This guest post is by Sheri Faye Rosendahl.
When will we all truly speak out against the blatant racism that embodies this self-proclaimed Christian nation? We just watched hundreds of white supremacists, adorned in KKK and Nazi gear, stroll through the University of Virginia with tiki torches shouting phrases like “blood and soil” as they encircled and even attacked counter-protesters. We then watched the following day as up to a thousand white fascists rallied in this small college town and as they were met with the resistance of, you know, people not okay with blatant racism, violence broke out and a white terrorist drove a car into the crowd of counter-protesters killing one woman. We should all be vocally outraged — silence is not an option.
I can’t fathom the fact that still so many are silent. Still, this past Sunday, we saw many Christian pastors refusing to take an active stance against the clear violent racism in this nation. I’m sure some won’t speak out because they probably also hold some racist ideology, but other pastors won’t speak out because their fear of losing some of the support of their congregation has overpowered their desire to follow the ways of Jesus.
In following the ways of Jesus, it should not be hard to speak out against racism. There is nothing brave about it, it’s simply a clear distinction between right and wrong. Seriously, those who are still in denial about how deeply ingrained this issue is in our nation: what more do you need to happen before you stop hiding in silence?
The Nazis also called themselves Christian white nationalists and we all know how that turned out. We all say, “I can’t believe how many stood silent during the rise of the Nazi regime.” But here many of us are – without a word.
According to Martin Luther King Jr., finding peace does not mean avoiding the tension of conflict, it means standing in the tension and exposing the oppression that surrounds us. Those who call themselves peacemakers because they don’t “take sides” are anything but. They are part of the problem, enablers of oppression and hate. They are those who sat quietly and watched the genocide of millions during the Holocaust.There is a right and wrong side when it comes to hate, bigotry, and oppression. There is a right and wrong side when it comes to the deeply ingrained racism that floods our nation. There are not “many sides,” there are two — the side of basic humanity and the side against it.
As someone who has studied and taught history, I am deeply disturbed by the reoccurring cycle of silence we are seeing played out. I always wondered why so many stayed silent in the face of hate so often throughout history, and as I am watching this gross racism play out today, I am still wondering the same thing.
I’m sure people leading up to and throughout WWII minimized the problem too. I’m sure they thought, “Oh, this will just go away soon” and “it’s not actually that bad.” How many do you think turned a blind eye then? How many people do you think are turning a blind eye now?
Now is the time for all of our voices to unify in solidarity against the hate. Now is the time to truly follow the ways of the red letter Jesus first. Now is the time for action. We can stop the hate, we can speak truth, we can let love win. Mark my words — we will overcome.
Photo by Rich A Rosendahl.
About Sheri Faye Rosendahl