Before I write anything, I want to express my deepest sorrow and love for the victims and citizens of Charlottesville. I can’t imagine what any of you are experiencing or going through. I pray that God gives you peace, but that he also stirs the hearts of your neighbors to stand against racism, bigotry, and violence. I also want to acknowledge that I know I am privileged. I am not black, nor will I pretend to understand the struggles and fears that black Americans face every day. But my heart goes out to each and every one of you. For so long I feel like America has turned a blind eye to what you do go through, and I am disgusted that these hateful monsters have become emboldened to step out of the shadows.
This morning as I watched the news, I couldn’t stop the tears from streaming down my face. I had read about the tragedy and violence in Charlottesville, but reading about it online and actually watching a car plow into a crowd of people is completely different. As I watched fellow Americans proudly displaying swastikas, white supremacist, and other hate symbols my heart sank to a low that I can’t say I’ve really felt in a long time.
What made my heart break, though, is the fact that many of those men consider themselves Christian. My brain is literally wracked that so many self-proclaimed followers of a loving God would believe they are justified in their hate simply because someone has a different skin color. Jesus was not a white man; Jesus was a Jew who died to save the world from sin. I just can’t wrap my mind around the ignorance and blindness of these people.
Having lived in the South my whole life, it is still hard for me to see such blatant racism on display. It’s not like I haven’t heard a joke that made me cringe or a comment from an elder that made my skin crawl, but there’s just something about white men so openly waving Nazi flags and wearing KKK hoods that rock me to my core. I can even remember a black friend of mine in high school asking me to get my dad to pick us up from school for a sleepover because she was frightened to ride the school bus to my home. I lived in a rural community, and unfortunately, I did understand why she would be uncomfortable about riding it since I myself experienced bullying on the bus. I knew what kinds of comments she would hear (which would be even worse than what I experienced daily), and it broke my heart that she would have experienced that. Today my heart sank in a very similar way, even more so because it seems like we have moved from hateful, ignorant comments to hateful, violent actions.
I’m not going to lecture today. I’m not going to write a 2,000-word blog post, because no amount of words is going to bring the young woman who died back to life, cure the injured counter-protestors of their injuries, or fix the sick, twisted, ideology of the white supremacists in Charlottesville and across the United States. I just wanted to state that anyone who claims to be a Christian and still supports racist ideologies has their heart in the wrong place. I want to say that people committing racial crimes in the name of Jesus are wrong and have allowed the enemy to pollute their thoughts. My Jesus loves each and every one of us no matters our skin color and died to save all of the humanity. I want to say that my God is a God of justice, truth, and love–not of hate, racism, and bigotry.
In closing, here are some scriptures to support this:
“For the Lord, your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.” ~ Deuteronomy 10:17-19
“Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.” ~ Acts 10:34-35
“For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” ~ 1 Corinthians 12:13
“After this, I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” ~ Revelation 7:9-10
“ There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” ~ Galatians 3:28
“But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going because the darkness has blinded them.” ~ 1 John 2:11
“Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” ~ Colossians 3:11
My thoughts and prayers are with all of you, even those of you consumed by hate and racism. In the words of Kesha, “I hope you’re somewhere prayin’, I hope your soul is changing. I hope you find your peace, falling on your knees prayin’.” As Christians, we need to unite with our black brothers and sisters to fight this evil. We need to stand boldly against prejudice and do all that we can to support and love them during this time. I know I will be trying harder than ever before to fight racism, and I hope that you will join me in striving to create a world where everyone sees beyond skin color and appreciates God’s expression of beauty and diversity in humanity through race.