December 17, 2020
Rev. Dr. Rebecca Voelkel
Over five hundred years ago, my European Christian ancestors embarked on a well-thought, well-strategized plan to dominate the world. It started with the invasion and subjugation of African Muslim’s and pagans and became the Atlantic slave trade. And it continued with Columbus’s campaign of terror in the Americas. This well-thought, well-strategized plan to dominate the world was and is known as the Doctrine of Discovery and there is a bold and direct line between the actions of those terrorists and their blasphemous colonizing in that era to pipelines and extractive economies in 2020. The Doctrine of Discovery is rooted in Empire Christianity and it was blasphemous then and it is blasphemous now. It wreaked untold suffering then and it threatens the very existence of our planet in this moment.
It is as an act of repentance and reparation that I stand before you and with you as a white Christian pastor today, seeking to stop Line 3, particularly in this season. Dec 17, 2020 stands in between the third and fourth Sundays in the Christian season of Advent which is a time of waiting and preparation for love and justice to be born in our world. It is also a time when we Christians believe we are invited to find ways to embody the same kind of solidarity with love and justice that God demonstrates in the birth of Jesus.
And, so, it seems particularly appropriate to be here with you: in repentance and solidarity.
But one of the things about repentance and solidarity is that they are not one-time things. We must practice them again and again if we are to experience healing. And that is certainly true about our work around Line 3. The other thing is that in the face of well-thought, well-strategized doctrines of discovery and destruction, we must pray and organize in well-thought and well-strategized ways, too.
For the past almost three years, I’ve gathered with many of you in prayer and ceremony to say no to this pipeline. Following the leadership of indigenous kindred, we’ve protested, we’ve attended committee hearings, we’ve participated in comment periods, we’ve sung and meditated and lamented and organized. We’ve taken action through the Poor People’s Campaign and the Water is Life Ceremony in the Governor’s Receiving Room. We’ve participated in coalitions of all kinds.
And now we are here because we know the danger, the destruction and the death that this pipeline represents: for our planet, for the waters that support life and for each of us and all of us.
But we are also here because our action isn’t just no-saying, it isn’t just protest and strategic resistance. We are here because we know that water is sacred, that all of creation is bound together in a blessing and is kin to one another. And so I stand here in deepest gratitude for being bound to and with you and these waters and these lands and these creatures. And I return thanks to the Sacred whom I call God for all who are saying no to this pipeline and yes to life.