Several of our readers have brought to our attention a document posted online earlier today, February 27, entitled “A Statement Concerning the Sin of Racism.” This is the first and, as yet, only post for an apparently brand new blog called Orthodox Christian Clergy Against Racism. As of this writing, it has been signed by sixteen priests and one deacon from a number of jurisdictions.
The blog and its Statement raise some interesting questions and observations:
- Who owns the blog? At first glance one might speculate Archimandrite Maximos (Weimar), since his is the first signature; but upon closer inspection, we see that Father John Whiteford posted the Statement.
- Aside from this one Statement, what is the blog’s purpose? How often, and in how many different ways, can a collective of clergy declare themselves to be against racism?
- Our sources suggest that one of the signers of this Statement is himself implicated with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and Confederate sympathizers in the Orthodox Church. We have addressed our concerns about this priest in a series of emails to Metropolitan Tikhon of the OCA, Metropolitan Hilarion of ROCOR, and Father Steven Voytovich of St. Tikhon’s Seminary. We have provided a screenshot of a semi-public Facebook conversation in which a seminarian implicated in these concerns plainly states to this priest that he would lie to advance his political goals.
- Our sources also suggest that another priest who signed this Statement, belonging to a different jurisdiction, is under investigation by his episcopal authority for the same concerns.
- We would like to think that many or even most of the other priests and the deacon who signed this Statement are unaware of #3 and #4 above. They might want to reconsider their involvement in this initiative.
Until now Orthodoxy in Dialogue has refrained from naming names publicly. This does not mean that we do not have names. Rather it has been our hope to work respectfully with hierarchs and seminaries in encouraging them to respond to these very grave matters in a public and transparent fashion.
See White Supremacy and Racism in the upper part of our Archives by Author page for the full list of letters, articles, and editorials that we have published to date on this topic.
Addendum on 3/1/18: See our sequel, “Some Additional Thoughts,” here.