Church Defined By Fighting White Supremacy Accuses Itself Of Racism

Members of a D.C. Unitarian church devoted to fighting white supremacy accused the church of racism after two black ministers suspended another black minister.

Congregants of All Souls Church Unitarian accused their church of racism when Rev. Susan Newman Moore, a black minister, resigned after two minster-investigators of the United Church of Christ (UCC) recommended she be suspended for six to 12 months, according to The Washington Post. The minister-investigators served Moore with the suspension after looking into complaints lodged against her and Senior Minister Rob Hardies, a white male pastor. When the minister-investigators served no punishment to Hardies, Moore and others in the congregation alleged that church leadership was motivated to hold her to a different standard because of her race and gender. (RELATED: DC Church Denounces Prayer In March For Our Lives Display)

“Im the cough, but there is a disease in liberal religious churches,” Moore told WaPo. “Its not enough to put a Black Lives Matter sign on the outside, but then you dont see it on the inside.”

Hardies and Thurman Rhodes, a black circuit court judge in Maryland and president of the churchs board of trustees, reject Moores allegations that racism and sexism had anything to do with the decision to suspend her.

All Souls Church Unitarian claims to have fought for social justice, especially in the form of combating white supremacy, for 200 years . The church believes that white supremacy is “the pervasive racism that impacts every person and institution” and is Americas primary sin, Hardies told WaPo. The author of the WaPo article about the churchs conflict implied the election of President Donald Trump was responsible for a surge in white supremacy that drove up the churchs attendance numbers.

Alleged Trump-inspired white supremacy is “exactly the kind of racism Moore and her supporters are alleging she experienced,” the WaPo author claimed.

The conflict stems from complaints that church congregant Reeve Tyndall lodged with the Unitarian Universalist Association and UCC against both Hardies and Moore. Reeves alleged the two were negligent in their duties, took too much vacation time, and that Moore was guilty of several instances of plagiarism in her sermons and elsewhere.

The UCC launched an investigation that lasted for months in which they interviewed several staff members of All Souls. The UCC concluded the investigation by suspending Moore from ministry in February. Moore resigned instead of accepting the suspension.

Moore, for her part, alleged she has been the target of racist microaggressions within the church for years and that congregants and other leaders did not respect her authority as much as they respected the authority of Hardies. The alleged discrimination was racially and gender motivated, she said.

The church is now split between those who believe the result of the investigation into Tyndalls complaints were just and those who believe that it is impossible for it to be anything other than racism, since a white man retained his job while a black woman did not. The congregation is also split over whether to protest on Moores behalf and whether to push for a sizable severance package for her.

Church leadership sent an email to the congregation saying the controversy over Moore revealed a need to address racism within the church and that the church will provide training sessions to “dismantle racism and other oppressions in our church and ourselves.”

Legal counsel for All Souls had not reached an agreement with Moores counsel on the terms of separation as of March 30.

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