Acts of Hate

The world has been inundated with acts of hate in recent years. Persons from around the world have lashed out in anger and fear, persecuting those whom they see as different, such as:

  • in the United States—Jasper, Texas, a Black man was dragged to his death behind a truck by white drivers; and
  • in Wyoming—a gay student was viciously attacked and left to die; and
  • in countries such as Kosovo, Rwanda and others—genocide and ethnic cleansing.

Thousands of stories appear around the world in the media where persons have acted out of fear and bigotry to harm others emotionally, physically, and/or spiritually. Jesus said: "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you" (Luke 6:27 NRSV). Instead of taking lives, we are called as Christian people "to lay down our lives for one another" (1 John 3:16 NRSV). We must be willing to walk into the houses of sin and eradicate the sin that tears lives apart.

That is why we as United Methodists must stand in direct opposition to any person or group that would choose to harm another individual's life, liberty, property, or family. We must unite around the world to make a Christian witness that acts against persons because of their national origin, religion, gender, age, race, or sexual orientation will not be tolerated. We will then "Commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons" (¶ 161G Social Principles).

Therefore, be it resolved, that the General Conference of The United Methodist Church reaffirms its historical commitment not to tolerate acts of hate inside or outside the church. The church shall respond to the victims and the perpetrators of these acts with compassion as witnessed in Jesus Christ. We oppose any and all acts of hate, or attempts to make people feel of less worth, fear for their well-being, or lose spiritual presence in their lives.

Further, be it resolved that, The United Methodist Church, with assistance from the appropriate boards, agencies, and local churches continue to educate:

  • Christians on faithful responses to acts of hate;
  • children and youth on the sins of hate and bigotry through Sunday School materials, United Methodist Youth Fellowship resources, and special projects that are done in several languages;
  • seminary students and clergy on the trends of hate in the world and how the church can faithfully prevent and respond to acts of hate; and
  • all persons in The United Methodist Church about the sins of hatred and bigotry that have been committed in our United Methodist Church against our members and against those with whom we seek to minister.

Be it further resolved, that the members of The United Methodist Church,

  • be active participants in civic or religious organizations that promote unity and diversity and work to eradicate acts of hate;
  • take strong nonviolent action in opposition to hate groups;
  • work to fulfill a ministry to those individuals who would choose to be a part of hate groups and show them the compassion and saving grace of Jesus Christ;
  • promote diversity dialogue and programs in all churches, annual conferences, central conferences, general agencies, campus ministry units, and any other place where The United Methodist Church has a witness;
  • enlist the various boards and agencies to work together to create a Mediation Team Resource Kit that focuses on hate mediation for distribution to local churches and annual conferences; and
  • support a restorative-justice response to hate crimes, which aims at dialogue, accountability, and healing between victims and offenders rather than at adding more punishment of offenders if their crime was motivated by hate.

ADOPTED 2000

See Social Principles, ¶ 162A.

From The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church — 2004. Copyright © 2004 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.



LINK: UMCOM.org, United Methodist CommunicationsUMC.org is the official online ministry of The United Methodist Church.
© 2014 United Methodist Communications