Before I came to call the great state of North Carolina home, I was a proud Virginian for the first twenty-six years of my life. I grew up in a small, rural town 90 miles south of Charlottesville and spent some of my most formative years just on the other side of the mountain at James Madison University in Harrisonburg. What happened in Charlottesville this weekend is deeply disturbing. I have walked the streets of Charlottesville with friends and family many times and this weekend white supremacists clenched torches and converged on those streets with the intent to terrorize and intimidate others because of the color of their skin.
I am proud to work for an organization that stands in solidarity with the people of Charlottesville and all individuals who were threatened and harmed in any way by the actions of those who fail to regard the sanctity of every single human life as invaluable in the eyes of God.
While we support the right of every individual to exercise free speech, the North Carolina Council of Churches strongly condemns racism, anti-semitism, and white supremacy in every form. These ideologies are the antithesis of God’s dream for humanity, because ALL people are made in the Image of God. People of faith need only look at the first chapter of Genesis to see this truth. Persons of every race and every color of skin are made in the Image of God. We grieve with the loved ones of those who lost their lives this weekend simply because they believed that we, as a country, can be better than this. We lift up in prayer those who were, literally, beaten down and driven over. We give thanks for all who showed up and by their presence refused to allow hate to have the final word and refused to allow hate to put down deeper roots in our society.
The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. Those words have been recited often since originally spoken by Dr. King following the conclusion of the Montgomery bus boycott. While they are true, there may come a time when pressure needs to be applied to the arc to make it bend just a little bit more toward justice. The Council has been applying pressure since 1935 and will continue to push that arc toward justice and equality for all people, for we are all made in the Image of God.