A Heritage of Hate

I’ve read a lot of good Facebook and blog posts, and well-written articles about Charlottesville the last couple of days. What makes me happy is I see a lot more anglo faces posting about this than maybe ever before.

I’ve also heard the standard tropes:

  • It’s “popular” to talk about white supremacy and to try to make white people feel guilty. I don’t know about anyone else, but I get a lot of pushback in private and in public for talking about it; I do also get a lot of positive feedback. I don’t talk about it for either of those things, I talk about it as a means of confession and support for my friends and colleagues and because I believe it’s time to lay this sin to rest in our culture.
  • “I won’t apologize for being white”. I used to say I won’t either, but I’m beginning to think that I do need to be in repentance for my whiteness. I feel no shame in my European descent, but my whiteness is a cultural affect that serves to harm others who don’t or can’t share in its benefits.
  • “They’re standing up for their white heritage” (while holding a Nazi something or KKK something). OK…so your heritage is Nazi ideology? Don’t bother forgiving me for saying that it’s evil to stand up for that. You really need to sit down.
  • “They’re standing up for their Southern heritage” (while holding a Confederate battle flag a la Bo & Luke Duke). There are a lot of things in our Southern heritage to stand up for, in particular fried everything. Let’s be honest about what heritage the Confederate paraphernalia celebrates: a treasonous government that was willing to rebel against the rightful government of this nation in order to preserve slavery. Yes, it’s true that the “real” reasons were economic and political regarding states’ rights. It happens that the rights they were fighting for was the right to own people; the economy they wanted to preserve was one based on slave labor. The only reason I allow someone to get away with saying the “real” reason is economic is because those rebelling against their government didn’t believe slaves were human beings. It’s a grievous sin and so wrong. Why would you stand up for that?
  • “It’s the counter-protestors who are violent, specifically ANTIFA”. No, not really. But it does feel good to pass the buck.
  • “They’re exercising their free speech”. Sure, we’ve called political hate speech free before. It’s past time we stop allowing people to do things that are equivalent with screaming “FIRE!!!!” in a crowded theater. This isn’t the type of political speech the Constitution is designed to protect, it’s time grow up.

The fact is that what happened in Charlottesville wasn’t peaceful protesting, it was a race riot — riot, because it’s designed to belittle and silence large swaths of the population to restore an unjust, evil order that never should have existed to begin with.

The challenge is, these are people who God loves. Because of this, we who profess Jesus are called to love them.

I was struggling here with what love looks like toward those who would be oppressors…then I saw a line of clergy from multiple denominations and religions linked arm in arm to bear witness to the love that comes from the Divine. Love looks like standing in defiance of hatred — not against people, but against a sickness; against an ideology that’s pathological in our culture.

Love sees us in the fullness of who we are and declares our worth even when we’re acting in a way that’s unworthy. Love preserves the dignity of all people.

I’m so bad at this when I feel the anger and pain upon seeing that we’re still able to produce people who think that carrying flags of racist ideologies is okay. I confess my own anger and hate in this, and am so grateful for the clergy who called me to repentance.

They held up the mirror for us all. I pray that God will continue to change my heart until I can love what I see.

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