Robert E. Lee statue

Robert E. Lee statue at Lee Park, Charlottesville, VA. By Cville dog [via Wikimedia Commons

Saturday’s deadly attack against anti-white supremacists was during a rally against the remove of a statue of General Robert E. Lee.

The Christian community spoke up with resonant voices in the aftermath of the Charlottesville hate attack, when a man in a car plowed through a crowd of anti-white supremacist rally counter-protesters. The rally was called “Unite the Right,” and it was meant to speak against the removal of the statue of General Robert E. Lee, a Confederate icon. It was one of the most voluminous white supremacist gatherings in the United States recently, and has now turned into a bloody aftermath of one death and 35 injuries after 20-year-old driver James Alex Fields Jr wreaked havoc and plowed into defenseless protesters. 32-year-old Heather Heyer died in the attack, inspiring an outpouring of support, with tens of thousands being raised for the family she leaves behind.

Among those who made their voices heard is pastor of First Baptist Church of Decatur, David Gushee. “I speak today to lament this hateful ideology, which is fundamentally contrary to Christian values but remains in our bloodstream for periodic resurgence. I lament yet another incident of ugly conflict, violence, and murder in our streets. I declare that First Baptist Church Decatur utterly repudiates racism, and seeks to stand for biblical values of equality, justice, and respect for all. I pray that white supremacist Christian nationalism will be clearly repudiated and rejected by all responsible national leaders — and by all Christian people, in the name of Jesus Christ.”

The women of the United Methodist Church also made a statement, published by Religion News Service. “United Methodist Women condemns the racism, anti-Semitism and bigotry that bred the violence and loss of life connected to a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. We also lament the blindness of too many to the historical reality that the United States has from its very beginning been a multiracial country, built by a diverse population, not a “white nation” in need of being “taken back.” We decry the dog whistles of hate embedded in too much of today’s public discourse, which embolden and nod to the sort of hate and violence that was openly on display in Charlottesville.”

Greg Weeks, senior pastor of the Manchester United Methodist Church called on the faithful to “reject [their] natural destructive ways.” He spoke about the role of religion in making a change. “Religion has been used to perpetuate our bloodstained past, and it’s sometimes misused like that today. But it’s also irrefutable that the major religions of the world are united in the ideal of a world where human history can change direction. Indeed, for all the criticism that can legitimately be leveled at faith institutions, it’s those institutions that can best champion an alternative to our past.”

Bishop Darryl Husband of Mount Olivet Church, a diverse church in Richmond, Virginia, expressed feelings of shame and disgust. “To African Americans, Latino Americans, Asian Americans, Native Indians and every European American, we will live together as brothers and sisters from One Father, or we will perish as fools, ignorant of our own genetic history. Our colors came from living in regions of the world for centuries. Educate yourselves. Find places to dialogue. Boldly denounce divisive discussions. Refuse to give violent attention to these "fire starters." They can only start a forest fire, if we give them timber and fuel. Do not give them that. Hatred breeds hatred. The bible is either true or it isn't. "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

Resources

Follow the Conversation on Twitter