In my sermon this week I chose to address the hatred and violence on display in Charlottesville last week were clear and present signs of the reign of violence and hate that grips the world. Being white grants no privilege or power in the gentle reign of God. Instead, Jesus proclaims that what comes out of our mouths reveals our true selves. If hate comes out, there is hate within. In his exchange with a Canaanite woman, Jesus reveals that he is bound and determined to welcome those we hate into the reign of God – and that is good news. God’s love is big enough to cleanse our hearts of our hate and our privilege.
After the sermon I was asked why I didn’t address the violence of the “other side.” First, I believe I denounced all violence in this sermon. Second, my task, because of the treatment of “outsiders” by the privileged in the text, called for attention to those who are privileged and powerful in our world – that bill is filled at Charlottesville by the White Right. Third, eyewitness accounts from people like Brian McLaren testify to the fact that describing this as a conflict between two armed camps is false. The lion’s share of counter protests were courageous and peaceful. Trying to ameliorate the wrongness of White hate groups by saying that there was violence on the “other side” makes this sound like an argument when it is not. It is the moral failure of our nation that it cannot simply declare White privilege and power wrong. Saying there were “sides” to an assertion of hate based on race is like saying there are “sides” when a woman or child is abused. The only “sides” are right and wrong.
May God’s gentle reign of peace prevail.
The rectangular foundations of the barracks at Dachau.