Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists


Addressing the Racism Virus

Editorial by Renée Battle-Brooks

While the COVID-19 virus continues to cause concern, I’m thankful we are finally addressing the racism virus that has infected America for hundreds of years. For many, this topic causes profound sadness, weariness, frustration and anger. For others, thinking about, talking about or dealing with racism is more frightening than facing COVID-19. And some may still be processing the issue, trying to figure out their role and response to it. But the time for sitting on the fence is over.

James 2:9 cautions that “if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the Law as offenders” (AMP). Partiality translates to showing favoritism or prejudice. God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness” (Gen. 1:26, NIV). Every person of every race was created in God’s image. Every. One.


Can we all agree that a basic responsibility of claiming Christianity is to reflect the character of Christ? As we look at His life and example, it is clear that Christ’s character is not consistent with racism. He didn’t ignore it. No doubt He prayed about it, but He did not pray it away. He acted. He called it out whenever He saw it. He went out of His way to be inclusive, breaking down racial barriers. He lived love, showed us how to be antiracists and called us to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Like Christ, Seventh-day Adventist Christians have an irrefutable duty to be antiracist—to act against racism. Prayer is powerful and can move mountains, but prayer without action is not enough. We have to recognize it, call it out, eradicate it from our churches, organizations and communities, and live love.

Nelson Mandela said, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.”

Renée Battle-Brooks serves as executive director of the Prince George’s County Human Relations Commission in Maryland, and chairs the Columbia Union Conference task force on race, equity and inclusion. The daughter of missionary parents, she and her husband, Mark, are members of Potomac Conference’s Sligo church in Takoma Park, Md.

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