This letter reflects the opinions of Reverend Ian Delinger of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. Letters to the editor do not reflect the opinion or editorial coverage of Mustang News.
To the students, faculty and staff of Cal Poly:
The recent events at Cal Poly which have increased racial tensions, as well as the events of the past which have done the same, deeply sadden me as a citizen of San Luis Obispo, of California and of the United States, as well as a Christian and as a priest. While I am visibly an ethnic minority / person of color, my unique personal history (of a Caucasian family and having lived mostly in 90 percent-plus Caucasian communities) has led me to understand and experience white privilege, structural bias and discrimination firsthand. None of them align with Christianity and Jesus’ demonstrations and messages of inclusivity and love.
It is from who I am as a Christian that I write to express my support for the ethnic minority and underrepresented student groups at Cal Poly, and any student, staff or faculty member who feels marginalized or threatened by the structural or intentional bias that we know exists at Cal Poly and in society. This is not at the expense of my love and care toward Caucasians or persons of any ethnic background. I know that at this moment, there are particular groups of people at Cal Poly who need to know that there are people in San Luis Obispo who are feeling their hurt.
At the core of the Christian Gospel is love and inclusivity both offered and mandated by God through Jesus Christ, illustrated by Jesus’ repeated healings and exemplifications of persons not from His ethnic heritage, social status, gender, nation, religion or tribe. Even the writings of Paul, often quoted by white conservatives more than Jesus, demand inclusivity: Galatians 3:28. “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”
Furthermore, while the recent actions on the Cal Poly campus, and the unrest due to racial tensions and upcoming activities continue to cause division, I would also like to make a call to remove the photos of the students of Lambda Chi Alpha from online media, and cease using their photos. The continued use of their photos is increasing pressures on these students to a point that goes well beyond their actions. Please let the investigations take their courses, and refrain from a public lynching, metaphorically or literally. There is no place for that in American society, whether black or white.
The path to true inclusion, racial peace and harmony, and a united America is a difficult one. Let us start with loving our neighbors as ourselves, even if they are different.
God bless you,
The Rev Ian M Delinger
St Stephen’s Episcopal Church
San Luis Obispo, CA
*This letter has been edited for clarity.