We offer the following statement in response to our current national climate. Though we write primarily to our students (past and present), we hope to bless our larger community of faith as we all engage in dialogue, discernment, and action. We thank the faculty and staff of North Park Theological Seminary for graciously allowing us to adapt and build on their statement.
The United States has experienced a contentious election and post-election season marked by fear, polarization, and violence. The current political climate reveals longstanding national sins of racism, misogyny, nativism, and great economic disparity. As faculty and staff members of Westmont College who represent varying degrees of privilege and power (but who are not representing Westmont in this document), we, the undersigned, join our voices with those who are most vulnerable.
We affirm the dignity of every human being as created in God’s image (Gen. 1:27). We submit to the sovereignty of Christ who humbled himself unto death. As members of his body, we strive to consider others above ourselves (Phil. 2:2–8); to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15); to serve one another in humility (Matt. 20:26–28); and to honor and steward God’s good creation (Gen. 1:28). As one body, if one member suffers, all suffer (1 Cor. 12:26); if one weeps, the body laments with them (Rom. 12:15); even creation groans in bondage to decay (Rom. 8:19-23).
As Christian educators, we affirm our deep resolve to pursue truth, to reason carefully, and to rely on sound evidence. While now “we see through a glass darkly” (1 Cor. 13:12), we stand resolutely against any falsehood that seeks to undermine truth and any propaganda intended to obscure it.
A large part of our community is weeping. The fear of deportation is real. The anxiety of being assaulted is real. The fear of being forgotten or mistreated is real. Many people of color, women, and other marginalized groups feel increasingly alienated not only in the current national context but in much of the white evangelical culture as well. Acknowledging that pain and woundedness may take many forms, we humbly entreat the Christian community to seek healing, reconciliation, and justice.
Regardless of where Christians stand politically, the gospel demands we recognize vulnerable populations among us. The gospel also demands that Christians recognize ways we benefit from and participate in structural injustices. Ignoring policies that denigrate and even endanger vulnerable groups is not a faithful option, even if privilege allows some to do so. When we have power, we are called to use it justly and for the good of all.
We confess that we have, too often, failed in calling out injustice, in loving and knowing our neighbors, and in properly stewarding God’s creation. We pray for genuine conviction to undo the harm we have caused. In the midst of real suffering within our community, we humbly seek not only to love our neighbor but to know our neighbor (Luke 10:29), through our conversations, classroom discussions, and times of prayer. We hope to embody a community in which walls of hostility are broken down (Eph. 2:14) and where love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).
Eileen McMahon McQuade
David Vander Laan