Woe to those who make unjust laws,
to those who issue oppressive decrees,
to deprive the poor of their rights
and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people,
making widows their prey
and robbing the fatherless.
What will you do on the day of reckoning,
when disaster comes from afar?
To whom will you run for help?
Where will you leave your riches?
Nothing will remain but to cringe among the captives
or fall among the slain.
Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,
his hand is still upraised.
I shouldn’t have to say this.
It should be so glaringly obvious and understood that no one would dare even consider the alternative.
But alas I find myself in the uncomfortable position of needing to say this anyways, so here it goes:
You cannot be a Christian and a white nationalist.
You cannot be a Christian and a white supremacist.
You cannot be a Christian and a Nazi.
You cannot be a Christian and sympathize with these positions.
If the events of Charlottesville and the ensuing response of many people both south of the border (and even here in Canada) have taught us anything, it’s that people seem to be confused about those simple truths.
They do not seem to realize that they (purportedly) worship a homeless, Jewish, middle eastern, pacifist, refugee. They have so misunderstood Christ, that they have traded the Jesus of the Bible for a caricature of their own creation - a god made in their own hateful image.
People are still alive today who will remember the way the German church of the 1930s and 1940s traded the message of the gospel for the message of ethnic nationalism. We still teach people about the atrocities that come when the church baptizes an ideology that dehumanizes people based on the colour of their skin, or the country they were born in. And yet, less than a century later here we are watching history repeat itself again.
“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless.
Not to speak is to speak.
Not to act is to act.”
And so I find myself in the uncomfortable position of having to state the obvious again: that a belief in the superiority of one ethnic group over another is antithetical to the gospel. And while President Trump may have been technically correct that there were bad people “on many sides” of the protests in Charlottesville (there were certainly unsavoury characters among the counter-protestors as well), to compare the two sides is a false equivalency; and to fail to condemn such racist and bigoted ideas is more than just irresponsible, it is anti-Christian. Likewise, to sick one’s head in the sand for fear of taking a controversial stand and offending some with the clear truth of the matter is moral cowardice. It may be 2017 and we may feel socially and morally enlightened in comparison with the generations that have gone before us, but if Charlottesville has taught us anything, it’s that we still have a long way to go. As Isaiah said, “His hand is still upraised.” May we not be found complacent about that which God is angry.
And the word of the Lord came again to Zechariah: “This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’