The Salvation Army urges white donors to offer a “sincere apology” a detailed reference has been “developed to guide The Salvation Army family in gracious discussions about overcoming the damage racism has inflicted upon our world.”
The guidance has been crafted by the Salvation Army’s International Social Justice Commission, in which doners are urged to “understand and acknowledge the definitions of race and racism and how the social construct of race has affected society” and ultimately “lament, repent and apologize for biases or racist ideologies held and actions committed.”
“Many have come to believe that we live in a post-racial society, but racism is very real for our brothers and sisters who are refused jobs and housing, denied basic rights and brutalized and oppressed simply because of the color of their skin,” the resource guide states, adding that there is an “urgent need for Christians to evaluate racist attitudes and practices in light of our faith, and to live faithfully in today’s world.”
There are “five sessions” contained in the guide to “help delve into the topic of racism and the Church.” Those include entire sections titled. “Self-Care for People of Color,” “What is Whiteness?,” “Lamenting and Repenting — a Conversation Guide,” among others.
Racism can be perpetuated in both “conscious and unconscious ways,” the guide states. However, while lamenting the alleged, widespread divisions, donors are instructed specifically to “stop trying to be ‘colorblind” in the guide:
While this might sound helpful, it actually ignores the God-given differences we all possess, as well as the beautiful cultures of our Black and Brown brothers and sisters. Instead of trying to be colorblind, try seeing the beauty in our differences, and welcome them into your homes churches and workplaces. Being colorblind also ignores the discrimination our Black and Brown brothers and sisters face and does not allow us to address racism properly.
“Repentance” is called for in the guide, calling on scripture to convince never racist white people to apologize; the guide states, it is necessary to “move towards racial reconciliation”:
We recognize that it is a profound challenge to sit on the hot seat and listen with an open heart to the hurt and anger of the wounded. Yet, we are all hardwired to desire justice and fairness, so the need to receive a sincere apology is necessary. We are also imperfect human beings and prone to error and defensiveness, so the challenge of offering a heartfelt apology permeates almost every relationship.
Even those who feel they have not personally been racist, the guide urges them to “spend time repenting on behalf of the Church and asking for God to open hearts and minds to the issue of racism.”
“Perhaps God spoke to you during your time of lament, and you have an idea of what you need to repent and apologize for. Please take time to write out or think about how you can repent and apologize,” the guide adds.
You can find the complete Salvation Army resource guide here.