Response To The Charlottesville, Virginia Tragedy

Social Justice, Economic and Racial Equality Commission

Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, Inc.
Apostle Dr. James I. Clark, Jr., Director | Elder Van Adams, Assistant Director
I greet you in the precious name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. As we watched the rally unfold on Saturday, August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, VA, we were reminded that hate, bigotry, bias and prejudice are not new to the American landscape. The riot comes on the heels of a city officials’ decision to remove monuments to Robert E. Lee, a symbolic marker that celebrated slavery and the oppression of African Americans.

 

On behalf of Social Justice Economic Racial Equality Commission (COOLJC Social Justice Ministry) I join with leaders from around the nation in condemning the violence and hatred that led to the death of Heather Heyer, as a result of a car plowing into the crowd, and two state troopers Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen and Trooper Berke M. M. Bates, who was assisting in response to the protest died when their helicopter crashed not far from the scene of the demonstration. We stand with communities like Charlottesville that are doing the correct and necessary thing to eliminate symbols of White supremacy and racial oppression from public places. That’s not acceptable. We must not give a stage to racism and to bigotry.”

 

All of this is a reminder of the tragic shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, where self-proclaimed white supremacist Dylann Roof killed nine parishioners in a Bible study in June 2015, including pastor and Democratic state Sen. Clementa Pinckney.

 

On Tuesday, August 15th, the President of the United States, Donald A. Trump, held a press conference at which he attempted to foster a moral equivalence between the Alt-Right, KKK, and the Nationalists, white supremacist groups, with those who came to protest their presence in Charlottesville, VA and to offer an alternative message to the bigoted and racist messages being proffered by the white supremacists. The protesters were there to provide a voice for our true American values of justice and equality. The white supremacists voiced support for Nazi causes, shouted anti-Semitic slogans, and offensive related statements. The President chose to ignore this clear distinction today and sought to justify the White Supremacist posturing by offering a 180 degree turn from the comments he made on Saturday regarding the rejection of the same groups he was now supporting.


A response to this behavior by President Trump evoked a jaw dropping question from the former Congresswoman of Maryland, Donna Edwards, on Meet the Press. She asked, “Are we gonna accept the fact that this is who he is?” There was complete silence. I don’t recall a response from anyone. This question caused me to reflect on an old 18th Century proverb, which I heard often as a child, namely; “as the twig is bent so is the tree inclined.”

 

This means, “that, early influences have a permanent effect” oxfordreference.com/view/10/_1093oi/authority.20110803110350386. The Free Dictionary interprets the statement similarly, “A grown person will act the way he was taught to act as a child.” idioms the free dictionary.com/inclined.
Yes, Donna, this is who our President is, a white supremacist sympathizer, and a racist. This is the only explanation for his behavior. This behavior is consistent with the history of his childhood to the present. We discovered this in the 2016 campaign; and just in case our brothers and sisters in the evangelical community, and other people of faith, who support him, have forgotten racism is immoral. Racism is a sin and must be confronted with the truth of God. Racism must be rebuked and rejected by all who confess Jesus the Christ as Lord.


As commented by Pastor Mike McBride, Director of Urban Strategies for PICO National Network’s LIVE FREE. “Does it bother you that unmasked members of the Ku Klux Klan will likely be in someone’s church singing worship songs, praying, attending a church plant conference, or worse, policing our neighborhoods, teaching our children?” Does not the Holy Spirit compel you to preach a message that convicts their hearts and transform their minds? Or are you still silent and complicit as the white nationalist power publicly terrorizes the rest of us?


This is why the work of the Social Justice Economic and Racial Equality Commission is so important. In standing for justice and equality for all we are standing with the God of the scriptures. Again, we join with the faithful everywhere who have taken a stand against White Supremacy in our country. I trust every leader and the members of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ will continue to work and pray for peace and the reign of righteousness.
Respectfully,
Apostle Dr. James I. Clark, Jr.