Redeemer University does not generally comment publicly on political or social issues. Instead, we focus on our mission to educate students in a way that helps them develop a kingdom vision to engage those very issues in their careers, communities, churches and homes. However as news broke about the multiple deaths of black citizens and demonstrations formed across the US, Canada and around the world, it became clear that Redeemer needed to address its community, and particularly people of colour to support them and call for justice. The following letter was shared with the Redeemer community on June 4, 2020.
Dear Redeemer community,
It is with deep sadness that I have watched the news of the senseless deaths of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. While much of that news is from the situation south of the border, I also know that racism is not unique to the USA. I encourage us all to keep the Floyd and Arbery families and affected communities in our prayers.
As Christians, we are called to reflect the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the world. As a university, we have a responsibility to pursue truth to the end of serving our neighbour. We are called to care for one another and protect the vulnerable and cannot remain silent when our brothers and sisters, friends and neighbours (Luke 10:30-38) are mistreated and abused or killed.
The Bible condemns injustice and the misuse of authority and is unequivocal about the truth that every human being on this planet was fearfully and wonderfully knit together by our loving and powerful Creator. We were made in his image and likeness. He knows each of us by name. He saw beauty in the diversity he created and he called it good.
At the very heart of the gospel is the acknowledgement that we are all sinful and God demonstrated his love toward us in this, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. We recognize that we don’t always love the way Jesus does, whether by omission or with ill intent, and we must lament with each other, repent, and do better.
To the black community, we believe that you are precious in his sight. You are precious in our sight. We grieve with you and understand that in your hearts these events represent a long history of inequity and the misuse of force. We hear you and stand with you as a community, calling for these injustices to be addressed quickly and decisively.
I see video footage of people from all walks of life coming together to pray and embrace and it gives me hope that through deep injustice, we can be brought together in genuine love and unity of faith. My prayer is that we can better see each other through his eyes and love each other as he has loved us.
Robert J. Graham