Like no other time in the history of our nation, the faith community once more stands at the crossroads. We must let the world know which side of the fence we are standing on, as it speaks to our calling for love and compassion. Houses of worship, whether brick and mortar or street outreach, can serve as the foundation for truth as we struggle to combat myriad health disparities in the Black community. Our community has, and will continue to, confront catastrophic suffering and loss of life throughout congregations if we are unclear about what pathway we are traveling. Is it a path of science or fiction?
If we would reflect for a moment on Dr. Martin Luther King’s "Letter from Birmingham City Jail", penned on April 16, 1963, we would take to heart his call for communities, and the nation as a whole, to engage in civil disobedience if needed to combat unjust laws and human rights violations. Almost 40 years later, we struggle to reach this vision of equity as we struggle to reach institutional consensus and intergenerational agreement.
Where does our faith come in as we continue to endure actions that seem orchestrated, designed to censure distribution of life-saving information, and squelch voices of those in dire need of intervention? How will people of faith actively reengage our fight against complacency as civil rights -- that we thought were secure -- seem likely to vanish without a trace. The faith community historically did matter and must continue to be a vital part of the vision needed to salvage what civil rights remain.
Similarly, communities of faith stand at the intersection of civil rights and access to life-saving health care. At this very moment, let us call upon the names of every ancestor who fought and died for current privileges we too often take for granted. Let us recommit our voices of faith and decide how we can actively play a part in translating truth to believers and those who seek spiritual peace. People of faith have and continue to lose life due to COVID-19 and other health disparities. As such, let us draw upon our collective power within and throughout houses of faith to counteract fear and stigma that led to so many premature deaths.
Let us embrace every opportunity to fight disinformation and misinformation, and bring lifesaving therapies to those we profess to love and shepherd. Now more than ever, given the devastation caused by health disparities among people of color, is it not our moral responsibility to ensure that information communicated to our families and communities comes from trusted sources grounded in science and truth, not personal opinion and conjecture?
As believers in a higher source, we have a rare opportunity right now to be a part of the solution to life, not the problem, for it is certain that we can’t save a soul if they lose their life “way to soon.” Let us explore how we may become a new conscience of the community. We will accomplish this through our compassion and ability to do the Creator’s work, because communities will see in us that “Faith Matters.”