President Young’s Statement on Charlottesville, VA

By President Jerry Young |  August 19, 2017

The events that occurred recently in Charlottesville, VA were neither unclear in goal or purpose.  The “Unite the Right” rally was a gathering of White Nationalist groups: the KKK, Neo-Nazis, and “Alt-Right” groups.  These groups gathered for the express purpose of protesting the removal of an image that epitomizes White supremacy, the statue of Robert E. Lee.  For them, the protest was about much more than preserving something of cultural worth.  They marched through the streets proclaiming racist and Anti-Semitic rhetoric. It seemed that they wanted the world to know that their movement was based on white supremacist ideologies.  Why else would some of the featured speakers for this event be leaders who champion White Nationalist thoughts?  This rally’s goal was to declare to the world that the evil of white supremacy is not dead.  It was to demonstrate that white supremacists are willing to do as they have done for centuries, commit acts of violence to spread their beliefs.  Ultimately, a young counter-protester, Heather Heyer, died as a result of this hatred.  Her name has been added to the list of those who died at the hands of White supremacists, like Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others.  A young African American, DeAndre Harris, was seriously injured; a helicopter crashed resulting in the death of two police officers who were monitoring this event; and nineteen persons were injured by a weaponized vehicle used as a terrorist weapon, all at the hands of White Supremacists on one weekend in Charlottesville.

We must not and cannot meet the evil of White supremacy with moral ambivalence.  We cannot equivocate when confronted with such a diabolical movement. There are no two sides when it comes to White supremacy.  It is a belief system that is anti-Christian at its core and must be repudiated without confusion.  Is this not the colossal failure of our president in dealing with this issue? His first response to the events strangely condemned hate “on many sides.”  On Monday, President Trump seemed to have understood the weakness of his first statement.  He provided a stronger condemnation of the white supremacist groups and acknowledged young Heather Heyer, who had been needlessly killed.  But, oddly, on Tuesday, he doubled down on his first comments, making the focal point of his discussion the violence that had occurred.  Speaking of the groups involved he stated, “You have some very bad people in that group [Antifa and other groups] but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides.”  There is no moral equivalency here.  White supremacy fueled the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade and led to the Holocaust.  It has led to the deaths of many Blacks, particularly here in the south, through lynching.  It promoted segregation and the codification of racism called Jim Crow in America and Apartheid in South Africa.  Its origin is a direct assault on the biblical account of the origin of the human race.  As, I understand it, the other side did not gather because they hated white people.  They gathered because they wanted to protest what they perceived as hatred personified.  This is not to condone any aggression on their part.  But we must acknowledge, first and foremost in my judgement, that white supremacy is the culprit in this matter.  Thus, there could not have been any “fine people” marching alongside Neo-Nazis and the KKK.  The president, by his words and his work, has empowered these groups and has given them a degree of respectability and acceptance.  And thus, he has either by intention or inadvertently given indication to these groups that they have a friend in the White House.  By focusing only on the violence, it appears that he has tacitly given his support and approval to the racism practiced by these groups.

Now, the president calls the removal of Confederate statues “foolish.”  He claims that they are “beautiful.”  There appears to be no ambiguity in these comments.  He seems to be implying that he supports what these groups supported when they gathered in Charlottesville, VA.  Simultaneously, one must conclude that he is not on the side of those counter-protesters who stood against the White supremacist groups.  Whatever condemnation that he has spoken about these White Nationalist groups has been undermined by his own latest comments.

The National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., as a group standing on the side of Christ the Lord, rejects the views of these White Nationalist groups.  We stand against the president’s ambivalence on the matter.  We make it clear: the evil present in Charlottesville was the result of the divisiveness of White supremacist racism.  We condemn this evil in the strongest possible terms.  We, also, call on the president of the United States to change his words, both in tenor and tone, towards groups that support such repugnant ideas.  We call upon him to let such groups know that they may have a legal right to exist in this country but they have no moral right to exist.  They represent the worst kind of ideology, and therefore, should not feel welcomed in our nation.  We call upon him to stand on the Lord’s side who calls us to remember that of one blood God made all humanity.  Therefore, he must not be ambivalent; he must call out this evil in no uncertain terms.  In so doing, he will help to create the context that will become advantageous and conducive to bringing unity to this country and thereby undermine the plans of those intent on promoting the heretical and evil agenda of White supremacy.

The law of Christ demands that Christians of every creed, confession, and convention denounce the racist, toxic ideology of the alt-right movement and stand united against its every expression and aspiration for cultural and political correctness. The deadly consequences our nation will reap, should we tolerate the alt-right’s murderous quest for legitimacy, were seen in Charlottesville this past week, and they are frightening.

The failure of President Donald J. Trump to perceive the true nature of this evil, his unwillingness to denounce its exponents in unambiguous terms, seems to speak volumes regarding whether he plans to be the president for ALL of America.

We must all remember that lawlessness cannot be met with indifference.  Racism cannot be met with equivocation. Hatred cannot be met with uncertainty. Not only must President Trump, but all our leaders from both the secular and the sacred communities must speak with one voice to declare that this kind of hatred, bigotry and racism is totally unacceptable.

The alt-right is antithetical to Christian principles. Its leaders are purveyors of racism. And those who would tolerate this growing menace or suggest that the First Amendment affords protections for their inducements to violence are morally bankrupt as is the alt-right movement itself.

I call upon on all people of faith to bear prophetic witness against the alt-right, to expose its teachings and teachers for the evil menace they promote, and to reject any claim that racist nationalists should find acceptance in our country. I call on people of good will to continue to pursue racial harmony and unity for the good of our nation.

God bless America!

Dr. Jerry Young, President
National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.

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