The CUIC Executive Committee and the CUIC Racial and Social Justice Task force have endorsed the following statement by the African Methodist Episcopal Church in response to racist comments made by Donald Sterling of the Los Angeles Clippers Basketball Team. CUIC remains committed to erasing racism in both church and society in its quest for Christian unity.
From the African Methodist Episcopal Church:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Bishop T. Larry Kirkland
Presiding Prelate, African Methodist Episcopal Church
African Methodist Episcopal [“AME”] Church supports NBA Commissioner’s ban of Sterling
(Statement from Bishop T. Larry Kirkland, Los Angeles, CA, April 29, 2014)
Racism is anathema to any civilized society. The African Methodist Episcopal Church was born out of prejudice and slavery. Our Church like any other religious institution stands for freedom of religion and respect for humanity. As part of the religious community of Los Angeles, the Fifth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church espouses equality and freedom from oppression and prejudice. Racism in any form cannot be tolerated. This is especially repugnant when an individual, who has been blessed with financial wealth extracted from our community exhibits Racism. The recent revelations of bigotry practiced by the Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, is shocking to the conscience. This man is a public figure owning a sports franchise that is supported by this community. As such, Mr. Sterling’s racist comments are even more reprehensible since he has benefitted from exploitation of his professional athletes and from the Clippers loyal fans. Mr. Sterling’s well-documented history of prejudice against minorities must now come to an end. We believe Mr. Sterling has a public duty to practice tolerance and champion human rights. In this regard, he has failed miserably. There is no room in our society for a man in his position to continue to control a professional franchise so vital to our Los Angeles community. The Clippers represent this City. As the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, he has to be removed from that position. Otherwise, the stigma of his actions will destroy the good name of this sports franchise and our City as well. A professional sports franchise is a microcosm of fair play and equality for every human being. There is no place in that arena for a man like Mr. Sterling. The religious community of Los Angeles supports the removal of Mr. Sterling as the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.
ABOUT THE AME CHURCH
The African Methodist Episcopal (“AME”) Church is the oldest religious denomination in America that was founded by persons of African descent. In 1787, a group of slaves and freed persons were pulled off of their knees during prayer at St. George’s Methodist Church in Philadelphia because they were in a whites-only area. The group walked out and formed a church that now has nearly three million members in 39 countries covering 5 continents.