Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Two of the three highest elected leaders in our Commonwealth of Virginia are embroiled in scandal right now that touches the painful legacy of racism in our nation. White American culture once not only tolerated white people donning blackface, but embraced it as a form of entertainment. Yet it was always hurtful, demeaning and insulting to people of African descent. What was accepted back then was not acceptable, and it is not acceptable now.
We as people of faith, no matter what our race, gender or ethnicity, promise in our baptismal vows to respect the dignity of every human being. We also know the power of confession, so much so that we engage in the practice regularly. This current scandal provides us an opportunity to examine not only the lives of our political leaders, but to take a close look at our own lives. When have we done or said things that have diminished the dignity of others? In what activities have we engaged that were once accepted, but never acceptable? This scandal invites us to confess the ways we have fallen short of the image of God that is in us and to repent, to turn around and act in a different way.