By G. Jeffrey MacDonald
CHASKA, Minn. — Presiding Bishop Michael Curry warned Wednesday that the United States is seeing a resurgence of Jim Crow laws and needs the church’s witness as a countervailing force against “rank bigotry” in public discourse.
“It’s an atmosphere where bigotry — rank bigotry — is often enshrined in laws,” Curry told Executive Council on the first day of its spring meeting. “This is Jim Crow stuff again. And where rank bigotry can be articulated in the public sphere as if it is legitimate discourse, that’s a problem.”
Curry said he was commenting on both the political season in this election year and also the current state of American culture. He did not identify which new laws reflect the bigotry that concerns him, but he did emphasize that he wasn’t taking partisan sides.
“I’m not making a Republican or Democrat statement,” he said. “This has nothing to do with partisanship. This has to do with citizenship.”
Curry said Christianity is often seen as complicit with public bigotry, and the Episcopal Church needs to show a different way.
America needs “a witness by a church like the Episcopal Church to a way of being Christian that is not complicit in the culture, but complicit in following Jesus and looking like Jesus of Nazareth — loving and caring and serving in the way that we see Jesus doing it in the New Testament,” Curry said. “That is a counter-narrative to a narrative of narrowness, of bigotry, and of polarization.”