NEWS-SENTINEL EDITORIAL: Church should be at the forefront in promoting unity between races

Many think the racial tension in America is worse than ever, but an event in Georgia on Saturday organized by the OneRace movement had churches taking the lead in trying to heal the fracture dividing this nation.

And we believe the church should be at the forefront in promoting unity between races in the United States through faith. Local churches should also consider the possibilities.

As many as 12,000 people of different races, ages and church denominations gathered at Stone Mountain outside of Atlanta to call for an end to racism and hatred. Those who made the climb to the top of the mountain in the event called “One Race” spent the day in reconciliation, prayer and worship. The Christian Broadcasting Network reported that many there said “the experience was a step toward fulfilling the will of Jesus and the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

There was ironic significance to the site. More than a century before, on Thanksgiving night, 1915, William J. Simmons, a former Methodist minister, and more than a dozen other men climbed to the top of Stone Mountain and set a cross on fire to declare the return of the Ku Klux Klan.

The enormous, igneous dome that rises 825 feet east of Atlanta is the main attraction of a state park that draws 4 million visitors a year. On its face is the largest bas-relief carving in the world, a Civil War memorial to Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.

Carved as a memorial to those who fought for the Confederacy, today many see the gigantic gray stone relief as a shrine to white supremacy.

“A lot of voices in society and politics are speaking about divisions in the nation, but we don’t hear much from the church,” Billy Humphrey, co-founder of the OneRace movement and director of Atlanta’s International House of Prayer, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “At times, the church has been on the sidelines. At times, the church has been silent. We can’t be silent anymore.”

“The issue of racial healing is very, very important,” said Bishop Garland Hunt, senior pastor of The Father’s House in Norcross and co-executive director of OneRace. “Our country is divided and the church is, unfortunately, divided out of frustration and pain.”

According to the Journal-Constitution, the OneRace movement began two years ago with a half dozen pastors, both black and white, like Hunt and Humphrey. Now there are 300.

As Hunt told CBN prior to the event, the process may make people feel uncomfortable at times, but churches have no choice. He said that if Christ gave his life for “men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation,” and if those who bear his name can’t live together as one race, what hope is there for the rest of the world?

OneRace (oneracemovement.com) is an effort our churches here in Allen County should look into and perhaps support or replicate.

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