In response to the racist violence in Charlottesville VA recently, I can only be appalled. After decades of progress with laws prohibiting racial discrimination I have to conclude that our country just proved that “you can’t legislate morality.” Although, as Martin Luther King Jr. said, “It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me but it can keep him from lynching me and I think that is pretty important.”
Jesus showed he cared about marginalized and downtrodden people (poor in spirit, those mourning, meek, hungry and thirsty for justice) then he turned around and talked to people who could do something to help (those who are merciful, right with God in their hearts, peacemakers). But in the end, those standing up for what is right are often persecuted (see the last Beatitude: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”).
That is the experience of a courageous pastor who wrote an article for his denomination, “Five Ways Pastors Can Respond to Evil Today”
This article is a good response to the question asked in The Atlantic, “How Will the Church Reckon With Charlottesville?”
In the absence of Christian voices speaking out loudly enough to be quoted in the national press, at least this moving talk on The Tonight Show calls out racism as evil and pleads for loving and kind people to be good examples to the next generation.
The First Epistle of John says “the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). Jesus did this by overcoming evil with good and his followers are supposed to be doing the same works he did and even more (John 14:12-14). “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:16-18).