of all forms of racism and racial discrimination.”
He emphasized that “the true recognition of the equal dignity and value given by God to every human being, regardless of colour or ethnicity," is an intrinsic Christian belief.
Work to be done in the US and across the world
Father Lawrence pointed out that the frailties and injustices brought to light by the coronavirus pandemic have led the WCC to observe that despite the important work undertaken to combat racism “there is still work to be done in the United States and in the rest of the world". This work also includes member churches of the United States who have highlight the realities due to the history of 400 years of racism.
He said that the Executive Committee of the Ecumenical Council of Churches has expressed "its support and Christian solidarity with all Churches in the United States that seek racial justice by proclaiming a peace that is inclusive and that reject instrumentalized forms of Christianity that do not place compassion, service and love at the centre."
He also said that the WCC has committed itself to monitor the developments taking place in the United States at the moment.
Its appeal, Father Lawrence concluded, is that attention be maintained also beyond the chronicle of the United States: “we should reject all forms of racism, all forms of discrimination wherever they are, and this is our witness as Christians.”