Christian leaders are condemning white nationalism and the alt-right movement in the wake of the violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one person dead after a car plowed through a crowd of counter-protestors.
White nationalists came to Charlottesville to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee where they were met by counter-protestors. The day turned ugly when the two sides began attacking each other with fists, thrown projectiles and even homemade flame-throwers.
As the protests began to break up, a car came roaring into a crowd of counter protestors, killing one person and injuring at least 26 others.
“When hell exhales the outcome is hatred. Both unacceptable and diabolical, racism must be confronted by God fearing people,” Rev. Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference said in a statement released to the press.
“I condemn the forces of white nationalism, white supremacy and antisemitism that divide our country today and I also condemn those who seek to politicize it all for their political gain.”
Most took to expressing their anguish and outrage a the events in Charlottesville on Twitter.
Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission tweeted: “I am grieved to the core to think that this is the United States of America that I’m watching on live television right now.”
I am grieved to the core to think that this is the United States of America I am watching on live television right now.
— Russell Moore (@drmoore) August 12, 2017
Moore repeated that message on Twitter: “The so-called Alt-Right white supremacist ideologies are anti-Christ and satanic to the core. We should say so.”
The so-called Alt-Right white supremacist ideologies are anti-Christ and satanic to the core. We should say so. #SBC17
— Russell Moore (@drmoore) June 14, 2017
Kay Warren, wife of Saddleback mega-church pastor Rick Warren, tweeted: “This is NOT the way of the cross or the savior who died on it. There is no place for alt-right ideologies in our churches or in our country.”
This is NOT the way of the Cross or the Savior who died on it. There is no place for alt-right ideologies in our churches or n our country. https://t.co/YwFgoMOKFi
— Kay Warren (@KayWarren1) August 12, 2017
At a press conference, President Trump’s condemned “this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.”
Wheaton College professor and former Executive Director of Lifeway Research Ed Stetzer responded to his remarks: “Glad to see the President speak out, particularly since many of these people have been emboldened by his election.”
Glad to see the President speak out, particularly since many of these people have been emboldened by his election… now there’s more to do. https://t.co/cGG28sjbJa
— Ed Stetzer (@edstetzer) August 12, 2017
Some criticized the president for not going far enough because he did not specify the alt right movement.
“Trump is very, very specific when he wants to condemn someone — ask the Khans, Judge Curiel, Comey, his AG — his vagueness as a purpose,” tweeted National Review writer and longtime Trump critic David French.
Trump is very, very specific when he wants to condemn someone – ask the Khans, Judge Curiel, Comey, his AG – his vagueness has a purpose.
— David French (@DavidAFrench) August 12, 2017
Senator James Lankford (R-OK) called for a national effort to heal the country of racial divison: “As a nation, we must recommit to build respectful unity together & honor the human dignity of all people,” he wrote.
As a nation, we must recommit to build respectful unity together & honor the human dignity of all people. https://t.co/xan2MSCsPv
— Sen. James Lankford (@SenatorLankford) August 12, 2017