Less than a week after the MCC Persons of African Decent (PAD) Conference, torches, racist chants, and violence filled the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia. A rally of white nationalists and other right-wing activists protested the removal of Confederate symbols. One person was killed and 19 hurt when a car slammed into the counterprotestors.
The powerful days of sharing and learning at the PAD Conference exposed the devastation of racism, the tentacles of white privilege, and the ways in which blackness is challenged and discredited within American culture. Over the last 24 hours, hate speech with literal fires of intimidation encircled faith leaders and anyone who disagreed with violence. We are faced with the gut-wrenching reality of racism spilling into the streets.
Today, with the Spirit, we intercede with sighs too deep for words (Romans 8:26). We lament the ways that one person is set against another. People of God, we are not called to love a nation, an idea, and especially not a statue more than our neighbor. We are called to love God and our neighbors as we love ourselves.
MCC stands with the call across the generations of sacred teachings to “Love Thy Neighbor.” Who is my neighbor? Persons of all hues, languages, and nations present in the blended realities of the United States, and the world-each one is our neighbor. We are called to love our neighbor and pray for the enemy of God’s profound message of love. We are called to name and directly confront the sin of racism and injustice.
We can no longer ignore the need to start a serious conversation. A conversation about privilege, power, and race is a beginning. This is a conversation that must permeate our own home, church, neighborhood, school, and community.
Don’t know where to begin? Start a conversation about Charlottesville. Watch live videos from the scene in Charlottesville. Talk about Confederate statues. Watch the speech from New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu from June 2017 (https://youtu.be/t0jQTHis3f4 ).
MCC, this is our time to speak loudly and clearly. We will not endorse the racist message carried into Charlottesville. Silence is implicit agreement. Repentance will cleanse our souls. Living the commandments to love our neighbor will heal our communities. MCC, we are a church and a movement, faith and works. This is our prophetic call. Join me to show our values of Inclusion, Community, Spiritual Transformation, and Social Action. Let’s show our faith today.
Rev. Elder Rachelle Brown
Interim Moderator, Metropolitan Community Churches