1998 NCC News Archives

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Letter to President Clinton from the NCC's Officers
Hails Race Initiative, Emphasizes Its Importance

NEW YORK, June 12, 1998 -- The National Council of Churches' officers today sent President Clinton the letter that follows, hailing his year-old initiative on race and emphasizing its continuing importance:

June 12, 1998

The Honorable William Jefferson Clinton
The White House
Washington, DC 20005

Dear President Clinton:

The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA today wishes to recognize your leadership in the area of racial justice and reconciliation. Your initiative on race taken a year ago has been an important beacon to a nation still divided and still pained by incidents fueled by bigotry. Your clear commitment to justice and reconciliation signals to all who believe otherwise that this nation will not bless a divided America. Lest we think our race problems are part of a past era, we are reminded otherwise by the burning of Black churches and more recently by the sickening incident in Texas where a black man was abused and killed for no reason other than the color of his skin.

Mr. President, your initiative on race stands in stark contrast to such dismaying behavior. America’s moral legacy to future generations must include a serious challenge to racial intolerance and injustice. Racism is a form of violence and as such tears the delicately woven fabric of the society. Violence begets violence, and unless we move quickly and courageously to make violence unacceptable, we will reap the whirlwind. Schools, churches, synagogues and mosques must teach children a non-violent, more loving way of being.

American churches and synagogues have long recognized racism as a faith issue and not one to be adequately understood or addressed in purely sociological terms. If we are all God’s children called to love one another, then bigotry and intolerance have no place. We, like you have struggled to give this theological truth life in our congregations and in our nation. We pledge ourselves – this day – to work with you and your administration to carry forward the goal of this very important initiative.

With renewed prayers for your courage and strength for the struggle, we remain,

The Right Rev. Craig B. Anderson, President
The Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, General Secretary
Bishop Melvin G. Talbert, Immediate Past President
Dr. Sylvia M. Faulk, Vice President-at-Large
Dr. Will L. Herzfeld, Vice President, Church World Service
The Rev. Dr. Elenora Giddings Ivory, Vice President, National Ministries Unit
The Rev. Dr. Margaret J. Thomas, Treasurer

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