To end our lenten actions, on Good Friday we offered up an example of what it can mean to have the church speak up and act against the injustice we see in our world. We addressed the crucifixion of black and brown bodies that happens at the hands of the police and legal system. Here is our press release:
St. Paul, MN – On Good Friday, April 14th, an ecumenical group of Christian activists were forcibly removed at the Governor’s Mansion demanding that Governor Mark Dayton veto HF 896, also called the anti-protesting bill. The bill would violently criminalize protests, drastically increasing fines and promoting harsher sentencing. This would make public protest in the wake of injustice incredibly risky and difficult, likely censoring citizens justified outrage and freedom of speech. The authors of the anti-protesting bill have particularly targeted activists of color and groups like Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, who have organized non-violent protests in the wake of the police killings of unarmed black people.
The activists carried a large cross, conveying their belief that the anti-protest bill would fuel the crucifying police violence experienced disproportionately by black and brown Americans. “The anti-protest bill represent a crucifying force in our midst,” said Zed Jensen of the Mennonite Worker, “Violently criminalizing activists of color and racial justice activists for protesting in the wake of the murders of Jamar Clark and Philando Castille is to be complicit with the same oppression that crucified Jesus on this day 2,000 years ago.”
“We believe that Jesus was killed for standing up against the social and economic oppression of his community within a militarized Roman empire,” explained Katherine Parent, a Christian activist from Minneapolis. “Much of his ministry was in protest against violence and injustice, the same protest criminalized under this immoral bill. We believe that if Jesus were around today, he would have been on the interstate, demanding justice for Jamar and Philando.”
Activist’s from the Minneapolis Catholic Worker and the Mennonite Worker along with other Twin Cities racial justice activists have planned this direct action as the last in series of Lenten actions aimed at calling out the role that American Christianity has played in the ascendency of Donald Trump and the clim
ate of rampant racism and xenophobia in our country. The activists call on Christians to repent for the violence done in the name of Christ, and to actively engage in the liberatory mandate embedded in the Christian tradition and as embodied in Jesus’s life. On social media the activists will be using the hashtag #Silenceissin.