Why the Black Church Is Calling for a Gaza Ceasefire

The leaders of one of America’s oldest and most storied traditions — the Black Christian African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church’s Council of Bishops — recently issued a call for a permanent ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian armed groups and an end to US aid to Israel as its government wages a war of slaughter in the Gaza Strip. 

It was an AME Church — South Carolina’s historic Mother Emanuel church, the site of the horrific white supremacist massacre that killed nine Black churchgoers in 2015 — where protesters demanding US support for a ceasefire in Gaza made headlines in January when they interrupted President Joe Biden’s campaign speech.

Though the protesters’ calls for peace were eventually drowned out by chants demanding “four more years” for Biden, the AME council’s courageous new call to conscience underscores how mistaken Biden’s team is if they’re counting on campaign rhetoric to silence the growing upset in the Black church over America’s support for Israel’s war against the Palestinians. After all, it is a war that the International Court of Justice found that Israel’s actions could plausibly constitute a genocide.

From the Pulpits

As Black church leaders, our faith and our history call on us to oppose militarism and oppression in all its forms. And while it may not always make the headlines, Black congregations across America are answering this call to action — from the pulpit and in the pews — as we grapple with the violence being committed against our Palestinian brothers and sisters with Biden’s unconditional support. Just this past weekend, students held a silent protest at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta to call for a ceasefire while US Senator Raphael Warnock, a senior pastor there, delivered his Sunday message.