Faith response to mass shootings, violence, racism

By Multnomah University,
Portland Oregon

Our hearts grieve over the recent mass shootings in Georgia and Colorado. We pray for God’s comfort and strength for all those who lost loved ones or who are recovering from injuries as a result of these violent acts.

Standing against violence and racial discrimination are outworkings of our faith and common salvation in Jesus. Speaking out against all forms of violent and racialized anger, mistrust, fear, and hate is important to protect those targeted and discriminated against from harm. The Gospel calls us to be agents of God’s peace by loving all our neighbors as ourselves. Moreover, silence can communicate approval. Therefore these recent violent acts require wise action not just words.

So how can we help all of those affected by the recent mass shootings in GA and CO?

  • Pray that God’s comfort and hope will strengthen the families of those who lost loved ones
  • Pray for a full recovery for those injured in the shootings
  • Give to trustworthy organizations that provide financial and other needed forms of support
  • Support legislation that wisely addresses the role that mental health plays in this violence
  • Support legislation that wisely prohibits ownership of guns and other deadly weapons by those who suffer from mental health issues or have shown a propensity to violence

Over the past thirteen months, East Asians and Asian Americans have been increasingly targeted for violent acts of discrimination. The mass shooting in Atlanta appears to be another example of racially motived hate. We need to stand together with our sisters and brothers by condemning all acts of violence and hate targeted toward them.

Here are some tangible ways we can support them:

  • Support East Asian and Asian American-owned businesses.
  • Educate yourself on what scholarly articles and the CDC say concerning the virus rather than rely on social networks and limited media sources.
  • Combat misinformation and stereotypes.
  • Avoid perpetuating memes and gossip that cast East Asians and Asian Americans in a poor or dangerous light.
  • Avoid perpetuating unacceptable slurs such as the “Kung Fu Flu” or, equally misleading, the “Chinese Virus.”
  • If you know someone who is actively afraid of people of East Asian or Asian descent and who may be lashing out in anger or in other ways, consider the following:
    • Ask them some constructive, inquisitive questions.
    • Show compassion for their fear while also raising doubts about incorrect assertions.
    • Offer better, God-honoring perspectives to discuss and put in place.
    • Pray that God will remove their fear and replace it with love
  • If you have a friend or neighbor of East Asian descent, consider reaching out to them to ask them how this situation might be impacting them and how you might be able to help.

Please join us in praying for healing in the world and for safety for all those who may be suffering. We encourage you to practice wisdom and discernment in utilizing these suggestions. It is important to navigate these issues with empathy, sensitivity, and God’s love.

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