Plainly and without question, both the hatred and prejudice expressed last night in Charlottesville and the attack on counter-protesters today are murderous acts. Neither the words nor the actions of these self-styled supremacists are protected by the Constitution. Nor is there any way in which to justify behavior of this kind as even remotely “Christian.” Indeed, the religious and patriotic patina wrapped around the rhetoric of this group is reminiscent of the entirely cynical manipulation of the Gospel by Adolf Hitler and his inner circle.
In response, we need to:
Condemn actions of this kind without qualification.
Do what we can to foster a climate in which such actions face collective resistance and condemnation.
Build on the progress we have made in race relations.
Recognize the places where healing has yet to take root and strive do what we can to foster progress.
Practice personal vigilance that opens our lives to the work of the Holy Spirit in places where our own attitudes and prejudices remain unredeemed.
Stand alongside our brothers and sisters who are the victims of groups like this.
Contradict, at every turn, the efforts of those groups to wrap their behavior in the mantle of the Church or the Constitution.
And support the lawful prosecution of anyone who incites violence or commits murder in the name of any creed.
As much as I appreciate the feelings that prompted the visceral reaction of Virginia’s governor, when he told the protesters in Charlottesville to “go home,” in truth, this behavior should have no home among us.