Yes, the family next door to me is African American–beautifully black.
I am 56 years old and while there are many, many things I do not understand in this world, racism and bigotry tops the list of things I just can’t comprehend.
I am a white woman stunned by the horrific display of humanity in Charlottesville, VA, over the weekend. CNN reported that “men carrying Confederate flags stood side by side with the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and rifle-toting militia members in Charlottesville at a rally dubbed ‘Unite the Right.'”
These were white men–primarily from out of state–spewing hate as they chanted to the counter protestors, “you will not replace us!” You see, there’s a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in a park in Charlottesville that is slated for removal.
You will not replace us? I wonder what they’re afraid of losing?
I am angry. As I write this on a sultry Sunday afternoon in my suburban home in Texas–where there are no doubt factions of the white nationalist “movement”–I still feel stirred by yesterday morning’s rousing church service. My church–Cathedral of Hope, United Church of Christ–is vibrant, inclusive and progressive; absolutely everyone is welcome because Jesus was a welcomer in his time and we are Jesus people.
I never thought I’d be a Jesus person but here we are. I’m reminded that Jesus experienced anger too when he came across injustice, prejudice, or things that were just wrong. If he were here and heard “Unite the Right,” I believe he would say that uniting one group of people is not uniting; it is, in fact, excluding, and that true unity only comes from accepting everyone as no more, no less.
Rev. Neil was on fire for Jesus yesterday, which is to say, on fire for what IS right, not THE right. He said that the hatred displayed toward black people in Charlottesville and the hatred laid out every day in America on people who are not white and heterosexual is not about politics.
The flagrant and offensive prejudice is not about right or left, but about right or wrong, Rev. Neil said. Then he called on us to take the anger that we feel and turn it into a commitment to become more Christ-like and speak out about the injustices we see.
I’m so ready, ready to say enough is enough and to speak truth to power. Anger is a good thing when it’s channeled into transforming hearts and minds.
So today, I ask you to join with me. Pay attention for opportunities to transform. Watch your language and how you think and speak about people–black, brown, lesbian, gay, transgender, heck, anybody who is different from you. Carry love in your heart instead of hate. As trite as the question may be, “what would Jesus do?”
America can only be great again when Christianity is great again–but that’s a topic for a future post. For now, I’ll leave you with this and I don’t care who I agitate:
Black lives still matter.
Photo courtesy of bmartinseattle