Dear white Christians — especially those leading congregations, pulpits, and Sunday schools — you now have the opportunity to not only condemn the violence and bigotry out of Charlottesville, Virginia, to your peers, but to build bridges of understanding in a way that many never will be able to replicate.
I know it may feel uncomfortable for you to talk about race. But consider the torch-bearing white supremacists who marched through Charlottesville, some of them chanting Nazi slogans, and others targeting counter-protestors with violence, all of which led to countless injuries and even loss of life.
This is what racism and hatred looks like. This thing, which many have exclaimed doesn‘t exist — THIS IS IT.
Imagine the fear, confusion, and frustration that many will take to bed with them tonight — or the worry others often awake to — all because they aren’t white, or are LBGTQ, or Muslim, and feel, once again, vulnerable.
Consider how, over the past year, the decency of our society has eroded in favor of “free speech” or “speaking one’s mind” — which, to the racist, has translated as an opportunity to be as offensive as possible.
Connect all of this to the hideous acts of domestic terrorism and rising hate crimes that have rippled across our nation.
And finally, consider this: Many of your brothers and sisters in Christ do not understand why racial matters are important. They do not see, or refuse to see, how it affects them.
Some may not even care.
But that’s precisely the problem. Too many refuse to confront the dirtiness of racism simply because they’ve viewed it as not their problem, or rationalize that since we had a black president, rich black professional athletes, and black film stars that America is beyond race, past it, and that folks should just get over it — right?
The horror out of Virginia is nothing new. Bigotry is sewn into the fabric of this country and no matter how many marches, think-pieces, or kumbuyas are sung, it cannot be eradicated by blunt force.
It requires love. Amazing love. The love you espouse to believe; the same love that decries hatred, racism, and bigotry.
To my friends, fellow believers of the Most High: Do not miss this opportunity.
You can be the link that helps others understand.
You can connect the apathetic with empathy.
You can build those bridges.
You can be the vessel.
You can help save a soul.
Pray for strength and let God use you. Your voice is powerful. Know that.