On behalf of the Smith College Center for Religious and Spiritual Life, I write to condemn the recent use of a sacred text to illustrate a political point. Christian scripture in particular has been manipulated to oppress black and brown people just as it has been used for centuries to sanction colonization, and oppress Jews, Muslims and other non-Christians.
But in fact, Christianity, like Judaism, Islam and so many others, is a faith of peace, and its prophet, Jesus, was a social activist who encouraged his followers to resist injustice and domination.
As members of an educational community it is our duty to bring a critical lens to structures and systems that undermine social justice and human rights.
Theologian James Cone says this about Christian scripture:
“It is also an immanent reality—a powerful, liberating presence …building people up where they are torn down and propping them up on every leaning side. The gospel is found wherever people struggle for justice, fighting for their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Whatever texts you hold dear or sources of inspiration that guide you, may you always work to wrest them from the hands of those that would misuse or weaponize them. Whatever questions you may be asking on your journey, keep asking them, for when we stop asking questions the very wisdom upon which we rely becomes lifeless and hollow.
We will continue to gather, remotely until we can meet again, to learn, and explore, and support one another, for justice comes out of community solidarity. Please know we are with you, not having all the answers, but in certainty about our commitment to the ongoing struggle for a better world.
Director of Religious and Spiritual Life