Without justice for all, there is no justice

The video images of the officer-involved shooting in North Charleston, S.C., will remain with us long after we have viewed them. They are deeply disturbing and painful to watch. As a people of faith committed to social justice and opposed to gun violence and racism, we grieve for the lives lost and destroyed by this act of violence.

 Bishop Jonathan Holston

Bishop Jonathan Holston

Now is the time for us to engage in critical self-examination as we set for ourselves specific goals for moving forward. These goals should be a faith statement of witness, advocacy and prayer.

The young man who recorded these events reiterates the power that each of us holds to serve as articulate, caring, straightforward and powerful witnesses. We are called to witness not only as faithful disciples, but to witness to the world the injustices we see and experience.

We are called to be advocates. Each of us has the responsibility to serve as advocates for our beliefs and in this particular context to clearly be advocates opposed to racism in any form and in firm opposition to gun violence.

Called to pray

We are called to pray. Prayer is powerful. Much healing is needed in North Charleston, in South Carolina and in our world. Praying together for understanding, forgiveness and peace is the pathway to healing.

Praying together for understanding, forgiveness and peace is the pathway to healing.

We are called to examine our lives, our associates, our habits, and to live according to the principles of our faith. We are called to live our lives as examples, so that those seeing us in the world may see Jesus through us.

We are called to work together in our churches and communities to break down the dividing walls of hostility between individuals and groups in our midst. We are called to join together with the understanding that whenever one of us suffers, we all suffer. Without justice for all, there is no justice.

Share this proclamation

The words contained in the 2012 Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, “A Companion Litany to Our Social Creed,” share with us this proclamation:

Today is the day
God brings good news to the poor,
Proclaims release to the captives,
Gives sight to the blind, and
Sets the oppressed free.

And so shall we.

This is my prayer for the people of North Charleston, for the people of South Carolina and for the people of our world.

Grace and peace.

Editor's note: Bishop Jonathan Holston is episcopal leader of the South Carolina Conference.

Letter to the Editor