Biblical Scholar, Seminary Professor, Episcopal Priest

When You Slaughter Us You Slaughter God

We should not have to tell you, we should not have to teach you, that we are the very image of God. You should see God when you see us.

But you worship a pale deformed perversion of God that mirrors your biases.

I find myself saying again: We affirm that black lives matter and are sacred in the face of actions that communicate the opposite. This is not a philosophical conversation on the value of all life because all life is not equally imperiled in the United States of America.

We are your fellow citizens, your neighbors, your sisters and brothers sharing a common humanity, we are all children of the same God.

I should not have to remind you that we who are blessed with radiant blackness are the image of God.

When you grind our faces into the dirt, you grind the very face of God into the dirt.

When you slaughter us you slaughter God.

Whether we share a religious worldview or not we are co-citizens of a common humanity.

We call on you to live up to and into your own humanity by respecting our humanity and that of our children.

On days like today I think you would rather slaughter God than accept that she is black like me.

3 Responses

  1. Darby kethan

    Dr. Gaffney
    I met you recent at the chapel in Fort Worth just before you began your sabbatical. This recent post resonates with me because even as a young teen it seemed to me that “Fairest Lord Jesus” was more a physical descriptor than a song title or at least He was depicted as fair, blue eyed and blond haired in most pictures in churches and in books. I really rebelled at that notion,
    Knowing history and having common sense.
    At the same time, I was being raised free of any ethnic prejudices, praise God for my parents, I wAs also becoming a woman in a male dominated world where women were even denied higher education in some circles because they would “only get married”. My family exposed me to people of color and especially women of high achievement and expected I could become whatever I wanted, which was an architect. From this history, I began saying whenever I had a chance, That most of the people I knew would be really surprised, “IF they got to heaven, to find God, She is black.” I’m sad to say that many “Christians” I think would prefer to go elsewhere than to a Black and/or female God. But they have been taught differently and organized religions have not countered and have even encouraged such teaching
    Thank you for your words, wisdom, and for having a voice to which people will listen

    18 June 2015 at 10:30 am

  2. I keep trying to write something that will actually speak my heart, but there are none that are adequate, so I’ll simply agree; Yes! Your words speak such Truth. May peace somehow find and rest in each heart directly affected by the horror at the Emanuel AME Church.

    18 June 2015 at 10:55 am

  3. Thanks, Dr. Gafney. Evan and I are proud to be your students. We were talking about the texts for this Sunday, Mark 4 and the storm – and I was thinking – maybe the question should be does God not care that we are perishing, but rather – do we not care that God is perishing? In these black bodies, in these holy innocents.

    18 June 2015 at 9:27 pm

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