Unless you are a hermit with no access to news media you cannot have missed the turmoil that occurred his past August 12, a Saturday in a small town. Some white nationalists had planned to hold a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, to show their disapproval of the removing of a Robert E. Lee statue. Some white supremacists and neo-Nazi groups showed up and from what I can tell commandeered the rally, which sparked anti-racial protests in response.
The two groups began to exchange expletives, name-calling and throwing things at one another. One group yelled racial epithets, someone reportedly hollered on the other side, “black lives matter.” One thing led to another so that the rally turned protest degenerated into what can be described as a riot.
As the melee erupted the local police stood on the sidelines making little effort, the small town police force possibly unable to control the crowds, to stop the violence seemingly content to witness and contain it.
A young man that reports claim was a white supremacy sympathizer drove his car into the counter-protestors killing a woman and seriously injuring several more. Dozens more were injured in the many fistfights that broke out.
President Trump accused both sides of contributing to the violence, and there seems to be some evidence of that, and Michael Signer, Charlottesville’s mayor, accused the President of promoting the racial divide that led to the rioting. Democrats and Republicans both condemned the violence.
What should believers make of all this?
I am in favor of a strong sense of nationalism that supports our government’s efforts to provide for the wellbeing and protection of all its citizens equally. I am not entirely sure what “white” nationalism is but when one qualifies nationalism with a color it already sounds racist to me. I believe black lives matter, but that is because I believe all lives matter.
If anyone thinks racism is on the wane in this country, Charlottesville will make him think again. Sadly, it is alive and well and it may very well be that the racism we are reaping now is from the slavery we sowed years ago.
It is difficult to imagine that the brutality and cruel practice of slavery in this country’s past could be sanctioned as anything akin to the description of it in Scripture. And racism, slavery’s illegitimate child, has absolutely no biblical support. No man, whatever the color of his skin, can claim any superiority when Paul writes, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23.
Paul also tells us, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men,” Romans 12:18. But when people cease being God–centered, they quickly become self-centered, and when they turn away from God, it is not long before they turn on one another.
Unless our nation experiences a mighty repentance and revival we can expect to see the things we witnessed in Charlottesville again.