The events this past weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia were horrific. Three people died and scores were injured as organized hate groups gathered to defend the indefensible -white supremacy and the lies that support it.
As a church, we join in mourning the death of Heather Hyer 32 killed in a terrorist act, Virginia State Police, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, 40, who died on duty protecting American freedom. Our prayers are with their families and the families of those who were injured in the acts of racial hatred and violence.
We serve in ministry as part of other organizations Church World Service whose board I chair, The National Council of Churches, American Baptist Churches USA, and Progressive National Baptist Convention. Each has issued statements on the events in Charlottesville, statements we fully support. We commend them to your reading.
There is a greater question that looms before us as Christians. Must there be death for us to do justly? Our ministry at FABC rests on five pillars, the nonnegotiable principals of our faith. One of them is social justice. That means it is not an afterthought, but day in and day out justice is part of our prayers and living witness.
The events in Charlottesville have caused many republican leaders to finally speak out in opposition to the politics and tacit embrace by President Trump of white supremacists. It is right and necessary that the president denounce and ask for the resignations of his advisor Steve Bannon and others that hold white nationalist views.
For the Church the question is most pressing. We cannot be apologists for any political party. Wrong is wrong. Evil is evil, no excuses. We cannot turn a blind eye to business as usual and deafen our ears to code words of hate, prejudice and violence. We cannot be preoccupied with “getting our praise on” getting our “shout” on Sunday morning and feel like we have done the Lord’s work. We have a higher calling:
With what shall I come before the Lord,
and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt-offerings,
with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with tens of thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?’
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:6-8
Let the church be the Church!
Dr. Earl D. Trent Jr., Senior Pastor
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