More of that white Christian love: Rev. Rob Lee IV, a descendant of Robert E. Lee, was forced to leave his church after denouncing white supremacy on MTV.
Christianity in America has always had a white supremacy problem, and many Christians do not like to be reminded about the racism so deeply embedded in the foundation of American Christianity. The Bethany United Church of Christ in North Carolina is no exception.
According to multiple reports, Rev. Robert Wright Lee IV, a North Carolina pastor who is a descendant of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, was forced to resign from his church after speaking out against white supremacy on the MTV Video Music Awards last month.
Lee describes the “deeply hurtful” backlash that he received from his congregation after denouncing white supremacy in a letter published on the Auburn Seminary website. In the letter Lee writes:
It began when MTV invited me to speak out at the Video Music Awards in Los Angeles as a descendent of Robert E. Lee who is committed to speaking out against white supremacy and the hatred that had permeated our country. The event was in the immediate aftermath of the gathering of White Supremacist in Charlottesville who were rallying around a statue of my ancestor Robert E. Lee. I strongly support the removal of these monuments to the Confederacy and feel it is my duty as a descendent to speak out against White Supremacy.
I understand that my views could be considered to be controversial. I never sought this sort of attention. But, I do believe in God’s role in calling out for positive social change for the good of all…
The church’s reaction was deeply hurtful to me….
Yes, because apparently for many white Christians in North Carolina, it is controversial to suggest that white supremacy is wrong, and that black lives matter.
At the MTV awards Lee spoke these supposedly controversial words that deeply offended the good Christians at his North Carolina church:
My name is Robert Lee IV, I’m a descendant of Robert E. Lee, the Civil War general whose statue was at the center of violence in Charlottesville. We have made my ancestor an idol of white supremacy, racism, and hate. As a pastor, it is my moral duty to speak out against racism, America’s original sin.Today, I call on all of us with privilege and power to answer God’s call to confront racism and white supremacy head-on. We can find inspiration in the Black Lives Matter movement, the women who marched in the Women’s March in January, and, especially, Heather Heyer, who died fighting for her beliefs in Charlottesville.
— MTV (@MTV) August 28, 2017
These words should not be controversial. Everybody should agree that racism and white supremacy is wrong. However, this simple declaration denouncing white supremacy, and promoting social justice, was too much for the “good Christians” at the Bethany United Church of Christ in North Carolina.
Because, you know, according to the preferred white nationalist narrative, Jesus loves the white people best, and the black people not so much; and please try not to remember that Christ was most likely a brown man from the middle east, and not the blue-eyed Jesus imagined by so many clinging to slogans of white pride and dreams of segregation.