2 minutes reading time (343 words)

I can't breathe

 

These three terrible words will not be forgotten.

There is a disturbing symmetry between George Floyd's cry for life as a police officer knelt on his neck, and the desperate struggle for breath endured by those whose life is being choked by Covid-19.

And you can't mistake the ugly congruence between the injustices suffered by black people at the hands of the police and of civilian racists, and the disproportionately high death toll among the BAME community from Coronavirus. There are, of course, many possible causes of this disparity, but the simple fact is that minority communities are more likely to be poor, and poor people are more likely to be vulnerable, in a range of ways: low pay, poor housing, health problems, and employment in high-risk occupations such as transport, cleaning, security - and healthcare. When you're at the bottom of the pile, your life is precarious, and you're less likely to be treated with respect by those who have power.

In other words, to insist that "Black Lives Matter" is not simply a protest, a howl of grief and rage at a single atrocity. It is a sign that all kinds of people, of all ethnic backgrounds, have woken up to the reality that some lives have been allowed to matter less than others, in all kinds of ways, not just in the US, but here and in every place where wealth and power have overshadowed our common humanity.

If we are Christians, we believe in a saving love, an unimaginably deep compassion, which our God feels for every creature, without discrimination. In his Kingdom, which we are called to proclaim and embody, there is no difference in status - no male or female, no Jew or Gentile, no black or white. All are equally honoured, equally precious. Will we stand up for this great vision, this dream of Martin Luther King, and will we stand against everything that distorts or defiles it? This question will not go away, it will haunt us until we take our stand for justice.

Covid thoughts
Prayers for Pentecost
 

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