I am horrified at the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. And I pray for the families of the two police officers who died on their way to help. I also pray for the family of Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old paralegal who was killed by a 20-year-old white supremacist, a terrorist whose name I will not speak, who turned his car into a weapon against non-violent protesters. Heather was killed, and 19 other people were struck down by malice, hatred and racism.
They were struck down by what has stricken our nation since its founding: the horrible lie that is white supremacy. This lie was formed in the mouth of Thomas Jefferson, who had a suspicion that the Africans who had been enslaved by the freedom-seeking colonists were inferior to their white owners. This horrible lie was fanned into pseudo-science about racial hierarchy. (BTW that pseudo-science is where the word “caucasian” comes from.) This lie spits in the face of the truth: There is only one race, and that race is called human.
We who know the truth must be set free from apathy and boldly challenge the falsehood of white supremacy every time and every where we see it. We who are people of faith must not pretend that what happened in Charlottesville was violence and hatred on “many sides.” We must say the truth out loud.
This is the truth: White supremacists organized themselves and descended on Charlottesville to protest the removal of a symbol of hatred and racism. They will keep organizing and use every tool in their power to make America racist, again and again.
And we who believe in freedom, we who believe in the power of #RevolutionaryLove must keep organizing as well, and use every tool in our power to fight this hatred, to renounce this bigotry, and to call our leaders into account. This is NOT the America for us. This rising ugly tide of white supremacy, if unchecked, will become a tsunami that will drown the liberties espoused by our constitution, and will end more and more innocent lives.
We must work like my colleagues, among them Traci Blackmon, Lisa Sharon Harper, Brian McLaren and Cornell West, who courageously went to Charlottesville to stand on the side of love. Here are some things we can all do now:
- Tweet the president or retweet a prayer that @POTUS joins us to name and fight #WhiteSupremacy and the #terrorism that accompanies it.
- Attend a rally in solidarity with Charlottesville. Search for rallies in your area by your zip code.
- Sign this petition from Faith in Public Life that calls on the @POTUS to behave like a president. It calls “on all elected officials to explicitly and publicly condemn white supremacy and the organizations that advance and seek to give it mainstream credibility.” And asks “President Trump to remove Steve Bannon and other supporters of the alt-right from his White House and stand against the racist policies they propose.”
And never forget that when we take these actions, we are praying with our hands and our feet. We are mourning with #PropheticGrief, and we are organizing against white supremacy with #RevolutionaryLove until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream.