Charlottesville was not the end. It was the beginning.
The vicious hate we saw displayed last weekend began Friday night with events largely unmarked by media – groups of peaceful people of faith, standing in witness for justice and equality, were assaulted, spat on, jeered. A synagogue with Friday night celebrants, faced an armed group standing across the street, intentions unknown.
The events on Saturday repeated the violence. A death occurred – a hate crime as it is now being investigated – and two police officers died when their helicopter crashed while monitoring the events unfolding below. Both officers also died.
And into this yesterday we had our president affirm his acceptance of and support for this vicious display of racism, anti-Semitism, fascism.
This is not over. These are not normal times. This is not normal American politics.
We are being called on as rarely before to bear witness for American values of inclusion, equity, anti-fascism, and democracy. It is terribly scary since we tend not to be violent people and have scant knowledge of how to confront violence.
But we cannot be silent. We cannot turn away.
We turn to an excellent ecumenical statement from Called to Resist (calledtoresist.org) that laid out our role as people of faith:
As Martin Luther King Jr. put it, “The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state but rather the conscience of the state.”
Yes, Call to Resist is a direct critique of our president, but if we do not call out the perfidy of his dreadful racism, xenophobia, proto fascism, and other sins, then who will?
But we must remember he did not cause the racism – he is a manifestation of it. The sin of racism and hate of “the other” is as much a part of our history as is the dynamic of inclusive and loving change. Those exist, side-by-side and always have in America.
We are thus called to stand against the hate, the fear, the selfish greed that drives the rage against fully inclusive democracy.
You don’t have to put your body on the line to make a difference. You don’t have to be a part of a dangerous situation. You do have to speak out, make your views on loving inclusiveness manifest.
We recommend that an excellent guide from the best anti-racist, anti-hate group we know, the Southern Poverty Law Center, become part of your personal and congregational discussion on what to do and how to do it.
You can find the link here
We urge you to find your own voice and strength, however it works – from continued phone calls to care for victims of hate such as scrubbing off hateful graffiti, to quiet but forceful presence at city council and county meetings.
Whatever you do, however you do it – do something. Be silent no more. Our survival not just as a nation but as a nation of justice is at stake.
We need you. America needs you.