From Hate to Hope: New prayer, and reflection on intersecting identities

Over the summer, the White supremacist march and violence in Charlottesville, VA reminded us that our struggles against violent discrimination are inseparable. When people of colour and Indigenous people, of all genders and sexualities, are targeted for who they are, what should the response of an LGBTQQIA+ and Two Spirit movement like ours be? How do we name and face White privilege and racism within our own movement and communities?

A number of communities held anti-racism rallies, and in Edmonton the Hate 2 Hope rally asked AUSE member Gary Simpson to offer a prayer. He has generously shared the prayer with us; download it here and check out our worship section under Resources on our website.

AUSE is a movement that strives to recognize the reality and impact of intersecting identities, and thus works from the belief that the recent gains in LGBTQ+ civil, political, and human rights are not equally true for all sexual and gender-diverse communities. This is why the ongoing and intense debates about the official, uniformed police presence in Pride parades are so important.

(Photo: Rally against white supremacy in Washington DC. By Ted Eytan, licensed under Creative Commons.)
(Photo: Rally against white supremacy in Washington DC. By Ted Eytan, licensed under Creative Commons.)

If long overdue recognition of our human rights is more true and widespread for White members of our communities than it is for people of colour and Indigenous people, then we have collective work to do. And most of it is not easy, because standing in the intersections of our identities is complex and demands truth-telling and truth-listening. Last summer at our annual conference, Moderator Rt Rev Jordan Cantwell’s sermon spoke directly to the difficulty of staying in the difficult space of intersections. Please have a look, and reflect along with her.

A reflection from Jim Bear Jacobs, pastor at Church of All Nations in Minnesota and from the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Nation, gives we Canadians a challenge we need to hear: because here in northern Turtle Island, things are little different.

“A lot of Christians are trying to assure everyone that white supremacists don’t represent real Christians. I won’t argue that. But do some honest work. Ask yourself why so many white supremacists feel right at home identifying as Christian.

So many pastors called on their congregation to pray for peace in the wake of Charlottesville. Yes, pray. Recognize that the name of our God has been sold for a bowl full of empire and supremacy. And pray.

But not in your church. Not holding hands with those that look like you, earn as much as you do, believe like you do. Pray with your feet marching, pray with your fist defiantly raised in the air. Pray in the face of institutionalized white supremacy. Pray until your voice grows weak and cracks from chanting.

…Lord in your mercy… hear our prayers from the streets.” (Jim Bear Jacobs, “Healing Minnesota Stories”, posted 8/14.)

May our conversations at the intersections and on the margins continue and may we perceive what the Spirit is telling us.